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Confidence returns to label market

Confidence returns to label market

Personalization and short runs continue to grow, as brand owners ask their labels to do more to engage consumers.

As Labelexpo Americas closed its doors in the fall of 2012, there was no denying that the buzz generated around it heralded the North American label industry’s recovery from the biggest economic downturn since the 1930’s Great Depression. But when we say recovery, we cannot imply that the North American label market will be posting projected growth in double digit figures. No, those days are long gone.

Why? At its simplest, the North American market (particularly the U.S. and Canada) has reached near full maturity. Unlike emerging economies such as Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Mid-East, which have a younger demographic and burgeoning middle class with an increasing disposable income, North America has condensed its growth prospects by trailblazing its way there already through ferocious, fast-paced developments and massive consumption demand. North America is the third largest label market behind Asia and Europe. So, while everyone else is playing follow the leaders, that leaves North America with little room for movement, right? Wrong.

First, let’s look at the projected growth rates. Various market research agencies predict label demand to increase somewhere between 2.1% (source: AWA Alexander Watson Associates) and 4.2$ by 2017 (source: The Freedonia Group). Perfectly respectable, when you also consider that AWA said in its same report that the global label market as a whole grew at 3.8 percent during 2011-2012. So where is the opportunity for converters in North America to grow their businesses inside and outside of the current confines of the label market?

The lines are increasingly blurring between the package printing and label printing sectors. The label is swiftly evolving beyond just being a plain vehicle for carrying the required basic, simple and sometimes tedious information about the product it adorns. The label is being voraciously embraced as an important tool in the brand owner’s armory and is playing a progressively vital role in communicating with the customer.

The label’s role has advanced as it is used as a mechanism to engage and wow the customer; an optimum channel to create brand loyalty and leverage sales. The label is giving the product an identity, a voice and, more importantly, the chance to form an emotive, personal attachment with the end user. Brands and products are becoming old friends and revolutionizing consumer behavior patterns as a pull, rather than push, sales and marketing culture and mentality develops.

How is this being achieved? Through the power of personalization and short-run printing jobs.

Personalization pays off

We’ve seen this phenomena already spread across Europe in 2013 after having started off in Australia. Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has paved the way for this upward trend with its hugely successful Share a Coke marketing campaign. The household name has breathed new life into its products by swapping its name with the consumer’s. The campaign—which replaced “Coca Cola” on the bottle with one of the 150 most popular first names in the European countries where the drink is sold—caught the shopper’s imagination and motivated them to actively seek out their own name or a friend or relative’s and ultimately generated an impulsive sale. Such was its initial success. Coca-Cola has again rolled out an enlarged project in Europe to, this time, incorporate 1,000 names, as well as launching it for the first time in the United States in the summer of 2014.

The campaign was the talk of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Coca Cola only succeeded in pulling off its foray into personalization by meticulous planning. HP Indigo digital printing presses played a key role in getting the products to market as they enabled hundreds of millions of labels to be produced. The labels were first conventionally printed on gravure or flexo presses but were left with a blank panel and pre-registration mark for later overprinting on an HP Indigo WS6600 press. Overseen by Netherlands-based Eshuis, the complex and highly coordinated production process was undertaken by eight converters across Europe who were each kitted out and prepared with the same press model to ensure consistent quality on the finished product. This sheer scale and level of innovation involved in the assignment deservedly earned Eshuis the European Converter of the Year Award at the 2013 Label Industry Global Awards.

Such creativity and ambition has not gone unnoticed by other national and international brands. Heinz had previously run a similar, albeit less grand scheme on Facebook allowing users to personalize cans of its tomato and chicken soup varieties with “Get Well” messages.

In early 2014, Tic Tac joined the fold by launching its “Shake It Up” campaign, which features its microsite. Choosing from 13 flavors, customers can create and customize virtual packs online—complete with their own name label to reflect their personal taste.

Such activities have also been adopted by the private label sector too with retailer Asda’s “Chosen by You” program offering shoppers the chance to actively participate in the design of the product and its packaging, whilst simultaneously being encouraged to interact with other consumers via Twitter.

Info exchange

While consumer interaction aids such as QR (quick response) codes are more widely used across packaging, the label’s purpose and function in this objective is fast catching up. Brand owners want to use the entire label’s surface to maximum affect to communicate with and engage their target audience. Drilling down from product personalization to making more information available and accessible to running promotional offers, labels in their design and content are becoming an ever more sophisticated source of data collection and way of building and nurturing brand loyalty.

Business and revenue growth for the label converter comes from sourcing and offering the best materials that the present day and tomorrow have to offer. Having the best tools and most flexible solutions available are the key to their ultimate survival and success. The short-run job is here to stay and will continue to grow its popularity and use with brand owners and label buyers as they look for the quickest and most effective route to market to capitalize on every dollar spent. Brands are fast realizing that, to win and keep their share of the market whether it be foods, beverages, cosmetics or general household items, they need to maximize the consumer’s experience, tap into their individuality and foster a community at a progressively localized level.

The printer or converter needs to upscale their relationship with their material and technology suppliers and partners. Feedback from the industry demonstrates the growing expectancy from brand owners for their printers to automatically have all of the answers and solutions at their fingertips. Those who forge close relationships with industry manufacturers will be best equipped to win those large and small contracts if they have an understanding of what the actual consumer wants and can supply the materials to enable their customer to, in turn, reach the end user.

So while for the time being the staple pressure-sensitive label substrate remains king and dominates, converters need to start championing other labeling methods in primary packaging—such as in-mold, heat-shrink and stretch-sleeve labels.

According to the Freedonia Group, heat-shrink labels will experience the fastest gains through to 2017 due to their ability to form-fit contoured containers and 360-degree surface area for maximum product decoration coverage. Paper-based label stocks will continue to command the lion’s share of substrate production, but plastic stock will dent its domination with the shift in packaging materials using more plastic in their makeup. Demand for glue-applied labels is expected to continue in its decline while the appetite for active and intelligent labeling and packaging solutions is on course to expand to 8%.

What of technology trends? Freedonia’s studies signal that, although flexography remains the leading label printing technology, digital printing will see double-digit growth into 2017 as it continues to oust more traditional methods such as lithography.

These market trend predictions provide useful insight into how the label market is moving and responding to consumers and brand owners. One thing companies can be sure of, though, is that they cannot stand still. North America is one of the pioneers in the global label market and will continue to do what it does best—innovate and trail blaze.

Tasha Ventimiglia is the Americas event director for Labelexpo Americas and the Latin American Label Summits in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. She has been working with Labelexpo for 12 years and has seen Labelexpo grow over the years into a highly regarded, international trade show. Ventimiglia is heavily involved with the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute and graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing.

Multi-touch meets multi-core

Multi-touch meets multi-core

Designed for cabinet installation, Beckhoff Automation's CP22xx series combines the advantages of a modern multi-touch interface with high-performance multi-core processors for automation and control applications. Equipped with powerful multi-core CPUs—Intel Celeron, Core i3, i5 (all with 2 cores) or  i7 (4 cores) of the 3rd and 4th generation—the CP22xx Panel PCs achieve maximum computing power for the most demanding industrial applications. Adding to the flexibility of the CP22xx series is a range of available screen sizes from 12- to 24-in. so the most challenging control and HMI tasks can be solved while precisely matching the devices to application-specific requirements.

Beckhoff Automation, 952-890-0000

Guerlain dazzles with new compact

Guerlain dazzles with new compact

To mark its 30th anniversary of compact powder, the prestigious luxury skincare, cosmetics and fragrance purveyor, Guerlain,  has rolled out a brilliant bronzing powder —Terracotta Sun Celebration. The long-standing House of Guerlain partnered up with Technotraf Wood Packaging to design and manufacture the sustainably-sourced beech wood compact, which boasts a rich, dark brown silky smooth finish.

The compact also incorporates a magnetic twist closure. The twist and click movement is completely intuitive for the consumer.

The top has a mirror designed for convenience. The sunburst powder design is replicated on a gold anodized plaque fixed to the top of the compact, for a look that’s exudes extravagance.

Weed killer 'eliminates' packaging space

Weed killer 'eliminates' packaging space

The Eliminator Weed & Grass Killer from Pennington Seed is set to be re-launched in a new packaging format that has a battery-powered sprayer included in the primary packaging. This new offering provides customers the added benefit of convenience in lieu of conventional pump sprayers. Conventional packages often have sprayers in a separate compartment alongside the primary package which requires more space on the filling line and in the shipping cases.

Partnering alongside Pennington is TricorBraun. Together, they created a trimmer, sleeker package configuration that passes filling lines and utilizes space better.

Prior to the new packaging, TricorBraun delved into other sprayer packaging concepts on the market and came up with multiple ideas of integrated packages, leaving Pennington to choose the final design.

While creating the packaging, TricorBraun took the battery-operated sprayer supplied by MeadWestvaco (MWV) that Pennington planned to use and designed a 1.25-gallon primary package structure with sole indentations into which the sprayer nozzle and trigger could burrow and then offset the bottle handle to house the sprayer handle.

TricorBraun was able to design and control the very constricted tolerances that make the nesting of the sprayer work as a result of it building the package mold at its Cal-West Tool & Mold facility.

The design team also worked alongside CKS Packaging Inc., which blows the bottle, to successfully manage blowing the unusual bottle configuration. The mold is also built to produce a flash of material in the bottle’s handle area during molding through which a cable tie is passed that keeps the sprayer securely in place through shipping and shelving in the retail store.

Once the consumer purchases, they cut the tie to release the sprayer, but then can hook the trigger through the flash to keep the sprayer in place between applications. In use, the sprayer’s flow tube snaps into an opening in the bottle closure (which accompanies the MWV sprayer).

Two New Pouch Converting Systems from CMD Offer Process-Driven Innovation and Intelligent Sealing Technology

Two New Pouch Converting Systems from CMD Offer Process-Driven Innovation and Intelligent Sealing Technology

CMD announces two new pre-made pouch machines with process-driven innovation and proprietary Intelligent Sealing Technology. The 760-C Custom Bag/Pouch System produces 2-side-seal bags or pouches from center-folded material, as well as side-gusseted bottom-seal bags from tube-stock at speeds up to 100 cycles per minute; the 760-PPS Security Bag System makes many configurations of security and bank bags at production rates in excess of 100 cycles per minute.

“Converting flat sheeting into a useable packaging format is a complex combination of multiple processes,” says Scott Fuller, CMD product line manager for intermittent-motion pouch and bag converting systems. “Rather than force the process into a pre-determined machine footprint and design, CMD has taken a unique, process-first approach.”

CMD’s Intelligent Sealing Technology is an example of this approach. Balanced tension control technologies, and an open-web approach to auxiliary web application, as found on CMD’s PPS Security Pouch System, are additional examples of developing a system around the process, rather than the other way around. The results are dramatic reductions in process waste, reduced set-up down-time, and verifiable pouch quality.

CMD introduced Intelligent Sealing Technology in 2008 to the medical packaging market. It is now standard on all pouch machines. This propriety technology combines mechanical and electronic controls innovation to carefully maintain and document the three critical sealing parameters of time, temperature, and pressure. Pouch converters can now verify their process and meet the quality standards required for medical and food safety standards – and have the science to prove it.

CMD designs and manufactures high-performance equipment for the plastic converting industry, including pre-made pouch converting systems and patented, high-speed converting lines for plastic bags and film. Custom engineering, process validation and machine optimization services are offered from the 43,000 sq. ft. dedicated Technology Center. CMD serves a global marketplace through a network of sales and service associates worldwide. Equipment is manufactured to exacting standards at USA facilities.

New Vermont GMO labeling law fuels debate

New Vermont GMO labeling law fuels debate

The debate over mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in foods heated up when Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed HB 112 into law on May 8, 2014. The new law requires the labeling of food produced entirely or partially from GMOs by July 1, 2016.

Vermont’s GMO labeling law is the first with an effective date. Connecticut and Maine passed laws mandating GMO labeling; however, those laws have implementation schemes that are conditional on neighboring states passing similar legislation. Connecticut H.B. 6527 was enacted June 25, 2013, but does not become effective until four other states—including one that boarders Connecticut—adopt similar legislation. Maine H.B. 490 was enacted Jan. 12, 2014, and requires four other contiguous states to adopt GMO labeling requirements before it takes effect. Numerous other states have GMO legislation pending, however, none has passed yet.

The Vermont GMO labeling law does provide some exemptions, including food derived from animals fed GMO food, processed food that contains processing aids or enzymes produced with genetic engineering, alcoholic beverages, food containing less than 0.9 percent by weight of materials produced with genetic engineering, food intended for immediate human consumption or food served in restaurants, and medical food. 

Liability for failing to properly label food containing GMOs may result in civil penalties of $1,000.00 per day per product. Consumers would be entitled to a private right of action to enforce violations of any regulations promulgated.

In drafting the bill, Vermont legislators anticipated that there would be legal challenges. As a result, the law establishes a $1.5 million legal fund to pay costs or liabilities incurred in implementation and administration of the law. The same day that the legislation was signed into law, the Grocery Manufacturers Assn (GMA) issued a press release calling the new law “critically flawed” and announcing that it plans on filing suit in federal court against the state of Vermont to overturn the law.

GMA, along with the Snack Food Assn, the International Dairy Foods Assn and the National Assn of Manufacturers subsequently filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont on June 12 seeking to declare the Vermont GMO labeling law invalid on the ground that it violates the United States Constitution.

A major concern with state GMO labeling laws is they will result in higher food costs for consumers. A Cornell University study, released in May 2014, estimated that a proposed mandatory GMO labeling bill in New York would cost a family of four an average of $224 per year. Studies on the costs to consumers of a mandatory GMO labeling ballot initiative introduced in California in 2012 and one introduced in Washington State in 2013 were estimated to be $348 to $401 in California and $360 to $490 in Washington State for a family of four.

Moreover, according to the Cornell study, “The labeling change if evoked will be so large as to cause food system changes which cannot be fully predicted at this time but surveys and experiences from Europe suggest that labeled GM products are more likely to disappear over time.”

Federal law does not currently require GMO labeling since FDA has determined that the existing regulatory framework provides the agency with sufficient authority to ensure safety and that GMO ingredients do not inherently pose special safety or health risks to human beings that would require consumer notification. 

Concern about differing state GMO labeling laws led to the April 2014 introduction of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 (H.R. 4432) in Congress. The act, which has bipartisan support, would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish premarket notification requirements for a bioengineered organism intended for a food use application. It also would give sole authority to FDA to require mandatory labeling on GMO food, if such food is found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without GMO ingredients.

Significantly, H.R. 4432 would preempt any state laws that mandate the labeling of food that contains or is derived from GMO ingredients. This bill is supported by the food and biotech industries since, according to GMA, it would remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50-state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws and affirm FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling of genetically modified food ingredients.

Labelexpo celebrates 25 years as a new technology showcase

Labelexpo celebrates 25 years as a new technology showcase

While created for label converters, Labelexpo is also attracting brand owners who are intent on learning about new package printing and decorating options.

Scheduled for Sept. 9-11 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, in Rosemont, IL, Labelexpo Americas 2014 is the largest label and package printing tradeshow serving the North and South American markets. More than 400 exhibitors will tout their technologies across the 194,000-sq ft show floor.

New features of the event include:

• The Inkjet Trail puts a number of available inkjet technologies to the test, as it compares results when producing identical label designs on the same label stocks.

• Smart Mart will display the latest smart and interactive label technologies, including quick response (QR) codes and augmented reality.

• The Craft Beverage Day addresses special concerns of artisan beer, wine and spirit producers.

• The brand owners’ master class features industry experts.

• The Package Printing Workshop will show label printers how to diversify into folding cartons and flexible packaging. The one-hour sessions will take place at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on each day of the show.

Economical foil decoration now commercialized for digital printing

Economical foil decoration now commercialized for digital printing
Digital Metal foil decorating via digital printing.

To visually enhance digitally printed packaging, a new decoration technique economically applies foil to paper and paperboard packaging and labels—even for short runs. And because Digital Metal from Leonhard Kurz is part of the digital printing process, it can also be used to personalize or customize packages, as well as can be used for serialization for track-and-trace and/or anti-counterfeiting applications.

According to the company, the transfer technology allows partial metallization and achieves a high-gloss level that metallic inks can’t reach. The application process is done in three steps. First, the desired design is printed onto paper/board materials (up to 90 and 350 grams per square meter and in formats from 210 x 297 to 390 x 500 mm) using dry or liquid toner. Second, the Digital Metal foil is laminated onto those preprinted areas. Third, the package is digitally printed and, if required, lacquered. Overprinting produces a variety of half-tone effects.

Digital Metal foil is available in gold or silver, as well as diffractive designs with a rainbow color play or holographic continuous structures.

Ecommerce/Supply Chain

Is a sustainable supply chain an obligation or necessity?

Is a sustainable supply chain an obligation or necessity?
We’ve seen significant movement in the food bags segment towards sustainability.

Over the past decade, sustainability across industries has evolved and grown in importance. Most organizations that once felt it was something they needed to do to meet their social, legal and regulatory responsibilities, today consider improving sustainability of their supply chain as a strategic area of focus, and the packaging industry is no exception to this trend. In fact, the industry has received greater interest from both consumers and stakeholders alike, due to its high visibility.

This article focuses on sustainability issues throughout various packaging formats and explains the importance and necessity of sustainability, as well as the ways packaging professionals go about achieving it.

The brand equation

What drives sustainability in the packaging industry and how does it impact decisions/strategies of brands?

Consumer preference is a major driver of sustainable packaging. This is especially true for companies operating in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market. Packaging is a critical component which helps communicate the brand’s image and identity. When designed properly, packaging is an effective tool to differentiate their product, build brand loyalty and to reach out to new consumers.

As global awareness on sustainability grows, more consumers are looking for additional information on environmental impact of their packages and prefer packages that offer clear and well-defined environmental benefits. In a survey conducted by Cone Communications,  more than 80 percent of the respondents claim that sustainability is important for their purchase decision and would like the package to define the right way to use the product and dispose of it. Now that is a reliable number that shows sustainability is a serious purchasing decision driver and game changer.

Packaging is being effectively used as a communication strategy to convey the sustainability message to the consumers. This is not only informative but has the capability to influence the purchase decision.

Sustainability initiatives of a company directly affect its brand image. Also, sustainable packaging can act as a differentiator in a tough marketplace and enhance the company’s reputation. Surveys conducted have shown that sustainability is major concern for CPG players when compared to other industries (60 percent of CPG companies consider sustainability as a major factor when compared to 40 percent for other industries). Companies will have to change their packaging designs as more and more consumers begin to see the value offered by sustainable packaging.

Major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have well defined sustainability goals for packaging materials. For example some of the 2020 targets set by Unilever for improving the sustainability of its packages include reducing packaging weight by a third, maximizing recycled content in their packages, and improving the recycling and recovery rates by 5 percent by 2015 and by 15 percent by 2020, in their top 14 countries of operations.

As of 2013, Unilever’s achievements in this regard include 11 percent weight reduction per consumer use, a 7 percent increase in recycling and recovery rates, and use of 3,204 tons of post-consumer recycled materials.

Suppliers who can help brand owners accomplish their sustainability targets will be given preference when considered for sourcing. Further, suppliers who have proactively invested in supporting sustainability measures will find themselves with better business opportunities when compared to their peers.

Regulatory concerns

Environmental sustainability and its regulations are a major concern for governments.

Many regulations already exist for the manufacture and use of packaging products. Regulations are becoming increasingly demanding which ban the use of certain materials and can also influence the markets. For example, the New York City Council has passed a ban on polystyrene foam food containers, which will go into effect July 1, 2015.

Regulations can also affect the weight of the packaging materials used. The Canadian province of Ontario has set the maximum weight of 750ml wine bottles at 420 grams. Heavier bottles are being penalized. Government regulations that subsidize or provide tax benefits to certain packaging types are likely to see an increase in adoption rate.

Does it make cents?

Cost, cost, cost. Everyone wants a good deal. How does sustainability fit into the equation?

Environmental sustainability and profitability of a company can go hand in hand. For instance, during the economic downturn, consumers were not willing to spend more and packaging companies were pushed to reduce costs. During this time, though sustainability was a consideration, cost was the primary decision maker for most companies. This meant that innovations that reduced costs while improving sustainability gained prominence. As more companies begin adopting these innovations, competitors, too, were forced to initiate sustainability measures of their own.

This concept is true throughout various end use industries and in various packaging formats. Take the films category in the flexible packaging industry for example. Innovation is being driven both on sustainability and cost fronts so as to bring out the best package which can meet market's needs.

One of the major packaging providers, Mondi Packaging (with revenues of US$5.8 billion) has recently come out with a film named PreFoamPack, which it showcased at the German trade fair FachPack in September 2013. This multilayer co-extruded film with micro-cellular expanded cellular layer reduces the weight while maintaining resistance properties and thickness. The company claims that the raw material usage is reduced by almost 20 percent, which will give significant cost savings as well as sustainability advantages.

For a procurement manager or any buyer of packaging supplies, the decision falls in the area of right supplier selection. Most of the companies have stringent sustainability targets that they have to meet; however, finding the right balance between cost benefits and the environmental impact is of paramount importance. The decision needs to be considered based on the past experience of the supplier in terms of innovation and the current success of the same in maintaining a good sustainability score.

Weighing pros and cons

Where and how is sustainability achieved today?

Down-gauging or reducing weight--which helps in reducing the input costs and environmental impact--is an important trend noticeable in the industry. Further gains are obtained when one considers the reduced transportation costs and carbon footprint in the downstream supply chain. This trend is notable in all corners of the world--even in emerging markets.

However, it is easier said than done, especially in industries such as Beer and Prestige Cosmetics, where the weight of a glass bottle, for example, acts as favorable consumer perception and reducing weight may result in lost sales.

In areas such as FMCG, packaged drinking water, FBT and CPG where products and their packaging formats are fairly standard, reducing basis weight may be the simplest way to achieve sustainability as well as cost targets. But in such situations, the procurement team has to exercise caution, as the amount of raw material used in a package will not only reduce the thickness of the package, but may also affect the shelf life of the product. This is especially true if the product packaged inside is a perishable product such as juices.

Another major initiative from the supplier’s side has been to reduce and recycle waste generated. Some innovations have also focused on finding new applications for the generated waste, when recycling is not feasible. For example, U.K.-based paper manufacturer James Cropper has developed a technology to turn shells of cocoa beans into paper.

Companies are also trying to increase the amount of recycled content in their packages. RPET based containers have been developed that can contain up to 100 percent recycled content. Solo, an American packaging provider, has introduced the Bare RPET deli container, which contains 20 percent recycled content.

Changing the packaging material or material substitution can significantly reduce the environmental impact. Standard materials are being replaced with non-toxic, lower weight, biodegradable, reusable and recyclable alternatives. The industry has seen a shift in the consumer packaging industry where PVC (chlorine based) is being replaced with PET. Bio-plastics are growing significantly to the increase in demand for sustainable solutions with a growth rate of more than 20 percent and their production is expected to increase from 1.39 million tons in 2012 to 6.18 million tons by 2017.

We’ve also seen significant movement in the food bags segment towards sustainability.

For any procurement organization, the main decision related to packaging sustainability will revolve around these five major areas.

1. Source: Where exactly do we need to source the raw material?

2. Process of manufacturing—and how sustainable is manufacturing itself?

3. Material usage—what material is being used in the package and how is the consumer using the package?

4. Distribution—how to distribute the products and how sustainable is the distribution process?

5. Tail end of the life cycle—what happens to the package when its use has been completed? Can it be recycled or does it go to waste?

The most sustainable packaging option is not as simple as using recyclable or renewable materials or choosing the option that weighs the least. Polylactic acid (PLA), a common bio-plastic used to manufacture bottles, is made from corn and other renewable resources. However, when we consider its current end of life handling processes, its sustainability advantages are significantly reduced. 

Any package has to be evaluated across its entire life cycle: from sourcing raw materials to recycling, recovery or disposal. The design and development of packaging often involves sustainability trade-offs. Procurement organizations need to incorporate a total life-cycle approach for the packaging required and need to identify where in the life cycle they can incorporate sustainability options.

Sustainability is the need of the hour as illustrated by the various industry cases and cannot be ignored. And as the saying goes, “necessity will be the mother of innovation”.

Bharath Satya Y is a Research Analyst with Beroe Inc., a global provider of customized procurement services specializing in sourcing, supply chain visibility, financial risk analysis and environmental impact to Fortune 500 organizations. He specializes in tracking various rigid packaging categories, including containers, closures and parenteral packaging. Satya Y earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (Pilani). He can be reached at

Hovis goes green with sugarcane-based bag

Hovis goes green with sugarcane-based bag

The new Seed Sensations bread bag from Hovis Ltd. is made almost entirely from renewable polyethylene (PE)—a first in the market.

The company worked alongside Amcor Flexibles who developed the sugarcane-based bag to deliver a 75% lower product carbon footprint than the former traditional bread bags made with plastic from non-renewable fossil sources and also to gain official certification. To coincide with this re-launch, Hovis will be communicating its Carbon Trust certification on the packaging by having an on-pack flash which communicates its lower carbon footprint and commitment to sustainability.

“The Hovis brand has always stood for goodness and healthy products. From its launch, we have focused on the nutritional benefits of the wheatgerm,” Richard McQuillan, Hovis marketing manager, tells Packaging Digest. “When Amcor presented the renewable PE project to us, we saw an obvious fit for Hovis as we look for ways in which we can reduce environmental impacts through packaging format changes.”

When asked about step to certification, Russell Granville, product development manager, Amcor Flexibles Europe & Americas (Produce & Bakery), tells Packaging Digest that the very first step was the successful certification by the Carbon Trust of Amcor's Advanced Sustainability Stewardship Evaluation Tool (ASSET) in May 2012. The next step was to then work specifically with The Carbon Trust to validate the carbon footprint for the new Hovis Seed Sensations renewable PE bread bag. They also worked with a company called Beta Analyticals in London. Beta Analyticals is able to technically evaluate films and validate/confirm that they are made from renewable PE.  

The premium Seed Sensations bread bag is the first in the Hovis product range to be launched with this new packaging format.