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Articles from 2018 In March

4 sustainable truths impacting food packaging today

4 sustainable truths impacting food packaging today
The dairy section is seeing a move to more eco-friendly packaging, as shown by the new recyclable package from Icelandic Provisions.

Sustainability continues to be a major global trend in the packaging industry as consumers consistently seek out healthier food options and manufacturers whose innovative packaging and processes positively impact the environment and the quality of their goods. In fact, sustainable packaging has never been more important, according to 92% of the respondents to Packaging Digest’s 2017 Sustainable Packaging Study.

While sustainable packaging used to simply mean packaging that may be composted, recycled or reused, in 2018 we’ll see manufacturers put a focus on packaging technologies and trends that allow for the reduction of waste and provide a safer product while enhancing their brand message.

Here are four areas where sustainability is making a significant impact in food packaging.

1. The reduction of food waste is a priority

According to The New York Times, 60 million metric tons, or about $162 billion of food, is wasted every year in the United States alone. Not only is this a significant economic burden, but it’s also an environmental one, as wasted food eventually ends up in landfills where it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

As the impact of wasted food gains awareness, consumers are taking steps to reduce their contribution by composting leftovers, sharing food and selecting perishables that will stay fresher longer.

To meet the consumers’ demands for healthy and longer lasting foods, manufacturers must develop packaging that is able to extend a product’s shelf life without impacting the quality or integrity of the product it contains.

Currently, implementing barrier technology—such as multi-barrier technology (MBT), which involves embedding a barrier layer such as ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) within layers of polypropylene packaging, or inert barrier technology (IBT), which involves adding a silicon oxide layer to the inside and outside of the plastic cup—is the method of choice to extend the shelf life of plastic-packaged products without adding preservatives. This is an important consideration for manufacturers in 2018 as health conscious consumers are seeking “natural” foods with fewer additives.

2. Food safety must be taken seriously

Extending a product’s shelf life does more than reduce global food waste and prevent consumer health issues, as maintaining food freshness and eliminating contamination may have environmental implications as well. Any food safety recall, those relating to shelf life or contamination during production, could potentially mean enormous quantities of wasted food, as well as the use of additional resources during the reproduction and transportation of the product.

Still, it’s no surprise that balancing food safety and sustainability is an integral aspect of maintaining customer trust and loyalty as consumers today are demanding more information about the quality of their food.

Recalls have been known to be particularly damaging to a company’s brand and may also negatively impact a company’s financial stability. Manufacturers may wish to pursue certification from the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) to minimize risk. Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), SQFI links primary production certification to food manufacturing, distribution and agent management certification to ensure food safety throughout the supply chain.

3. Sustainability will become part of the brand message

Americans are more environmentally conscious than ever, often seeking out ways to make a positive impact on the environment without making major adjustments to their lifestyle. So selecting products in sustainable packaging or engaging with companies known for their sustainable practices is often a relatively easy way for consumers to feel like they’re making a difference.

Sustainable Brands, a global learning, collaboration and commerce community of forward-thinking businesses, reports that 42% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to green initiatives. This means manufacturers must not only consider incorporating new and interesting materials into their packaging—such as opting for plastic packaging over glass or adding a paperboard element—but become more transparent about their processes, as well.

4. Sustainability is an investment worth making in 2018

While many companies avoid making sustainable improvements, assuming there will be a hefty upfront investment required, the reality is that going green in 2018 simply makes smart business sense. The return on investment will generally be positive, especially given that demand for green products and solutions continues to grow.

Savvy companies must consider the environmental, economic and social consequences of their packaging to increase market share. For instance, you will see a bigger shift to be eco-friendlier in the dairy section. Icelandic Provisions’ Skyr recently changed from a printed shrink-sleeved polypropylene cup to the K3-H package from Greiner Packaging, a clear PP cup with an easily removed printed paper wrapped label that also covers the cup base and is printed with additional product information on the back. Both components are 100% recyclable.

Innovative companies who truly listen to the wants and needs of their consumer audience will continue to make strides toward a safer product and a healthier planet.

Jörg Sabo is the marketing director for Greiner Packaging, one of Europe’s leading plastic packaging manufacturers in the Food and Non-Food sector with U.S. operations based in Pittston, PA.

Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at the new Packaging Hub at EastPack 2018. This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

Tubes dazzle and delight in Tube of the Year awards

Tubes dazzle and delight in Tube of the Year awards
Ted Klein Tube of the Year Award: Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Exfoliant Spot Treatment by Albéa Americas Inc.

A pharmaceutical tube has taken top honors in the Tube Council's annual Tube of the Year Awards. Winning the Ted Klein Tube of the Year Award (along with the Gold Award in the Pharmaceutical category) is Albéa Americas Inc.'s tube for Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Exfoliant Spot Treatment. 

Winners were honored in February 2018 at the Tube Council’s meeting held in conjunction with Luxe Pack LA and Make‐Up LA. Bruno Lebeault, President of the Tube Council, says that “the tube market keeps on growing, driven by consumers desire for convenience and by tube fillers who find tubes easy to fill. We are glad to see more and more tubes users switching from offshore sourcing to domestic suppliers for sustainability and service.”

Albéa’s tube for Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Exfoliant Spot Treatment embodies such state of the art. Marion Patel, Marketing Manager NA-Albéa Tubes, tells Packaging Digest that Albéa had a “close partnership” with the customer during tube design. “We had clear instruction from the customer to provide precise dispensing of product to a targeted area,” she explains. “We thought Aptar’s dispensing applicator Pinpoint was the best way to achieve it.” The Pinpoint applicator features a soft-touch silicone tip that enables targeted application to skin. The leakproof applicator facilitates controlled, ergonomic dispensing.

The plastic tube features a textile pattern in orange, black, and gray, which also matches its secondary carton. The applicator is housed in a black collar and cap, which also helps the dispenser stand out, she adds. “We decided to submit the Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Exfoliant Spot Treatment to the Tube of the Year competition as it conveys a cultural inspiration through the primary packaging paying homage to the diversity of healing traditions and cultures that are represented in the Nubian Heritage family,” Patel wrote in Albéa’s awards submission.

“This tube has a true soul and a story behind it,” she tells Packaging Digest. “For smaller brands to pop, they have to have clear values and convey them through packaging. Nubian Heritage did an excellent job of conveying its story with packaging.”

Click through the following pages to view the competition's best tubes in market categories such as Personal Care, Oral Care (Dentifrice), Pharmaceutical, Industrial and Household, and Food. Innovations in sustainability are also celebrated.

NEXT: Best Personal Care Tubes

Best Personal Care Tubes

Gold winner: Martino Conditioner, Volume Serum, and Texturizing Pomade, by Viva IML Tubes

Silver winner, tied: Thymes Goldleaf, Hand Creme, by Plastube Inc.

Silver winner, tied: Oya Style Reflect, by Viva IML Tubes

Bronze winner: Bed Head for Men, Balm Down, by Plastube Inc.

NEXT: Best Pharma Tubes

Best Pharma Tubes

Gold winner: Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Exfoliant Spot Treatment, by Albéa Americas Inc.

Silver winner: Bezwecken Progonol Moisture Treatment Creme, by Plastube Inc.

Bronze winner: Liv Relief Pain Relief, by Plastube Inc.

NEXT: Best Dentifrice Tubes

Best Dentifrice Tubes

Gold winner: Oral Essentials Toothpaste, by Essel Propak

Silver winner: P&G Crest Whitening Therapy Sensitive Care Toothpaste, by Essel Propak

Bronze winner: Nature's Promise Children's Fluoride Toothpaste, by Albéa Americas Inc.

NEXT: Best Food Tubes

Best Food Tubes

Gold winner: Brien Maple Sweets Maple Butter, by Plastube Inc.

Silver winner: Troop Pet Products Peanut Buddy Peanut Butter with Pumpkin, by Montebello Packaging

Bronze winner: Trudeau Farms Ginger Seasoning, by Plastube Inc.

NEXT: Best Household & Industrial Tube

Best Household & Industrial Tube

Gold winner: Kroma Artist's Acrylics, by Montebello Packaging

NEXT: Best Sustainable Tubes

Best Sustainable Tubes

Gold winner: Burt's Bees for Dogs Paw & Nose Relieving Lotion, by Berry Global

Silver winner: Dr. Bronner's Toothpaste, by Essel Propak

Bronze winner: Unilever Simple Micellar Facial Gel Wash, by Albéa Americas


Formed to promote tubes as the preferred package of choice for marketers and consumers, The Tube Council represents tube manufacturers in North America along with many of its partners providing components or services to the industry.

New tool speeds design of 3D-printed customized bag grippers

New tool speeds design of 3D-printed customized bag grippers
Custom robotic grippers are quickly designed, 3D printed and assembled.

As more packaging lines look to robots for automation efficiencies, and more brands explore flexible packaging formats for shelf impact and sustainability advantages, the need for special handling options has risen. Developing these solutions is now easier and faster with the new Customizable Bag Gripper (CBG) design software.

Using the CBG design tool from Piab, customers can design or configure lightweight vacuum grippers for flexible packages weighing up to 4.4 pounds in about two minutes. The grippers are then 3D printed by Piab, assembled and shipped out.

After customers create a customized gripper online, they are able to download a CAD drawing of it. By placing that drawing electronically on the machine, customers can make sure the gripper will fit before placing an order. Once the order is placed, Piab generates a unique code for that configured gripper. Using the code, customers can then reorder the same gripper later or make further modifications.

Mike Brotz, Piab’s divisional unit manager for vacuum automation, explains how the process works.

How were customized robot grippers previously designed, and how long did that take? 

Brotz: Typically, designers would first have to call or send products out to be tested or help test onsite to confirm that the picking part will work—typically a week. After confirming a solution will work, a designer would take three to five days designing the End of Arm Tool (EOAT), then send the part to their shop or local machine shop to get parts machined and fabricated and also order supplier parts. This usually takes another two to three weeks.

After all that work, they had to hope the solution will work.

With the new CBG, the math is done regarding best locations to pick up a bag and pouch along with correct cup and pump sizing. You get a solution in minutes after entering the XYZ dimensions and weight considerations. When the order is complete, the assembly is ready to mount onto the customer’s robot.

What type of product is this design tool?

Brotz: This design tool is a custom Piab configurator that is done simply on the Piab website. It gives the user the ability to use a guided or expert view to configure what is needed for the application.

For an individual bag or pouch, what are the factors that the design tool commonly takes into account?

Brotz: The CBG is designed around fragile bag handling, like chip and snack bags that are susceptible to internal breakage, and stand-uppouch-style bagged product. Both are popular types of product bags that we find at most supermarkets and fulfillment centers. We are looking at X, Y and Z dimensions of the product, along with weight and speeds that it may see from a packaging standpoint. Many of these types of products are on high-speed top-loading applications—from 60 to180 picks per minute.

After designing the grippers, customers can download CAD drawings to ensure the tool will work as expected before ordering.

What aspects of the gripper would be most likely to vary in response to the bag factors above? In other words, what is most likely to be altered from one custom design to the next?

Brotz: Dimension and weight can vary greatly, along with the speeds at which a product is moved.

How long from final gripper design to a physical product in the user’s plant?

Brotz: Currently, we are getting complete units out three to four weeks after receipt of order.

How does this new tool cut the cost of grippers?

Brotz: It saves a great amount of design and testing time—from days to minutes in design. Picking up bags and pouches can be tricky. Getting a complete verified solution saves crucial design time.


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

How digital package printing safeguards a brand’s quality

How digital package printing safeguards a brand’s quality
Consistency in package printing, a feature of digital technologies, creates a high-quality image with consumers.

The benefit that digital printing adds to brands, according to industry expert Jaron Lotan? Higher value. High-quality packaging allows for more design variations and thus more targeted marketing, capturing the consumer’s attention with relevance in a world where a product can be removed from the cart, returned or replaced by another product with a mere click of the mouse.

Consumer purchases are facilitated today by digital technologies, such as their smartphones, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Consumer Products Outlook. Therefore, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have the opportunity to engage and influence consumers at every stage of the buying process, from initial research to the final purchasing decision.

Brands already rely heavily on packaging to position and sell their product, but will progressively do so as traditional push-advertising becomes more fragmented and digital dominates the way consumers research products, creating a pull for information. With consumers showrooming or webrooming their experiences with actual products (not retouched glamour shots), color and defect control in product packaging becomes more significant and ensures that brand identity remains intact and entices the consumer during the Zero Moment of Truth.

Consequently, brand owners are placing a greater focus on the quality of their product packaging. While packaging manufacturers already drive the quality of ink on substrate, they will look to meet the greater demand from major CPG players to prove that the level of quality delivered is what the brand owner has specified.

Streamlining operations efficiently and providing precision quality are two main reasons for the steady rise of digital printing. For example, manufacturers can now receive an order and have it processed, printed and ready for shipment the same day. Everyone in the packaging value chain knows that time is money and any process that successfully eliminates constraints for both resources in valuable.

The added benefit that digital printing adds to brands? Higher value. High-quality packaging allows for more design variations and thus more targeted marketing, capturing the consumer’s attention with relevance in a world where a product can be removed from the cart, returned or replaced by another product with a mere click of the mouse.

Previously, digital printers were a “nice to have” but not a “need to have” for converters and packaging manufacturers, but digital printing has demonstrated print quality improvements, provided flexibility on the line, quicker turnaround times and shorter print runs—all of which reduce cost and improve the process.

Digitization also impacts the quality of the press run, as converters and manufacturers can view what’s happening on the press in real time, allowing for quick adjustments and improvements, while removing waste and improving quality efficiently in the overall workflow.

In a recent Karstedt Partner’s article, according to Smithers Pira, in 2015 the global digital packaging and label printing market was valued at $10.5 billion. The digital print for packaging market will grow by an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% in constant value (real) terms to 2020, with a print volume CAGR of 16.2%. Despite this projected growth, digitally printed output makes up a small percentage of overall packaging. Just 5% of labels are now printed digitally and less than 1% of all other packaging in printed digitally. The opportunity is there.

And as the growth of digital printing technology persists, the “nice to have” will soon become a requirement for many converters looking to streamline processes; using digital printers to serve their clients will no longer be optional—it will be mandatory to keep up with demand.

But how will this trend carry into 2018?

With the additional advantages of using digital technology, digital printer sales will continue to rise. Not only will we see major players add digital to conventional printing, but smaller players as well.

And as more businesses take advantage of digital, there will be a greater need for automation tools that help capture quality data that reports to both brand owners and converters. Brands will continue to benefit from new solutions that help reduce waste and improve the quality of their production workflow.

Essentially, there will be more opportunities for digitization of their packaging value chain in 2018, as brands seek to satisfy their needs for consistent quality and control, and converters satisfy that need with automation.

Jaron Lotan, president/CEO at Advanced Vision Technology (AVT), has 30 years of senior management experience with technology companies focused on international markets. Lotan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Economics, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Food safety considerations for automated packaging equipment

Food safety considerations for automated packaging equipment
Like most things, migration to automation, robotics and artificial intelligence within product-sensitive industries including food and pharma can increase or decrease health risks. Here’s what you need to know.

Food packaging safety contributor Gary Kestenbaum offers opinions on effective food safety practices when clients and equipment suppliers specify, design and integrate computer-assisted, robotic and other reduced resources/high-capability technology into food packaging processes.

The question arose recently as to whether migration to automation, robotics and artificial intelligence within product-sensitive industries (food, pharma) production processes increases or mitigates (product) risks to the health and welfare of consumers.

Like most everything else, the answer likely is both.

Many excellent technical articles describing food industry equipment construction and design standards are available online, so I won’t revisit that aspect of the subject. Rather, I’d prefer to address basic processes intended to address food and packaging safety through the application of comprehensive risk assessments.

Before we proceed, I’d like readers to know that I will be speaking on this subject of food safety in automated operations in a presentation during EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City) on Thursday June 14 from 10:30-11:00.

A good analogy to the opportunities created by automation and robotics in food, beverage and pharma production might be the driverless vehicle. Supporters of the technology claim benefits that include consistency of operation and the elimination of operator variation. The robotic vehicle and control systems therein are not influenced by skills learned in driver education, compromised reaction times based on individual driver factors, driver fears, distractions, impairments and bad judgement. Therefore, stakeholders claim the ability to deliver a safe on-road experience in a driverless vehicle is positively influenced by consistency and uniformity and not negatively influenced by human over-reactive or unnecessary braking, improper observations, careless driving, distractions, substance abuse and so forth.

That rosy perspective is all fine and good until an unexpected catastrophe occurs, such as the shocking death of a pedestrian in Tempe, AZ, on March 18th who was struck and killed by a self-driving SUV outfitted with sensor systems, operating in autonomous mode. Making the event even more heinous was the alleged presence of a human backup driver in the vehicle.

In advance of that horrific event, I had planned to cite malfunctions, hacking, damage, equipment failure and false error notifications (from onboard self-diagnostic systems) as potential areas of risk within autonomous vehicles.  Ironically, I also planned to mention the unquestioned value of redundancies and backup systems in place similar to pilots/autopilots in commercial aircraft, as though said redundancies would prevent the exact type of tragedy that occurred. That all changed following the unthinkable event in Tempe.

Partial automation with limited human oversight

Automation doesn’t remove human elements, it just changes the dynamics. Humans will still develop the project plan to automate based on economics, efficiency and productivity. Principles of risk and safety are still in effect:  when specifying systems for food or pharmaceuticals, the project plan must include risk assessments, design safety, checks, balances and statistically defensible validation protocols.  Whether engineers are designing manually operated or automated devices, each part, assembly, disassembly, adjustments, systems monitoring, sanitation and so forth needs to be considered, evaluated and included in a comprehensive written project assessment and execution manual.

The challenges regarding safety are then in the design, the operation, monitoring and validations (FAT) as well as a 50-shift commissioning defect-control timeframe.

Evidence strongly suggests that there are gaps in automated, self-driving car safety design and operation protocols which must be corrected to complement the application.  The deadly accident in Tempe suggests that even the most sophisticated autonomous systems are exposed to design and operational errors and omissions which can lead to human harm.  I’m hoping that this puts manufacturers and end users of automated, computerized and reduced-human-resource food and pharma packaging equipment systems on notice to reinforce risk and hazard analyses to consider weaknesses that might previously have been dismissed or underestimated.

Consider application risks and hazard potentials

When implementing and qualifying a robotic palletizer project, the expectation is low that the safety of edible product will be compromised. However, projects that involve the design and implementation of systems wherein picking, dosing, filling, sealing, etc. involves a comestible and its contact packaging, oversight and criteria must be based on an assumption that various hazards will compromise consumer health and welfare if not anticipated, identified, discussed, documented,  mitigated or eliminated.

I recommend that equipment project managers take a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) or Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls (HARPC) team approach to food and pharma equipment automation and robotics project development. If a facility embarks upon a new, automated capital project with equipment to stage, store, convey, mix, dose, package and case-pack/palletize allergens or micro-sensitive components, the HACCP and HARPC risk analysis and food safety teams need to begin by fully documenting and mapping the process, end to end.

Manufacturing and installation engineers must, in turn, provide the safety team members with written evidence showing that each individual documented risk or hazard had been documented, explained, considered and mitigated (on paper) in principle. The design group would need to reconnect with the project engineers and explain how the designs met or exceeded sanitary design expectations. They’d need to explain how they concluded that the materials and design were “safe” and sanitary, within the contexts of the applications. If equipment designs or operation components are truly new (e.g., the self-driving car), is it reasonable to expect equipment supplier engineers to satisfactorily opine on the full gamut of risks and hazards?

Based on my experience, engineering companies are not necessarily trained or resourced to address all client food safety hazard and risk-related questions. Hazards and risks to comestible product safety depend upon many factors, and equipment fabricators may or may not have deep experience with your specific application.  

Considering practicality and cost limits, very few clients are going to fund pilot test equipment that gets tested, torn down, redesigned, rebuilt, etc. multiple times before the final production version is commissioned. The experts charged with delivering safety are going to have to cobble together a process that takes some risks and judges some aspects of safety “on the fly” during limited and initial commercialization.

HACCP and HARPC teams are continuously challenged to answer both general and specific questions during the risk assessment process. Whether the equipment and processes are labor intensive or fully automated, the investigative and challenge questioning processes remain fundamentally similar. The technical Hazard Analysis team of cross-functional experts are the in-house stakeholders and caretakers for product safety, as they ponder how normal setup and operation of a process, including equipment, might be expected to cause or facilitate chemical, physical or microbiological contamination which would cause harm to human and animal users.

The general principles of an equipment and systems risk assessment and analysis remain consistent, but consider that participant competencies and expectations will adjust commensurate with project complexities. Not surprisingly, when equipment end-users or sponsors increase the complexity or risk profile of products, ingredients, changeovers, components, testing and so forth, the risk assessment oversight team has to adjust and address same, and is expected to do so with qualifications, knowledge, expertise and forethought. Creation of the process summary reference manual upon which the project manager will depend will reflect the same general objective:  that is, the safe, effective and timely processing, packaging and palletizing of food or pharma grade product on sanitary equipment designed for the intended uses.

Next: Considerations for new lines, examples of department responsibilities

Considerations for new production lines

However, new operations with risk potential clearly in need of consideration include component sophistication, footprints, changeover complexity, reduced human oversight and so forth.

That’s what makes the risk and hazard analysis process so critical. If the project manager isn’t given a comprehensive summary of risks, design, oversight and maintenance criteria, the details are left to the judgement of those outside the client organization. Issues of materials composition and appropriate design standards will assumedly be considered and integrated by supplier experts, but the client risk assessment team members must do their homework and anticipate “what else or new can go wrong” in addition to the previously identified and considered calamities documented in existing prior risk potential summaries created by “the team.”

Typically, the food equipment client project manager responsible for executing the project is not an expert in technical disciplines of microbiology, sanitation, food safety and related.  Rather, the project manager is tasked with coordination of efforts and delivering an on-time, in-budget completion.  In my experience, each cross functional hazard analysis team member should prepare, promote and champion a discipline-specific food safety agenda and once the information and recommendations are disseminated to client management, the “baton is passed.” Recognize that in a marketing-based organization, management makes final decisions and if an aspect of equipment design results in a food safety failure, make sure that your recommendations were communicated so that you or your function does not “own that failure.”

Responsibility examples

Examples of functional hazard team responsibilities include:

The quality function representative should oversee the hazard and risk assessment teams’ creation of an accurate summary of process activities within which the equipment will function. Focus should be on sensitive ingredients, components, changeovers, sanitation and expected degrees of difficulty.

Maintenance should create a section describing how change parts, inspection, adjustment and other hands-on, maintenance-related activities are expected to occur within the normal work environment.

Technical research should speak to incoming, intermediate and finished product-in-package expectations, limits, variations, risks and in-specification quality.

Operations staff and management representatives should collaborate to document production oversight, human resources and criteria for safe and effective operation. It must be noted that new automation systems represent many unknowns. Therefore, training, oversight and communication must be coordinated within the operations function.

Engineering should explain and document how “new” equipment, components, controls, processes  and footprints integrate and synchronize with existing infrastructure, in addition to their typical guidance for regulatory and client-specified design criteria (small parts, delamination, forbidden materials, NEMA ratings, clean-out-of-place (COP)/clean-in-place (CIP) designs, etc). Engineering might also own ideation for redundancies to improve safety and reduce risk (recall the self-driving car human operator example).

Food Safety team members should ensure that there is a draft HACCP/HARPC plan created to identify and mitigate physical, chemical and microbiological risks and hazards associated with the new process.  They should also collaborate with maintenance counterparts to identify how best to inspect and approve safe production restarts following downtime for any and all maintenance-related activities.

Sanitation managers need to study documents and manuals supplied by the equipment vendors in order to understand and then challenge how the state-of-the-art equipment can and will be cleaned, sanitized and maintained to create consistent and safe consumables.   

Accompanying maintenance, testing, changeover, sanitation, and adjustment manuals need to be written in plain-speak, including technical language and local jargon alike, so that every maintenance and engineering resource can understand expected, unified processes.

In summary, I recommend that the client engineers and project managers approach new and/or complex food equipment design and installation projects based on objectives, requirements and component knowledge designed to deliver safe products.

Every unfamiliar component of a process requires new learning, expert advice and tutorials, a thorough review and the expectations of previously unfamiliar errors, omissions and learning curves.  Automation, sophisticated controls, artificial intelligence and other state-of-the-art components will naturally add complexity and challenges to the food safety risk and hazard identification and mitigation process, but, procedurally, the process objectives remain consistent.

Many eyes watch cutting-edge equipment projects initially and a safe, steady-state condition is often not easy to achieve. However, at some point the system is expected to pay for itself by operating “at advertised speed” with reduced human oversight. Thus, all criteria for success used to rate product and process safety during factory acceptance tests and related statistical commercialization assessments need to be comprehensive, well documented and understood by all.  Compare the process statistically to odds at the casino. Run the system for enough hours and the product quality results will match the true odds for an error. Hazards and risks do exist and product failures will occur. Long-term success will be proportionate to design efficiency, client oversight and the continuous application of expected suitable resources. High-end equipment will properly perform and sustain safe output of goods when it in kind has been adequately designed and is continuously reviewed, adjusted, supported and maintained through skilled oversight and focused documentation.

You can hear Gary Kestenbaum in person address the topic of food safety considerations in an automated production operation during EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City) on Thursday June 14 10:30-11:00.

Gary Kestenbaum is an independent food packaging safety consultant with 45 years of experience in the food industry as a food ingredient technician with National Starch, a food product developer with General and Kraft Foods, a package developer with Kraft Foods and as a food packaging safety consultant with EHA Consulting Group. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Lindor bag beats Godiva on truffles branding

Lindor bag beats Godiva on truffles branding
Poll respondents preferred the deep red Lindor bag over the cream-colored Godiva one by a two-to-one margin.

The outcome of a truffles tussle in our latest Who Wore It Better series has Lindor surpassing arch-rival Godiva in packaging design.

The poll was conducted online throughout the month of February 2018. Of the 69 packaging professionals participating, 71% chose the deep red Lindor bag versus the pale cream-colored Godiva bag, which received 29% of the votes. We also asked people to explain why they picked the package they did. A selection of their insightful comments are below.

To help them decide, survey participants were given a written description of each package, along with photos of all surfaces of each package.

Both products are sold in stand-up paper bags with a fold-over back heat-seal closure. The Lindor package holds 5.1 ounces; Godiva contains 4.2 ounces. The Godiva bag is nearly 8-3/4-inches tall; the Lindor bag stands 7.5-inches high. Truffles inside both bags are individually wrapped.

The Lindor package has a die-cut and clear window on the front and gold hot stamping. The shiny surface is the same for the entire package. The Godiva bag adds elements of gloss on the front on an otherwise matte material.

Both print the UPC bar code on the bottom.

The “Best Before” dates appear on the back, on top of the folded-over seal. The Lindor info is laser coded; the Godiva date code also looks like it has been applied by a laser, but the characters feel rough and there is not as much contrast between the color of the bag and the color of the code.

The Lindor package is all in English; the Godiva prints text in English and French. Both brands print on both sides of the bags. Lindor uses a side panel for the Nutrition Facts box; Godiva positions that on the back.

Godiva is owned by Turkish company Yildiz Holding; Lindor is a brand of Lindt & Sprüngli.

The Godiva admirers

More than a quarter of respondents preferred the Godiva bag because…

“Lindor package is too ‘Christmasy’ or seasonal,” says one Godiva fan. “Godiva has a more modern upscale feel for any occasion. The dessert truffle name is very well reinforced with the photo of other luscious desserts.”

Details matter to this respondent: “Godiva tells you what type of truffle(s) is in the bag while Lindt just says “truffles.”

“White background is easier on the eye than red,” says another Godiva supporter.

And this poll taker explains, “Cleaner look. I don’t prefer the window when the interior is individually wrapped as well.”

A couple respondents admit the Lindor package has game, but Godiva appealed more to them:

“It was very even but the dark red shows the paper more and will look shop worn.”

“Type is easier to read. I do like some elements of the Lindt package but overall give the edge to the Godiva package. I do not care for the color bar showing on the bottom of the Lindt package.”

“Cleaner looking package. The images look more appetizing. But, sitting on a shelf the Lindt package would catch my eye first.”

Giving Lindor the love

Nearly three quarters of respondents favored the Lindor bag for a range of positive reasons, but some were clearly voting against Godiva:

“I don’t understand the Godiva ‘wave.’ It looks cheap,” starts this respondent, who then goes on with: “Lindt also showcases the truffle bigger and better, on both the front of the pack and the back. Lastly, the overall color scheme looks premium for Lindt while Godiva looks generic. Where is the Godiva golden color? Is this a cheap outlet-store product line? It clearly can’t be the same premium truffles that come in the golden boxes, right?”

Another survey taker also questions the Godiva authenticity: “The chocolate on the Godiva bag looks very fake and forced. Also, the package for gifting is busy and not especially appetizing in my opinion.”

“More consistent color branding per Truffle. The Godiva bag is a weak color and the large chocolate ‘swirl’(?) looks ugly,” says one respondent.

If you think that comment about the Godiva swirl was harsh, it gets worse: “Just spoke to me. The red. The Godiva chocolate looks like poop.”

However, many respondents pointed out specific features that they liked on the Lindor package:

“Smaller package holds more and I like being able to see the product,” says this respondent.

“Bright packaging. Catches the eye on the shelf. Shows product inside thru the window,” says another (seeing into the Lindor package was mentioned as a key advantage by quite a few people).

“…Foil stamp is more premium looking on Lindt versus Godiva,” in this person’s opinion.

According to this respondent, “The bag has more of a Special Occasion look to it. Better for gifting.”

The Lindor package was a bit smaller in size than the Godiva one and, to several respondents, used the available space better. “The package color is so iconic, it is hard to not love it. I like the back panel much more as it does not look like some ‘pharmaceutical’ product. The nutritional facts looks better on the side. [I like] the back panel of the Lindor pack sketches and experience.”

But to be fair, this respondent points out that Godiva is somewhat at a disadvantage because of the multiple languages on the package: “[The Lindor package] speaks more decadence to me, but the comparison cannot be justified if only one of them uses English only. I’m sure the Godiva packaging would look great too, if they only used one language. The [Nutrition Facts text] wouldn’t have needed to be so large and take away from the extra space on the back panel.”

Stay tuned for our next Who Wore It Better poll!

Click here to see the results of our earlier Who Wore It Better polls:

Beef Jerky: Strong packaging graphics also need ‘context’

Olive Oil: Shoppability, easy-pour key to olive oil packaging design

Iced Coffee: Starbucks v. Dunkin’: Iced coffee looks ‘premium’ in glass


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

Reusable boxes save HVAC controls manufacturer $106,000

Reusable boxes save HVAC controls manufacturer $106,000
Material handlers and product assemblers appreciate how the partitioned boxes reduce time and motion. Vendors load parts more efficiently; and Belimo minimizes touch points because boxes go directly to the assembly line with no repacking, unlike before.

A $1,050 purchase of reusable corrugated boxes and unique box-closing devices has saved industrial manufacturer Belimo USA more than $106,000 a year in a closed-loop transportation program with two of its vendors of metal parts. The low-tech solution also complements Belimo’s reputation as a clean technology company focused on lean manufacturing principles.

Belimo produces parts and assemblies for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. HVAC actuators, control valve systems and sensors are assembled in its Danbury, CT, plant, and comprise the company’s core business.

The company’s manufacturing engineer, Michael Gallo, found a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to transport parts from vendors in Waukesha, WI, and Rochester, NY, to Belimo’s Danbury assembly plant.

About a year ago, Gallo implemented this closed-loop shipping program that:

• Allows the company to reuse corrugated boxes at least 10 times and, perhaps, 20 or more;

• Saves time, logistics labor, materials costs and expensive floor space; and

• Cuts its carbon footprint by replacing petroleum-based plastic totes with renewable corrugated boxes, significantly lowering the weight of empty containers during reverse transportation by 820 pounds.

Integral to the program is the Box Latch from Eco-Latch Systems, an alternative to box sealing tape, staples or bands. These reusable box-closing latches enable Belimo to present its parts to product assemblers directly from corrugated boxes coming from its vendors. Previously, parts were shipped in heavy wooden crates and had to be manually transferred to plastic totes for delivery to the assembly line.

The reusable Box Latch attaches easily to major flaps, keeping the boxes closed during shipping but allowing for easy, no-tool opening of them—eliminating the human injury dangers that occur with tape-cutting knives.

A Certified B Corp., Eco-Latch Systems produces a variety of sizes of Box Latch to match the application. The Box Latch works by clipping on or sliding onto the major flaps of a box to hold them closed. Watch a demonstration here.

Inside the numbers

Here is an accounting of the savings from one actuator part involved in Belimo’s closed-loop logistics solution:

Instead of spending $15,000 to buy new wooden crates, in the summer of 2016, Belimo spent $550 on BL Medium latches and approximately $500 on custom-designed partitions to place in existing boxes—for container savings of $13,950.

The number of pallets shipped has been cut in half because each pallet of lighter-weight partitioned boxes now holds twice as many parts as a pallet of the heavier wooden crates. With 80 shipments per year between the Wisconsin and Connecticut facilities, the annual freight savings is $75,670.

On the return trip, a pallet of 20 empty wooden crates weighed 1,000 pounds. Now, a pallet of 32 empty partitioned boxes weighs just 180 pounds—for a savings of 820 pounds or $17,030 per year in freight costs.

Here is how the cost savings add up so far: $13,950 + $75,670 + $17,030 = $106,650.

But savings apply to floor space, too: Previously, a single wooden crate held 120 pieces of the actuator part, so it required 20 crates to ship 2,400 parts. Now, a reusable corrugated partitioned box holds 80 parts and 32 of these boxes fit in the same space on the plant floor as 20 crates—yet hold 2,560 parts.

Pallets now hold more product parts and take up less floorspace than the previous wooden crates.

Moving forward, because this closed-loop partnership has been so successful, Belimo expects it to be the template for the future. Gallo says, “It’s simple. We will tell future suppliers that this is the closed-loop, re-usable box system we use with our suppliers and we expect any new vendors to comply with it.”

In September 2017, Belimo USA expanded its lean manufacturing practices with the purchase of another 2,500 Box Latches (BL Large, this time) to use with shippers for other parts. The company is now using reusable boxes and Box Latches with five different parts produced by two different suppliers: Wisconsin Metal Parts in Waukesha, WI, and Alton Manufacturing in Rochester, NY.

Additionally, Box Latches are also being used within Belimo’s internal closed-loop manufacturing and product assembly process in other sectors of its Danbury plant.

To recap, Belimo has realized significant savings from implementing a closed-loop logistics program by:

• Repurposing and re-using boxes that otherwise would be sent to recycling.

• Extending the lives of high-quality corrugated boxes.

• Reducing and/or eliminating tape on shipments from vendors in Waukesha, WI, and Rochester, NY, to the assembly plant in Danbury, CT—as well as on returns in this closed loop.

• Lowering transportation and environmental impact costs by replacing heavy, space-wasting, double-high, wooden crates with lightweight, partitioned corrugate boxes transported between locations via shrink-wrapped pallets.

• Minimizing valuable floor space on the assembly floor that now is available for other uses, including more assembly cells for greater product output.

• Reducing time and motion loading parts and boxes more efficiently at assembly cells while also reducing touch points during the assembly process, a factor much appreciated by the material handlers and assemblers.

• Cutting the carbon imprint as petroleum-based plastic totes within the company’s manufacturing and assembly process are replaced with reusable corrugate boxes.

• Curbing dunnage costs for removal of boxes previously recycled after one use.

These are highlights from a more detailed case study produced by Box Latch. Read that full story here.

As a result of his innovative cost-cutting, environmentally friendly efforts, Michael Gallo received a coveted "Above and Beyond Award" from Belimo in December 2017 for Solution Leadership. This award was for the freight cost savings described in the article. 


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

Stacy’s limited-edition food packaging honors women

Stacy’s limited-edition food packaging honors women
Female artists at PepsiCo designed a trio of limited-edition bags to celebrate Women's History Month.

Stacy’s Snacks, a Frito-Lay North America brand, is celebrating Women’s History Month this year with a packaging design that celebrates women. Stacy’s limited-edition packaging comprises three 7.33-oz Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips bags decorated with vibrant graphics by female artists.

The specially designed bags are packaged as a commemorative box set, which is sold online only. The set, which launched on Mar. 1, 2018, is available from Amazon, Walmart and Jet, while supplies last. Suggested retail price is $14.99.

The set’s secondary package is a flip-top box with front locking tabs. To showcase the colorful bags, the box’s graphics are subdued: The Stacy’s logo and “Celebrating Women’s History Month” are printed in black on white corrugated board.

Also in honor of Women’s History Month 2018, Stacy’s has pledged $25,000 to Step Up, an organization that provides mentorship for girls. That donation is part of the $100,000 Stacy’s will donate to women’s initiatives this year.

Stuart Beck, senior director of marketing, Stacy’s Snacks, answers some questions about the limited-edition packaging.

Is this the first time Stacy’s has created special packaging for Women’s History Month?

Beck: This is the second year Stacy’s has released limited-edition bags in honor of Women’s History Month. Because last year’s “Stacy’s Stands with You” campaign was such a huge success, we were excited to continue the legacy of celebrating the accomplishments of women everywhere through three new bag designs.

For last year’s campaign, Stacy’s released nine bag designs inspired by the artwork and signs from pivotal moments throughout women’s history. The initial 8,000 bags were claimed in less than 24 hours, triggering an $80,000 donation to Step Up, a non-profit organization that propels girls in under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential. We then called on consumers to submit their own artwork for a chance to see their designs come to life on a second wave of limited-edition bags. Those bags represented another $20,000 donation to Step Up, making it a combined $100,000 donation in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Are the 2018 bags only available online? If so, why no retail distribution?

Beck: As this is a one-month promotion in celebration of Women’s History Month, they are only available to purchase as a set of three online.

Why not sell the bags individually, as well?

Beck: As the designs represent Stacy’s three core values—celebrating, advancing and supporting women—we wanted them to be available as a commemorative box set for consumers.

Is there information on the back of the limited-edition bags about Stacy’s $25,000 contribution to Step Up?

Beck: While Step Up isn’t on the back of the bag, information about the donation is featured on our website and in the inserts that consumers receive inside of their commemorative box sets. Fans can learn more about Stacy’s contributions to women’s initiatives by visiting

Did Stacy’s work with a creative agency to design the limited-edition packaging?

Beck: The bags are designed by female artists at PepsiCo who are from throughout North America.


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

Lay’s Potato Chip bags use smile power to help kids in need

Lay’s Potato Chip bags use smile power to help kids in need
When consumers buy a bag of Lay's Potato Chips printed with smiling faces, PepsiCo will make a donation to the Operation Smile charity.

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division is putting smiles on bags of Lay’s Potato Chips as part of its limited-time “Smile with Lay’s” campaign. For each purchase of one of the specially designed bags—which are printed with the smiles of real consumers—the brand is making a donation to Operation Smile, an international charity that helps young people who need surgery to correct cleft conditions.

The packaging design, which incorporates a diverse assortment of smiling faces, rolled out across the United States in February. Fourteen of Lay’s potato chip flavors are available in the grin-inducing food packaging. Sizes include 2.88-oz (three-serving) and 10-oz family-size bags.

In addition to buying Lay’s Smile bags in-store, consumers can go online to order a bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips printed with their own smile. Sarah Guzman, senior director of marketing, Lay’s, answers some questions about the packaging and the campaign.

How did Lay’s decide how many different smiles to print on bags of the various flavors?

Guzman: The bags showcase 40 different smiles from real people across the country. Lay’s is on a mission to spread smiles nationwide, so as part of the selection process, we tried to find a wide variety of smiles that would bring the most smiles to others. Fans can also have their own smile featured on a custom Lay’s bag by visiting

Examples of smiling faces on bags of different flavors of potato chips.

How do you handle distribution?

Guzman: All 40 of our Lay’s Smile bags are available at retailers nationwide, wherever Lay’s are sold, for a limited time: Feb. 12 through Apr. 7, 2018.

How will the bags communicate the campaign for Operation Smile? What other information about this campaign is on the packaging, including the back of the bag?

Guzman: For every purchase of Lay’s specially designed bags, a donation will be made to Operation Smile. Information about the donation is included on the back of the bag, in addition to steps on how fans can get involved with the campaign.

How have consumers responded to Lay’s Smile bags?

Guzman: Fans have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Lay’s Smile bags, showing their support on social media by sharing images with their bags using #SmileWithLays. By engaging with our fans to play a significant role in supporting Operation Smile, we are creating an inclusive and empowering environment for consumers to celebrate the power of a smile—while at the same time giving a forever smile to children in need.

How much has Lay’s raised for Operation Smile?

At the end of the program, we will be donating a total of $1 million to Operation Smile.


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

10 impactful and efficient flexible packages win gold awards

10 impactful and efficient flexible packages win gold awards
With a clear window, resealable feature and production efficiencies, the stand-up pouch for Blue Bunny ice cream treats earned the flexible packaging industry's Highest Achievement Award for 2018.

Outstanding innovations in flexible packaging happen on a rather frequent basis. But each year at this time, we get to see the best in the industry as the Flexible Packaging Assn. honors the winners of its annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards.

As one of three judges for this year’s competition, I spent two days late last year immersed in printing jargon, playing with opening features and peeling apart structures with co-judges Dr. Joongmin Shin, associate professor, Industrial Technology and Packaging, California Polytechnic State University, and Brian Wagner, co-founder and principal, of prominent packaging consulting firm PTIS LLC.

I can personally attest to the thorough job we did in analyzing each of the 66 packages submitted for judging. Despite the differences in our packaging knowledge and experience, all three of us were nearly unanimous in our decisions—something that doesn’t happen all that often, from my recollection. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve served as an FPA judge in the past, but can only hope I’m invited again in the future as this is one of the best run packaging competitions that exists.

In this competition, a package can win multiple awards, and in different categories. Packages can win a Highest Achievement Award (the best of the best), Gold Awards and Silver Awards. The five categories are: Packaging Excellence, Printing and Shelf Impact, Technical Innovation, Sustainability and Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging.

Winners were recognized and received their awards on Tues. night, March 13, during the FPA's annual meeting at a gala ceremony.

You can see all the winners on the Flexible Packaging Assn.’s website, including the wildly creative student award winners. But here are 10 packages that won Gold Awards in the 2018 Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards competition, which is now in its 62nd year:

1. Blue Bunny’s “box pouch” hops into shopping carts (see image at top of page)

Earning the Highest Achievement Award for package manufacturer Plastic Packaging Technologies LLC, this “box pouch” helps Wells Blue Bunny ice cream treats stand out in the freezer, both in the store and at home.

Wells’ debut of a pouch in the carton-dominated frozen treats category may be the first application of flexible packaging in this category. Adding to its uniqueness, and its functionality, is a clear window so consumers can see the product quality.

Additionally, a reseal feature lets consumers keep the branded primary package until all the treats are gone. But because the package is flexible, rather than a rigid carton, it can fold down to save space in a home freezer.

This high-achieving dual-web package won four other awards, too:

Gold Award for Packaging Excellence: How this package performs on the packaging line was equally important. Wells needed the top to fully open for efficient product filling, which is difficult to do with a reclose feature. But this zipper closure—which is on the back panel to keep the front panel pristine for ultimate branding—allows that. And because of this pouch design, Wells is able to create the final top seal on a simple band sealer.

Gold Award for Sustainability: The pouch weighs 17 grams, which is 73% less than a comparable paperboard carton.

Silver Award for Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging: Plastic Packaging Technologies says this may be the first flexible package in the frozen treats section—and Packaging Digest was not able to find any evidence to dispute that.

Silver Award for Printing and Shelf Impact: Seeing the ice cream through the clear window appeals to consumers, as they like to assess a product before they buy. Also, an ultra-high-opacity white ink behind the printed design area provides brilliant graphics and colors to compete with similar looks on printed cartons.

NEXT: Want a packaging material that runs at high speed? Get on the Autobahn


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

2. Want a packaging material that runs at high speed? Get on the Autobahn

Can a material make a packaging machine go faster? Autobahn flow-wrap packaging can. This hermetically sealed structure is engineered with a high coefficient of friction (COF) that enables flow-wrappers to reach speeds approaching 400 packages per minute, without the risk of losing seal integrity.

Additionally, Autobahn uses chemistry and physics—instead of a secondary scoring process—to create an easy-open package from any location along the seal edge, for virtually effortless access to the product.

Rollprint Packaging Products won a Gold Award for Technical Innovation.

NEXT: Compostable peanut bag wins in the arena


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

3. Compostable peanut bag wins in the arena

End-of-life options for foodservice packages are leaning toward compostable solutions rather than recycling because of the likely contamination from any remaining contents. When sports stadiums look for sustainable opportunities, they now have another avenue for diverting waste from landfills and cutting waste management costs.

This certified compostable bag for peanuts in the shell replaces typical polypropylene film and is made from renewable resources. Compostability is made possible by binding a printed barrier layer and a sealant layer with a compostable water-based adhesive.

TC Transcontinental Packaging earned a Gold Award for Sustainability for this development.

NEXT: Stackable cube-efficient bag needs no other support


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

4. Stackable cube-efficient bag needs no other support

Because of the structural design that increases strength and dimensional stability, the ConservaCube package can replace rigid containers for a variety of bulk products—up to 55 pounds—sold at retail (club stores or home improvement outlets) and through ecommerce.

With four display panels for high shelf impact, ConservaCube is stackable and can ship on a pallet without the need for secondary packaging. That also makes it display-ready for stores, with a clear billboarding advantage over the typical lay-flat bag.

This mono-material polyethylene package is not only cube efficient to save on freight costs, but it is also recyclable. Built-in handles make it easy for consumers to carry and dispense the product.

ConservaCube received two Gold Awards (for Sustainability and for Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging) and two Silver Awards (for Packaging Excellence and for Technical Innovation).

NEXT: Collapsible pouch with sprayer floats with boat owners


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

5. Collapsible pouch with sprayer floats with boat owners

As a former motor-boat owner, I immediately recognized and appreciated the multiple user benefits of the stand-up pouch with a trigger sprayer for Rejuvenate Marine biodegradable cleaning products from Life Products.

Designed to replace bulky rigid bottles, the lightweight pouches stand out on shelves because they are different. They also store easily and fit into tight spaces on boats, collapsing down as product is used. This allows boat-owners to keep their cleaning supplies onboard and handy.

Puncture-resistant, the structure also stands up to the rigorous rough-and-tumble conditions of a moving watercraft, without the worry of breakage or leakage. Reverse-printed graphics withstand high-salt-water environments.

With this package, Glenroy Inc. earned a Gold Award for Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging.

NEXT: Matte lacquer helps Knorr go high-end


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

6. Matte lacquer helps Knorr go high-end

For its new Knorr One Skillet Meals, Unilever worked with American Packaging Corp. to create a pouch with a softer, more prestigious look and dark background—which is a significant departure from Knorr’s typical glossy white packaging.

American Packaging achieved this with a new process for combining matte and gloss areas on the three-ply pouch. The converter used a reverse trolley gravure cylinder to apply the matte lacquer inline with flexographic printing—and all in register with 0 trap. The high-gloss visual pop of the brand logo and product photo, along with the deep, rich image of the matte areas on package earned American Packaging a Gold Award for Printing and Shelf Impact.

NEXT: Mentos mints get bowled over by this efficient pack


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

7. Mentos mints get bowled over by this efficient pack

Extremely cube efficient for shipping and storage, the lightweight rectangular PrimaPak Share-A-Bowl package for Perfetti Van Melle’s Mentos mints is made on a modified vertical form-fill-seal machine from a single roll of film. This enables Perfetti Van Melle to cost effectively enter the bulk individually wrapped candy/mint category without the costly capital equipment expenditures associated with rigid container packaging lines.

The Mentos PrimaPak proprietary structure has a built-in peel-and-reseal lid, making it easy for consumers to access the product and then close up the package until the next consumption occasion. The unique structure also adds stability to the flexible package for a better user experience.

With six flat panels, the retail-ready stackable pack provides plenty of merchandising options and increases shelf utilization by up to 30%, which minimizes out-of-stock situations and labor for in-store restocking.

Sonoco Flexible Packaging earned three awards for this development: Gold Award for Packaging Excellence; Silver Award for Technical Innovation; and Silver Award for Expanding the Use of Flexible Packaging.

NEXT: Small sachet is big on brand protection and shelf impact


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

8. Small sachet is big on brand protection and shelf impact

Rampant counterfeiting and cut-throat competition in the Asian mouth freshener market demanded Shudh Plus Ultra Mouth Freshener develop a unique high-impact package.

In a sachet small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, manufacturer Uflex used multiple design elements to create a “never seen before design” for the brand. Tactile surface? Check. Glitter? Check. Embossing? Check. Gold and Silver hot foil stamping? Check and check.

All that was achieve through a combination of rotogravure and flexographic printing, and electron beam coating on a surface-printed registered application on paper. The tactile effect was done using high solid content ink. And a special-purpose machine simultaneously produced the gold and silver hot foil stamping.

Flex Films (USA) Inc. earned two awards: Gold Award for Technical Innovation and Silver Award for Printing and Shelf Impact.

NEXT: Frozen fruit bag presents a “natural” look


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

9. Frozen fruit bag presents a “natural” look

To attain a look that adequately reflects the natural character of an organic product, vertically integrated converter ProAmpac meticulously controls the various processes in making this pouch for Sunrise Growers frozen Organic Cherry Berry Fruit Blend—from resin selection and film manufacturing to flexo printing-plate production and graphics protection.

The durable inks and surface-printed graphics on the high-stretch polyethylene film are further protected by a matte varnish/over-lacquer from damage due to rubbing and friction, as well as from the freezing temperatures.

ProAmpac received a Gold Award for Printing and Shelf Impact.

NEXT: UV surface-printed bags enjoy their day(s) in the sun


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

10. UV surface-printed bags enjoy their day(s) in the sun

The bag’s earthy, muted colors help sell Whitney Farms Organic Planting Soil. So it’s important to protect that look, especially since the product is often stored outside on pallets like most garden center goods. ProAmpac established a proprietary energy curing process to protect the surface-printed polyethylene film against color degradation from ultraviolet light (sunlight), which is key to the product’s shelf appeal. The bag is highly resistant to chemicals, too.

Using energy curable inks and a 100-line screen printing plate, ProAmpac prints eight colors on the front and three colors on the back—all in register. The printing process and bag c-folding is done all inline.

Developed specifically for large packages, a high coefficient of friction matte overcoat helps eliminate product shifting for stacked bags. The matte finish also adds an organic look and feel to the package.

ProAmpac received two awards for this application: Gold Award for Technical Innovation and Silver Award for Packaging Excellence.


Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!