COVID-19 ‘Disruption’ in Packaging Jobs Worsens

COVID-19 ‘Disruption’ in Packaging Jobs Worsens
Photo credit: shintartanya – stock.adobe.com

As the number of people infected and killed by the coronavirus rises, more colleagues in the packaging community struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy in their jobs. According to our online poll, nearly a third of respondents now say their job has been devastatingly affected.

This sentiment differs greatly from previous results of the same poll, reported in our article “Packaging Peers Offer COVID-19 Advice.” In the last couple weeks of March, only 10% of respondents felt that way. At that time, nearly two-thirds said their job was slightly disrupted.

Although the current reality feels bleak, the advice from the packaging community stays positive. Here are a few more suggestions from poll respondents on how to deal with the situation:

“Become more efficient and familiar with virtual communication methods. Understand that everyone has different circumstances and flexibility is key.”

“If employed, stay home and work. Job search is challenging during this period.”

“It’s the best time to lean on or build up your network for support in the changing landscape.”

Click here for more “Packaging and COVID-19: Ongoing News, Insights, Advice”

8 Packaging Must-Reads from the First Quarter of 2020

8 Packaging Must-Reads from the First Quarter of 2020
Despite the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the packaging community has been keeping up with current trends and issues on PackagingDigest.com.

Coronavirus-related news has been driving readership on practically every media platform for the past month. But looking back at the first three months of this year, several other topics also made our list of most-read articles here.

Among the top eight Packaging Digest articles for the first quarter of 2020, food packaging and beverage packaging were recurring themes. Packaging design, sustainable packaging, and branding also were compelling topics for our readers.

Based on page views from January 1 to March 31, 2020, here are the eight articles readers have read most on PackagingDigest.com (in reverse order):

12SnackPkgTrends

8. 12 Snack Packages Echo Consumer Trends

Consumers like snacking, and packaging professionals like reading about snack packaging. A dozen examples of snack packs shine a light on the shift to portioned, portable packaging; healthy snacking; and indulgence. Here are the 12 packages:

• Pepperidge Farm elevates the image of its popular Milano cookies with an elegant multipack tub that makes it easy to grab an indulgent snack and go.

• Antioxidant Supreme Wholesome Nuts from Daily Fresh come packed in multiple package formats (single-serve fin-sealed bags and multi-serve reclosable stand-up pouches) to address different consumption occasions. Vivid single-ingredient images pop on pouches and cartons.

• Enlightened’s Bada Bean Bada Boom brand of roasted broad (fava) beans, packed in 100-calorie, color-coded pouches, uses text-centric package graphics that are as bold as the snack’s flavors.

• Amazon-branded Wickedly Prime nuts provide ecommerce-shopping convenience, with a price break on subscription orders. Clean graphics on a white background communicate a simple ingredients list.

• That’s it-brand fruit bars use package graphics to let consumers know the product contains only two ingredients, and healthy ones, at that. The clean graphics feature one ingredient on top and one on the bottom of wraps and cartons.

• Mario Camacho pitted olives in an easy-open notched pouch offer a 100-calorie snack wherever and whenever. The pouch contains 1.05-oz of olives (sans juice), for a mess-free experience.

• A multipack paperboard box protects fragile Keto-diet-friendly Parmesan Crisps. Brand owner Proudly Pure uses chalkboard-style package graphics to evoke specials on a restaurant board.

• Gluten-free HIPPeas chickpea puffs are packed in color-coded bags with graphics depicting their lip-licking tastiness. The crunchy snacks are Certified USDA Organic.

• Shelf-stable P3 protein snacks from Planters complement the brand’s refrigerated varieties, providing an on-the-go snacking option that can be tossed in a tote bag, purse, or briefcase.

• Sugarfina fills reusable coffee tumblers with sealed bags of coffee-infused gummy bears. The concept is part cold-brew coffee, part sweet treat.

• The Rap Snacks bag, which holds 2.75-oz of potato chips, costs nearly $8. But it comes with more than a snack: Consumers can scan the back of the bag for a chance to win an unreleased song from a hip-hop artist.

• Convenient, shelf-stable Jack Link’s Combos pair meat and cheese sticks in one package. It’s the perfect addition to a lunchbox or backpack.

CLICK NEXT BELOW: Wine-packaging innovations

Curious to see the top articles from just last month, March 2020? For the last couple weeks of the month, most of the world was consumed by a flood of news about the coronavirus pandemic. PackagingDigest.com has been covering the impacts on the packaging community. But the packaging community’s focus for the full month centered on trends in foods, beverages, and sustainability.

Based on page views, here are the five best-read articles for March 2020:

1. 8 Dramatic Ways Wine Packaging Innovates (also in the top list of 1Q2020)

2. Most Food Cans No Longer Use BPA in Their Linings(also in the top list of 1Q2020)

3. 12 Snack Packages Echo Consumer Trends(also in the top list of 1Q2020)

4. Packaging and Food Waste: Insights and Advice

5. 5 Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look Out for in 2020 (also in the top list of 1Q2020)

Wine-Packaging-Innovations

7. 8 Dramatic Ways Wine Packaging Innovates

Placing seventh in the first quarter, this roundup was also the most-read article in March 2020. It showcased wine packaging innovations ranging from a flat glass bottle to a near-field communication (NFC)-enabled closure. The eight wine packages are:

• KinsBrae PortaVino’s 250-mL aluminum bottle, which was designed specifically for wine. KinsBrae Packaging supplies the recyclable bottle, which is suitable for picnics and pool-side sipping.

Winerytale has developed a augmented reality (AR) smartphone app that boosts consumer engagement with more than 10,000 American wine brands. The app uses artificial intelligence to recognize the label and AR to showcase the story behind the wine. Content is streamed from the cloud.

• Flat Wines, from UK-based Delivering Happiness, trading as Garçon Wines, is bending the rules of wine bottling with a flat 750-mL bottle that fits through residential mail slots — a savvy package design for ecommerce sales. The bottle is made from 100% food-grade, post-consumer recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

• California wine brand Böen, from Copper Cane Wines & Provisions, partnered with Guala Closures and SharpEnd to launch the first NFC-enabled wine bottles in the United States. Consumers tap the bottle’s NFC-integrated aluminum closure with a smartphone to access information about the wine. Italy’s Vigneti Massa wine estate also uses NFC closures to provide exclusive digital content to consumers and to fight counterfeiting.

• Zardetto is using peel-back labels on Prosecco bottles to showcase colorful artwork and deliver fun Italian greetings and expressions, which are also translated into English. The brand comes via Leonardo LoCascio Selections, a division of Winebow Imports dedicated to premium Italian wines.

Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials has added to its Wine & Spirits Portfolio six new facestocks that provide a premium look, finish, and feel. The materials are made using sustainable materials such as cotton, hemp, and citrus.

• Six new glass wine-bottle designs from Ardagh Group, Glass – North America feature unique shapes and textures to engage consumers. Three 375-mL single-serving bottles are included in the mix.

• The height of innovation (so to speak) was the launch of a dozen glass bottles of red wine, secured in protective containers, to the International Space Station (ISS). Space Cargo Unlimited, a start-up, launched the shipment from Cape Canaveral, FL, to the ISS last November. The bottles will age in space for one year before returning to Earth.

CLICK NEXT BELOW: Top sustainable packaging trends

SPC-2020-Trends

6. 5 Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look Out for in 2020

In this article, Tristanne Davis, a senior manager with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), identifies five of this year’s top sustainable packaging trends:

1. More sustainable packaging goals and action plans. Most companies with sustainability goals have committed to achieve them by 2025 or 2030. Based on that timeline, 2020 represents a turning point for action.

2. Companies innovate to boost end markets for recycled plastics, with attention to recycled content, improved processing of used plastics for reuse, and chemical-recycling collaborations.

3. Brands replace substrates to meet recovery goals. Replacements include paper-based materials as well as other recyclable, compostable, and even edible substrates.

4. Companies start taking reusable packaging more seriously. Blue Bottle Coffee and Unilever are scaling up reuse and refill business models, and ecommerce startups are developing closed-loop logistics models that work beyond business-to-business sales.

5. Health becomes a more important consideration for packaging materials. The How2Recycle labeling program announced that any packaging that contains intentionally added per- and/or poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, will be labeled as Not Yet Recycled. The scientific community is calling into question the health impacts of short-chain PFAS, and companies are being pressed on downplaying health risks.

CLICK NEXT BELOW: Packaging careers to consider

10-Hottest-Packaging-Careers

5. 10 Hottest Careers in the Consumer Packaging Industry

Casey Heigl, marketing manager for Hotmelt.com, explores the range of consumer packaging jobs to create a list of the top 10:

1. Packaging engineer: This is the ideal choice for those who excel in math, chemistry, physics, and technology — and also have an eye for design and a keen sense of industry trends.

2. Package designer: These professionals often work closely with copywriters, the marketing team, and engineers to create packages that will stand out on-shelf. 

3. Consumer behavior analyst: Using research tools such as focus groups, surveys, and studies, consumer behavior analysts study market trends. A strong background in statistics and research is useful in this role.

4. Packaging specialist:Working in-house or as consultants, packaging specialists are experts on different types of packaging materials, adhesives, labels, and packaging technologies. They have the skills to craft a packaging plan that’s tailored to the package’s unique contents.

5. Packaging operator: This job focuses on how packaging is made, including machinery testing, development of packaging production systems, and repairing equipment on a packaging line.

6. Product tester: Packaging requires testing to make sure high-quality product comes off the production line. These employees determine whether a package as a whole is well-suited to the product, climate, and other conditions.

7. Food scientist: Determining the best packaging for foods and beverages, vis-à-vis criteria like shelf life and flavor profile, is a key part of the job for these essential consumer-packaging professionals.

8. Assembly line worker:Many entry-level packing jobs require minimal experience and are a great starting point for individuals who want a career in packaging.

9. Compliance manager: This professional ensures that packaging adheres to industry regulations and laws. Tasks may include outlining warning labels, ingredient lists, and notices for incorporation into packaging designs.

10. Packaging buyer: This role exists within large organizations. Packaging buyers ensure that the materials specified by the packaging engineer are of the appropriate quality and within the company’s budget.

CLICK NEXT BELOW: Branding and packaging trends to keep an eye on

Branding-Packaging-Trends-2020

4. 5 Branding and Packaging Trends for 2020

Josh White, principal and creative director of New York City-based brand and design agency OffWhite Co, wrote about the branding and packaging trends that will shape consumer goods packaging in 2020 and beyond. The five trends are:

1. Sustainable packaging: Leaders are already offering edible wrappers for individually wrapped foods, and more zero-waste packaging concepts are on the way. These include water-soluble packaging and compostable wine bottles.

2. Transparency with consumers: Companies will address consumer demand for honesty about ingredients and how products are made by using clear label language, transparent packaging materials, and see-through cut-outs that reveal what’s inside the pack.

3. Sophistication: Packaging designs will more frequently feature brand elements typically seen in the worlds of finance, real estate, and law. Companies will also increasingly use strong, uncluttered messaging in simple yet sophisticated colors and large type to communicate trust and respect.

4. Consistency: We’ll see new and innovative packaging structures that support consistent brand values across product lines. Brand, packaging, and industry goals will start to come together in a unified brand expression.

5. Tech-centric: The beverage industry is an early leader in the development of “smart-tech ready” packaging that enables consumers to interact with the pack using mobile apps and technologies like radio-frequency identification (RFID).

CLICK NEXT BELOW: Food industry says bye-bye to BPA

BPA-food-cans

3. Most Food Cans No Longer Use BPA in Their Linings

This widely read Q&A, which posted on PackagingDigest.com in February 2018, features Can Manufacturers Institute president Robert Budway answering questions about BPA-based can linings. He revealed that at least 90% of today’s food cans have replaced linings that previously contained the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).

“Can makers and can lining companies take very seriously our responsibility to provide safe, quality packaging that consumers trust. Safety is our number one priority and we’re proud to contribute to a healthy, affordable food supply in a way that reduces food waste and respects the environment,” Budway said.

This article has appeared on our most-read lists many times since it posted. It was the second-most-read article in March 2020.

NEXT: Food/beverage packaging trends for 2020

F&B-Packaging-Trends-2020

2. 6 Food and Beverage Packaging Trends That Will Dominate 2020

Pamela Webber, chief marketing officer at 99designs, wrote about the trends that will shape food and beverage packaging this year. The six hottest trends are:

1. Metamorphoses: In a metamorphosis, one design element transforms into another, creating an optical illusion that adds visual interest and draws consumers in to view the more intricate details of the packaging. The resulting package design makes a statement and stands apart from the competition.

2. Maximalism and rich, heavily detailed packaging: More consumers are seeking a sense of opulence, luxury, and extravagance in their products. That’s why luxurious, attention-grabbing, intensely colored, detail-rich packs will be all the rage in 2020.

3. Retro-futurism: This trend refers to a combination of design elements evoking nostalgia (retro) and positive anticipation (futurism) in the same packaging design.

4. Ecologically aware packaging: Brands are exploring more eco-friendly materials, moving toward packaging that’s easily recyclable and/or minimizing the amount of materials necessary for their packaging design. Some are forgoing packaging altogether.

5. Transparent packaging: See-through packaging, like that used for beauty and skincare products, will experience a surge this year for food and beverage products.

6. Neatly structured layouts: This packaging trend is focused on how a brand’s selected typography is used within the broader design. Unique, interesting font combinations and easy readability are hallmarks of the approach.

CLICK NEXT BELOW: When package design disappoints

12-Packaging-Failures

1. A Dozen Packaging Designs that Missed the Mark

This article, which also topped the most-read list for PackagingDigest.com in February 2020, takes a look at reader reactions to 12 new or redesigned packages. Here are the designs that those packaging professionals objected to, for a plethora of reasons:

Lipton tea bag box
Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise squeeze bottle
Tropicana multi-serve PET bottle
SeaPak shrimp bag
Conagra’s Healthy Choice Café Steamers
Quaker Overnight Oats
Orbit gum package structure
Hill’s Science Diet
Benadryl topical gel bottle
Walmart compliance pack
Coty/Clairol Nice’n Easy redesign
Old Spice PET bottles

These examples study the interplay between packaging aesthetics and functionality, and how it affects the final packaging design. They also demonstrate how easy it is — even for skilled, successful packaging designers — to miss the mark.

Labeling/Claims

How to Create Effective Claims for Your Packaging

How to Create Effective Claims for Your Packaging
From foods and beverages to supplements and wipes, all markets can benefit from adding appropriate product claims to their packaging, once properly identified and phrased.

It is irrefutable that packaging has a powerful influence on consumer behavior. An estimated one-third of all consumers’ decision-making is based on packaging. In a saturated market, brands have a tight window of opportunity. This window can be opened or clamped firmly shut based on the type of claims being made on the package. When it comes to product claims, there are many things that brands must get right:

• The claim must represent the product in the best possible way.

• The claim as a “call to action” must be aligned with the brand’s objectives.

• The claim should inspire retailers to put the product on their shelves.

Making the wrong product claims carries substantial risk. A vague or uninspiring claim could hinder sales. Your reputation could also be damaged if you make a false product claim, inadvertently or otherwise. To help brands choose the best product claims for their packaging, here is a summary of the different types of claims, as well as ways to test the efficacy of a product claim.

Understand product claims.

Simply speaking, a product claim should state why consumers should purchase a product. It should be a succinct and tangible statement that distinguishes the product from its competitors. Jeremy Benhammou, the associate director of global insights at The Clorox Co. categorizes product claims into three main types:

1. Category driver: This claim outlines the purpose of the product, and exactly why consumers need it. These are used either by industry leaders or products with a unique offering.
2. Differentiation: This claim specifies exactly what marks a product from its competitors. Brands must ask themselves how their product can solve a particular consumer need.
3. Context: These claims relate to current events and issues which are specific to a certain audience. They are opportunistic and temporary in nature. The claims are usually distinct to the specific environment where the product is being sold.

Identify Your Most Successful Selling Points.

A product claim needs to be tangible — and grounded in a real-life consumer need. Therefore, the ideal place to start is to research your existing customer base. Is there a particular part of your product that resonated with your customers? Alternatively, is there an opportunity to address a common misconception about your product?

It is fundamental that you understand exactly why people buy your product. Take the baked goods market for instance. Nanno Palte, group marketing intelligence manager at Puratos, compares bread with luxury patisserie products. Bread is a daily staple, so consumers are more likely to respond to health-related claims. Therefore, the packaging should clarify it's free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or preservatives. Comparatively, a pain au chocolat is more of a “treat.” Therefore, your claim should focus more on the “taste experience.”

Now it’s time to cast the net a little wider and carry out some research into your target audience. Once you start digging, you’re likely to find a wealth of secondary data on your ideal demographic. This could be quantitative purchase data or qualitative data about customers' attitudes to certain brands. Both will give you an idea about how to ensure your packaging appeals to your target market.

Once you have your raw data, you should begin conducting competitor analysis. This is so you have some benchmarks for your product claims. Can you see any core similarities between competitor packaging designs? If so, this could identify a tried-and-tested method for creating product claims. That being said, if you can compare these claims to your research and find an unfulfilled consumer need, you’ve struck gold.

Narrow Down Your Product Claims.

Once you have finished your research, you are likely to have a range of potential product claims. Every consumer will have different priorities when choosing a particular product.

It’s tempting to try and appeal to as many different consumer needs as possible. However, attempting to cover all your bases will lead to your claim being vague and confused. Remember, this isn’t a claim for an ad, where you’ll have at least a few seconds to pique your audience’s interest. For packaging, a claim is often the deciding factor for someone intending to make a purchase.

The challenge lies in creating something that’s specific yet has a universal appeal. Another important rule is not to assume “logical jumps” on behalf of your audience. Your audience may need help connecting the dots between your product and their needs. Of course, you don’t need to spell out something blatantly obvious. Ensure your claim doesn’t veer into either esoteric or patronizing territory. The last thing you’ll want from your packaging is to alienate your audience.

Using this critical lens, you should be able to refine your ideas into a selection of viable claims. Your claims will likely highlight different selling points, all holding equal merit. However, your packaging needs to make one clear and defining statement. To help decide which claim best suits your packaging, start by asking these questions:

• Does your claim satisfy a specific customer need?

• Is the ‘action’ it prompts customers to take aligned with your objectives?

• Can your product team verify the claim as absolute truth?

• Will the claim make retailers want to sell your product?
This then leads to the most important question: Can your claim be condensed into a succinct, compelling statement that will stand out? If you can confidently answer “yes” to these questions, you are ready to create, refine, and test your product claims.

Find the Right Language for Your Product Claims.

You could have a valid claim that encapsulates why your product is worthy of purchase. However, if you do not use the right language for your claim, your unique selling points could be lost.

It’s vital to be concise, especially when it comes to packaging. This is for practical constraints for the most part. After all, packaging does offer limited space for you to “sell” your product. But it’s also well-established that consumers have a short attention span. This means they are not obligated to try to understand your message. Instead, they’ll simply opt for another product.

For your claim to be engaging, you must channel the way customers speak about your product. Do they wax lyrical about how much they relate to your brand? Or is it a simple case of your product fulfilling one particular need? A product claim should set consistent expectations, especially if you’re an established brand.

Test Your Product Claims.

You should now have a handful of product claims that represent your product, brand, and customers. Testing your product claims will help you make the final decision as to which will make it onto your packaging.

The two most effective ways to test your product claims are online surveys and focus groups. We advise carrying out both tests, cross-referencing the results to ensure your findings are valid. However, you may only have the resources for one method. In this case, it depends on whether you are prioritizing breadth or depth. Do you want your packaging to have a mass-market appeal, or fulfil the needs of a specific group of consumers?

We highly recommend carrying out A/B testing, with the claim being the only difference between the two packaging concepts. This means that you can directly attribute the change in response to your new product claim.

Many brands know the frustration of developing a new packaging design, only to learn that consumer information has revealed an inherent flaw in the concept or messaging. Therefore, you should conduct your testing iteratively. This will ensure that you don’t veer off from your findings in certain development stages. Presenting regular results from consumer testing will also help keep key stakeholders engaged.

To conclude, packaging provides limited space to prove your product is worthy of purchase. With such minimal space to make a statement, it is important to concentrate your goals and selling points into a compelling product claim that you are confident will engage your audience and drive sales.

Fast and Furious: Pharmaceutical Company Makes and Packs Hand Sanitizer in Record Time

Fast and Furious: Pharmaceutical Company Makes and Packs Hand Sanitizer in Record Time
Versus larger bottles, unit doses of sanitizer packets were chosen to increase the number of users and safety. HR Pharmaceuticals plans to make four to six million packets weekly.

First-time sanitizer maker HR Pharmaceuticals gets a major assist from C-P Flexible Packaging in 10-day start-to-finish project in the fight against COVID-19.

When a coronavirus pandemic is underway globally and there’s a widespread and shortage of life-saving hand sanitizer, companies of all types and in all sectors have jumped swiftly into action to do what they can to provide help at a critical time.

However, the from-scratch fast and furious effort achieved by HR Pharmaceuticals, York, PA, may be one for the record books. With the invaluable help of C-P Flexible Packaging (CPF), the pharma company accelerated from a standing start in late March to filling unit-dose packets of self-made hand sanitizer 10 days later.

That record-busting turnaround is made even more amazing when you consider that the pharmaceuticals company had not made sanitizer before.

Setting the humanitarian effort in motion was Colby Wiesman, president of HR Pharmaceuticals, who responded to the nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer. Although the company had not had any experience making or packaging hand sanitizer, Wiesman knew that its ultrasound gels have a consistency similar to hand sanitizer gels. He had a simple, but strong motivation: Wanting to help.

Wiesman quickly set out to mass produce hand sanitizer gel and provide it to various groups within the local community that were in desperate need of the product.

A few things had to happen quickly, and they did. First, HR Pharmaceuticals’ product development and sourcing teams swiftly came together to bring the idea to fruition.

Although the alcohol needed to produce hand sanitizer was in short supply, the company managed to overcome this obstacle and rapidly pull together all of the raw materials needed to mass produce hand sanitizer gel thanks to Suite-K based in New York City.

Notably, while HR Pharma had experience with flexibles before, it had not worked with C-P Flexible Packaging, the converter’s Director of Marketing Amanda Dahlby tells Packaging Digest. That was surprising because both companies have operations in York, PA, which is a highly fortuitous and perhaps necessary proximity given the timeframe.

A flexible solution is logical.

HR Pharmaceuticals needed a format they could package safely and get the hand sanitizer literally into as many hands as possible and in expedited fashion. Knowing that hand sanitizer is generally produced in large bottles or packages, Wiesman figured the sanitizer would be widely distributed to more people if packaged in single-use flexible packets rather than multi-use bottles.

“As you may know, there is a big shortage of alcohol, so if we're filling into a 32-ounce bottle, it gets into your house, but it doesn't get into everybody else's," he says. "This is a great opportunity of producing single-use packets where they can be widely distributed."

He also felt that single-use packets would also eliminate any potential for cross-contamination. It’s a format that hits the sweet spot for the company, which packages lubricants in tubes and packets for personal and medical/surgical use.

That’s when HR Pharma reached out to C-P Flexible Packaging’s Clark, VP of sales. Clark immediately gained the full support of the converter.

The customer created and delivered graphics for the new hand sanitizer packets in one day, and C-P Flexible Packaging expediently delivered first order of printed rollstock. Packaging Digest is told that the supplier had the raw materials on-hand, a 2.25-mil lamination with moisture and oxygen barrier properties that is also designed to seal through contamination.

It was 10 days from Wiesman’s first contact with C-P Flexible Packaging that his company started packaging the gel.

Each packet holds 3 grams of hand sanitizer, and HR Pharmaceuticals is filling from 4 to 6 million packets weekly for six weeks on vertical form-fill-seal machinery at the York facility.

In addition to making this product available for sale through the national medical distribution network, the product is being donated to local front-line workers like police departments, fire stations, EMTs, prisons, courthouses, and more.

Says Wiesman, “We are constantly pursuing opportunities that do good for the community, doctors and patients we serve while doing good for our business and associates. We were thankful that C-P Flexible Packaging bent over backwards to help us get the product into the literal hands of those who need it, with lead times that are unheard of in this industry. Seeing our internal associates and external partners come together for this noble project has been one of the greatest joys of my professional career.”

This story may not end. Even as the planned six-week production run winds down, HR Pharmaceuticals is considering adding hand sanitizer to its standard portfolio, according to C-P Flexible Packaging’s Dahlby.

To read more, visit Packaging Digest's archived listing of COVID-19 articles.

New Label is 100% PCR Polypropylene

New Label is 100% PCR Polypropylene
Available in clear or white label stock, the new polypropylene film is made of 100% post-consumer recycled material.

The first polypropylene (PP) label film made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic uses certified “circular” PP material, giving brands an option for meeting more of their sustainable packaging goals.

Now available globally from UPM Raflatac, the PP PCR Clear and White label films are made with SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE recycled-content polymers, produced “on a mass-balance basis,” according to the manufacturer — and are certified and traceable from feedstock to the final product by ISCC PLUS, a widely recognized sustainability certification scheme that verifies the mass-balance accounting follows predefined and transparent rules.

Chain of custody is maintained throughout the supply chain. Timo Kekki, vice president, films business, for UPM Raflatac, explains, “ISCC PLUS is a leading global sustainability certification scheme for fully traceable supply chains and UPM Raflatac, SABIC, as well the PP film manufacture and the whole value chain before UPM Raflatac, works according to this chain of custody to deliver this new innovation to the market.”

Launched at the K 2019 show in October 2019, TRUCIRCLE products from SABIC are certified circular polymers from the chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste, using the mass-balance approach to “deliver virgin-like resin feedstock,” according to the company. Chemical recycling takes mixed-waste plastics and turns them back into their original molecules, which are then made into polypropylene that can replace virgin PP while adhering to strict food-safety regulations.

So why is UPM Raflatac focusing on recycled-content polypropylene labels when most containers are polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE)? “We already have PET PCR label in our range,” Kekki says. “But more importantly, PP label is dominantly used in fast-moving consumer goods plastic packages. Circular use of raw materials is important, but equally important is the raw material input that is fed to the system and, to achieve the biggest impact, it makes sense to introduce recycled PP label to the market. PP label is widely recommended and considered compatible for recycling with main plastic packaging materials: PET, PP, and PE.”

Healthcare Packaging

Medical Device Packaging Regs Implementation on Hold?

To allow healthcare packagers to focus on fighting the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission has proposed postponement of implementation of the European Union Medical Device Regulation (EU-MDR), originally set for May 2020. If approved by co-legislation, parliament, and counsel, there will be a year's delay in enforcement. With this delay, the disconnect of the EU-MDR with the ISO 11607 standard for packaging of terminally sterilized medical devices continues.

As we explained in our April 2018 article “Harmonizing ISO 11607 with the EU’s Medical Device Regulations,” the EU-MDR affects packaging of terminally sterilized medical devices through the ISO 11607 standards. Our April 2019 article “Notable Changes to ISO Medical Packaging Standards Explained” also outlines how the revisions to ISO 11607-1/2 and ISO TS 16775 were written to harmonize with the General Safety and Performance Requirements (GSPR) contained in the EU MDR.

In a short video (less than three minutes) made from his COVID-19-established home office, Thierry Wagner, Global Regulatory & Standards Leader at DuPont Tyvek Medical & Pharmaceutical Packaging, shares the latest update on the EU-MDR.

Key highlights:

• With this postponement, the current Medical Device Directive (MDD) will be valid for one more year.

• The Commission is also harmonizing other standards with the MDD valid through to 2024, including the 2006 version of ISO 11607. However, in July 2020, the industry will be able to transition to the new January 2020 version of ISO 11607, which Wagner describes as “state of the art.”

• The member states have approved the MDR draft.

• Once accepted by European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (Cenelec), the MDR can be formally adopted by medical device manufacturers.

Ecommerce/Supply Chain

COVID-19 Could Change Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Forever

With a vast number of direct-to-user/patient shipments happening today in healthcare, especially as the nation battles the contagious coronavirus by complying with stay-at-home edicts, we are seeing unprecedented activity in last-mile deliveries. What challenges do pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies need to solve? How will this experience affect the future of pharmaceutical logistics?

Valerie Metzker, head of business development for Roadie, offers several ideas in this X-minute interview. A crowdsourced delivery company, Roadie boasts the largest local same-day delivery footprint in America. Its point of differentiation is that it works with consumers, small businesses, and national companies across virtually every industry to provide faster and cheaper scheduled, same-day, and/or urgent delivery. With more than 150,000 verified drivers, Roadie reaches 89% of US households, according to the company.

Inkjet Coders are More Efficient with Less Downtime

Inkjet Coders are More Efficient with Less Downtime
Recent advancements in inkjet coding unlock greater productivity, reduce downtime and waste, lower costs, and deliver higher-quality barcode printing for improved supply chain efficiency.

Inkjet technologies for primary-package coding and other small-character applications, as well as for large-character applications such as shipping-case coding, are advancing on several fronts, creating myriad benefits for brand owners and other packagers.

Advancements include enhanced interconnectivity and automation, smart systems, streamlined maintenance, remote service, improved inks, and greater ability to print on non-porous materials. Topping the list of benefits are greater productivity, reduced downtime and waste, lower costs, and higher-quality barcode printing — which in turn improves supply chain efficiency.

Packaging Digest’s exclusive Q&A on inkjet coders brings together, in our virtual space, six coding insiders sharing their insights on the many ways in which inkjet technology is evolving:

• Mark Breunig, regional product manager at Videojet

• Todd Cork, US sales and service director for Diagraph

• Raymond Fortuna, global product manager at Matthews Marking Systems

• David Holliday, director of product marketing at ProMach Labeling & Coding

• Greg Kasprzak, senior product marketing manager, large-character inkjet printers, at Markem-Imaje

• Michael Poulsen, large-character inkjet product manager for Diagraph

What recent advancements have you seen in inkjet coding equipment (either small- or large-character systems, or both)?

Kasprzak: In the area of large-character, high-resolution piezo inkjet systems, we are seeing better case-barcode printing, improving traceability and efficiency throughout the supply chain at reduced costs vs. labels. These systems also provide increased interconnectivity and automation to optimize production.

Rising manufacturer interest in using more sophisticated, data-packed barcodes, such as GS1-128, to improve traceability and facilitate automation throughout the supply chain is driving demand for improved barcode quality on product cases. High-quality, compliant barcodes enable more reliable scanning throughout the supply chain. 

Printing and applying such barcodes onto cases via labels can be three times more expensive than printing barcodes and other information directly onto cases. However, not all direct-printing options can reliably achieve the necessary quality. The contrast and line-edge quality of directly printed barcodes needs to be high.

Advancements in inks and printhead management for large-character, high-resolution piezo inkjet systems enable customers to achieve this improved barcode quality.

Cork: We continue to see small-character inkjet manufacturers focus on ease of use and maintenance. All systems require maintenance to ensure proper operation and often require skilled labor and significant downtime to complete. But today, several systems have implemented a “service module” design to simplify scheduled preventative maintenance.

Diagraph’s IJ4000 high-resolution inkjet system uses piezoelectric (Trident Impulse Jet) technology and centralized ink delivery for multiple printheads.

Fortuna: Small-character bulk ink systems for thermal inkjet (TIJ) — Active Bulk Ink Systems (ABIS) — represent an important recent advancement in inkjet technology. I believe we are entering the age of “smart bulk ink.”

Holliday: The area of inkjet coding where we are seeing rapid advancements is with thermal inkjet — largely driven by HP.

HP introduced its thermal inkjet (TIJ) 2.5 system and its associated 45A ink cartridge a few years ago, and this created the platform for the development that has taken place since.

With the launch of TIJ 2.5, thermal inkjet technology was able to move out of the office and into serious industrial and packaging applications.

Breunig: With more intuitive user interfaces and remote connectivity, continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers are getting easier to use and maintain while overall operational costs, or total cost of ownership (TCO), continues to decline. 

Solutions that take advantage of cloud connectivity, printer data, and remote-access technology are driving coding operations forward. Our remote-service solution gives CIJ-printer users, supervisors, and our technicians visibility to printer activity and the expertise to help keep printers up and running. Our technicians can remotely monitor printer status, as well as diagnose and troubleshoot any issues, without needing to be in front of the printer.

Poulsen: Auto-cleaning printheads for high-resolution inkjet coders are an absolute must in today’s production environments. Especially since most manufacturers are leveraging cost benefits of recycled corrugate, which simply creates a dustier environment than virgin corrugate cartons.

Across the industry, we are seeing increased interest in central control of automated inkjet-coding and -labeling systems.

How do these advanced systems compare to previous systems?

Cork: Legacy coders required skilled labor for basic, preventative maintenance. Most required service in intervals as short as 2,000 to 4,000 hours of runtime. The maintenance procedure was invasive, and many companies would require the vendor to perform the service at a significant cost. It also introduced scheduling issues related to service availability and production downtime.

Most legacy systems, and many current systems, only offer a point-of-use interface. Some even require an interface per printhead. This leads to significant setup time, introduces accessibility issues, results in operator entry errors, and doesn’t allow for data validation across package types. Furthermore, many systems don’t even offer interface options, and message setup at the production line isn’t practical in many cases.

Previous systems didn’t offer any auto-cleaning options. Significant manual intervention was a requirement to maintain optimal print performance.

Kasprzak: “Old” inkjet systems are, and have historically been, used mainly for alphanumeric text and logos, and if for barcodes, then only for applications in which the barcode grade did not matter. 

Traditional liquid inks tend to migrate into and along case corrugate fibers. It is, therefore, difficult to consistently achieve the minimum C grade required by GS1-128 barcodes, for example — even with the latest ISO/IEC 15416 (2016) standard.

By contrast, later-generation solid inks used in some high-resolution piezo inkjet coders, which melt and dry immediately on contact, ensure the final output is to the required standard, because that ink stays exactly where applied.

Modern large-character, high-resolution piezo inkjet coders can be linked to other systems to monitor and maintain standards. For example, vision systems can detect whether jets are clogged, triggering an automatic purge to restore print quality.

Holliday: For thermal inkjet, perhaps the most important improvement over previous systems is that the new cartridge technology has enabled the development of solvent-based inks, which include pigmented inks.

Previously, thermal inkjet was restricted to aqueous-based, or water-based, inks that were only suitable for use on porous materials.

These new inks have dramatically increased the number of applications for thermal inkjet to include printing of foils, films, and coated labels.

The chemistry behind the new inks continues to get better, with improved dry times; cartridge decap times, which is the time a cartridge can be left uncovered before ink dries in the nozzles; adhesion; contrast; shelf life; and even throw distance — traditionally, a thermal inkjet head needed to be mounted very closely to the substrate. There is a lot of ink development taking place, with new formulations arriving regularly.

Fortuna: Smart bulk ink systems use processors and sensors to ensure accurate behavior even in shifting production environments. Former bulk units required adjustment as atmospheric conditions — pressure/temperature — changed. Smart systems provide a communication/feedback loop to the controller to allow for adjustments to be handled by software.

Breunig: Other systems have various maintenance items requiring multiple touches with different replacement schedules, but a single-component [system] is inexpensive and easy to change. Some units may have single components that last a long time, but they tend to be time-consuming and costly to replace.

What are the benefits of these advancements for packaging machinery buyers/users?

Poulsen: Today’s more advanced systems can offer powerful connectivity features to optimize changeover efficiency and eliminate coding/labeling errors and product holds. Printer-management software allows operators to drive product-identification solutions from primary product to pallet through intuitive product selection. It even offers the ability to drive changeovers from an approved mobile device.

Kasprzak: By printing higher-quality barcodes on cases, large-character, high-resolution piezo inkjet systems improve traceability and supply-chain efficiency — at significantly less cost than barcoded labels.

They also optimize production via increased interconnectivity and automation. Software to create and manage print jobs is getting more robust and is even able to monitor equipment availability to help drive improved efficiency on the packaging line.

Modern printers can be networked to other factory information systems and can use accessories such as scanners for automatic job lookup and cameras for code verification. They also support more secure and centralized management of the large number of codes, prints, or labels from which operators can choose.

With scanners and cameras, as well as links to back-office systems, if desired, less of an operator’s time is consumed selecting jobs and watching prints to make sure they are of a sufficient quality to ship. There is also greater accuracy. This all results in less downtime, rework, and scrap, as well as greater factory output.

Where modern printers have multiple input and output options, older systems are more standalone, with limited inputs and outputs. This has historically restricted their ability to be controlled centrally and made them unable to receive variable data from master work orders, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, or other databases.

Breunig: Although increasing production speeds is important, the largest opportunities for most industrial operations are efficiency and uptime. Reliable systems that continue to optimize their own performance and are supported by a strong service organization — yet are simple enough for customers to be self-sufficient with little effort — create an environment for improvement.

Cork: Today’s systems offer a longer-lasting module that can be replaced with non-skilled labor. We have one, for example, that offers an easy-change module with six times the life of previous models. The system steps an operator through replacement, which requires little intervention and can be done at the production line in less than 20 minutes to minimize interruptions to production.

Auto-cleaning printheads in high-resolution inkjet coders offer a much more reliable system and more consistent print quality. The key is a system that actually flushes the nozzle itself vs. spraying another solution over the surface, as most of the clogging issues with inkjet happen inside the head, not on the surface. Systems should not only flush/clean the critical components but manage waste collection, as well.

Fortuna: More reliable performance means more uptime and a significantly reduced cost per mark. TIJ solutions can be expensive in heavy-use environments. Bulk ink systems for TIJ bring cost of ownership more in line with CIJ, but with a higher-resolution mark.

The Code Tech X1 Jet Washdown thermal inkjet printer from ProMach Labeling &  Coding is primarily used in the protein industry and other markets in which equipment is washed down at the end of the shift.

Holliday: There are several benefits to the advancements of TIJ cartridges and inks. First and foremost, users can now print on non-porous products. Adhesion has improved greatly for durability on plastics, glass, metal, and other typically difficult substrates.

Ink advancement with pigments allows for printing on dark substrates using white or yellow inks, producing vivid results. The overall performance of the cartridge in terms of not drying out and being shelf stable for longer helps make this an excellent primary product-coding solution that has not typically been used in the past.

When comparing thermal inkjet technology with traditional continuous inkjet printers, the main differences are fast and easy installs; improved print quality, including the ability to print high-density 2D barcodes; exceptional ease of use; and minimal need for maintenance.

Thermal inkjet is also a great solution for companies wishing to minimize their use of harmful methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and other solvents. And the development of harsh-environment printers makes thermal inkjet a viable technology for industries such as meat/poultry packaging, where conditions are tough and equipment needs to be washed down.

In addition to the other advantages, the capital cost is often much less than competing technologies.

What areas in inkjet coding still need work and why?

Poulsen: Manufacturers need to minimize components and cabling to simplify installation, minimize footprint, reduce the need for cabling, and offer more interface options. There is no reason why operators shouldn’t be able to use a password-enabled smartphone to drive message selection with a few keystrokes to stay up to speed with today’s fast-paced packaging environments.

Holliday: Areas with thermal inkjet that are still evolving include the need for faster-drying inks combined with better adhesion. Thermal inkjet inks currently cannot perform as well as some CIJ ink products, when it comes to these factors.

Another factor that TIJ can struggle with is the limited throw distance of the ink drops, which means that the printhead must be mounted very close to the product being coded. CIJ inkjet printers are a lot more capable in this area.

Fortuna: TIJ technology still needs to be very close to the substrate. This limits the acceptable applications. Round products or production lines with poor product control can struggle with maintaining the very short throw distance.

Kasprzak: With regard to large-character, high-resolution piezo inkjet systems, there is still scope for continued innovation to improve efficiency by increasing printer availability and reducing waste even further. Increased availability will likely come from continuing to reduce maintenance needs, improved networking with greater flexibility of input/output options, and support of standards-based integration.

Standards-based open protocols will be needed to be implemented as we move toward Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIOT), to enable interoperability of different equipment. Standards such as PackML are already in use to consistently model machine states and, in the future, I would expect to see more use of open protocols to securely manage transitions between those states, whether real-time or not.

Cork: Large-character inkjet needs to work towards a cost-effective solution for printhead replacement. Although inkjet systems are modular nowadays, printhead replacement can be costly. Most manufacturers only offer throwaway heads with a limited life. A repairable print-engine design enables exchange programs to help maximize uptime and minimize costs.

The Videojet 1580 CIJ printer’s interface features ease of use and flexibility for printing codes and text on products and packaged goods. The printer’s preventive-maintenance components are all in one module, for quick, easy replacement.

Breunig: Users often miss opportunities for improvement beyond the printer. Software solutions developed for a specific printer product line or brand can help improve production by taking advantage of predictive capabilities and analytics within the coding solution. Software solutions can also help users manage and monitor their production data, runtime, and stoppages.

CLICK NEXT BELOW: What’s next, and when might we see further improvements in inkjet coders?

What’s next, and when might we see further improvements in inkjet coders?

Holliday: There are several exciting new developments in thermal inkjet technology that we will see soon.

An important one is HP’s new TIJ 4.0 concept. TIJ 4.0 brings a print height of 22 mm (about 7/8 in.) compared to the current TIJ 2.5 maximum print height of 12.5 mm (1/2 in.). This will allow a single printhead to handle a wider range of applications, which currently often need two heads “stitched” together to achieve the required print area.

TIJ 4.0 has already been launched, but it currently can only use aqueous inks. The ability to use solvent-based inks that will allow for use on many more substrates is due to arrive in the future.

An alternative thermal inkjet system is produced by Funai that also shows a lot of promise. The Funai system offers longer throw distance, allowing more flexibility for installations and the ability to print into recesses on products — and higher speeds than the HP system.

In addition to the hardware developments, we expect to see the continuation of rapid development of inks for thermal inkjet, providing ever increasing performance.

There’s a lot happening in the world of thermal inkjet.

Fortuna: In TIJ, I expect to see the ability to print high-resolution marks on round products and in long-throw-distance applications.

The VIAjet L-Series Active Bulk Ink System (ABIS) from Matthews Marking Systems provides high-resolution printing with water-based inks. The bulk system offers better productivity and lower cost than single-use cartridges.

Poulsen: A technology we plan to launch in 2020 will offer smart, wireless capabilities; minimize the number of necessary components; offer a number of different interface options to suit the customer’s specific requirements; and have an integrated, quick-change printhead for simple, on-the-fly changeovers. 

A unique exchange program will allow the customer to exchange for a replacement quick-change printhead for a fraction of the cost of a new printhead, optimizing uptime and minimizing cost of ownership.

Kasprzak: Greater global interest in sustainability will lead to greater recyclability of consumables after printing, as well as recyclability of the packaging of those consumables. While Markem-Imaje already provides manufacturers with options to code more sustainably, much of the sector does not. For more information on our existing sustainability efforts, please see our comprehensive white paper. We predict that customer pressure will drive significant change in this area over the next five years.

The Markem-Imaje 5800 large-character piezo inkjet coder prints high-resolution codes on corrugated cases, trays, and wrapping films, using environmentally friendly inks.

Breunig: We have been continually improving and expanding our inkjet-coder product line. Several new products are in the near-term pipeline and will be launched in 2020. We continue to enhance our software offerings and offer multiple options for purchase and financing. We’re also developing new ways to help decrease the time users spend maintaining printing devices, so they can focus on improving other areas of their operations.

Food Safety

Pathogen-Fighting Technology Protects Packaged Produce

Pathogen-Fighting Technology Protects Packaged Produce
InvisiShield protects packaged fresh-cut produce against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Eight things to know about InvisiShield, a new food safety-improving technology for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

InvisiShield sounds like something a superhero would wield, but instead of fighting fictional villains, the real-world technology defends produce against a potentially deadly foe, pathogens.

It’s a new controlled atmosphere packaging method to increase food safety from Aptar Food + Beverage, part of AptarGroup, Inc. The division specializes in a range of active packaging systems and processing equipment for fresh-cut fruits, vegetables, and seafood.

Described as a first-of-a-kind anti-pathogenic packaging solution, InvisiShield is seamlessly integrated into sealed packages to protect fresh-cut produce from harmful pathogens like bacteria, fungi and viruses. Easy to incorporate into existing or new produce packaging lines, the technology mitigates pathogen growth without negatively affecting the product.

“We are extremely proud of our technology and the tremendous amount of work that has led to this launch,” states John Belfance, President, Aptar CSP Technologies, a division of AptarGroup that has more than 20 years of expertise in materials science. “We have material science expertise that we are applying to food safety solutions at a critical time when consumers are demanding better and healthier food packaging outcomes.”

Here are eight things to know about InvisiShield.

1. What it is and how it works.

InvisiShield leverages 3-Phase Activ-Polymer technology, patented by Aptar CSP Technologies. The 3-Phase Activ-Polymer technology is currently used by leading global brands with a wide range of products to extend shelf life, maintain freshness, and improve efficacy in industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and food safety.

InvisiShield utilizes Aptar CSP Technologies’ patented 3-Phase Activ-Polymer platform technology, which consists of a base polymer, a channeling regent, and an active ingredient, which in this case is chlorine dioxide—which is an oxidizer/disinfectant—in particle form.

The release of the active ingredient is controlled by the channeling agent inside the three-phase polymer, which is triggered by moisture inside the sealed package,” Angela Morgan, Ph.D., director of business development and food safety solutions for Aptar Food + Beverage – Food Protection, tells Packaging Digest.

The materials used are considered GRAS, Generally Recognized as Safe.

2. What it is not.

“It is not a lidding film, rather it is a technology that can be integrated into processors’ current production lines,” says Morgan. “It’s sold independently from the sealing film or trays.”

3. Applicable foods to expand.

The company is currently focused on using it for widely consumed fresh-cut items including tomatoes, onions, peppers, pico de gallo, and sliced apples. In addition to these, it is developing the technology to release different anti-pathogenic agents to improve the safety of leafy greens and berries.

4. It’s packaging agnostic.

“InvisiShield technology is highly adaptable and is what we call packaging agnostic,” says Morgan. “It works in any sealed environment that contains a headspace, and it does not come in direct contact with the food.”

5. It’s nearly 100% effective against the most common food-borne pathogens.

Third-party validated studies demonstrated InvisiShield technology to be up to 99.9% effective against E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Human norovirus, Hepatitis A, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia enterocolitica, Vibrio vulnificus, Geotrichum candidum, Feline calcivirus and Rotavirus.

6. It has not been validated against the coronavirus…yet.

“It has not yet been validated for COVID-19 or any other coronaviruses as we have been developing this solution over the last several years to address known risks to the fresh cut industry,” says Morgan. “The risk of COVID-19 transmittal in food is considered very low. However, we are in the early stages of exploring the application of the technology on COVID-19.”

7. Three customers identified.

Royal Fresh Cuts, already an Aptar customer, plans to launch the first commercial use of the technology this quarter. “We are excited to partner with Aptar as the first to implement InvisiShield technology, which promises to provide increased food safety to our fresh cut produce offerings,” says Kevin Whitehurst, owner of Royal Fresh Cuts.

The company is currently focused on launching InvisiShield technology for use on tomatoes, onions, peppers, pico de gallo, and sliced apples, and it is already using InvisiShield for a film-sealed 5-pound tray of sliced tomatoes. In addition to these widely consumed fresh-cut items, the company is planning to further develop the technology.

Aptar’s Food Protection division is also working closely with Lipman Family Farms and McEntire Produce, two leading food processors, to bring the technology to the wider foodservice community.

8. It has promising potential.

“I am very excited about the potential this technology has to change the way the food industry thinks about food safety,” says Morgan. “We are taking a small, but game-changing step in reshaping the food safety paradigm.”

7 Consumer Trends Driving Packaging Decisions

7 Consumer Trends Driving Packaging Decisions
As consumers shop, the packaging influences their buying decisions, as it relates to many things, including clean labels and sustainability. Photo credit: JackF - adobe.stock.com

As an instrument of product sales, packaging must always be evolving. Because to have a successful product, brands must keep up with or stay ahead of the latest consumer trends. From a growth in ecommerce to an increased concern with sustainability, here are patterns in consumer behavior that influence today’s top packaging designs and developments.

1. Sustainable and natural products.

Now more than ever, consumers are trying to be more eco-conscious, and that extends to the products they use. Consumers seek products that do minimal damage to the environment. Sustainability is a driving factor in all purchase decisions, with 68% of internet users now reporting that sustainability played a significant part in deciding which product to buy.

Consumers don’t just want to see a sustainable product; they need to see a well-rounded concept that incorporates sustainability into every component. This includes packaging. For any product, but especially for sustainable products, it’s vital to cut packaging waste and use less material. Once you’ve done that, then think about using post-consumer waste paper, biodegradable materials, or other recyclable materials to guarantee a well-rounded eco-friendly package.

This is one of the reasons paperboard packaging has grown to be a common choice in the packaging industry. It’s dependable and versatile to house various products. Brands see paperboard packaging as a great substitute when wanting to cut out plastic or other sustainably suspect packaging materials.

2. Minimalistic designs.

Minimalism has been on the rise for a few years now. Customers are attracted to clean, fresh looks. They like packaging that isn’t flashy and instead focuses on showcasing the product. Minimalism also aligns well with the sustainability trend. Less packaging waste will result in an overall less busy and minimalistic look, so expect this trend to continue to dominate throughout 2020.

3. Smart and personalized.

With the help of innovative technological advancements, products are becoming more and more savvy and personalized. From a personal shampoo formula to tech-driven hairbrushes that tell you when your hair is breaking, technology is transforming all products into personal experiences.

So, when packaging these personalized smart products, how do you communicate everything unique about your product before the customer actually tries it? One way you can give customers the freedom to interact with your product beforehand is by incorporating windows into your packaging. This will allow the consumer to get insight into your product before a purchase.

4. Technology.

Technology continues to play a role in every aspect of consumers’ lives. Incorporating an interactive online experience or quick-response (QR) codes into packaging will be a vehicle for brands to educate consumers, create a more personalized experience, and deliver information in a convenient manner.

5. Fun and experiential.

Unique structures, tactile features, and decorative elements are a vehicle for getting attention and becoming the center of social media and marketing campaigns. Today’s brands are incorporating elements that create a multi-sensorial experience to drive home a message and create excitement among consumers worth to be shared with friends and on social platforms.

6. Experiences.

Competition is endless, and one way to guarantee your brand stands out is through connecting with your customers emotionally. Sometimes, it’s just not enough to have sustainable or minimalistic packaging. You have to go the extra mile and create a story with your packaging — and this starts with the unboxing experience.

Write a story by incorporating your brand values into the unboxing experience. Incorporate elements that showcase your brand’s values and mission throughout the primary and secondary packaging. The unboxing experience is the first time a customer will physically interact with your product, so it’s important to connect from the very first impression.

7. Subscription convenience.

Subscription boxes have ruled the market for the past couple of years, and they’re not going anywhere this year. Nowadays, there’s a subscription box for everything, from beauty products to hot sauces.

Packaging has always been an essential part of subscription boxes. It’s the first thing your customer sees, so it must make a good impression. Make sure your brand is represented on your packaging in a way that your customers will appreciate. Incorporate brand colors and elements that align with your overall mission.

2020 will bring these consumer trends and more to the packaging industry. These strong trends are taking over the packaging industry, so to attract consumers, it’s time to start incorporating them if you haven’t already. Start leveraging the endless potential by using them to direct your packaging development!