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Endurance Technologies packaging line tour

Cap torquer.

Take a visual tour of the highly flexible semi-automatic packaging line located at adhesives producer Endurance Technologies' operations in South St. Paul, MN, that handles packages ranging from rigid containers to stand-up pouches.

PEF will not oust PET for beverage bottles anytime soon

PEF will not oust PET for beverage bottles anytime soon

In early June 2014, Avantium secured additional funding to complete its development and commercialization of polyethylene furanoate (PEF) from plant-based, 2nd generation feedstock. Shortly after that news broke, the Container Recycling Institute asked in its newsletter: “Will Coke no longer use PET for its bottles?”

It’s a great question—with potential reverberations throughout the plastics packaging markets, and most specifically for the popular polyethylene terephthalate (PET). So Packaging Digest asked plastics/packaging expert Gordon Bockner to comment on the implications of this development on PET packaging. Bockner, president of Business Development Associates Inc., a packaging consultancy based in Bethesda, MD, responds:

Gordon Bockner: Your inquiry regarding PEF as a competitive resin for commodity packaging (which was based on the June 5, 2014, announcement of Coke’s—and others’—investment in the planned Avantium facility to produce PEF in commercial quantities starting in 2017), requires consideration of several factors:

1. PEF is a bio-based resin; and therefore, arguably, more “sustainable” than petroleum-based PET.

a. One-third of the PET molecule can already be bio-sourced;

b. And 100% bio-based PET is under development.

2. However, the performance properties and converting characteristics of PEF are different than PET.

a. Therefore PEF will never be a “drop-in” resin substitute for PET.

3. Coke’s rational and timeline to consider PEF for commodity liquid refreshment beverages (LRB) packaging would be based on several factors:

a. The prospective cost of PEF compared to 100% bio-based PET.

b. The realistic prospects for replacing (100% bio-based) PET with PEF.

Although all of these issues need to be considered to answer the primary question, they do, in fact, impact each other. We will consider each issue singularly and jointly.

PEF does, in fact, have several performance advantages compared to PET. The two most obvious are superior gas barrier (10x PET for O2 and 5x for CO2) and better tensile strength, which permits greater light weighting and superior thermal stability without heat-setting (can be hot filled at about 200-deg F). And it is “sustainable” based on the fact that it is 100% bio-based molecule.

These several characteristics are, however, costly, and the question is whether the relatively costly performance of PEF is sufficient to overcome the cost-performance of 100% bio-PET for commodity packaging of LRB’s. My opinion is “No.”

The first point to concede is that a 100% bio-PET molecule does not yet exist. Coke’s current PlantBottle molecule is only 1/3 bio-based. The terephthalic acid (TPA) portion of the molecule is still petroleum-based. However, given the time, energy and money currently being allocated to the commercial production of bio-TPA, it is reasonable to assume that the existence of a 100% bio-based (sustainable) PET molecule is realistic within the near future; and, assuming that the current production of green polypropylene is analogous, it will likely be a “drop-in” molecule chemically indistinguishable from petroleum-based PET.

It is also important to emphasize that the PEF molecule is a contaminant in the existing PET stream. A very small amount of PEF will (a) reduce the performance characteristic of the resulting PET/PEF blend and (b) neither will the blend be crystal clear and glossy, which are two of the key (marketing) attributes OPET. It is, therefore, not realistic to suggest that the two resins might be successfully blended to make a commodity LRB packaging resin.

On the other hand, the entire PET infrastructure—including converting, tooling and the existing recycling infrastructure and recycle content recipes—will be totally accessible without change to bio-PET.

The question, therefore, becomes whether (a) the delay to commercially introduce a 100% bio-PET molecule and (b) the possible cost premium one might need to pay for it, warrants the development of a second and distinct parallel value chain based on (a) the long term cost performance superiority of PEF and (b) the short term sustainability advantage of it. My answer to this question is also “No.”

It is also important to understand the current dynamics of the PET industry in North America. Two of the major suppliers of PET resin, Indorama and M&G, have announced plans to install additional North American capacity. (Arguably this could also be bio-based.) This further suggests that the supply of (bio-based?) PET will be sufficient to maintain aggressive PET pricing levels in North America for the foreseeable future.

The question remains: Why, therefore, is Coke making a significant investment in a commercial PEF manufacturing facility if there is no reasonable possibility that PEF will become the dominant resin for the packaging of LRB’s in the near future? There are, it seems, two basic reasons:

1. Coke doesn’t want to be “left out” if the noted logic favoring PET is flawed or alters, and PEF becomes the resin of choice for the manufacture of commodity LRB packaging.

2. At the appropriate time and place, Coke wants to be able to exercise any and all options particularly with small bottles for carbonated soft drinks or oxygen-sensitive products that would benefit the most from the superior gas barrier properties of PEF.

It should be emphasized, however, that this excess of strategic caution (and Coke’s investment in Avantium) does not, in my opinion, invalidate Coke’s current reliance on and commitment to PET.

Packaging leads sociological evolution

Packaging leads sociological evolution
Gordon Bockner

What’s smarter than smart packaging? Interactive packages being developed today, says Gordon Bockner, president of packaging consultancy Business Development Associates Inc. He attended the recent Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit, produced by Packaging Digest and its parent company UBM Canon, and shares two striking take-aways from the successful event.

Gordon Bockner: “The most striking aspect of this conference was not the range of ‘disruptive’ packaging technologies presented (although there were many) but the fact that we are now seeing packaging that goes beyond the ‘smart’ package—in which the package supplied increasing amounts of information to the consumer (for example, thermochromatic inks or quick-response (QR) codes)—to the ‘interactive’ package that actually dialogues with the consumer.

“It is not clear whether this is an entirely ‘good’ or ‘bad’ trend. But what is clear is that we are seeing the emergence of a range of new technologies that are both expensive, potentially intrusive and here to stay.

“The second striking take-away from this conference was the confirmation (again!) of the manner in which Millennials (the on-the-go, 17-37 year old demographic segment with increasing disposable income and shifting consumption patterns) have become the target audience and ‘driver’ of food and beverage (and likely other categories, also) merchandising.

“This is a critical demographic and sociological evolution; and packaging (surprisingly, perhaps) is in the forefront.”

Held in Chicago July 16-17, the Summit staged high-level presentations from packaging executives with PepsiCo, Mondelez, Smucker’s, MillerCoors and more.

Attendees were quite active on Twitter during the event, sharing insights and key points using the hashtag #FBPackaging. See a sprinkling of Day 1 tweets here.

Packaging Digest will be sharing more highlights from the conference in the next several weeks, including on-site video interviews. Watch the first of them here.

Contract manufacturing: A new era

Contract manufacturing: A new era
Brand owners are seeing multiple benefits from working more collaboratively with their contract manufacturing and packaging partners.

Are you getting the most out of the partnership with your contract manufacturer and packager? Here are the benefits you can reap from an evolving business model.

For the last two decades, contract manufacturing and packaging for consumer packaged goods (CPG) has evolved at a steady and predicable rate. Products, practices and technologies changed but the basic value equation has remained relatively constant: Contract manufacturers offered capacity and CPG companies outsourced non-core, seasonal and sub-scale items. The stability of this equation benefited customers and contract manufacturers alike. Ongoing productivity gains enabled lower unit prices and increased quality for customers while largely protecting the margins of contract manufacturers.

Today, that equilibrium is being upended. Market forces are remaking the CPG sector and with it the role of contract manufacturing in CPG supply chains. This “new normal” is producing turbulence for an industry already in flux.

This new era, which we are calling “Co-Man 3.0” is no less than a sea change in industry structure and order. There was no press release, thunderbolt or starter pistol heralding its arrival. Rather, it has been a multi-year transition, well underway. The radical nature of the change is more obvious in retrospect. While we are still in the early years of this transition, the changes in the next five years will dwarf those of the past five.

Let’s look at the traditional Co-Man 2.0 model and see what is changing. Then we’ll examine how this impacts the contract manufacturing business model and the repercussions for providers and customers alike.

The current CPG contract manufacturing model—spoken in shorthand as “time, cost and quality”—has evolved with the market. It evolved during the mid 90’s as the role of contract manufacturing became more prominent for the first time. This shift involved moving from tactical capacity to a larger supply chain role. In supply chain jargon, it’s moving from just the Make portion of the SCOR (Supply Chain Operations Reference) model to the Plan, Buy, Make and Deliver equation.

The Co-Man 2.0 formula, itself disruptive at the time, was still easy to understand and measure. The expanded array of inputs—including variables such as cost, capacity, speed, scope, capabilities, logistics, variability, landed costs and geography—were straightforward. This expanding but consistent formula enabled customers to measure the relative value of outsourced production services and drive purchase decisions. It enabled contract manufacturing to grow into a major supply chain component, rather than a seasonal or marginal appendage. Today, the collective output of contract manufacturing represents a significant portion of the overall CPG production network.

Now that equilibrium is being disrupted. The reason? In a word, intensity. The enablers that produce marketplace change—technology, demographics, regulation, and economics—are shaping the CPG marketplace faster than ever before. The pressures on CPG brands to protect margin and find new value are immense. Even a partial list of escalating challenges includes private-label growth, new CPG competitors, activist investors, offshoring, supplier consolidation, omni-channel marketing, grocery consolidation, proliferation of stock-keeping units (SKUs), excessive regulation, globalization, wage pressures, sustainability, and consumer preference.

The quest for value against these headwinds has CPG companies looking for value in new places. One area is in the untapped value of tighter integration with trusted manufacturing partners. While it is overused in the extreme, the word “trust” here could not be more significant. Transactional providers or those lacking significant customer trust will not find these new avenues open to them. Conversely, partners that have earned trusted relationships in one domain have a huge advantage in helping their customers in other domains that may have been previously closed to them.

An example is new product innovation. Once considered a core competency and an exclusive bastion of elite CPG’s, it is now a highly collaborative inter-company endeavor. The world’s leading companies are looking for the world’s best ideas and are willing to go anywhere and everywhere to find them. One of the first places to begin is with partners with a proven competency in related domains.

New product innovation is just one area of intense innovation and collaboration. The competitive advantage created by those who embrace external innovation opened the door for other functional groups to mimic this model.

Supply chain vs value chain innovation

While today’s innovation includes the traditional supply chain functions such as materials sourcing, conversion, packaging and outbound logistics innovation, it entails much more. Value chain inputs—such as business process innovation, financial innovation, project management, engineering, equipment design/redesign, sustainability impacts and customers’ omni-channel requirements—all present emergent areas to innovate. The cumulative effects generate new value that flows to the customer.

The pressure to develop and deliver these services is morphing the role of contract manufacturers, forcing a more comprehensive set of solutions. It is also presenting a new challenge for customers. Seeing the value of these new services is much easier than accounting for them. Much of the value opportunity can be lost if the customer does not correspondingly either reduce internal cost structures or increase revenue opportunities.

This brave new world is jarring for customer and provider alike. No longer are “time, cost and quality” able to convey the complete value equation of this more complex solution. For example, the return on investment calculation of adding external engineering services to a project is contingent not just upon how the customer accounts for the project cost, but also if they are either truly reducing their overall costs or able to implement more projects. Was a person truly replaced—or added? Was an additional project commercialized or commercialized faster? In large organizations, these are never simple equations.

Is all this new value creation in pursuit of margin expansion? Not necessarily. The reality for the contract manufacturer is that they must add cost. These costs can only be recovered if customers recognize the added value and look beyond their product profit and loss (P&L) and into their total organizational cost structure. Those who can value this “Total Network” cost reduction will gain significant advantage.

Co-Man 3.0: World class in many ways

The adoption of new practices, such as lean manufacturing and continuous improvement, produces competitive advantage for early adopters. Firms that acquire these practices and execute them well gain a competitive advantage over others and are able to produce new customer value while protecting margins. However, lean and continuous improvement are no longer new. While some contract manufacturers still do not practice them, or do not practice them well, they are widely accepted as a competitive requirement. So what is the next set of skills that will become the new ante for contract manufacturers?

In the Co-Man 3.0 era we will see more and more of the extended value chain functions measured against still-evolving best practices. One challenge for providers and customers alike will be a need to move beyond the case. Long the holy grail of comparison, the simplistic “co-man case price” today doesn’t even come close to capturing the full value of one solution vs another.

The 2.0 era brought the procurement function into contract manufacturing. The metrics of procurement will struggle with other internal teams as customers find new measurements and equations for valuing various outsourcing options. The willingness and ability to make these assessments will produce competitive advantage for some CPG companies.

Let’s look at four factors—speed, space, staffing and sustainability—to see how they are changing in this new era:

1. Speed: Speed to market has never been more important. Missing a window can doom a launch, damage retailer relationships and impact brand value. Time-to-market often trumps most other considerations. Beyond simply commercialization speed, the contract manufacturer’s value proposition begins well upstream. Involvement in reducing formulation and package design lifecycles helps identify and shorten critical paths between concept and consumer, shortening concept to market timeframes and increasing customers’ competitive advantage.

2. Space: The spaces needed to innovate today go beyond production and warehouse areas. Development labs, test kitchens, prototype ovens, scaled production lines and small-scale test environments are just some of the new spaces emerging. Virtual spaces for greater customer collaboration are also expanding, as well as the practices for using these new tools. Having the right assets, people and PPE (a balance sheet metric for Property, Plant and Equipment) in the right place at the right time for maximum value / quality combination is more important than ever.

3. Staffing: The simple outsourcing math of swapping one production area and team for another at a lower cost has already been accounted for. The new value is in expanding the concept of staffing to include non-supply chain external value points. What value chain costs and functions outside the traditional supply chain structures can a customer move over to a contract manufacturing partner? This is a complex equation as the customer must either make internal rationalizations to realize these gains—calculating them into the total value of the relationship—or must be able to leverage contract manufacturer resources to manage additional projects, increasing top and bottom line opportunities.

4. Sustainability: This “S” is about much more than being green. It’s about relationship sustainability. The investment in a 3.0 relationship is high for both parties. The initial risks are higher and the ongoing intensity of the relationship requires organization-wide communication, understanding and buy-in. These relationships must produce value over the long term, and must endure on-going organizational changes, to be sustainable. We will look at this impact below.

Continued consolidation ahead

It does not take a crystal ball to predict consolidation. The CPG industry is one of ongoing consolidation at every level. The pressures of this new era however are forcing hard choices. Not every contract manufacturer or customer is willing or able to pursue this higher standard. At the same time, redundant and outmoded capacity is being idled. This will create a net reduction in the number of contract manufacturers and packagers serving the CPG industry.

The bigger consolidation driver, however, will be customer driven. Tighter integration with trusted partners lowers total network costs—but simultaneously increases engagement costs. This relationship intensity requires greater investment on both sides. Customers with a large cadre of contract manufacturers will find this unsustainable. The effects of this, which are already being felt, will be threefold. First, we will see continued and more rapid consolidation of the contract manufacturing sector. Second, small, still independent providers will find niches to survive. Third, suppliers will be stratified into tiers (a structure common in component industries such as automotive and electronics).

Plans for action

If you are contract manufacturer/packager, find more ways to add more value. Take off the blinders, engage with customers in deep listening and challenge your team to think beyond the case. If this were easy, it would already be the status quo. Customers have a major challenge determining what parts of their value chain can be moved outside, the value of doing so, the oversight costs of that move, the methodology for accounting for the move and the cultural adjustments of doing so. In the never ending struggle for value, Co-Man 3.0 represents a challenge and an opportunity for all involved.

Bob Scalia has spent most of the past two decades on the customer side of the contract manufacturing relationship including roles at General Mills, Nabisco, Kraft and the Hershey Co. Now on the vendor side as Hearthside’s svp of business strategy, he has a firsthand view of where the industry has been, its current state and where it is heading.

Deep-drawn aluminum tray protects pharma devices against moisture

Deep-drawn aluminum tray protects pharma devices against moisture

The new Safemax aluminum container from Constantia Flexibles offers a high level of moisture protection for pharmaceutical devices during their global distribution. Designs and formats can be customized for each application. The structure of the deep-drawn tray is aluminum laminated to polypropylene. An easy-peel foil lid helps maintain the required barrier while providing healthcare users with easy access to the device inside.

How will recent pharma M&As impact packaging departments?

How will recent pharma M&As impact packaging departments?
Tim Marsh

The recent wave of mergers and acquisitions among U.S. pharmaceutical companies (Abbvie and Horizon Pharmaceuticals, for example) present implications beyond a more friendly tax structure due to the companies’ new U.K.-based headquarters.

Pharmaceutical packaging expert Tim Marsh, managing director of Marsh Consulting Ltd., sees opportunity and misfortune for packaging departments. Marsh brings more than 22 years of diverse experience in the healthcare sector spanning medical devices, biopharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare. Marsh has held engineering and management positions for Pfizer, B.Braun Medical, Becton Dickinson and St. Gobain.

Packaging Digest asked him: What do you think the implications of this might be for pharmaceutical packaging? Might these companies rethink the packaging suppliers they are using? Or is this simply a change that looks good on paper (the books) with no real impact on packaging decisions?

His reply:

Tim Marsh: I’ve been through several mergers of large pharma while I worked at Pfizer. I came in right after the Warner-Lambert acquisition. Later, I was knee deep in packaging for the Pharmacia and Wyeth acquisitions. The Pharmacia and Wyeth deals were not tax advantage strategies like we’re seeing today. Rather they were about riding the loss-of-exclusivity-cliff to come of some of Pfizer’s blockbusters.

I’ve seen sometimes significant impacts to packaging strategy during M&A and post-integration that presents both misfortune and opportunity. I’ll speak to this from the perspective of someone leading the package and engineering function of the acquiring company. In my opinion, the interesting thing is that, on paper, the tax advantage is just that—largely a financial exercise.

It’s the change in leadership and location of HQ that will impact both companies and, of course, the packaging materials and equipment strategies.

First, there is almost certainly the question of redundancy during the initial planning on acquisition and then throughout the integration, if the deal goes through. Part of the justification for deals of this nature is to scale back on redundant resources. These are typically plants, people and equipment—it all becomes part of excess capacity in the integrated company’s manufacturing network. And the pressure is on to eliminate that excess as strategically as possible—without negative impact to the firm’s core competencies or differentiators in the market.

How does this impact packaging and equipment? It can put on hold or eliminate major programs at both companies for investments in packaging equipment, site and facility upgrades, as well as hiring for open positions. I’ve seen some “not so happy” sales representatives of my suppliers when they were just informed that the spend had been indefinitely been put on hold. Unfortunate for them.

There is an upside for them and their competitors, though. Suppliers know this activity can often force a rethink on strategies for packaging at both companies. They will use this as a means to engage with the merging companies and see if they can become part of the rethink in strategy. For incumbents, it’s time to sharpen their pencils and get creative on demonstrating the value to the merged pharma not to deviate from using them as the supplier.

What usually remains unaffected are launch plans for new drugs and therapies. This packaging investment in equipment, materials, suppliers and related infrastructure generally remain unchanged. No one typically wants to place at risk the launch of a new medicine or therapy. It is after all what pharma is all about and how they are measured by their shareholders. But this is probably a small percentage of the overall manufacturing network that is impacted. Almost all decisions on excess capacity are taken in light of never risking supply to the markets.

The procurement organization will be reviewing the acquired company’s packaging equipment and supply footprint, annual spends and capital allocations. They will be looking for opportunity to leverage any advantages uncovered, and to rationalize or sunset any obvious waste.

From the packaging materials perspective there is always a chance this will necessitate a change in suppliers for direct and indirect materials. Initially, the priority is on secondary packaging supply of cartons, labels, shippers and such. These are more easily moved from one supplier to another than that of primary packaging materials, such as bottles, closures, blister foils and pouches.

Secondary packaging often must go through artwork redesigns to update trade dress, logos and Manufacturer Authorization Holder status. As best they can, the packaging departments, working with their commercial and regulatory colleagues, will go about this as efficiently as possible. For example if they are aware the carton supplier for a given plant will be changing due to the acquisition, the packaging, artwork and procurement departments of the plant will try and coordinate the trade dress and other changes in step with the move from old supplier to new.

This is never easy by the way. And it follows as to why the acquiring company is not typically aggressive initially at reducing headcounts. There is a lot of work to be done and colleagues with knowledge of how to get it done are valuable.

The packaging organization will also focus longer term on harmonizing primary packaging, as the cost advantages can be much more rewarding. Consolidating from five foil suppliers down to two globally, for example, might save on overhead of managing multiple suppliers and pool volumes to generate a higher discount on annual spend. Equipment and locations will also be closely reviewed and have their strategies adjusted to fit a more efficient future state without excess capacity.

One example I can give you is from the Wyeth acquisition in 2009/2010 and how it affected packaging suppliers. With the acquisition came the reinforcement that my role and department “owned” the decisions on anti-counterfeiting and brand protection technologies. There was one program for brand protection just about to kick off for one of the major nutritional products being launched. That program we quickly analyzed and decided to let it proceed so as not to risk launch timing.

I also did a global assessment of technologies, suppliers and spend for the Wyeth products. From that, I noted advantages and innovations that Wyeth’s approach had over Pfizer’s. This then re-shaped some of the purchasing decisions for technologies and suppliers going forward. We sunset some of the Wyeth technologies that were not in line with cost and value from a Pfizer perspective. We also adopted some of the Wyeth approaches we felt were optimal and applied those to new products being launched that required brand protection technology. It was a win for Pfizer, the patients and shareholders, but there were incumbent suppliers to Wyeth who lost out due to this exercise.

The case of the vanishing vacuum

The case of the vanishing vacuum

I was watching a robot filling machine video when I noticed the phone was ringing. When I picked it up it was Helen. "Hi KC, I wasn't sure you were there."

"I'm all here, Helen," I told her. "I was just woolgathering. What's going down?"

"It's my labeler, KC. The vacuum holding the label fades and the label slips. Turning the air up helps for a bit but then it fades again. We are running at twice the recommended pressure and I need help."

"Be there soon," I told her and I was.

She showed me the venturi vacuum generator. It was a venturi using compressed air through a nozzle to create the vacuum. Simple, with no moving parts; they have lots of packaging applications. A sintered metal muffler on the discharge keeps the noise at safe levels.

We stopped the labeler and I got the mechanic to remove the venturi and open it up.

"Fiddlesticks on vanishing vacuum, Helen. There's your problem!" I exclaimed. The inside of the venturi was full of dust restricting the free flow of air. "It looks like the venturi is accumulating ambient dust through the vacuum port and clogging. It's an easy fix. First, clean the venturi and that will hold you for a while. The real fix is a solenoid valve to turn the venturi off when not needed. That will prevent most of this atmospheric dust. Change the muffler in case it is clogged too."

Venturis are fool-resistant but nothing is ever foolproof.

Reduce material and labor costs with automatic sheeter

Reduce material and labor costs with automatic sheeter

The compact automatic sheeter for slip sheets from AZCO Corp. reduces cost by 20% as opposed to using pre-cut sheets. Materials such as corrugated, kraft, plastic, or anti-slip paper can be accomodated without any changeover.The roll is located outside of the safety cage allowing for optimal safety and increased throughput is attained, since the process is continuous upon replacing each new roll.

 The TS-54 slip sheet inserter is easy to use and can be outfitted into any robotic palletized system with zero integration needed. Plug directly into 110vac and 40psi air supply. Once a sheet has been removed, the unit will automatically swap the sheet with another. The slip sheet can then be used to provide stabilization of boxes, bags, cartons, glass or plastic packaging.

Available options include slitter station, eye registration, no product sensor, low product sensor and static eliminator.

Tuna brands make a splash with innovative packaging

Tuna brands make a splash with innovative packaging

Its packaging is iconic—or at least to me. To this day, the classic tuna metal can still evoke a sense of childhood nostalgia in me bringing me back—way back—when my mother would make her infamous tuna casserole. Many, many years later I still enjoy this healthy light meat because of its convenience and low-calories.

While the metal can is not going anywhere anytime soon, U.S.’s Bumble Bee has decided to re-launch its packaging in Ardagh’s cans paying homage to its 1950s heritage and is giving the larger 7 oz Heritage packs a retro look while adding a touch of modern convenience.

Echoing my earlier sentiment, Ardagh’s CEO comments on the packaging campaign:

"Bumble Bee Seafoods wanted to emphasize the 'sharing element' of its offering by reminding 'Baby Boomers' of one of the pleasant and abiding memories of their childhood such as Mom's handmade tuna salad for the family, as well as introducing the product to a new generation of consumers," says James Willich.

He adds: "But the packaging is updated by use of our Easy Open ends, answering the consumer's need for modern convenience."

Across the pond, another leading seafood brand is rolling out new packaging but in a revolutionary way by incorporating traceability. Europe’s John West, which is also using Ardagh’s cans, stresses the importance of sustainability and is now lending its credibility to its new Infusions product line with its “Can Tracker”, which plots the source of every can of tuna back to the ocean.

 Both tuna companies appear to be on trend with the consumer's need for convenience and innovation while still holding on to it's packaging values.

‘Cool’ drops come in an eye-catching, clear bottle

‘Cool’ drops come in an eye-catching, clear bottle

Summer is officially on and that means we are to endure three months of sun and heat—oh, not to mention allergies. While the green grass and fully bloomed flowers are nice to look at, for some of us this time of year marks misery as our eyes are itchy and red from pollen.

Launched just in time for allergy season is Rohto’s Cooling Eye Drops which is available to consumers without the need of a prescription delivering maximum strength redness relief. The fastest growing redness reliever brand popular among Millennials* is packaged in an innovative clear bottle with a unique cooling formula.

Erick Estrada, director of marketing, Eye and Acne Skin Care, The Mentholatum Co., gives Packaging Digest exclusive details on the new packaging:

What design trends does your packaging set in the eye drop market?

Estrada: Rohto Cooling Eye Drops come in an eye-catching, unique clear bottle that has a non-squirting single drop dispenser—the only packaging of its kind on the market. Other eye drops on the market have opaque packaging. Rohto’s clear bottle allows consumers to accurately detect any cloudiness that may occur due to contamination.

What were the key goals and requirements from a marketing view?

Estrada: To develop an iconic package that is edgy, trendy and attractive enough to use in public.

From a packaging view?

Estrada: The package requirements:

  • Be easy to use (open/close mechanism , single dose dispenser)
  • Portable (fit in consumers’ pockets, handbags, etc.)
  • Show product condition (clear bottle to see if product is ok to use or contaminated)
  • Be aesthetically pleasant

*Source: Rohto August, 2012 Quantitative Study