Swiss packaging expert SIG head of sustainability and digital marketing Bojan Buric Heler tells Packaging Gateway about the value behind connected packaging and how SIG is contributing to the market with its new digital closure product, 'One Cap, One Code'.
In today’s on-demand and digitalised world, consumers are more connected and informed than ever. They know what they want, how they want it, and who they want it from.
As digital consumers and connected spenders adopt new behaviours and communication channels, brands are having to work even harder to reach, understand and engage them.
Businesses need packaging solutions that can easily provide valuable product data in real time to assist in supply chain quality and control.
Swiss packaging expert SIG head of sustainability and digital marketing Bojan Buric Heler tells Packaging Gateway about the value behind connected packaging and how SIG is contributing to the market with its new digital closure product, ‘One Cap, One Code’.
In this highly competitive market, connected packaging has emerged as an effective way for food and beverage producers to connect with consumers. Solutions like scannable QR codes are being utilised more and more on consumer products – turning physical packs into interactive tools.
All of this is so consumers can access the information they want, while brands can build trust and recognition.
Connected packaging is an incredible opportunity for companies to play a bigger role in consumers’ lives. Through interactive functionalities and enhanced user experiences, brands can offer real value to consumers.
Tracking and interacting
With higher competitive pressure and consumer demands, businesses need to find new ways to reliably manage their entire supply chain, from source to shelf.
HKScan, which sells over eight million Scan Falukorv sausages every year in Sweden alone. has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions target by 2025 – and aims to achieve a carbon neutral food chain by the end of 2040.
Mondi used its EcoSolutions approach to collaborate with HKScan’s R&D team to provide the right barrier paper without requiring any changes to its existing production lines. The new packaging now comprises of renewable materials and is made with responsibly sourced paper and bio-based plastic.
The paper is sourced, coated and printed in Sweden, so transportation is kept to a minimum. Thanks to its majority paper content, the new packaging can be disposed of in Swedish paper recycling streams. Mondi’s solution ensures the Scan Falukorv sausage remains fresh and intact in transportation, and the packaging provides excellent print quality for attractive presentation on the shelves.
Maria Häger, director quality & environment HKScan Sweden, said: “Reducing our environmental footprint is one of our most important priorities at HKScan. The barrier paper from Mondi is a valuable piece of the jigsaw puzzle, enabling us to proudly announce this new, recyclable packaging for our Falukorv sausage, reducing its CO2 impact from the previous solution by 70%. This represents a vital step in our sustainability journey and is helping us get closer to achieving our climate targets of achieving a carbon neutral food chain by the end of 2040.”
Jonas Fridberg, business solutions manager, functional paper and films, Mondi added: “Our aim is always to develop fit-for-purpose packaging that is sustainable by design. Our work with HKScan to facilitate their switch to recyclable and renewable paper packaging for Scan Falukorv 800 g is a great example of that. It has led to a significant reduction in carbon impact, with no change in the consumer experience, and that is truly something to be celebrated.”
The company is launching a range of in-house designed capping machinery, alongside bottle unscramblers and pump and trigger feeding systems as part of its complete system offering for the design and installation of bespoke filling lines and automated packing line solutions.
It is looking to cater for a variety of end markets including FMCG, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food & beverage, chemical and automotive.
ATS Packaging Machinery is being headed by technical sales and product manager Richard Aitchison, who has over 25 years’ experience in capital equipment sales, with the past decade working on sales of a variety of packaging machinery throughout the world including Europe, India, China and North America.
Adrian Gander, ATS managing director, said: “We are very excited to be further expanding our operations with the opening of the packaging machinery division. In particular, Richard’s wide-ranging experience will be invaluable in helping customers meet their specific packing requirements with efficient, value-adding solutions.”
Mitsubishi HiTec Paper produces recyclable barrier papers with water-based coatings for food and non-food packaging under the brand name barricote®. In the EU, the so-called SUPD (Single Use Plastic Directive) has created a great deal of uncertainty for this innovative and sustainable packaging material, on which we would like to take a position, as follows
The agency was tasked to ensure the new design would clearly communicate the usage, proven formula, benefits and key difference to the rest of the Vosene portfolio whilst moving to a brand new format.
Based on a creative positioning of ‘Show your inner glow’, the pack design focuses on the positive way Vosene shampoo will make you feel.
The glossy droplet eludes to the benefit of the product and the variant name is positioned on pack to cue a smile.
The pack design features a ‘Clinically proven’ icon to reassure consumers of the results. The iconic green remained on pack for consumer recognition and ‘Since 1949’ was introduced into the droplet on pack to highlight the incredible heritage of Vosene.
Alan Gilbody, founder and director at Slice Design, said: “It was key that our new proposed design helped drive a strong visual differentiation versus the other Vosene shampoo variants whilst also ensuring that this iconic brand stayed recognisable to its loyal consumers.”
The new design features a logo and hand drawn typeface, and a distinctive illustrated chef’s hat icon is supported by a bespoke typeface featuring soft, round letterforms.
We Launch also created a set of vibrant stickers featuring illustrations and more unique typography to further expand the ownable assets that Baked In could utilise across all its touchpoints.
Stuart Lang, founder and creative Director, We Launch, said: “We wanted to create something for Baked In that was more reflective of who the brand is and what it does. The products it sells create a sense of playfulness that really wasn’t brought through fully in the previous brand identity. By focusing on what makes home baking fun, and incorporating the handmade element into our work through illustration and a bespoke type, we sought to capture the essence of the Baked In brand experience across every channel.”
Joseph Munns, founder, Baked In, added: “We Launch have captured the spirit of what our products set out to do and our ethos of happiness being homemade. We are all about the fun, wellbeing and connection that baking brings. The new handcrafted creatives perfectly encapsulates that feeling. We’re extremely excited about sharing the new look with our customers and to hopefully get even more people involved with our kits.”
Recently, we debuted a line of tethered caps—fitments that are more likely to be recycled because they stay attached to their packaging. Our tethered caps were the result of years of research, but not all our innovations start within. Sometimes, new ideas come through our longstanding partnerships.
We’ve been working with Materne since 2007. We’re their exclusive packaging supplier and developed a sustainable pouch for their GoGo squeeZ® line of healthy snacks for kids. In January of 2020, they set a goal to shift towards 100% recyclable packaging by 2022. To help meet that goal, Materne asked us to make a custom fitment for GoGo squeeZ pouches.
“About 50% of our fitments are driven by customer requests,” says Tony Bloedt, Director of Global Fitment Development for Scholle IPN. “Materne requested a fitment that would reduce product weight by 30% and comply with new EU regulations.” Given this brief, we developed the Amerigo, a snap-on cap that exceeded the initial request: we were able to cut product weight by 41.8%, remove unnecessary threading that slowed down manufacturing, and create a fitment that’s easy and safe to use for children.
The Journey to Amerigo
The Amerigo initially started as a challenge from Materne, which was an exciting prospect for Bloedt and his team. “It’s very compelling to get requests from our partners because there are not that many companies in our industry bringing new products to market,” he says. “Because we’re a technology company, we don’t always get direct consumer feedback, so not only do these requests help us understand how customers interact with our products, but they tell us the broader needs of consumers.”
Bloedt began working on the Amerigo four years ago, starting with a simple brief: to make a fitment that weighed less than their current fitment and meets EU regulations.
“The way this process works is we take the request from our customer,” he says, “whether it’s for a fitment of a certain shape, or a request to reduce total material weight, or just to make something different. Then, we generate a few design concepts, and we introduce them to the customer.”
Bloedt began by making prototypes of fitments, experimenting with new ways to cut product weight. Prototypes were tested internally through a process called Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA), which Bloedt likens to “kicking the tires on a new design,” to figure out if a prototype can perform reliably and identify potential flaws.
The process of making a new fitment isn’t linear. It requires constant back-and-forth, and Bloedt regularly solicited feedback from Materne. Eventually, they were able to narrow down potential fitment designs and brought them to consumers for field testing. They collected insights from users, continued testing new prototypes, and landed on a fitment that exceeded expectations.
A New Solution With Unexpected Results
With the Amerigo, we took creative and unexpected approaches to reducing product weight. As they worked on prototypes, Bloedt and his team of engineers created a design that allowed for the removal of the threads by utilizing a smoother, snap-on function.
“Typically this type of fitment has a spout that sticks out where you screw the cap on, and you have to do this during filling,” Bloedt says. “You’d have to rotate the fitment at least 180 degrees. With the new design, the fitment just snaps on. There’s no rotating, and there’s no screwing mechanism required. Not only did they cut down on weight by removing the threading, but that also simplified the assembly process.”
In the end, we were able to create a model that weighed 41.8% less than their existing fitment, surpassing the 30% benchmark that Materne set. Along with making a lighter fitment, the simplified design was ergonomically beneficial for children, who wouldn’t have to turn and screw in the top. By eliminating the threading, the GoGo squeeZ products were easier to consume and more enjoyable for consumers. “Removing the threading gives a much smoother mouthfeel, leading to a better consumer experience,” Bloedt says.
We have already placed 500 million fitments into the market throughout Europe and North America. Over the next year, Materne intends to insert over two billion more of these fitments into the market.
Our new line of tethered caps represents a nexus of sustainable design. The tethered caps are single-piece fitments designed to ensure that there are no loose pieces and engineered to cut down on raw materials. They are compliant with EU legislation, child-safe, provide an improved ergonomic experience, and are up to 50% lighter than traditional pouch fitments.
A New Chapter in Fitment Design
Scholle IPN has always been a global leader in fitment design. Tethered caps are the latest addition to our portfolio of innovative flexible packaging solutions.
“The Scholle IPN LinkCap™ family is a new development category that relates to the global sustainability drive and is a direct response to customer demands for tethered cap solutions,” says Tony Bloedt, head of global fitment development for Scholle IPN. “We took this a step further by creating innovative designs that enable reduction of source material in combination with adding tethered features that reduce ocean waste.”
Caps get lost easily. Losing the top of a bottle not only means that the top won’t get recycled, but could render what’s inside the package unusable or dangerous. Our team of engineers, scientists, and designers wanted to come up with a solution that addressed sustainability on multiple fronts, and came up with three revolutionary designs meant to pair well with any flexible package solution:
Our patented snap-on cap design is easy to use for all ages. These caps consume less energy during manufacturing, assembly, and sealing than traditional caps. “The snap-on cap design simplifies manufacturability of tethered cap solutions,” Bloedt says, “while at the same time improves consumer experience through easy-off cap opening.” Snap-On caps are ideal for single-use pouches intended for direct consumption, like fruit purees for kids.
The flip-top cap is ideal for one-handed use. Compatible with our HFFS filling machines, the flip-top is a single-piece tether and spout with an integrated tamper evident seal. Flip-top caps are great for products like water, motor oil, and condiments, where consumers can see that the tether has not been tampered with while still being able to easily open and close the top.
Our screw-on caps are lightweight and offer a reduction in source materials to produce. The tethered hinge means that the cap won’t interrupt the flow of product, which is critical for products like motor oil and dish soap.
Going Above and Beyond
We began working on tethered caps as a response to new EU regulations mandating that all caps be attached to plastic bottles by 2024. This mandate aligned with Scholle IPN’s dedication to sustainability, but we didn’t want to add a tether to existing fitments and call it a day.
“Just adding a tether feature to existing caps would comply with that goal, but would require adding plastic,” says Bloedt. “Scholle IPN targeted to create tethered caps that would reduce the total amount of plastic used.”
We answered the EU mandate by designing tethered caps that addressed sustainability concerns in a number of ways:
First, we made sure that the tethered caps were strong to prevent the caps from getting lost and ending up in ecosystems like oceans.
Second, we tested their reliability to make sure they wouldn’t come off during regular use.
Third, we considered existing technologies and applications. We identified ways to reduce source materials while remaining compatible with current formats
To achieve these goals, our team had to think outside the box. “The introduction of tethered caps in combination with snap-on features added to the complexity of the component manufacturing assets,” Bloedt points out. “To overcome these complexities, new materials and manufacturing technologies like conformed cooling had to be applied to achieve the desired results.”
Creative Design and New Technologies
Our dedication to sustainability means we never take the easy way out. The process of developing new tethered caps that were both EU-compliant and reduced our carbon footprint meant months of ideation and testing. “The Scholle IPN fitment engineering team collaborated with customers to create multiple initial designs,” Bloedt shares of the creative process. “Through internal and third party consumer tests, the most favorable designs were identified and used as the basis for the development of the commercial products that will be available in the LinkCap Product Family.”
Through testing came new ideas and unexpected benefits, and our team identified groundbreaking ways we could reduce our energy output. “Lightweighting the fitments through the snap-on feature not only resulted in tremendous source material savings but also brought a real measurable reduction in energy consumption in the manufacturing process from lower cycle times and reduced cooling energy,” Bloedt says as he reflects on surprises he and his team stumbled upon through the design process. By committing to designing a truly sustainable tethered cap, our team was able to come up with new and exciting processes to reduce waste and find solutions that were not immediately evident.
Tethered caps are a triumph of sustainable design. There’s far more to their construction than meets the eye, and we’re happy to share more if you’re interested in incorporating tethered caps into your pouch manufacturing line.
ESSENTRA PACKAGING CELEBRATES PRO CARTON GOLD AWARD WITH SUSTAINABLE PACK FOR EXENTRIQUE FACIAL CLEANSER
Essentra Packaging has been recognised in this year’s Pro Carton awards, clinching Gold in the Carton Excellence Awards for its cosmetics carton for exclusive online skincare brand Exentrique.
The solution devised by Essentra for Exentrique’s Facial Cleanser met the requirements to reflect the brand’s unique positioning and identity, enhance appeal in the online sales channel and ensure the perfect at home opening experience, while at the same time satisfying its sustainability standards.
These bottles will be made from 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic and will use 100% biodegradable actives in their formulation.
This move came after HUL saw a rise in the plastic footprint of its brand Surf Excel Matic Liquid, which was launched in 2016.
As part of the initiative, HUL has partnered with Banyan Nation to reduce the net plastic generated and create bottles that are less dependent on virgin plastic.
As part of the initiative, HUL has partnered with Banyan Nation to reduce the net plastic generated and create bottles that are less dependent on virgin plastic.
The brand has stated that it will cross an annual consumption of 900 tonnes of recycled plastic by the end of this year.
In addition to this, HUL has also set up a refill machine at a store in Mumbai to showcase its commitment to no-plastic innovations.
Prabha Narasimhan, executive director and vice president, home care, Hindustan Unilever, said, “Every decision we make is evaluated, not just on its benefit to the consumers but also on its impact on the environment, now and in the long term, to ensure what is best for the consumer is also good for the larger world we inhabit. Why should the consumer be forced to make a choice between the two?”
Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and MD, Hindustan Unilever, said, “All innovations have a scorecard on various parameters and its positive impact on our clean future agenda is a key criterion to meet for it to move ahead in the organisation’s innovation funnel. If we don’t set higher standards for ourselves, we will not be able to meet the needs of future generations. We take great pride in innovating to meet the consumers’ needs, some of these aren’t critical for the present but are key for the future. This innovation is yet another step in that direction.”
Mani Kishore Vajipeyajula, CEO and co-founder of Banyan Nation, added, “Banyan Nation’s mission is to ensure that the use of safe and high-quality recycled plastic becomes the norm in mainstream consumer products and packaging. HUL’s alignment with our mission and unwavering commitment to sustainability has resulted in over 100 million bottles being made from Banyan Nation’s recycled granules and made available to consumers across India.”