JPFL completes deal for Exxon’s global BOPP business
Posted on 21st May 2013
Jindal Poly Films Ltd (JPFL) has completed the acquisition of ExxonMobil Chemical’s global BOPP films business for US$235 million.
JPFL signed a framework agreement for the acquisition in October 2012, with the deal signed on May 3, 2013. The transaction is expected to close by the end of July.
The deal covers five BOPP production locations in the US and Europe, including Georgia and Oklahoma in the US, and in Italy, The Netherlands and Belgium in Europe. The transaction also includes a technology center and sales office in Rochester, New York, and an office in Luxembourg.
JPFL already operates the world’s single largest site for production of BOPP and BOPET films at Nasik, India. Its current combined capacity of BOPET and BOPP is 337,000tpa, and its annual sales turnover as of March 2012 was US$452 million.
JPFL is a part of the diversified BC Jindal group, with interests in flexible packaging, photographic products, thermal power generation and steel products. The flexible packaging producer has a network of agents and distributors around the world, from Australia to Venezuela.
The acquisition will make JPFL one of the leading manufacturers of flexible packaging films globally, with a combined capacity of approximately 445,000tpa for BOPP films.
Demand for specialty films in the US is forecast to advance 5.2 percent per year to US$8 billion in 2017, driven by the increasing need for high-performance plastic films that offer barrier properties, mechanical strength and chemical resistance in packaging applications.
According to the Specialty Films study, produced by industry market research firm Freedonia Group, packaging is the largest market for specialty films, accounting for two-thirds of overall demand.
Of the specialty film used in packaging, barrier films have the largest share with over 90 percent of the market. Growth in barrier film demand will be driven by the rapid rise in the use of vacuum packaging, oxygen scavenging and low-oxygen case-ready technologies in meat packaging, as these technologies utilize high-barrier films to maintain an optimum atmosphere inside the package.
Demand for barrier films will also benefit from the increased use of specialty barrier films in pharmaceutical blister packaging applications.
Increasing use in small, but high-growth market areas, such as photovoltaic modules and biodegradable packaging, will also bolster advances, as will a rebound in the construction market.
A rebound in building construction will benefit safety and security films, as double-digit annual growth in both residential and non-residential building spending will boost demand for films used in windows for safety and security as well as light control.
The most rapid growth in specialty films will occur in biodegradable and water soluble films, which will benefit as the technologies improve and new applications are developed.
Demand for biodegradable films, which are used to produce compostable packaging and bags for organic waste, will benefit from environmental concerns and the increased commercialization of bio-based polymers. Water soluble film demand will receive a boost from the introduction of pharmaceutical and health products in dissolvable thin film form, as well as the introduction of edible, water soluble food packaging.
Read more about flexible packaging substrates here
Italian graphics and converting company Igb has substantially increased its plant capacity and product quality by becoming the first company in Italy to install the new version of Bobst’s Expertcut 106 PER die-cutting unit.
Igb produces folding cartons and blister cards for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food and luxury confectionery markets in northern Italy and Switzerland.
The Expertcut 106 PER has several new features designed to reduce stops in production and increase productive time. These include a new, fully independent feeder called Smart Feeder II for speeding up a restart of the press after a stop caused during feeding, and a new tie-sheet inserter which optimizes the interval at which tie-sheets are inserted.
Smart Feeder II is fitted with a suction head with changed geometry and has new features that ensure quick setting and consistent feeding, regardless of substrate.
New feed table equipment reduces the number of sheets lost during a machine stop, is quicker to set and delivers more consistent sheet transportation.
Working in conjunction with the Smart Feeder II, new Tool Saver technology instantly takes the pressure from the platen section when no sheet is present. This removal of pressure increases the operational life of tooling, allowing high-quality cutting to be maintained for an increased number of impressions. As soon as the feeding of sheets restarts, the press returns to the pre-set production speed and platen pressure with no need to ramp up, reducing lost production to a minimum.
Further, the new Expertcut 106 PER calculates the optimum tie-sheet interruption based on the thickness of the carton, saving as many as seven sheets per tie-sheet insertion cycle.
The blanking section of the new Expertcut has a new feature called Quick Set which makes the section very fast and easy to set thanks to all the non-stop fingers locking and unlocking by pushing one button.
The new version of the Expertcut 106 PER began production at Igb in December and has given the company the ability to separate cartons, removing the need for breaking the blanks apart by hand.
Alessio Bressan, Igb’s managing director, said: ‘All these features add up and make this machine very productive as soon as it starts running, which means we have considerable additional capacity for our customers. It also improves our quality, reduces our process waste and saves on tooling. Overall we gain in flexibility and quality which means we can service our customers better.’
Dino Bressan, founder of Igb, added: ‘We have used Bobst die-cutting equipment for over 30 years and have seen the technology constantly move forward, something that is essential to us if we are to deliver excellent quality at a fair price.
‘This latest Bobst investment has given us additional capacity thanks to its high die-cutting performance, high uptime and reduced manual handling. At the same time it is delivering the excellent quality that our customers demand.’
Workflow specialist Sistrade will exhibit at this week’s Intergrafika 2013 as it moves to emphasize its presence in south-east Europe.
Sistrade’s presence at Intergrafika 2013, which takes place in Zagreb on May 22-25, follows its establishment of an office in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Sistrade aims to strengthen its commercial and technical capacity in the region, providing local support and increase the volume of sales in the market already in 2013.
Intergrafika is a biennial show for manufacturers of the machines, devices and the equipment for the printing, paper and cardboard industry, ancillary materials and finished products.
GMG gave a UK premier to its OpenColor packaging proofing and CoZone cloud-based management systems at last week’s North Print & Pack 2013.
GMG OpenColor is a tool for spot colors that analyzes ink behaviour in relation to the colorimetric properties of the substrate. OpenColor can simulate spot colors precisely to give brand owners the consistency they demand from print suppliers around the world who have to cope with a wide variation of production conditions.
The outcome is an ink profile that is calibrated to match the interplay between spot colors and process inks, irrespective of ink, press or substrate variation.
GMG CoZone combines the cloud and project with high-quality color management tools. The modular system combines all the major process stages: color management, proofing, communication and approval, and adds transparency to the partners in the supply chain, even those using different output formats.
By exactly matching proofs to finished products, GMG claims the process of lean manufacturing is extended to include creative designers, marketers, and production technicians.
Victor Asseiceiro (pictured, top), packaging specialist at GMG, said: ‘With print runs becoming shorter, the need for precision control increases if expensive waste is to be avoided, and press downtime kept to a minimum.’
Tenza Technologies has promoted Sarah Chaplin to the position of quality manager in an effort to operate and maintain a quality management system in line with ISO 9001:2008.
Chaplin joined Tenza Technologies in 2010 as a customer service executive, where she worked with many of Tenza’s European and international customers.
After training to become an internal auditor, she took on the additional role of quality management system (QMS) management representative in May 2012.
Working alongside the group compliance and continuous improvement manager, Chaplin (pictured, top) will be responsible for the implementation and regulation of a QMS across Tenza’s manufacturing facility.
Since moving to the quality manager position, Chaplin has overseen Tenza’s ISO 9001:2008 recertification, following the expiry of the previous accreditation at the beginning of May 2013.
Phil Meadows, general manager at Tenza Technologies, said: ‘We are committed to operating and maintaining a QMS, in line with the ISO 9001:2008 international standard; continually improving our organizational processes and ensuring that we meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.
‘Sarah’s appointment as quality manager demonstrates further this commitment and our philosophy for continual improvement across all areas of our business.’
Chaplin added: ‘I am looking forward to the challenges ahead and the opportunity to strengthen further the current quality improvement initiatives already in place at Tenza.’
DuPont has marked the silver anniversary of its global packaging awards program with more than a dozen prizes, and a celebration of those delivering continuous innovation.
UK-based design firm pi 3 was awarded the diamond prize and the special 25th anniversary Food Security award for AidPod, which delivers life-saving medicine to remote sub-Saharan villages.
Gold awards were presented to: BCM Inks and recycled material firm Close the Loop; Gillette, Placon, EcoStar and Control Group; Coop Cooperative and Awtec; and The Clorox Company, Alpla, Graham Packaging and Guala Dispensing.
Silver awards went to: Atlantis-Pak Company; Amcor Flexibles; Toyo Aluminum KK and Morinaga Milk Industry Co. Ltd; Folmex and Proctor & Gamble; Clearly Clean Products and Weis Markets; Trexel, PACCOR International, Britton Decorative and Unilever; Pepperidge Farm, Campbell Company and Sonoco Flexible; Campbell’s Soup Company and C&K Propack; Heinz; and Beacon Converters, Inc., CardioFocus and Dahl Packaging Associates.
The 25th anniversary DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation commended those companies that have won multiple awards over the previous quarter of a century, presenting them with an Excellence in Continuing Innovation award.
Those commended included: Bemis/Curwood, with 15 wins; Proctor & Gamble, with 13 wins; Kraft, with 11 wins; Amcor and Cryovac/Sealed Air, with nine wins each; Heinz and Printpack, both with seven wins; Graham Packaging and Multivac, with six wins apiece; and Tetra Pak, ConAgra and Nestlé, each with five wins.
William J. Harvey, president of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, said: ‘Twenty-five years ago we saw the DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation program as an opportunity to connect with this vibrant industry and to champion collaboration as a critical component in innovation.
‘Twenty-five years later – as we look back at breakthrough winners and celebrate this year’s winners – it’s clear that collaboration remains central to bringing innovation to market.’
New legislation around the world has contributed to Symphony Environmental Technologies generating higher revenues in the first four months of 2013 than it achieved in the first half of 2012.
Revenues reached £2.12 million in the first four months of 2013, with much of the company’s revenues derived from overseas markets.
Symphony Environmental has become a global technology supplier, primarily in the controlled-life plastics market, with its d2w additive and d2Detector. Symphony said it has seen the volume of products featuring its d2w additive grow from 4,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes, with legislation regarding oxo-biodegradable plastics in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America driving growth.
It also offers d2p anti-microbial products, and said these have greater potential than d2w as the applications range from food packaging to medical, electrical and farming products.
Nirj Deva, chairman of the company, said: ‘The start of 2013 has been very encouraging, and I am pleased to report that revenues for the first four months of this year have already exceeded revenues reported for the first half of 2012, which were £2.12 million.
‘Symphony has successfully developed from a UK commodity type finished product reseller of items such as carrier and refuse sacks, to a niche innovative global technology supply and service Company. We are a high margin and operationally geared business, where the structure is in place to deliver strong profits as revenues increase. This global expansion is supported by a growing number of self-supporting distributors, which promote our technologies in more than 96 countries.
‘Each one of these distributors is contracted to deliver improving sales results, and to drive and expand the core brands in their specific territories. Most of our revenues and opportunities are derived from overseas markets, and we are therefore less affected by the current volatility within European markets.
‘Symphony considers that the market opportunity for a low-cost biodegradable type plastic such as d2w is considerable, as it is not disruptive for a user or producer to upgrade from a non-environmental material to one that is environmentally positive. This upgrade only requires adding one percent of the d2w formulation to the standard product mix and is included at the point of production.
‘Legislation in favor of d2w type oxo-biodegradable products has become a key driver, and we are pleased by the positive changes in sentiment to encourage the use of more environmentally responsible products in areas such as Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Pakistan.
‘We believe that these positive changes will have a significant impact for d2w oxo-biodegradable type products globally, as it underpins their environmental credentials and valid commercial use on a large scale. By lifecycle analysis we can show that d2w oxo-biodegradable products are the most environmental and cost effective solution to the issue of plastic waste. We must remember that plastics, which are a by-product of oil or gas refining, are the only solution to most packaging applications and will continue to be for many years to come.
‘Oxo-biodegradable plastics are in some respects in competition with bio-based compostable plastics, but these are much too expensive and available evidence shows that companies in that field are not performing well.’
He continued: ‘The markets for d2p anti-microbial products are expected to be much larger than d2w as its prime use will be into food packaging, which would cover market sectors such as bakery, dairy and fruits. The non-food sectors would cover a multitude of applications including electrical, medical and farming. The technologies that fall under d2p have received enormous interest, and from this several product trials are ongoing. The same view is taken for our d2t tag and trace technologies, albeit our markets will be mainly in product identification control and anti-counterfeiting.
‘We are not expecting meaningful commercial sales of d2t until the second half of 2014 and earlier for d2p. Both of these technologies are expected to initially enter the market through our existing customer and distributor base.
'The total global plastic production in 2010 was 265,000,000 tonnes, of which polyethylene and polypropylene, account for approximately 48 percent. If one tenth of these were converted into oxo-biodegradable products, with d2w and/or anti-microbial products with d2p, the market would be very large at 12,720,000 tonnes of Symphony’s products.’
Symphony Environmental Technologies’ overall investment program into current and new technologies and projects will continue at the same levels as 2012, and will be funded by the current business model.
Deva concluded: ‘Our vision is to create a world-class and diverse technology supply and service group whose products can be seen and used worldwide. We have started to achieve this as our d2w logo can be found on the packaging of some of the world’s largest brands. The physical penetration of our brands through to the ultimate consumer will help grow revenues and increase shareholder value.’
Koenig & Bauer (KBA) took a number of orders at the recent China Print tradeshow, including one for the first Rapida 145 in China.
On the second day of China Print 2013 in Beijing, KBA handed the Rapida 145 showcased over to Ningbo Beike Packaging.
It will join existing presses from other German and Japanese suppliers at the printer. The highly-automated Rapida 145 will mainly be used for printing packaging and display products, and will strongly support the company‘s growth strategy.
Founded in 1998, Ningbo Beike Packaging is based in the Zhejiang Province in eastern China. The company focuses on color package printing for the food industry and on paper storage racks used in supermarkets.
The company owns three manroland presses and one Mitsubishi press.
Wu Jie, general manager of Ningbo Beike, said: ‘We did extensive research before purchasing this press.
‘The Rapida 145 press has the fastest printing speed in its format class on the market. We are also impressed by its low energy consumption, environmentally-friendly functions and the wide range of substrates it can handle.
‘This press will help us to improve the quality of our products and competiveness. With the Rapida 145 we target to increase our sales volume by 50 million Yuan (approx. US$8 million) annually.’
He added: ‘This is the first time that we will cooperate with KBA, but will be definitely not the last time. We are honoured to be the first Chinese user of the Rapida 145 press, which meets our production needs in terms of speed, efficiency, quality and energy saving.’
Weihai Color Printing Packaging Paper Industry in Qingdao, Shandong province, has also become a new KBA customer with an order of a five-color Rapida 145 press with coater, while Tangshan Sanli in Tangshan, also a packaging printer, decided on a Rapida 145 four-color press.
Taiwanese package printer Chen Yi Paper also signed up with KBA at China Print, placing an order for six presses; KBA’s biggest single deal at the show and one of the biggest deals ever in the Taiwanese sheet-fed market.
The order included two Rapida 164 six-color large-format presses with coaters, a five- and a six-color Rapida 106, both with coater, and a five- and six-color Rapida 105, also with coaters.
Three of the six presses will be shipped in the third quarter 2013 and installed in the existing factory in Taipei. The other three presses will be installed in 2014 in a new plant in Kaohsiung in the south of the Taiwanese island.
Pictured (from left): Walter Zehner from KBA Greater China; Jürgen Veil from KBA; Ralf Sammeck from KBA; Steve Chung, general manager Chen Yi Paper; Dietmar Heyduck from KBA; Kevin Chung from Chen Yi Paper; and Akio Pong from KBA agency Shining Graphics in Taiwan
UV curing specialist GEW has named Nick Richardson as its new service director, effective immediately.
Richardson has worked with GEW for 18 years, having started with the service department and then moving to engineering. Most recently, he has served as the company’s production director.
He will now work to strengthen the GEW service department, using his knowledge of the company’s customers and its products.
‘Nick understands the requirements of our customers; this, together with a thorough knowledge of all our systems, puts Nick in a unique position to improve our service response,’ GEW said in a statement.
Pamarco and Am-Tech launch water-based ink dissolvers
Posted on 17th May 2013
Pamarco Global Graphics and Am-Tech have teamed up to create a special line of water-based ink dissolvers.
The Care range includes liquid, powder and gel formulations. The liquid Care HD-80 includes the properties of both a high pH and low pH ink dissolver, offering a corrosive product with the protection of a low pH formulation. Care HD-83 is a powder that can be mixed to create 500 gallons of solution, and is designed to minimize plate degradation. Care HD-88 is an alkali-based hand blended gelled anilox roll treatment, which penetrates to the bottom of cells, re-wets and pulls ink out.
Pamarco produces anilox rollers, while Am-Tech formulates systems for the safe care and cleaning of flexographic printing equipment. The companies said the cooperative chemistry relationship is in line with what flexographic printers are asking for; vendors to work together to enhance their understanding of customers’ production processes.
Pamarco and Am-Tech said their partnership will provide customers an expert and forthright approach to flexographic preventative maintenance.
K-1 Packaging Group is to replace two MIS/ERP systems with EFI Radius software for its packaging and label operations in City of Industry, California.
The partnership with EFI will allow K-1 to strengthen its focus on efficiency and accelerated customer service for its consumer product customers.
The installation will consolidate different product workflows, processes and information currently confined to separate management systems, boosting K-1 Packaging's operational efficiency.
Many K-1 customers purchase some combination of folding cartons, labels and flexible packaging and the mix of products creates a number of repetitive, manual processes that come with running multiple, disparate systems.
K-1 Packaging president Mike said: ‘EFI Radius is designed specifically for packaging workflows and will make our entire management process cleaner and more streamlined. It's going to allow us to capitalize on the huge opportunity we have to become a tighter, more knowledgeable organization..
‘If you look a few years down the road, we could either be looking for a new system, or using the data we have collected with our new system to analyze trends and make proactive changes to improve our business. When it comes to a system like this, there is no benefit to delaying the inevitable.’
David Taylor, general manager of EFI Radius, added: ‘Innovative firms like K-1 Packaging cannot stall their growth opportunities because of disconnected workflows. This is a company that knows how to provide a total packaging solution to its customers and, with Radius, it will now have a powerful, consolidated ERP workflow that handles folding cartons, labels and flexible packaging in one system.’
Pfizer chooses Global Vision for automated proofreading
Posted on 15th May 2013
Global Vision has been selected by Pfizer for worldwide deployment as its proofreading technology provider.
The deployment enables global pharmaceutical company to drive consistency, reduce costs and subjectivity for artwork and labeling verification throughout the entire packaging workflow process.
With a goal to identify, recommend and implement a global harmonized proofreading technology, a project team was formed within Pfizer to evaluate different technologies that could enhance packaging quality. This resulted in Global Vision’s text, artwork, print and barcode technologies being selected to provide complete inspection end-to-end.
Reuben Malz, president and founder of Global Vision, said: ‘Protecting your brands integrity is the lifeblood of a company’s continued success. As a global pharmaceutical leader, Pfizer’s decision to deploy Global Vision’s suite of inspection solutions will help ensure that the high quality control standards, synonymous with Pfizer, are maintained.’
Read more about security and brand protection here
Flexible packaging converting machinery manufacturer Comexi has opened a new façade at its facility in Girona, Spain – a 635 sq m vertical garden.
The new façade is designed as an example of the sustainability work Comexi has undertaken in recent years.
The building’s former façade was transformed into a vertical garden in order to exemplify the company’s bid for sustainability and environmental care. Comexi is actively working to increase the efficiency of its machinery, both technically and mechanically, so that both Comexi Group and its clients can reduce their carbon footprint.
It is also researching the development of printing and laminating machines that do not use pollutant solvents like UV inks.
The Comexi Offset CI8 already operates with EB inks.
The inauguration took place on May 11, and was organized to coincide with Girona’s Temps de Flors festival.
Carles Puigdemont, the Mayor of Girona, and Montserrat Roura, the Mayor of Riudellots de la Selva, accompanied Comexi Group’s chairman, Manel Xifra, for the opening ceremony.
Xifra: ‘It is a symbol of our bid to transform the flexible packaging industry, in a move toward improved sustainability.’
Alpha-Cure and Nilpeter target growth in Asia-Pacific
Posted on 15th May 2013
UV curing specialist Alpha-Cure is to exhibit alongside Nilpeter at next week’s PacPrint event in Melbourne, Australia, as the two equipment manufacturer’s target growth in the region.
PacPrint takes place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 21-25, and Alpha-cure Australia and Nilpeter Asia Pacific are to exhibit together on stand 0550.
Nilpeter Asia Pacific and Alpha-Cure Australia share representation in the country, so will benefit from synergies of exhibiting and showing their complementary technologies together, according to the UK-based ultra-violet lamp manufacturer.
Alpha-Cure already has an established global footprint, with around 80 dealers and 40 distributors in markets around the world, as well as supplying end-user printers and 45 OEMs directly. It serves the labeling sector as well as the metal decoration, -, disinfection, automotive markets and others.
Victoria Atherstone, Alpha-Cure commercial director, said the company has been serving the Australian market for around seven years with a number of key clients in the country, but is targeting further growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Nilpeter has also earmarked the region as a market offering growth opportunities, and Atherstone said: ‘Alpha-Cure has a global strategy, but is now turning the heat up. We’ve already got some fantastic customers in Australia, particularly those producing wine labels. Australia is renowned for its wine, and a premium bottle requires a premium label.’
Steve Haines, co-founder and CSO at Alpha-Cure, said: ‘Australia is a reasonable sized market, and gets bigger if you add in New Zealand.
‘We’re only supplying around a quarter of what we consider our market, so there are lots of opportunities and room for growth.’
Italian press manufacturer Omet celebrated its 50th birthday over the second weekend in May, and I want to extend my congratulations to the company.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the celebrations to mark the inauguration of the company back in 1963. Although the earliest documentation that’s been found dates the company to February 1, it waited until warmer weather to invite around 200 customers, employees and members of the global media to celebrate the momentous occasion.
You’re only 50 once, so it was a good time for the company to look back over five decades of passion and innovation, and CEO Antonio Bartesaghi (pictured, top), the son of company founder Angelo, was full of passion and emotion when speaking about his father and the work the company has done to grow into a global manufacturer from a humble base in northern Italy during the 1960s.
He spoke candidly about the work put into establishing the company by his father, and the trust placed in him and his vision in the early days by financial institutions and the first customers, through to today’s workforce striving to further the company and themselves in tough economic conditions and with increased global competition.
It’s with this in mind that Bartesaghi made it clear that he sees Omet as having a strong future, both in label and packaging, and the other markets it serves, and stated his aim to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary.
If the passion I witnessed this weekend continues over the next five decades, I too would like to be part of the celebrations in 2063.
Guest blog: Waste packaging in the UK; perceptions and reality
Posted on 02nd April 2013
Brit Peacock discusses the perceptions and reality of waste packaging in the UK.
It’s easy to overlook the vital role of packaging; without it we would have to lead our lives very differently.
With more people than ever living in an urban rather than a rural environment, products are often manufactured far away from where consumers eventually purchase them. Packaging therefore plays a crucial role in ensuring the survival of transported goods, giving us a freedom of choice that many take for granted.
Packaging plays a particularly important role in the transportation and storage of food. It allows us to consume transported fruits and vegetables out of season – and to store them for much longer than would otherwise be possible. Less food is also wasted because of packaging. To cite just one example, it’s estimated that in-store wastage of grapes is reduced by 20 percent when they are packaged in trays or bags rather than lying loose.
Despite its importance, packaging gets a rather bad press. We tend to think that businesses should be doing much more to reduce the amount of packaging produced, and consumers should be doing much more to reduce the amount used. Many feel that both producers and consumers should be doing much more to recycle waste packaging.
Waste packaging stats
The facts may surprise. According to a 2008 report published by the Advisory Committee on Packaging, an independent expert committee that meets four times a year to advise the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), packaging makes up less than three percent of all solid waste sent to landfill.
Moreover, 60 percent of packaging is recovered and recycled annually, and businesses spent £1.5 billion in the 10 years prior to 2008 – doubling the amount of packaging recovered and recycled, from three million tonnes to six million tonnes.
In addition, the amount of energy needed to produce the packaging used by an average British household is actually very small. The total weight of a household’s annual purchase of products is estimated to be nearly three tonnes – the production of which requires 110 gigajoules of energy.
The packaging required to safely transport three tonnes of products, however, is less than 200kg – which takes a mere seven gigajoules of energy to produce.
Whilst some consumers may be under the impression that manufacturers produce greatly excessive amounts of packaging, there’s actually a big financial incentive to reduce the amount they use. Excess packaging is a cost to industry, impacting on a manufacturer’s bottom line.
As well as the cost of the energy required, there are strong UK and European laws in place to encourage the minimization of packaging. The 1994 European Union Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste requires such minimization. The directive also stipulates that packaging must not contain any hazardous materials which affect recovery, and sets steadily increasing targets for the amount to be recovered and recycled. Financial penalties are imposed when the laws are ignored.
This of course does not mean we should be blasé about waste packaging, and imagine the issue to be of no concern. Living on a planet with finite resources we must all do more to conserve energy, and recycling waste materials can help us to do so. This also shrinks our carbon footprint, reducing the emission of harmful greenhouse gases.
We do however need to be smart about our recycling. Without proper thought there’s a danger recycling could cause greater energy consumption, rather than less.
For example, making regular dedicated trips to a recycling point to dispose of waste packaging may seem like an environmentally positive thing to do – but if it’s the only reason you’re taking the car out, the petrol used could actually outweigh anything saved by recycling. Be sure to combine recycling trips with other car journeys you’re making – stop off on the way to your weekly shop, for example.
Make proper use of the recycling collection facilities provided by your local authority as well, which generally offer kerbside collection of waste materials. This is an energy efficient way of disposing of waste packaging.
About the author: Brit Peacock has a keen interest in environmental affairs, and is writing on recycling issues on behalf of eco-packaging manufacturer Rajapack.
Dave's blog: Guilt-free snacking through packaging
Posted on 02nd April 2013
If you're anything like me, you'll have spent the last couple of days overindulging on chocolate. And if you're anything like me again, today heralds a new start to your New Year diet, which suffered over the Easter weekend.
More exercise? Tick. More vegetables? Tick. More crisps and popcorn to snack on? Tick.
The last point may seem an odd one to include in a diet plan, but popcorn is a common feature in many diet food ranges as are crisps, if baked and not fried, which are marketed as a relatively healthy snack option to keep more calorie-laden treats at bay. Many crisp manufacturers offer baked options as healthy alternatives to their traditional products.
UK retail stalwart Marks and Spencer (M&S) includes such products in its guilt free snacking range.
M&S says it has launched a range of sweet and savory portion-controlled snacks that don't compromise on taste and quality but are all less than 150 calories. Designed to offer a snack option for those on a calorie-controlled diet, it includes crisps, popcorn, cakes and other treats.
The whole series of guilt free snacking products comes in printed packaging that belies the low-calorie intent of the foodstuffs within.
Presented in both folding cartons and flexibles, the guilt free snacking packaging uses printing and finishing to give the products a more luxurious feel, which is something not often associated with dieting, while the overall matte appearance of the packaging keeps it understated.
It's a colorful range too, but using a softer palette to differentiate between the products.
To complete the look, each pack design features a stylized hand encroaching from the right and picking up a snack with its fingertips, whether a piece of popcorn, a Rocky Road Cluster or a mini flavored focaccia slice.
While the use of indulgent ingredients, such as Belgian white chocolate, in small quantities no doubt helps, the first bite is with the eye as the saying goes, and the M&S packaging goes a long way in making guilt-free snacking taste that little bit better.
Dave’s blog: Innovation is alive and well in the packaging industry
Posted on 05th March 2013
I found last week's Packaging Innovations show at the NEC, Birmingham to be an insight to the way suppliers are leading the market forward, and converters are picking up the gauntlet of shorter runs, the growth in digital and the need for packaging to be more than just a tool to protect and promote food, pharmaceuticals and more.
Chief amongst these must be Highcon, with is Euclid digital cutting and creasing system for folding carton production, and Glossop Cartons, which made its exhibition debut at Packaging Innovations to showcase the potential of the Euclid.
You can read more about Glossop and its recent investment in the next issue of Package Print Worldwide, but it is safe to say that its debut stand was a triumph in my eyes, with lots of footfall driven, in part by the popcorn machine running on its stand and the two costumed "packaging superheroes" walking the show floor bearing its branding, but moreover by its canny investment in technology firmly intended to meet the needs of the modern packaging industry.
Glossop wasn't the only converter with a story to tell, as Tyler Packaging and Tenza Technologies will testify.
You can also read more about both of these companies in the next issue of Package Print Worldwide, as Tenza's growth into stand-up pouches and Tyler's "shaker" bag are indicative of wider trends in the packaging market.
The proliferation of stand-up pouches across the retail environment, from domestic cleaning products to pet food, via the chilled food aisle, is clear to see, and Tenza recorded strong interest, and picked u many leads, as a result of detailing tis growth into this market at Packaging Innovations.
As for Tyler Packaging’s “shaker” bag, it adequately illustrates the growing trend for packaging to “perform”, as in provide added functionality to protecting and promoting products.
It features an inner perforated membrane and sliding closure at the base to allow products to be easily dispersed, making it ideally suited to dry products such as lawn seed.
These are just three of the products that grabbed my attention at Packaging Innovations, and highlight the forward-thinking nature of the modern packaging.
The spring 2013 issue of Package Print Worldwide will reflect this, so make sure to check it out either in print or online in the coming weeks.
The battle raging between products and their printed packaging is intensifying even further with the development of own-brand lines.
Every retailer has a range of products carrying their own logo and design, from the beauty and healthcare aisle to the freezers. One of those with a vast array of products and related packaging is Morrisons in the UK.
In autumn 2011, the company took the step to reshape its own-brand lines and launched the "M Kitchen" convenience range, which has been followed by thousands of new and improved own-brand products across its stores.
Morrisons said the "M Kitchen" launch aimed to provide a convenience range with "a quality to rival any on the high street, offering the consumer restaurant standard recipes, easily in their own home".
Morrisons adds that its refreshed own-brand products have evolved from the “good-better-best” model to reflect customers’ needs: the need to buy conveniently; the need to buy responsibly; the need to buy fresh food; and the need to buy to a budget.
Strategically this might be the case, but the packaging of its various lines shows that cartons and flexibles remain important in placing products at different price points, where Morrisons is challenging established brands and offering consumers a choice through its overhauled lines from "Savers" up to "M Kitchen Bistro".
The simpler "Savers" packaging uses few image enhancement tools or finishes, such as spot varnishing, but still carries graphics and text to illustrate the goods in a distinctive way, while “M Kitchen Bistro” packaging uses more finishes and processes to maximize appeal to the consumer.
In the case of frozen pizza, this helps convey a price difference of £1.90, with the 60p "M Savers" cheese and tomato pizza (pictured, right) using a minimal color palette and simple shapes to illustrate the product’s ingredients, while the £2.50 "M Kitchen Bistro" Italian woodfired parmigiana pizza box (pictured, far right) features high-quality images of the key ingredients and a slate effect across the material.
The bistro range is an extension of the "M Kitchen" range, with the "M Kitchen" spot varnished (pictured, below on another product from the range) to add further detail to the print, while a die-cut window gives consumers a view of the product itself.
Such detail does not appear on the standard “M Kitchen” pizza packaging, although it is more complex than the "Savers" carton and helps create a perception of quality.
By packaging, “M Kitchen” can be categorized as second in the Morrisons line-up, behind the bistro range but sitting ahead of “M” and then “Savers”.
The “M” range is another line of Morrisons own-brand goods, with cartons for frozen fish products (pictured, above left) and flexible bags for frozen sausage rolls (pictured, above middle) replicating the product in their graphics to generate appeal and make the products desirable.
There’s also “M Mm Morrisons”, a range with packaging (pictured, above right) that utilizes high-end finishes and graphics similar to the bistro products to create a luxury, signature brand.
Such variety, and finishes, underlines the power printed packaging has to differentiate products on the shelf, and how it is being used by retailers to push their own brands as viable alternatives to established names.
Own-brand is a huge market, and by this evidence will only get bigger as retailers move to make consumers view their products in the same light as established brands. Printed packaging is a key tool in helping them achieve this.
Dave’s blog: SKU diversification through packaging
Posted on 03rd January 2013
I often get asked by family members and laypersons what short run printed packaging is and why it’s so important, and I’ve found the easiest way is to highlight a real-life example.
A converter I spoke to last year used toothpaste as his example, stating that two brands with two varieties has grown into a market that now requires its own dedicated aisle in grocery stores.
Visit the Tesco online store today and search for toothpaste, and you’ll get 126 results from the likes of Aquafresh, Colgate, Sensodyne, Arm and Hammer, Oral B and Macleans promising to whiten, strengthen, protect and restore your teeth, as well as clean them at the start and end of the day.
Each comes in its own packaging, normally a tube inside a carton, which increasingly feature high-end images and finishes to promote the product within. After all, a sparkling, shiny box will do wonders for a consumer’s perception of a product, and can make all the difference at the “moment of truth” in a competitive marketplace.
Such product (SKU) diversification on the shelf would be hard to achieve without shorter runs, and it is not only restricted to the dental hygiene aisle. Pet food is a market with a growing number of SKUs differentiated by packaging, as I’ve previously commented on.
The confectionery aisle is another brimming with examples of product differentiation visible through packaging. Limited edition flavors, themed products and cross-branding opportunities require dedicated packaging, produced for each SKU.
It was down the confectionery aisle of a Marks and Spencer store that I saw a prime example of this, with Percy Pig sweets available in a variety of flavors, styles and sizes in a number of different packets.
Hung together on a display rack, they visualize the demand for bespoke packets, pouches and cartons produced in increasingly shorter run lengths.
On closer inspection, you can see that what started out as a friendly pig shaped treat available in two flavors has become a range featuring different flavors, characters and styles, each in uniquely designed packets with their own graphics.
There is even a vegetarian variety, made using pea protein instead of gelatine.
Dave's blog: Themed printed packaging; winter wonderland - part 5
Posted on 10th December 2012
It has been a while since my last full blog looking at the vast range of printed folding cartons and flexible packaging now available decorated with images and graphics closely linked to Christmas, such as Santa Claus, Rudolph, snowmen, snowflakes, stockings, presents and more.
This included my own, from luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat featuring an elegant yet complex white design printed on a pale blue background.
Comprising two units joined by a spine, the Hotel Chocolat advent calendar opens like a book, and can be displayed like a Christmas card.
The graphic's main focus is on deciduous trees and their bare branches, with the addition of birds, moose and Christmas tree shapes. This graphic extends from the "cover" to the "centerfold".
The "second page" also features a graphic of Santa Claus in his sleigh, being pulled by his trusted reindeer.
As with most other advent calendars, perforated windows are numbered out of sequence to help you locate a daily treat. However, with this high-end advent calendar, the numbers are foil embossed for extra luxury.
My Hotel Chocolat advent calendar takes pride of place alongside my wife's Thorntons Continental choice (pictured, top), with its triangular shape, Victoriana graphics and fabric bow detail.
As well as the front panel being decorated with graphics representing a more traditional image of Christmas, the Thorntons Continental advent calendar is reverse printed, with each window decorated on the reverse with a further graphic and phrase associated with the festive period (pictured, right).
Not all advent calendars need be presented in a printed carton though.
My nephews have knitted ones that were crafted by hand by my sister a few years ago, with the numbers adorning pockets that are replenished with personalized treats each December 1.
I’ll be continuing my “study” over the coming weeks and if you want to contribute please post your pictures to Twitter mentioning @D_Pittman_PPW using the hashtag #xmaspackaging.
You can even share your photos via the official Package Print WorldwideFacebook page.
Dave's blog: Winter wonderland - advent calendar special
Posted on 28th November 2012
Advent calendars are a gift given at this time of year, predominantly to children but also enjoyed by adults.
I'm not going to go into the philosophical and religious reasonings behind advent calendars, but the standard structure involves a printed carton filled with a plastic tray. The tray is molded with 24 units, each holding a treat, usually chocolate. The tray is also fitted with a decorated foil lid.
A series of windows (pictured, below) are then perforated into the carton, each corresponding to a unit molded into the plastic tray.
During converting, each perforated window is numbered out of sequence (pictured, above; 5, 2, 1, 4, 3, as opposed to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) up to 24, with each number referring to a date in December up to, and including, Christmas eve.
On each day of December until Christmas, usually in the morning, the consumer hunts out the correct window, pops it open, breaks the foil and is presented with their treat.
The outer cartons can be printed and branded in a way only truly limited by the traditionally rectangular shape of advent calendars.
As a result, brand owners and consumer product companies will often tie advent calendars in with well-known characters, TV programs and themes to give them added shelf appeal.
And while there’s no age restriction on buying an advent calendar, it can be seen that they are decorated and finished in different ways depending on the audience.
For younger audiences, Peppa Pig, Winnie the Pooh and Mr. Men/Little Miss characters are used to decorate the carton (pictured, below).
For teens, The Simpsons and festive scenes, as pictured on Maltesers and Mars examples, are used to garner attention (pictured, below).
Young adults can choose from a selection of advent calendars with a retro theme, such as the one using the Where’s Wally? character from their childhood books, or from a variety of light-hearted, yet more sophisticated samples, as retailed in Marks and Spencer (pictured, below).
For discerning adults, advent calendars are given a more luxurious feel. For instance, the deep blue and gold used by Lindt on its advent calendars create an alluring appearance, while Thorntons has used Victoriana on its Continental advent calendar, including silhouettes of bikes, Victorian couples and other festive items (pictured, below).
The Thorntons Continental carton is triangular in shape, giving it added visual impact, and is topped off with a fabric bow attached to the front panel.
Dave’s blog: Themed printed packaging; winter wonderland – part 4
Posted on 26th November 2012
As I research printed packaging for this blog, I’ve been trying to remain calm and collected so I don't rush documenting all the Christmas-themed packaging I see in one go, but I lapsed this weekend and splurged during a shopping trip.
That’s not to say that I filled my trolley with all the exciting cartons and flexible packaging printed with images of Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer or snowmen, and the products they package. Rather I was moving up and down the aisles for a good hour scouring the shelves for anything particularly new and exciting to add to this blog.
Chocolate and treats
As ever, a large volume of what I photographed came down the confectionery aisle, as brands like Cadbury, Nestlé, Mars and more always heavily link their products to focal points in the diary, like Christmas, Easter or Halloween, with themed packaging.
Products brought to market by Kinder, part of the Ferrero confectionery range, are a fine example of this. Along with more conventional cartons printed with Christmas graphics, like Santa Claus, Christmas trees and presents, on sale are gift packs coupling chocolate with a toy.
The traditional Kinder Surprise sweet is a chocolate egg with a toy inside, but the packaging pictured left houses both the toy and the chocolate.
The carton is creased and folded in a way that allows it to taper at the top, where a hole has been cut to allow the head of a cuddly toy, a reindeer or polar bear wearing a Christmas hat as pictured, to poke through. While the physical body of the toy is contained within the carton, a likeness has been replicated in print on the outside.
Ferrero Rocher, another product from the Ferrero family, is also tieing its packaging into the gift market, although designed for the more discerning adult buyer. This includes a Christmas present carton (pictured, above right), complete with bow and ribbon, housing a selection of the chocolates, and a carton shaped like a Christmas tree and finished with stars and tinsel details. The Christmas tree carton has a further Christmas tree shape cut from the center of the front panel to showcase the treats within.
Christmas trees are a popular shape to mimic at this time of year, and Thorntons has done just that, although this time the confectionery itself is molded into a tree shape and housed in a conventional six-walled carton. The primary packaging for the hand-decorated Thorntons Continental chocolate tree is manufactured completely from plastic, without any fiber-based material, and printed with text, swirling patterns and a black border to frame the chocolate within.
ChokaBlok, a luxury range of chocolate and ice cream, is offering a series of chocolate slabs in the shape of Christmas trees, decorated with extras such as nuts and mini marshmallows. The Christmas tree shape is replicated on the packaging, with the traditional design cut from the carton and replaced with a plastic window, with a foil trim to accentuate the outline of the Christmas tree.
The cartons themselves, in different colors to match the different chocolate trees available, are printed with snowflake shapes.
Cadbury has featured heavily in all the blogs I’ve written over the last six months on the themed, shorter run packaging that can be seen on store shelves, and Christmas is a time of year that really allows it to crank up the attachment between its printed packaging and an event.
Selection boxes featuring an array of its brands, like Wispa, Twirl and Curly Wurly, are printed with more Christmas tree shapes on a snow white background with presents in the foreground.
Speaking of Wispa chocolate bars, they can be bought in a large format, featuring multiple bars collated in one oversized wrapper printed with the slogan “Stuff the turkey, have a Wispa”.
Like Cadbury, Nestlé retails a number of its brands, like KitKat and Smarties, in a selection box decorated with festive images, although it has used the archetypal Christmas character that is Santa Claus riding his sleigh to illustrate its cartons, with images of the bars printed as if presents to be delivered.
And like Cadbury with its giant Wispa wrappers, Nestlé Smarties are being retailed in a “Super Tube”, featuring multiple standard sized tubes packaged in an outer carton decorated in the usual Smarties design but with the addition of white areas to signify snow and bows to make it feel more like a gift.
Swizzels Matlow selection tubes have also been supersized, housing a range of its more famous confectionery brands in one carton.
The Coca-Cola TV commercial is used by many to mark the start of the holiday season, with the famous “Holidays are coming” song accompanying a train of Coca-Cola trucks on their journey to spread the holiday message.
The trucks in the commercial are decorated with the company’s famous Santa Claus image, which first appeared in Coca‑Cola advertising back in 1931, and it is this image that can be seen across Coca-Cola’s packaging as Christmas approaches.
From shrink sleeves, cartons and labels, and whether standard or diet variants, the image of Santa is omnipresent across the current Coca-Cola packaging (see below).
His face even appears directly printed on cans, where he can be seen drinking a bottle of carbonated drink.
And I’ve not only seen Santa’s face staring back at me from Coca-Cola packaging in the UK, as I also spotted him while on a recent trip to Germany (see right).
As well as soft drinks, alcoholic drink brands are looking to capitalize on Christmas. While Coca-Cola’s use of Santa is historical, and its TV commercial connects the brand directly to the holiday season, Mateus, Echo Falls and Ernest & Julio Gallo are looking to take a slice of the small gift market with wines sold in packs combined with high-end chocolate brands Guylian and Lindt.
The Gallo/Lindt gift set, which also includes a wine glass, is housed in a conventional carton design, with a large window cut from the body and replaced with plastic to display the contents.
The Mateus/Guylian gift pack, also with a wine glass, again features a large panel cut from the front of the carton and replaced with a see-through window, while the creasing and folding of the carton allows it to taper at the top.
The Echo Falls/Lindt carton houses a small bottle of wine and some Lindt Lindor chocolates, with windows cut from the main structure to allow the contents to be seen and fit the neck of the wine bottle. This cut-away detail differs from the others as it doesn’t involve the removal of one single piece, but rather three different sections to create a more complex design.
I’ve not been let down, as you can read in earlier blogs, but I’m still getting very excited when I see such packaging in supermarkets.
The Armitage cat and dog advent calendars as detailed in a previous blog may well be the pinnacle of how far pet food manufacturers can go with this theme, but Armitage’s Good Boy “Letter to Santa” dog treats could run it a very close second.
The flexible packaging for the treats is printed with details that give it the impression of airmail, including the traditional red and blue stripe and fake stamp, along with the word “urgent” and the date of December 22, the last posting date in 2012 for special delivery letters when sent via Royal Mail to reach their destination by Christmas.
I’ll be continuing my “study” over the coming weeks, including a special look at advent calendars, but if you want to contribute please post your pictures to Twitter mentioning @D_Pittman_PPW using the hashtag #xmaspackaging.
You can even share your photos via the official Package Print WorldwideFacebook page.
The recent news that a patent has been granted to technology giant Apple for packaging that has a dual function, with both storage and display configurations, is further evidence of the need for modern cartons and flexibles to “perform”.
The Apple patent, entitled “Packaging with multiple functions after opening”, includes details of how the packaging could be used as a means to support items, such iPads, iPhones and iPods, during charging, as well as act as an acoustic amplifier configured to amplify sound produced by an item when the lid is in its second configuration.
According to the patent submission: ‘Products are often enclosed in packaging for distribution and sale. Conventionally, packaging has been designed to provide benefits such as physical protection of the product, aesthetic appeal to the consumer, and convenience during distribution and handling.
‘Conventional packaging materials, such as boxes, blister packs and clamshell packaging, are typically thrown away once the product is opened. Such single-use packaging can be inefficient, and such waste can have a negative environmental impact by accumulating in landfills and elsewhere in the environment.’
Packaging’s need to perform, either through a secondary application or as a means to communicate further information by linking the physical and digital world, is a growing trend.
QR codes have been gaining traction for some time as a means for brands to provide additional information to consumers, but are still misused by some. For instance, the basic idea of a QR code is that it is read via a smartphone, so the site it is linking to must be optimized for access through mobile phones or tablets.
I spotted a good example of a QR code properly deployed on a recent stay in a hotel, with the foil lid on a single serving of UHT milk printed with a code that directs users to a mobile website featuring nutritional, dietary and allergy information.
Augmented reality also uses a smartphone to facilitate an interaction, but is a far more exciting technology for providing consumers with further information and content relating to a product or object in the physical environment, with virtual details delivered visually.
Outside of the retail environment, examples include Nokia City Lens, an overlay view of buildings that instantly highlights places of interest through a smartphone’s camera, and Project Glass, Google’s research initiative to develop an augmented reality head-mounted display (watch a promo video below).
The recently-launched Wonderbook: Book of Spells game for the PlayStation 3 console also uses augmented reality to bring a companion story to the Harry Potter series of books to life on the screen (see below).
Aurasma is an augmented reality platform that is owned by HP. Part of UK-based company Autonomy, which was acquired by HP, Aurasma was created out of technology that is capable of recognizing images, symbols and objects in the real world and understanding them. It can then deliver digital content in real time, including videos, animations, audio or webpages.
I have seen the technology in action on a couple of occasions, including bringing a static €20 note to life with the history of the common currency, as well as on packaging for games and children’s food products (as showcased in the below video).
As for secondary applications, as the Apple patent details, the topic came up in a conversation I had with Leo Luxe at the recent Packaging Innovations show, where carton’s move from a packaging product to a promotion tool, and now a means to enhance the consumer’s experience, was discussed in detail.
The Leo Luxe stand at Packaging Innovations included a bottle box design that could be used as an ice bucket once opened, providing the primary packaging with a secondary “performance” function.
This week’s Emballage show in Paris included “I Love Pack Since 1947”, a display of 65 packaging developments through the ages. The showcase included a concertinaed champagne carton that doubled as an ice bucket also.
This secondary use has a limited application life, given the impact water and ice will have on the inner lining of the carton, but the Apple patent takes “performance” to another level by making the packaging a must-keep accessory to the main product.
As detailed in the patent, Apple believes this will have the added benefit of reducing the volume of packaging sent to landfill as consumers keep, maintain and re-use packaging, particularly if it provides something valuable to them. Apple docking stations can be costly to purchase, and although you could expect Apple to capitalize and add an additional cost to its product price as a result, it is unlikely any cost at the initial purchase point would match that of buying a high-end Bang & Olufsen speaker dock, which can run into triple figures, or even a cheaper system, from a manufacturer such as Bush.
Commodity to speciality
Apple is already renowned for making sure its packaging makes the biggest impact during the initial interaction between consumers and products, but the patent would extend the relationship far into the future, as packaging’s role shifts from a throw-away commodity to a speciality product offering unique features.
As the primary decoration tool for most packaging, whether carton or flexible, printing would have an important role in this. For example, inks, coatings and varnishes would need to be able to stand up to more frequent interaction with consumers and the environment. Xeikon's Durable Clear dry toner is a recent development along these lines, offering protection from scratches and scuffs via a digital spot varnish. Likewise, substrates would need to become even more durable.
Although intended for much more expensive products than everyday grocery items, could the Apple patent be the start of a new era of packaging that “performs”?
Dave’s blog: Themed printed packaging; winter wonderland – part 3
Posted on 19th November 2012
Christmas continues to dominate supermarket shelves in the UK, with packaging and labels printed to bring the festive season to life; from snowmen and robins, to Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
As you would expect, all of the supermarkets in the UK are heaving with Christmas-themed packaging. In Morrisons and Marks and Spencer (M&S) I’ve seen an array of own-brand products decorated with a festive theme.
In Morrisons, you can buy gingerbread and shortbread snacks retailed in cartons with die-cut features that extend outside the dimensions of the main carton. For instance, the top of Santa’s hat on the box for festive shortbread shapes, and the bobble on the robin’s hat, as used on the carton for toffee shortbread stars, over-shoot the top of the main packaging.
Likewise, the top quarter of the gingerbread man’s head as used to illustrate jolly gingerbread men extends beyond the core shape of the packaging.
The three cartons are also creased and folded to taper the closure at the top.
Christmas Tree Cake Pop Kits feature a host of festive decorations (pictured, below), while the outer carton also fulfills a secondary function as a stand for treats once they have been baked and decorated. Small holes perforated into the reverse can be popped out by the consumer, creating a cooling and serving utensil.
Morrisons is also offering Lebkuchen Stars in flexible packaging as part of its early “M Christmas” product portfolio. Lebkuchen is a traditional German Christmas treat, and the flexible packaging in red, a color closely linked with the festive period, is decorated with Christmas trees.
In M&S, a host of further products can be found, mostly in packaging colored red, including Frosty Balls; milk chocolate spheres in a crisp candy shell rolled in icing sugar.
The flexible packaging is decorated with a chubby robin wearing a winter hat, and where the stomach would usually be, a window has been cut out of the substrate and replaced with a transparent film.
Or you can buy a gingerbread tree. The tall, baked structure is hand decorated and retailed in a folding carton with a large section cut away and replaced with a plastic window to allow the frosting, product decoration and intricate build to be seen by consumers, and make the product more appealing to the eye.
Even sandwiches, on sale in WH Smith stores, have been given a Christmas flavor, both through the product and the packaging.
Pictured, left, is the Foo.go Christmas Triple, featuring turkey and stuffing, prawn cocktail, and brie and cranberry fillings, all in a carton decorated with Christmas trees and a die-cut window revealing the contents.
Confectionery giants Mars and Nestlé are big users of festive themes to enhance their products’ appeal as stocking fillers or smaller gifts. Maltesers share boxes have been decorated with snow-capped chocolates printed on the carton to give the packaging a wintery feel, while smaller treat boxes feature a twinkling star effect and green reindeer reminding consumers to recycle the carton. Galaxy treat boxes, another Mars Incorporated brand, also feature this decoration.
Nestlé Walnut Whip multipacks are also printed with a star effect, as well as a festive ribbon, to enhance the gift appeal of the packaging.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, pets are also getting in on the Christmas spirit with the packaging for cat and dog treats and snacks given a festive makeover.
Armitage Good Boy products, for dogs, and its Good Girl range, designed for cats, have been given a festive makeover using archetypal Christmas images, such as Rudolph, while snowboarding cats and dogs have also been used to give products a wintery feel.
A Christmas treat kennel can be bought for those dogs that have been especially well behaved this year, with the carton packaging decorated with the image of a stocking, presents and snow.
You can even buy special cat and dog advent calendars, featuring a puppy wearing a Santa hat (as pictured) or a cat.
Asda Tiger turkey flavor cat treats also feature a cat in a Santa hat, as well as baubles and a star effect.
Back to goods for human consumption, and cartons are being supersized to turn an everyday product into a Christmas treat. As seen earlier, four packs of Cadbury Fingers can be bought in a collation carton printed with a silhouette of Santa and his sleigh delivering the chocolate treats as if presents.
An over-sized Galaxy bar has now been seen, although actually consisting of three chocolate bars, as has a yard of Jaffa Cakes. Jaffa Cakes are a chocolate-covered sponge and orange jelly snack produced by McVitie’s.
The yard-long carton is printed with four special Christmas slogans, including “Tastier than Brussels sprouts” and “You won’t believe your mince pies”, and retailed in display units printed with graphics showing ribbons made of orange peel and holly.
The Lindt Lindor Maxi Ball is another confection using supersized packaging to make the product appear more appealing to buyers as a high-end gift.
The large plastic ball is filled with standard sized Lindt Lindor chocolates, already a high-end treat, and is wrapped in a printed film decorated in the classic Lindt Lindor logo and text.
As with my summer packaging “study”, I’m interested to know what you see in your local store. If you see any packaging featuring Christmas/festive-themed decoration, please post it on Twitter mentioning @D_Pittman_PPW and using the hashtag #xmaspackaging.
You can even share your photos with us via the official Package Print WorldwideFacebook page.
This afternoon, outgoing Drupa show director Manuel Mataré presented his findings to the event’s committee, having spent the time from the last show in May until now canvassing opinions from visitors and exhibitors on how the next edition can be improved.
Those discussions have raised several points, not least the possibility of the show moving from the scheduled 2016 timeslot as per its current four-year cycle to a date in 2015, and seeing it revert to a three-year rotation.
I’m not in a position to state one way or the other if this is true, although it seems clear that there is momentum behind the story and, as the old saying goes, there’s no smoke without fire.
There are many potential implications of Drupa moving to a three-year cycle, of course. Are development cycles robust enough to support a Drupa every three years? Would the show have the same draw to an international audience if it came around quicker?
But the impact moving Drupa to a three-year cycle would have on other shows in the calendar is what I will address in the next few paragraphs.
As it stands, Ipex 2014 has already reported casualties as companies such as Heidelberg, HP and Agfa look to place their focus on emerging markets and focused opportunities, while Benny Landa’s new venture, which made such a big splash at Drupa 2012, is ready to walk away from Ipex 2014 if Drupa does take place in 2015 according to reports.
Drupa also has vast pull and is a drain on a company’s resources, both in terms of cashflow and actual hardware available to go on the exhibition floor.
Put these two together, and it seems like a bad situation for the organizers of Ipex.
Let me state now that I am in no way signalling the demise of Ipex in this blog, as there are other shows that will feel the heat from Drupa's decision, such as Labelexpo Europe. I am also very much looking forward to seeing an international event take place in London, with Ipex 2014 switching from the NEC in Birmingham to ExCeL in east London.
However, as the “Olympics of the printing industry”, it will be a daunting prospect to know that a show of Drupa’s size and scale is changing its schedule so that it happens closer to your own show and disrupts its planning, before going head-to-head when the shows eventually overlap, as would happen with Ipex and Drupa in 2018.
Printing is not the only industry to question the need for multiple international events, least of all multiple events in the same year, which is what will occur if Drupa does move to a three-year cycle. Both the construction equipment and materials industries have asked similar questions in recent times.
All shows have their unique selling points and draws for visitors, but I think it goes without saying that a decision to move Drupa to 2015 will have huge ramifications for the international tradeshow calendar.
As a sports fan, moreover a football (soccer) fan, you could liken the situation to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, meaning it likely that if the event does take place in the Middle East there will be a conflict between clubs and countries. Should the current debates taking place about inserting a mid-season break into leagues like the English Premier League, permitting a Qatar World Cup to take place at a cooler time of year, come to fruition, players will start to prioritize their fitness and availability for a World Cup weeks if not months in advance, while clubs will be fearful of the knock-on effect of weariness and injuries picked up while away on international duty in the second half of the season.
As a hypothetical comparison, you could also liken it to the World Cup moving to a three-year cycle, meaning nations such as Germany, Spain and England would have to decide if it’s that competition they favor, or the European Championships, when the two eventually overlap.
Like Ipex and Drupa, the Euros and World Cup are currently separated by a two-year window either side, permitting qualification (think development cycles) to take place so to provide a top-draw competition that sees the greatest international football teams (think manufacturers) competing (think sales and orders).
If the two were to take place in the same year, it’s likely many big European countries would desert the Euros for the World Cup, leaving the minnows and less glamorous teams playing to win what would no doubt be deemed a second-class event that year.
The announcement of Drupa’s decision is due next week, but it goes without saying that whichever way it falls, the impact will resonate with the whole printing industry round the world.
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Dave’s blog: How do you spot a fake pack of cigarettes?
Posted on 01st November 2012
An advert appeared in a London evening paper yesterday (October 31) depicting the outline of two blank cigarette cartons except for a black box where health warnings would normally appear.
Instead of a "Smoking kills" type message, the cartons read "Standardised".
Below the graphic, Japan Tobacco International. (JTI), the company behind the advert, asked: "How do you spot a fake pack of cigarettes?"
This is a question that has, and continues to, trouble the tobacco industry and those that supply and support it.
This includes the packaging market, from the printers and converters of the cartons themselves to the suppliers of wrappers and collation films.
The matter was addressed by the ECMA tobacco forum at the association's recent congress, where forum chairman Jerzy Czubak said there is an issue of education within the corridors of power in the European parliament.
Many of those asking for, leading and instigating changes to laws that could see European tobacco packaging follow the model being brought in in Australia are of the impression that images of diseased lungs, hearts, eyes (pictured, top) and other organs are protection enough against counterfeiting as they are detailed graphics.
They are said to often be surprised to discover that these images, in printing terms at least, are some of the easiest to replicate.
Rather it is the use of holograms, foils and other anti-counterfeiting methods that help stem the flow of fake cigarettes into well-policed markets.
The ECMA tobacco forum called on all stakeholders to speak to their local and European politicians to try and educate decision makers on the unforeseen consequences of noble causes, which is an accurate way of describing the anticipated growth in the availability of fake cigarettes resulting from standardized packaging being used as a tool to help reduce the appeal of smoking, and the resulting smoking-related illnesses.
Czubak also said jobs would be lost and the EU budget would take a hit due to a drop in trade.
The JTI ad made a similar plea to the UK's Department of Health, albeit through a public forum, with claims that nearly 20 percent of independent shopkeepers in London are considering closure as a direct result of the illegal tobacco trade, while the tax office will take a hit as more than 23 percent of cigarettes smoked in the capital have not had UK taxes paid on them.
The ad concludes with the line: "Plain packs don't make common sense."
As a former smoker, I understand that smoking can be a “Marmite” topic, in that you either love it or hate it. However, it’s important that the whole package printing market takes up the challenge of ensuring the risks of enforcing standardized tobacco packaging are understood, and that a balanced decision is reached when looking at ways to bring about a healthier society for all.
In the latest issue of Package Print Worldwide, US-based designer Erik Askin has detailed a concept for inefficient packaging design as a way to address topics that affect wider society such as smoking. You can also read the feature here.
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Dave’s blog: Short-run printed packaging; spooky special – part 3
Posted on 29th October 2012
Halloween is just a few days away and the range of themed and limited edition printed packaging on the shelves of UK stores continues to grow, like some kind of ectoplasm that you’d find the Ghostbusters fighting.
Mr Kipling Frankenstein Fancies, with their green coloring and carton, fit this description quite well, although they are far, far tastier.
But, like paranormal ectoplasm, Frankenstein Fancies have morphed into a much bigger version; the Frankenstein’s Monster Fancy.
Larger Mr Kipling French Fancies, in traditional colors and flavors, have been available to buy for sometime, but it’s interesting to see that Mr Kipling has taken to giving its limited edition ranges the supersize treatment, and the packaging as a result.
The Frankenstein’s Monster Fancy carton has a die-cut window that fits into the design of the packaging, with the square forehead of the archetypal Frankenstein’s Monster printed above. Other Halloween-related graphics, such as a bat and a spider, also appear.
Further packaging seen by me in the last few days with a Halloween makeover includes those for crisp types Monster Munch and Pom-Bear.
Monster Munch monsters are taking on the guise of witches, complete with hats, while the Pom-Bear bear brand mascot can be seen sporting vampire teeth on special Halloween packs. Pom-Bear multipacks also carry images of the teddy-shaped potato snacks as a witch and a ghost.
With the main Halloween party weekend now over, and the actual event taking place in just 48 hours, make sure to get to the shops quick to catch a glimpse of ghostly and ghoulish packaging printed with all the usual faces and images you’d associate with Halloween.
If you do see any, share it on Twitter mentioning @D_Pittman_PPW and using the hashtag #halloweenpack.