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Articles from 2016 In June

Inventive sniff-test packaging solves a consumer dilemma

Inventive sniff-test packaging solves a consumer dilemma
Unique overcap lets consumers smell the fragrance before buying.

Packaging for private-label laundry scent booster brands like Meijer and Family Dollar boasts an intriguing method that makes it easy to sample the product’s smell with a quick squeeze of the container before purchase.

The squeezable, pinched-waist PET bottle has an overcap—which doubles as a measuring cup—that’s secured to the bottle by a full-body shrink sleeve. The sleeve’s perforations extend to the top of the bottle so that the overcap may be easily removed for use.

Patent-pending technology enables consumers to smell the fragrance through a tiny hole in the overcap without twisting off the threaded cap. Copy that states “Gently Squeeze Bottle to Enjoy Scent” printed on two sides of the shrink sleeve. It alleviates any consumer dilemma choosing between opening the packaging for a quick sniff or guessing at what the scent actually smells like before purchase.

Another nice touch is the view window on the label front that permits consumers to see the fragrance beads inside.

[The packaging eliminates the reclosable lid used on Procter & Gamble’s Unstopables laundry scent boosters that also use a measuring cup overcap.]

This package was an entry in the 2016 Store Brands packaging competition, which I judged with fellow editor Lisa Pierce. See her faves in "Top 10 ‘right-on’ packaging designs for store brands."

Transparency in sustainable forestry aids paper packaging procurement

Transparency in sustainable forestry aids paper packaging procurement
When done responsibly, forestry and paper production can actually help save trees and play an important role in sustainability.

Growing up in the ’90s, we were told that using too much paper was killing trees and, well, who wants to be a tree killer? From this perspective, it seems that we are better off embracing the digital era; books and notepads ought to be a thing of the past, replaced by laptops and tablets—but, when taking a closer look, it’s not so cut-and-dried. When done responsibly, forestry and paper production can actually help save trees and play an important role in sustainability.

Let’s consider a practical example:

Imagine there’s a local timber company where you live, and it has managed forest stands in the area responsibly for decades. Over the years, paper sales decline and the company slowly loses business, it is eventually forced to close and sell off its land. A local dairy farmer looking to expand business purchases the property and converts it into pasture. A couple years down the road, the area is covered in cattle and grass, without a tree in sight. Not only is carbon no longer sequestered in the forest, but methane gas now pollutes the air. This hypothetical situation is an ever increasing reality in the 21st century. Indeed, the culprit behind deforestation is often not papermaking, but land-use change.

So, what does this mean and why does it matter?

First off, it means that we need to move past the days of equating paper products with killing trees, and it matters because when we understand an issue, we can make an informed decision. We know that paper products and sustainable forest management are fundamental to protecting forests from land-use change, but we also know that we can’t clear-cut vast swaths of forest and pretend that’s a responsible management practice. Instead, we need to be equipped with the knowledge of how to identify and purchase paper products from responsible sources.

One of today’s trending topics in sustainable business is transparency. After decades of eroding consumer confidence in corporations, it is no longer acceptable for businesses to make baseless claims about the quality, safety and origin of products. Consumers are demanding more transparency in supply chains; they don’t just want to know you make a quality product, they want to know you make a quality product with quality components. They want to know where the product comes from and how it was produced. These types of questions are reshaping the way that businesses interact with their customers and one of the outcomes of this has been the proliferation of supply chain transparency tools across all sectors.

In the forest sector, conversations around transparency have helped facilitate the development of forest certification programs, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and many others. These programs have fostered sustainable forest management practices and increased transparency in supply chains.

In recent years, additional tools have been developed to further enhance the transparency of forest products, specifically related to paper products. One example is the Environmental Paper Assessment Tool, or EPAT, which is an innovative platform for buyers and suppliers of paper products to share supply chain information on environmental performance.

More than just a transparency tool, EPAT is stimulating and facilitating discussions on sustainable paper procurement between industry leaders. With the emergence of these kinds of tools, transparency is becoming an integral part of business operations and its importance will only continue to increase in the future.

Evan Bruner joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition as project associate in the spring of 2016 and focuses on the Forest Products Working Group and EPAT. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Bruner obtained his BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, in 2011. Shortly after, he moved The Netherlands to pursue a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Development from Utrecht University. During his studies, Evan had a variety of unique opportunities, ranging from working as a legislative intern with a Washington State Senator to developing a campaign with the world’s first investment fund for sustainable aquaculture business models, Aqua Spark.

Smart Label with memory strengthens packaging authentication

Smart Label with memory strengthens packaging authentication
Brand-protecting Xerox Printed Memory (circled) can be seen applied to the bottom of these cartons.

The Xerox Printed Memory small flexible label with 36 bits of non-volatile, rewritable memory based on Thinfilm’s printed electronics is a low-cost anti-counterfeiting format for packaging including refillable formats.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a market worth $82 billion that’s seeing double-digit growth like the 13% CAGR of the Anti-Counterfeiting Packaging Market, according to research from MarketsandMarkets, which forecasts this market to reach $154 billion by 2020. The market is driven by the “increasing popularity of the benefits of authentication technologies and the need for track & trace technologies, which are embedded in packaging.”

One of the newest products that looks to strengthen brand protection through anti-counterfeiting technology is Xerox Printed Memory, which adds low-cost intelligence to objects or packaging by printing thin circuitry on a flexible substrate using technology from Thinfilm.

One interesting twist to these smart labels is that they can enable refillable packaging in a safe and secure way. Because the Printed Memory labels can interact with a dispensing device, brands or manufacturers are able to count/record time/calibrate and provide other usage information associated with a refill cartridge or unit. Segments such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, beauty products, appliances, and food and beverage can benefit by offering consumers more convenience while potentially increasing sustainability.

Responding to our questions about Xerox Printed Memory is Bill Cummings, senior vp of corporate communications, Thinfilm.

What’s the status?
In January of this year, Thinfilm announced a strategic partnership with Xerox. As a core element of the agreement, Xerox licensed Thinfilm’s proprietary technology to manufacture Thinfilm Memory labels and is commercially available today. Also, the technology was demonstrated by Xerox earlier this month during the Drupa tradeshow in Düsseldorf, Germany.

What’s innovative about this application?
Cummings: Xerox Printed Memory labels are an ideal solution for brand protection needs across a range of industries – particularly pharmaceuticals, government, and other verticals concerned with gray market sales, counterfeiting and supply chain integrity. Brands can also add in optional tamper-evident adhesives and a cryptographic feature that includes barcodes or QR codes, making the Xerox Printed Memory offering one of the most tamper-proof, anti-counterfeit solutions on the market.

Another example of what the non-volatile memory label looks like in a close-up.

How is it different/better than an RFID tag or other smart labels?
Cummings: Traditional anti-counterfeiting methods such as invisible ink, holograms and RFID tags can be easily copied and hacked, and are often expensive to implement. By integrating Thinfilm’s technology with advanced security printing and digital cryptography, the solutions are inexpensive and difficult to counterfeit as every stamp is uniquely encrypted and can only be created by authorized personnel. In addition, key features of the solution will work offline, enabling secure validation of an object or process without being bound to the Internet.

Rewritable data within each tag can identify if a medication refill has been authorized, a shipping tax has been paid, or whether a package passed through an authorized distributor. Using a smartphone-based reader, printed memory tax stamps can be used for tracking and tracing the location of packages, authentication and verification of a product’s information.

How is the information written to the label?
Cummings: Xerox Printed Memory are manufactured through a printing process and add low-cost intelligence to objects or packaging by printing thin circuitry on a flexible substrate. The non-volatile memory is delivered in small flexible labels, a form factor that provides a wide range of design freedom not offered in other solutions. The labels can be placed on products at any stage of the manufacturing or supply-chain process.

Xerox Printed Memory labels can store up to up to 36 bits of information, which enables 68 billion distinct data combinations. Everything from lot codes and serial numbers to expiration dates and geographic IDs can be stored on the labels, and the data is preserved until overwritten within a 10-year span.

[see below for more details]

When are the labels applied to packaging?
The Xerox Printed Memory solutions are geared toward supply-chain applications. Manufacturers who are in partnership with Thinfilm would apply the label to the packaging on their packaging lines.

Patrick de Jong, Marketing Manager for Xerox Printed Memory, offers these additional details regarding writing information to the tags: We are focused on selling the memory to fit into the customer’s use case.  It could either be Xerox, who puts the information on the tags, or if preferred by the customer, elements such as the reader manufacturing, converting the memory, data management/analytics, IT integration, integration of the memory on the package could be done by the customer.

And how can that information be read (or rewritten) after that?

de Jong: The reader is powered up and makes contact with the memory. The read command is executed and the memory content is captured and stored in the reader. Information from the memory scan can be displayed on the reader then transmitted to a repository at the user’s discretion. So, the state of the memory can be changed when rewritten.  For example it could show that an event has occurred – such as an audit, tax paid/collected.  In the case of Smart Consumables usage information can be written to the memory.

For more of the technical details of Xerox Printed Memory, see Printed Memory to Secure IoT  from sister publication EE Times.


Visit MinnPack September 21-22 in Minneapolis to see the latest in smart packaging, brand protection, labels and labeling and more.


Fruit cups grow up—so does their packaging

Fruit cups grow up—so does their packaging
Larger, more shapely cups in a 2-pack provide a healthy fruit snack for on-the-go adults.

This month, Del Monte launched what it says is the “first-ever adult fruit cup.” The packaging design for the new Fruit Refreshers line uses black and bold colors, bigger cups and grown-up varieties to better satisfy adults looking for a convenient, fresh, healthy and tasty snack.

Del Monte has initially developed two flavors in the line: (1) Pineapple in Passion Fruit Flavored Slightly Sweetened Fruit Water and (2) Mandarin Oranges in Slightly Sweetened Coconut Water. Each variety is 100 calories or less per cup and contains one serving of fruit. The products contain no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and no genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The packaging is free of the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).

At 7-ounces, the cups are larger than the typical fruit cups marketed to children and they have a tall, tapered shape. Another difference is these products are sold in a 2-pack multipack instead of the usual 4-pack.

Joanna Komvopoulos, senior assistant brand manager at Del Monte, gives Packaging Digest a few more details about the packaging development and design.

Tell me how the packaging for the new Del Monte Fruit Refreshers speaks to adults rather than kids.

Komvopoulos: From the beginning, we set out to make a fruit cup targeting our adult consumers. Our research indicated that, while kids enjoy our fruit cups, so do adults, yet most of what is in the marketplace today doesn’t target adult needs for more adventurous flavors, larger sizes, and more intriguing and convenient packaging. 

The black packaging caters to the more sophisticated adult consumer and proved to be a clear winner in connoting an adult offering while delivering on our promise for a more unique and elevated fruit snacking experience. Large, cascading fruit photography coupled with a vibrant splash help highlight the unique flavor combinations while also making an impact at shelf.

Bold typography was leveraged to give the package a bit more personality and depict the healthy snack as a bold and refreshing change in the fruit cup aisle with the new fruit cup that’s all grown up.

The cup is not only larger, but it’s a different shape than other fruit cups. Why this particular shape?

Komvopoulos: The cup is larger, 7 ounces versus the typical 4 ounces seen in the category. The larger cup allows a larger amount of fruit, meant for a more adult portion size. The cup is curved which makes it more convenient to hold and gives an update to the classic fruit cup shape.

Why a 2-pack instead of the more typical 4-pack?

Komvopoulos: We know healthy snacking is all about variety. We wanted to give our adult consumers the ability to try all our flavors and mix and match their favorites. Confining them to a traditional 4-pack wouldn’t have allowed for as much flavor exploration.

When did this product line launch and which outlets? Is it in national distribution?

Komvopoulos: Pineapple in Passion Fruit Flavored Fruit Water and Mandarin Oranges in Coconut Water began to ship to retailers everywhere in June with full distribution slated for July.

Where are these products positioned in stores?

Komvopoulos: They are located in the center of the store by canned fruit and other fruit cup options.

Any plans to expand the line with other fruits?

Komvopoulos: This winter we will roll out Grapefruit & Oranges in Pomegranate Flavored Fruit Water and Red Grapefruit in Guava Flavored Fruit Water to join the two existing varieties.

Revving up packaging innovation, away from home

It’s not easy building brands, improving operations and optimizing product packaging. Sometimes you need a helping hand. Georgia-Pacific is ready to assist. Its newly renovated Innovation Institute invites diverse collaboration, tests advanced packaging options and offers educational resources. The modern facility already has a proven track record in helping reduce supply chain costs, heighten shelf impact and boost sustainability scores.

Jim DiAndreth, vp-research and technology, Georgia-Pacific Packaging & Cellulose, explains, “It’s not about simply staying on the cutting-edge of packaging technology, it’s about creating step-change innovation that creates real value for our customers.”

This exclusive, six-minute Packaging Digest video interview goes inside the Innovation Institute to learn what it is, why it works and how you can benefit.

At the outside conference/collaboration “room,” the sky’s the limit—literally and figuratively. Take a look.

9 eye-opening developments in packaging

9 eye-opening developments in packaging
Small and portable, the Ryback and Ryback Steam Machine uniformly shrinks labels onto a variety of container shapes and sizes.

Several new packaging products—including shrink sleeve labeling devices, unique dispensing containers, flexible capping equipment, improved carded blisters and more—were uncovered during my visit to EastPack 2016 (June 14-16; NYC). Have you seen these yet?

Search #UBMEast on Twitter for more news from others who were there, too.

1. Making accurate and attractive mock-up packages with shrink sleeve labels is easy with two new devices from Ryback and Ryback.

The Sleeve Maker creates sleeves from film rollstock. The tabletop device holds the flat film in place—then lets the operator fold and overlap it, apply solvent to the seam and press it down. A secondary operation (still using the same device) lets the operator trim the flat sleeve on top and bottom to be even.

Now that the sleeve is made, it is shrunk onto a container using another device: the Steam Machine. The Steam Machine uses a boiler (to make the steam) and a round, aluminum steam chamber. Containers with the sleeve label manually positioned are inserted into the chamber and slowly lowered to ensure uniform shrink. After about 7 seconds, the operator raises the chamber and removes the container (using heat-safe gloves). The Steam Machine plugs into a standard 110-volt outlet and can accommodate containers up to 750ml in height and up to 5-3/4-inches in diameter.

Marketing and sales manager Molly Ryback demonstrated the operation of both devices. She’s standing next to the Steam Machine in the image at the top of the page. Here is what the Sleeve Maker looks like:

NEXT: Congrats to the EastPack Innovation Award winner!

2. After visiting five finalists and learning about their new products, the 10 Packaging Innovation Tour attendees selected our EastPack 2016 Innovation Award winner: Color Label Solutions. The company’s on-demand digital color printer for corrugated packaging made an impression for its speedy high-quality color print on an irregular surface.

Congratulations to company president Guy Mikel, @colorlabelguy, shown in the photo above.

NEXT: Another easy-to-use device for assembling boxes fast

3. As manual packaging operations grow, they hit that point where the volume just gets too hard for people to keep up with. But most of these operations are still too small to be able to invest in automated equipment. Even semi-automatic equipment could be too expensive.

When it comes to setting up shipping boxes, Easy Fold offers an “in between” solution. The Easy Fold forming fixture helps speed up box set-up by providing a frame that aids box assembly (see a video here). Portable and durable, the fixtures can even be made to handle multiple box sizes if at least one dimension is similar, explains CEO Chris Dukelow.

NEXT: A hang tab that does something more

4. Many hang tabs are applied to the back of products, such as cartons, so they can be displayed on peg boards in stores. Here’s a new style from Do-It Corp. that also folds down onto the top of the carton, effectively doubling as a tamper-evident feature. How efficient.

NEXT: Dazzling deal for carded blisters

5. Cold foil on blister cards is making headway in the market, according to the folks at Rohrer Corp., because of its eye-catching sheen. But the company is sweetening the appeal with new capability: You can now also seal a blister on top of the cold foil area, while still maintaining fiber tear for seal strength and tamper evidence.

But, wait! There’s more.

Rohrer now also offers short runs of cold-foil blister cards (from 6,250 cards) when cards are combo printed. Max card size is 6 x 9-inches.

NEXT: Production optimization in real time

6. For production optimization, advanced sensor technology inside sample packages—such as bottles and cans—tracks the container’s experience on the packaging line to identify shocks, scuff points and vertical load stresses. Once potential harmful areas are identified, engineers can then optimize the line to eliminate damage before it happens.

MMAAZZ president/CEO Tracy Clinch says the system has a 99% repeatability, ensuring there is no variability in the data.

The company has three separate solutions:

• ShockQC to help reduce glass container breakage

• PressureQC to help minimize scuffing and denting

• VerticalQC to shorten the calibration of capping machines from hours to minutes, according to a brochure

Chief operating officer Larry Doherty explains that the firmware and software system uses accurate Bluetooth technology because it also has a good range and low power consumption. Data is captured and then stored in the Cloud. Reports can be customized.

NEXT: Capping machine made for flexibility

7. The beltorque capping machine from Jalbert Automatisation is designed to handle a variety of continuous-thread (screw-on) closures and containers. The number of different closures (including pumps) and containers surprised me when I saw them all on display. The system controls torque with two series of belts on opposite sides of the machine (see fingers in the center of photo pointing to the area). The first series places and seats the closure as the bottle travels between the belts. Immediately following, the second series of belts “tightens” or torques the closure as the bottle travels between the belts, only one of which is moving.

NEXT: Dropper dispensing for cosmetics and personal care products

8. Two new products at Yonwoo Packaging improve dropper dispensing for cosmetics and personal care products.

With the Dropper Tube (photo above), users can control the amount of low-viscosity product dispensed simply by squeezing the tube. Here's a closeup:

Also, another package uses a unique auto-fill dropper for dispensing low-viscosity products. The way it works is, the act of unscrewing the closure creates the pressure to automatically pull product up into the closure’s pipette. To dispense, the user depresses the button on top of the closure. Screwing the closure back on the container prepares it for the next auto-fill when the closure is removed.

The container is available in one size (30ml), but in two shapes:

NEXT: Beer labels are on tap

9. What else is on tap in today’s beverage market? More beer sales, especially craft beer sales. Overnight Labels showed several label designs specific to this burgeoning market, including tactile labels (see the water droplets in the photo) that invite beer drinkers to pick up the bottle for some welcome refreshment.

(Prefer an even, round number of items, like 10? Also see “Packaging design for ecommerce can break the rules”for insights from the ecommerce conference session held in conjunction with the EastPack show.)

Food labels need to adapt to shifting consumer preferences

Food labels need to adapt to shifting consumer preferences
Today, consumers are interested in information about ingredients on food labels and other health-related data.

While grocery shoppers continue to seek tasty, nutritious and safe food, the impact of food labels appears to be waning, according to Mintel’s Food Packaging Trends: Spotlight on Food Labeling report.

In 2015, less than half of U.S. consumers indicated they “usually read” the information on product labels, and the percentage of consumers who indicate doing so declined in the several years prior.  

So just what are consumers looking for on food labels? Seventy percent of grocery shoppers look for ingredients listed on food packaging. Such a high response rate is a clear indication that positioning key or functional ingredient information prominently on pack should be a priority for brands.

Whereas many foods touting their healthy attributes have been accentuating what could be termed a value-add (such as added protein, fiber and omega-3s), consumers are more likely to equate healthy with “natural,” “clean” and what they would describe as “real” foods, according to the report. On-pack messaging that helps this next generation of shoppers navigate healthy food choices will be paramount to driving future sales.

Two thirds of grocery shoppers who prioritize low price look for the expiration date on food items, and 55% of this group looks for brand. Such factors appear as cost savers for those who are conservative about food spend, assuring reliable products that will not spoil before they are used.

Generationally, younger shoppers are much less likely than older ones to rely on ingredients lists. Instead, they seek the assurance of product descriptors, such as “natural” and “organic.” Mintel’s Free-from Food Trends report finds the interest in a healthier lifestyle is particularly compelling to Millennials with families, and a number of Millennial parents are heeding the advice of healthcare professionals to eliminate certain ingredients from their diet. Nevertheless, among Millennial parents who purchase foods bearing a “free-from” claim, that purchase decision is largely fueled by an interest in avoiding what they regard as unnecessary ingredients, rather than what’s included.

A quarter of the oldest shoppers Mintel measured say on-pack brand/product history is unnecessary. In contrast, iGen/Millennials are more likely than other generation groups to say this information is important, influential and trustworthy. Mintel’s Marketing to US Millennials report finds that, though Millennials never forget they are being sold to, they are willing to set cynicism aside when they perceive companies are sincere. Brands that resonate with Millennials are often those that incorporate values into their corporate identity. Such a response is an indication that story may play a larger role in food sales moving forward, especially for this demographic.

Seals and third-party certifications from organizations lead on-pack indicators for trustworthiness. A trend Mintel has identified as the Decline of Deference discusses that distrust of business and other institutions has soared to all-time high levels, creating fertile ground for creative disruption. Seals that appear to vouch for a product from an outside source, rather than requiring shoppers to take the manufacturer’s word for it, can be considered trustworthy.

Natural positioning is of interest to those who seek high-quality products, as well as to those who are interested in food safety. Ingredient source information also appears useful to those for which food safety is a driving purchase factor.

Nutritional panels

According to Mintel, more than half of grocery shoppers say nutritional panels are informative, and a third say these influence purchase. This is a strong indication of the power of this labeling element. However, only 25% of grocery shoppers think nutritional panels are easy to understand. Product manufacturers may want to engage in a “what does this mean” effort, where some lesser-known nutritional values and ingredients are clarified.

Less than half of iGen/Millennials say Nutrition Facts panels are informative, and less than one third say they influence their food purchase. While regulations require this information to be included on-pack, resonating with future generations of shoppers will require further efforts.

Recent changes to the Nutrition Facts label found on food packages in the U.S. are aimed at reflecting how people eat and drink today, according to the FDA. However, Mintel’s packaging analyst team believes the SmartLabel mobile initiative ( may be a more modern and and effective means to communicate with today’s mobile-savvy shoppers and consumers.

SmartLabel was created by a group of consumer companies and retailers formed by the Grocery Manufacturers Assn. and the Food Marketing Institute’s Trading Partner Alliance (TPA). SmartLabel connects consumers, via mobile devices, to food and household product information—from ingredients to nutritional information to allergen facts to third-party certifications. SmartLabel even includes a quick-access glossary of terms, making it possible for consumers to really understand what’s behind ingredients.

SmartLabel even makes it possible to contact participating companies directly with more questions. More than 30 major companies—including Hershey, General Mills, Campbell Soup and Unilever—have already committed to using SmartLabel and the number of products providing ingredient information in the consistent SmartLabel format will continue to grow to more than 34,000 by the end of 2017.

This article was written by David Luttenberger and Beth Bloom. Luttenberger is the global packaging director at Mintel. He has 24 years’ packaging experience. He can be reached at [email protected] You can also follow him on Twitter at @packaginggeek. Beth Bloom is a senior food and drink analyst at Mintel.

All generations agree that food labels should be "informative."

When it comes to aiding in purchase decisions, the oldest shoppers are most influenced by the Nutrition Facts information on food and beverage packages.

Banners/informational "call-outs," as well as seals/certifications, on a package help influence shoppers to buy.

Referencing "Ethical or Environmentally Friendly Packaging" on the package is the fourth highest claim for the last five-plus years, behind "No Additives/Preservatives," "Low/No/Reduced Allergan" and "Gluten Free."

Top 3 AmeriStar 2016 award winners deserve the spotlight

Top 3 AmeriStar 2016 award winners deserve the spotlight
Thermoformed pack securely holds sleep apnea mask without damaging the delicate silicone material.

The Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) has announced the winners of its annual AmeriStar Package Awards Competition. In all, 80 packages in 14 categories competed in this year’s competition, with 30 earning an award. The judges evaluated the packages based on materials use, innovation, performance, sustainability, economics, protection and marketing.

The top three awards in the 2016 competition went to: Philips Respironics, for Best of Show; HP Inc., for Design Excellence; and Diversey Care (a division of Sealed Air), for Sustainable Packaging.

Best of Show: Philips Respironics’ Amara View bubble pack (photo above)

The Best of Show Award honors the package recognized by all the judges as outstanding on every judging criterion. This year’s winner was the “bubble” pack designed for the Amara View full-face mask, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) sleep apnea mask from Philips Respironics (photo above).

The Amara View bubble contains the mask without touching the sensitive silicone membrane that seals to the user’s face. To accomplish this and also keep the packaging minimal, Plastic Ingenuity designed the package with a post on which the mask floats.

To secure the mask on the package’s post, claw-like components on either side of the thermoformed part snap onto headgear clips located on both sides of the mask. The claws also show the user how the headgear clips attach to the mask.

“The most innovative features are the retractable claws on each side of the package that allow for a very aggressive latching mechanism, while still being thermoformable,” says Rob Helmke, marketing director at Plastic Ingenuity.

“The most challenging aspect was providing a secure package while having minimal contact to the product in very few, select areas,” he adds. “From avoiding the silicone mask to avoid deformation, to not making contact with the majority of the clear plastic face plate so as not to scratch the material, there was very little room to contain the product.”

Per Philips’ request, the packaging was molded to resemble a human face so patients and healthcare providers could see how the mask should be worn. The packaging is made from 0.030-inch high-impact polystyrene with an impact modifier.

Next: HP’s Design Excellence Award

Design Excellence: HP Inc.’s Star Wars Special Edition Notebook

The winner of this year’s Design Excellence Award, which recognizes outstanding structural and graphic design, was HP Inc.’s Star Wars Special Edition Notebook pack, which HP designed in-house, in collaboration with Disney.

The package design is fun as well as functional, with the outer box incorporating a handle for easy transport from the store and an inner accessories pack that can be repurposed by the consumer as a storage case for Star Wars memorabilia. The accessories pack is a rigid box with a magnetic closure.

Both the outer box and the accessory pack are decorated with vivid depictions of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, storm troopers and a red lightsaber.Spot UV printing highlights the HP and Star Wars logos, the product name and Darth Vader’s image.

The package’s end-cap cushions, when attached to the notebook, make the product look like Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter Advanced vehicle. So in addition to protecting the notebook in shipment, the cushions essentially become part of the product. The highly detailed cushions are molded from black polypropylene foam.

“The most innovative feature of this pack is far and away the collectible nature of the cushions and the accessory box,” says Glenn Paufler, notebook packaging manager at HP Inc. “Cushions shaped like Darth Vader's TIE fighter…a prize for any Star Wars fan, and the fabulously printed rigid box we used for accessories is a perfect size for Star Wars action figures new and old.”

Finally: Diversey Care’s Sustainable Packaging Award

Sustainable Packaging: Diversey Care’s Smart Mix Pro pouch

The Sustainable Packaging Award this year went to the Pro Series Smart Mix Pro pouch from Diversey Care. A division of Sealed Air Corp., Diversey Care supplies commercial customers with cleaning products and other sanitation and janitorial products.

The Smart Mix Pro package, which incorporates two fitments and five film structures, is a pouch-within-a-pouch concept. The small inner pouch contains a dosed concentrate of cleaning solution. The user fills the outer pouch with one gallon of water and presses the inner pouch to release the concentrate and create a perfectly diluted solution. Users then refill spray bottles with the solution.

According to Sealed Air, the pouch cuts plastic waste by at least 60%, versus conventional ready-to-use cleaning products, and it also significantly reduces shipping costs and warehouse-space requirements.

In addition, the package requires 80% less storage space than bottles, and the package design protects workers from contact with the cleaning concentrate. The pouch also provides cost savings, reducing end users’ product cost per quart by 38%.

Unit-dose, convenience packaging celebrated for printing excellence

Unit-dose, convenience packaging celebrated for printing excellence
Glenroy won an Award of Excellence in the 2016 Graphics Excellence Awards for Gaviscon Max Relief

Flexible packaging converter and printer Glenroy Inc. has received a number of awards in the Great Lakes Graphics Association’s 2016 Graphics Excellence Awards. The program celebrates excellence in the design, creation, and production of printed materials. GLGA is an affiliate of Printing Industries of America, and GLGA describes its awards program as the largest regional affiliate print competition in the United States.

Healthcare products were among the products for which Glenroy was recognized.

Glenroy received "Best of Category" awards for Petsmile Pet Toothpaste in the category of Flexo -- Wide Web, Process and for Persil Pro CleanT in the category of Flexo -- Wide Web, Screen. It also earned a "Certificate of Excellence" for La Vie! Vibrant Energy dietary supplement and two "Awards of Excellence" for Ester-C dietary supplement and Gaviscon Max Relief.

“I believe these packages exemplify the trend towards unit-dose, on-the-go convenience packaging, and also the ever-growing demand for higher print quality,” Amanda Dahlby, Marketing Manager, Glenroy Inc., told PMP News.

Competition judging criteria included registration, crossovers, clarity and neatness, sharpness of halftones and line drawings, richness and tonal qualities of color, difficulty of printing, effective contrast or softness, and overall visual impact, Glenroy explained in a news release.

"It is an honor each time we are recognized for our high-quality printing," stated Rich Buss, President and CEO at Glenroy, in the release. "We invest in advanced printing equipment and employ some of the most experienced graphics and printing professionals in the industry."

Featured above, Gaviscon Max Relief utilizes a reverse printed five-layer lamination from Glenroy, reports Jonny GriggMarketing Coordinator for Glenroy. The package received an Award of Excellence.

Read on for Glenroy’s other Award of Excellence for Ester-C.


Glenroy received an Award of Excellence for Ester-C.

The flexible package employs a reverse printed four-layer lamination from Glenroy, reports Jonny Grigg of Glenroy.

Read on for the winner of the "Best of Category" award in the category of Flexo -- Wide Web, Process, Petsmile Pet Toothpaste.


Glenroy won the "Best of Category" award in the category of Flexo -- Wide Web, Process for Petsmile Pet Toothpaste.

Petsmile pet toothpaste utilizes a high-barrier lamination designed to preserve flavor, explained Dahlby of Glenroy.

For more details, visit


Visit MinnPack September 21-22 in Minneapolis to see the latest in flexible packaging, smart technology, RFID, automation labels and labeling, and more. 

Packaging design for ecommerce can break the rules

Packaging design for ecommerce can break the rules
What opportunities do you see with packaging designs for products sold online?

Ecommerce packaging faces challenges (can you say “cold chain” for grocery deliveries?) but also offers unique opportunities. The following insights come from the panel discussion “Capitalizing on Ecommerce through Every Aspect of Packaging Design” at the Packaging for Food and Beverage conference, held in conjunction with the recent EastPack show.

Here’s a thought-provoking idea from conference moderator Chris Cornyn, who is chief innovation officer at Revolution Foods. Cornyn reminds us that most packaging is designed to fit onto store shelves that haven’t really changed in decades. With ecommerce, there are no rigid shelf sets to work around. So brands can rethink what is the optimum packaging size for the use of the product. His example was the number of ounces of spaghetti sauce in typical jars. Most consumers don’t use a full jar with their pasta meal yet that’s the size sold in stores. Ecommerce frees designers from being influenced or pinned in by shelf height.

Panelists for this session on ecommerce packaging design were Jane Chase, senior director packaging engineering of The Schwan Food Co., Joe Pagliaro, founder and president of start-up consultancy 2940 (formerly director of innovation and packaging with Heineken USA) and Otto Hektor, vp, brand development-Americas, at design firm SGK.

From left to right: At the Packaging for Food and Beverage conference, Cornyn, Pagliaro, Hektor and Chase share good advice for designing packaging for the ecommerce channel.

On the topic of packaging designs seen in two-dimensions on a screen, versus 3D versions in person, Hektor advises to show close-ups of outstanding packaging features as a way to create different visual elements on the screen—and create interest in the product.

Chase suggests to also show different levels of the packaging, such as any secondary packaging, so the receiver knows what to expect.

And Pagliaro warns, “Don’t jeapordize your on-shelf presence” (with plain, cost-efficient packaging, for example) because the in-person experience is still important for when the product arrives.

Advancements in technology will make (mostly) a positive mark. Chase cautions that some online shoppers could be intimidated by companies tracking their purchases. But Pagliaro says technology is enabling us (consumers and companies) to be more efficient, such as how smart packaging can tell us when it’s time to reorder.

Hektor goes further and tells us to “embrace the Internet of Things.” In time, he says, we’ll get used to it, as long as it’s not too intrusive. However, suggestions for additional purchases, based on past actions, should be served up in an organic or passive way rather than as a hard sell.

Chase has direct experience with ecommerce packaging. Schwan Food Co. has been delivering to consumers for 60 years through catalog sales. Now also offering online ordering, the company has realized that its ecommerce packaging is designed for its drivers more than for the consumers. But there’s an initiative underway now to change that.

Regarding the cold chain, Chase says it’s important to control the temperature throughout the supply chain, but that dry ice significantly affects packaging.

An audience member asked whether designers were creating ecommerce-friendly packaging or were most brands simply shipping products in existing packaging. Hektor says that some entrepreneurs were creating special packaging for their ecommerce products, but that most established companies were simply tweaking existing packaging.

Also during the Q&A portion, I asked where most of the ecommerce fulfillment would take place: in-house, at contract packagers or with third-party fulfillment plants. Pagliaro says he thinks we’ll see a growth boom of third-party facilitators, as many brands want to focus on their core competency of making products.