Thursday, 30 April 2009

Evolution of Wine in Bag-in-Box

Wine always had the areola of belonging to people with a sophisticated life style, a little snobbish maybe. Certainly snobbish, when you read the lyrical descriptions of the so-called wine connoisseurs, putting you (the simpleton) off because you have little interest in the either critical or lyrical, fancy-full, high-flying words for the wine which flavour you just happen to enjoy.

The last years the wine market changed and wine received a wide popularity as alternative to beer, but was still only marketed in bottles. No renowned 'chateau' would spend a minute of thought to change the bottle for a more popular, vulgar way of packaging. However, the market dictates. Australia and California, two of the outsiders of the European snobbish wine countries, started to market their wines in alternatives. First Tetra Paks and PET-bottles with a coating from Constar, and the not generally accepted bag-in-box. Astra in South Africa launched an alternative bag-with-spigot to the bag-in-box, the Versus, and PPI launched a one-portion wine bag.
It made wine more popular and appealed to the growing concern of people regarding the environment, but still was only used for popular table wines for barbecues and picnics.

The upscale wine brands needed an answer. And see three beautiful and distinguished designs entered recently the market. One from Romania, one from California and one from Washington (no not DC). Let's have a look how high-quality wines in alternative packages can still keep their 'distinguished chateau image'.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Romanian design bureau Grapefruit was awarded the Bronze Pentaward at the competition’s 2008 edition for the packaging design of Vinexport’s bag-in-box wine range. Vinexport, the fifth biggest wine producer in Romania, wanted to create a new brand that would combine the wine-specific tradition with packaging innovation.
At the creative level, the new products were allusively named “A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Royal Feteasca” and “The Merlot Code”, whereas the packaging was designed to support the brand’s quality level by rendering the image of an old book.
The concept modernizes the perceptions on bag-in-box wines, in competition with foreign brands from the more traditional wine-producing countries (France, Italy, and Spain).

The outside of the box is made from 250 gr/m2 duplex cardboard and typographically printed with polychrome and UV lacquer. Inside is a corrugated cardboard box for strength and of course the wine-bag with spigot. The spigot can be reached through a perforated area and pulled outside.

Saving the earth with a tube at a time
It is nothing out of the ordinary to see exclusive whisky’s presented in a cardboard tube as sales promotion, whereas the whisky still is and will be bottled in a glass bottle. Although also the first impression with this new packaging for the premium quality Cabernet wine of Four Wines, that impression, however, is wrong. The tube indeed is the second packaging, whereas the wine is stored in a plastic bag with spigot. In other words a luxurious bag-in-box or bag-in-tube packaging.

Four Wines offers his premium Cabernet, made from 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petite Sirah by the renowned winemaker Barry Gnekow, in a stylish cylindrical box or tube, as upscale alternative to the common rectangular bag-in-box packaging or the traditional glass-with-cork bottles.

Skipping the relatively expensive traditional glass-and-cork packaging, enabled Four to create a much higher quality wine for its eco-friendly packaging and still being price-competitive. As a consequence, Four Wines is the first up-scale Cabernet Sauvignon produced in a non-traditional packaging. According to the company this wine is comparable with Cabernets double the price and is far superior to the quality of the wines usually packed in bag-in-boxes or similar packages.

The unique 3 ltr wine tube, in which the wine stays fresh to 4 weeks after opening, is not just an outstanding wine in a beautiful packaging. The attractive, innovative packaging has a 50% lower CO2-emission compared to traditional glass bottles.
According to the company, a standard glass wine bottle of 750 ml generates approximately 5,2 kg CO2-emission when transported from California to a shop in New York. The Four 3 ltr tube generates approximately half the emission per 750 ml.
Moreover the wine tube gives 85% less waste and is made from 100% recyclable material, while the labels are printed with a printer powered by wind energy.

Badger Mountain Organic Wines
Badger Mountain Winery wanted to produce Washington State's first certified organic wines, which led to the more eco-friendly bag-in-box (BIB) format to supplement the winery's traditional 750 ml glass bottles.

With this packaging Badger Mountains proves to the world that the once elitist moss-grown wine chateaux are transformed into a wine industry bubbling over with packaging innovations.
The box has the aura of high quality up-scale spirits, such as an exclusive French cognac and has nothing in common with the typical bag-in-box packages for table wines. A perfect and beautiful example of the evolution in bag-in-box packages.

The cartons for the Pure Red/ White 3 ltr bag-in-box, made by Pacific Southwest Container, are constructed from an E Flute - 012SBS top sheet (solid bleached sulphate, a virgin paperboard made from kraft pulp with a clay coating) - 33lb medium - 35lb kraft inside liner. A so called SFL Carton (Single Faced Laminate carton).

Pacific Southwest Container prints the flat sheets of SBS substrate using 3 UV inks and a UV gloss coating on a UV 40 KBA Rapida off-set lithography printing press, after which the printed top sheets are laminated to the medium (the wavy section) and the inside liner board on an Asitrade Laminator. A Bobst SP130-E die cuts the sheets and scores them into the flat shape of the wine carton.

Badger Mountain chose a collapsible inner bag with tap from Scholle Packaging. The film is a Scholle DuraShield High Barrier Film, a three-layer film that provides a high oxygen barrier with a transmission rate as low as .387cc/m2/day. The film is manufactured as a single-ply, which creates exceptional strength in the seams.
The fitment is the Scholle FlexTap, the first push-button automatic shut off tap, with which consumers can regulate the flow rate by the amount of pressure they use on the tap.

To fill the bag-in-boxes Badger Mountain uses a semi-automatic Scholle TruFill 900 Series filler.

Evolution or Revolution?
In 1990, two school districts in the state of California banned the book Little Red Riding Hood because one of its illustrations showed her carrying a bottle of wine in a basket.

Well, the modern day Little Red Riding Hood can now, with a clear conscience, visit her grandmother by carrying an old book, a carton tube or exclusive box in her basket and still has the satisfaction to serve her grandmother a premium glass of wine without the risk to be banned again.

Note: The trivia about Little Red Riding Hood I picked from a publication in Packaging Digest of 9 Aug. 2008.

90411 - 90429 - 90445

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Noodles On-The-Go

Tom Yum is a hot and spicy soup, as lunch very popular in Thailand. It has a sharp sour garlic flavour with a hint of basil, a bit slimy with a pleasant aftertaste of crustaceans. Tom Yum is now packaged in an on-the-go plastic bowl with lid.

Noodles are traditionally dry packed in a plastic bag or wrapper. They are a great as a in between snack or as a simple lunch on-the-go. Spices are usually packaged separately along with the wrapped dry noodles and to eat the noodles the consumer just has to add boiling water. Although it is an ideal Justify Full
on-the-go snack, the consumer has always the problem, where he can get a (soup) bowl or another type of cup.

Fashion Food Co from Thailand perfected the presentation of its famous noodles under the brand name: "FF" by packing them in a high-quality plastic bowl with lid, creating a real on-the-go meal.
All Fashion Food Co’s products are certified Halal and are manufactured under the HACCP and Good Manufacturing Practice protocols.

A pack of the dried noodles (65 g), a bag with spices, a little bag with oil and a fork are packed together in the soup bowl with lid, made of heat resistant PP. The bowl has a diameter of 14.5 cm and a height of 7 cm (including the lid 10 cm). The bowl with lid is shrink wrapped with a half body shrink sleeve with full printing, including a list of ingredients and nutrition values, next to a beautiful image of the product ready to consume. The shrink sleeve covers a portion of the lid for tamper-evidence.

After opening the package the noodles, spices and oil, which are all separately packed and placed in the bowl only have to be stripped of their wrapper, after which boiling water can be added. Put the lid on top, wait 3 minutes and the Tom Yum is ready for consumption.
The fork is packed with it.


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Sustainable Products from the Amazon Rainforest

Of course this is a post about an innovation in packaging. The innovation comes from the Amazônia region, the largest concentration of freshwater and biodiversity of this planet and the natural habitat of the animals represented in the series of sustainable packaged products we are discussing here.
As it is Earth Day, today, a little background information must be welcomed by everyone reading this post.

Earth Day Introduction to the Amazon Rainforest
In April this year government officials, business leaders and non-governmental organisations agreed, during a debate on "Managing the Amazon: A Global Responsibility?", hosted by the British BBC, on the need for rich countries and companies to recognise the people living in the Amazon jungle as "providers of environmental services" and "pay" them for contributing to the fight against climate change by not deforesting.

Pamela Cox, the World Bank's Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean stated, that the world has to acknowledge that the Amazon has an environmental value, and it should decide how much it is willing to pay for that. If the Amazon is the "lungs of the world," it should be given a value, she insisted.

However the problem is basically Brazilian. Brazil, one of the eight South American countries that share the Amazon jungle, is the world's fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, with 48 percent of its gases coming from ‘illegally’ burning the rainforest by cattle-farmers to clear land for agriculture and pasture.

But, slowly, slowly something is changing. Under the "Bolsa Floresta" programme, families receive a monthly payment for not participating in deforestation, explains Virgilio Viana, director of the Sustainable Amazon Foundation which provides the Bolsa to 10,000 families who live in 35 protected areas in the Amazon jungle, which, he said, could be expanded and replicated in similar projects financed by the private sector.

With contributions from the private sector, the families also receive advice and financing for sustainable development projects, such as rubber-tapping, fishing and harvesting of Brazilian super-fruits, nuts and cashews.
"That is the way to reduce deforestation to zero. That is the way to make them guardians of the jungle," says Viana.

Well, let’s discuss one of these private projects. Already for years, Amazônia Natural, a brand of Nutriphitos Cosméticos Ltda of Pinhais in the federal state of Paraná, extracts in a sustainable way products from the Amazon Rainforest to create purely natural cosmetic products. Faithful readers of my blog will remember the company, as I wrote in January the post “Pure nature - The fragrance of the Amazon dancing in the wind” and here they are again with their sustainable cosmetics and amazing packaging design.

The Products and Packaging
The products are created with the highly concentrated predominant properties of Brazilian super-fruits, from which the essences are extracted. The super-fruits, Maracujá (passion fruit), Pitanga, Cupuaçu, Castanha-do-Pará, Buriti, Andiroba, Açaí, are all in one way or another rich in vitamins, minerals, carbon hydrates and anti-oxidants, they are nutritive, vitalizing, hydrating and healing. They are the power-houses of the modern energy drinks and revitalizing cosmetics.
(He, who likes to read more about the Amazon super-fruits and its sustainable exploitation, click here to go to the more detailed mirror of this post on my blog: “Brazil In Hot Pants”)

The new series of soap bars has 7 essences, exploiting the fruits typical of the Amazon region and mirroring the colour of each product, show the textures of the leaves of the various species in shape and graphic design.

Although derived from Amazon fruits, the contents of the jars and bottles are not for consumption. They are to hydrate the body. Amazônia Natural launched among others the Pitanga Moisturizing Body Gel, developed with moist maintaining substances that moisturise and leave the skin soft, with a dry, not oily touch. The feeling is refreshing. Pitanga has anti-radical properties.

Amazônia Natural's products are focussing on the middle class, a consumer segment which values products through design of their packaging. The products are sold throughout Brazil.

According to Ludger Tamaoki, the designer and creator of the packages, "the objective of the project is to draw attention of the consumer in displaying the products as a tribute to the Amazon Rainforest with images of nature and the environment, fundamental attributes of the brand."

The cardboard boxes, printed in offset in 4x0 colours on Vita Carta 300 grs folding paperboard, are mounted through slots, to reduce the impacts in printing and the use of glue. The packages are manufactured with recyclable materials and non-polluting substances such as acetate, present, for example, in glues.
The textures of the region (in this case wood), the rustic illustrations of each fruit, coupled with a clean and impressive graphic design are the main features of the visual program adopted for the product line of Amazônia Natural. Each packaging of this brand contains information about the Amazon Rainforest, its flora/fauna and even preservation tips.

To complete the packaging series, Ludger Tamaoki, partner of Brainbox Strategic Design, created also a series of gift bags, in the same style. The bags evoke the importance of the animals of the Amazon Rainforest. The paper bags show replicas of animal species and form a collection with seven models.


Saturday, 18 April 2009

Boxed Water

Let’s face reality. Bottled water is the most outrageous marketing activity of the last years. In countries where water from the municipal tap is potable, it is an outcry to human decency to bottle and promote the sale of that same tap water.
I have no problems with the bottling of special waters originating from clear water springs and of which is said they have special characteristics, like Perrier, Evian and various others. I don’t have problems with enriched waters, which energizes life and supply extra vitamins. I have a problem with bottled municipal tap water hailed as a miraculous, healthy beverage option - a panacea for a fattening populace addicted to sugar-laden sodas, while in the meantime consumption of bottled water (in the United States alone) used anywhere from 32 million to 54 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2007, according to researchers at the Pacific Institute.

The bottled water market is increasingly commodified and what was once a healthy alternative has become, under constant assaults from environmentalists, politicians, federal regulators and price pressures, a challenge for water bottlers to improve their environmental profile.

The bottled water business is a huge industry in both the US and Canada.
Today, only about 20% of plastic water bottles are being recycled, which is alarming when you consider that in the US alone each year over 35 billion plastic bottles of water are sold.

Environmental criticisms over the impact of bottling mineral water is expected to lead to stagnant growth in the segment over the coming year, potentially forcing manufacturers to rethink their packaging with alternatives such as stand-up pouches, bag-in-box and carton solutions.

Recently three companies introduced water in Tetra Paks, stressing environmental features. They choose respectively for the more luxurious Tetra Prisma, the old-fashioned Tetra Gable-Top and finally the ordinary Tetra Brik.

Plant It Water
After launching carton packaging for mineral water products in 19 countries, packager Tetra Pak says it is now pushing a fully recyclable carton on to the US market through collaboration with producer Plant It Water.

According to Plant It Water, they have introduced the greenest concept in spring water with the launch of its new packaging made from over 60% renewable materials. Plant It Water is one of the first companies in the US to offer natural spring water in a recyclable carton, and with the shapely contours of the Tetra Prisma, the packaging is also quite attractive, making it a unique and recognizable branding element.

The water is sourced from one of Canada’s purest springs and is naturally rich in heart-healthy minerals like Calcium and Magnesium, states the company.

Tetra added that it still had to use a plastic like polyethylene in the carton to provide some barrier qualities, but is developing cartons that can be derived from wholly renewable products.

Boxed Water Is Better
Boxed Water Is Better is carbon-filtered, purified water from Minnesota and it tastes like...water - simple and refreshing. This is the latest trend in water packaging from the Michigan-based company Boxed Water is Better. Currently Boxed Water is Better is available at a number of retailers in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

The boxed water packaging is made from up to 90% renewable resources. It features a solid white carton with the graphic design done in black creating a sharp, highly effective package design that reads "Boxed Water is Better for the Earth."

The company produces milk carton style boxes for its water. The cartons are shipped unfilled to various retailing-points and filled on demand as needed. According to the company this is reducing transportation costs and environmental impact dramatically.
The packaging used looks like the ‘old-fashioned’ gable-top carton from either Tetra Pak or Elopak. If this is true, then somebody has to explain me, how you can transport the packs in flat position, as Tetra as well as Elopak can't be folded flat in a blank, after they are set-up.

I found a reference to Boxed Water is Better at the Sustainable is Good website, amazingly without a comment. Why amazingly? Well, Boxed Water is Better, smells like a scam, at least their sales argument: “The cartons are shipped unfilled and filled on demand as needed dramatically reducing transportation costs and environmental impact.” This argument is eye washing the consumer. Listen, the cartons are produced in a facility in Michigan and transported flat (?) to the filling points, the water is transported from Minnesota to Michigan filling/sales points. So, tell me, where is the “dramatic’ difference in transport costs, CO2 emissions and impact on environment? It smells like a monkey business. In my opinion they are just selling water for profit using dishonest arguments to soothe the environmentally critical consumer.

I asked the company to comment, but have not yet received an answer. After receiving an answer, I will update this post.

Aqua2Go quickly found that water in boxes had been around for many years, and that this was not a new concept. However, the fact remained that there was room, according to the company, for another boxed water product on the market.

The company argues that water boxes, if used wisely and responsibly by consumers, are useful for a variety of purposes such as emergency preparedness (due to 5 year shelf life), large gatherings, and other situations in which access to clean water and/or reusable containers is not an option.

Aqua2Go uses a traditional Tetra Brik of which approximately 75% is made from paper -- a renewable and renewed resource. Aqua2Go is compact, lightweight, and can easily be flattened after use.

Environmental Impact
As I wrote in my previous post: Tetra Paks are ‘green’ compared with the PET-bottles more widely used for bottling water. But both do not decompose or degrade in nature and mostly end-up on the landfill. Reasonable green, the discarded empty Tetra Paks can’t be put in the main cardboard recycling stream as they are made with plastic coated lamination and contain aluminium elements and other materials which prevent their disposal into the general recycling schemes. They require special recycling facilities.
As far as I know, there are none selectively collecting systems or Tetra recycling facilities operating in the US at this moment, only in Brazil, where Tetra Pak has a recycling plant for their packs.

Feeling Guilty?
Apparently water bottlers feel the breathing of the environmentally critical consumer down their necks, as they all try to soothe public opinion in promoting environmental initiatives.

Premium bottled water brands Fiji and Evian launched separate environmental initiatives that promise to minimize their products’ impact on the planet and increase patronage of environmental causes. Fiji pledged to invest in the Fijian rainforest, and Evian invested money toward helping locals manage their water resources in Argentina, Nepal and Thailand. Both brands have also tried to push the message that, no matter what environmental crusaders say, bottled water still has less of an environmental impact than any other beverage.

On a smaller scale the here mentioned boxed water companies pledge similar promises:

Plant It Water
Plant It Water initiates environmental efforts in the packaged water category by committing to plant one tree for every carton of water sold. Through an exclusive partnership with Trees for the Future, Plant It Water aims to help communities around the world with reforestation projects and restoring livelihoods compromised by natural disasters and over-mining of natural resources.

Boxed is Better
Monkey business or not, Boxed is Better is promising to give 20% of its profits back to the resources the product is composed of - water and trees. Not only does it simply make sense, but according to Boxed is Better they really enjoy supporting water and forestation organizations as it's part of the company's ethos and way of thinking to give back and participate.

Agua2Go wants to demonstrate to their customers that they are committed to "making a difference" in the world. The company has made a commitment to help people in need. The company hopes that by doing so, they will not only make a difference in the lives of those they help, but also inspire others to join in.

Well, at the final end, bottling water is just fine and dandy!


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Milk in a Pouch - Innovative and Sustainable

The milk container market, one of the most important and traditional of all the food and beverage packaging segments is ripe for sustainable developments and design novelties. From the glass milk bottle to the existing plastic or cardboard containers over more than 60 years little changed in that market. Up till recently.

Last year UK’s Food and Farming Minister, Lord Rooker, called for the dairy industry to become more sustainable, targeting 50% reduction of plastics used in milk packaging as a key goal for 2020. (photo right courtesy Waitrose)

Although for the majority of industries sustainability is solely a moral issue at best, pressure of the environment conscious consumer in turning it around into an economic issue is evident. As a consequence marketing departments and designers have to see it as a creative challenge. The challenge is to come up with aesthetically attractive designs that are environmentally responsible, grant the basics of protecting and presenting the product, stimulate consumer behaviour to purchase and repurchase. Although not a consumer requirement, an innovative packaging might be a sales-booster.
Here starts the contradiction. Some companies have introduced highly disruptive designs creating a huge impact on the shelves in the supermarkets. Some have even managed to create revolutions in a specific category of packaging by using different structures or materials. However, consumers, hate change of the traditional and trusted day-to-day products, and there is always a degree of resistance to anything that affects the tradition. One of these “traditional” categories is the milk packaging.

The US consumer is much more conservative in regard to changes in packages of basic day-to-day products, in contrast to the UK consumer who is more open to changes in ‘traditional’ packaging as long as ‘greenness’ and sustainability is served, and convenience not frustrated.

In the UK and the USA in particular, the dairy industry is marketing its milk products in plastic milk bottles, mostly made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), causing a tremendous pressure on landfill and nature.

Widely used in the European and sparsely in the UK and US milk industry, the Tetra laminated cardboard packs are common in the juice sector. Although reasonable green, the discarded empty packs can’t be put in the main cardboard recycling stream as they are made with plastic coated lamination and contain aluminium elements and other materials which prevent their disposal into the general recycling schemes. They require special recycling facilities.
As far as I know, there are none Tetra recycling facilities in the UK (and the USA) at the moment, only in Brazil, where Tetra Pak has a recycling plant for their packs.

These two packages, the plastic bottle and the Tetra pack, are the two main pillars on which the distribution chain of milk is based.

Let’s have a look at three recently developed ‘green’ milk packages in the UK:

• Suffolk’s Marybelle dairy began in late 2008 to sell its milk in ASDA stores located in eastern England in the new GreenBottles (see photo above). The GreenBottle is made from cardboard pulp with a plastic inner bag. As a matter of fact you could call it a bag-in-box. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for GreenBottle completed by PIRA found that the carbon footprint of GreenBottle was 48% lower than the HDPE milk bottle.
Daylesford, an organic UK dairy producer managed to innovate both structure and materials, resulting in a sensational milk packaging, which I baptized bag-pack. Made from calcium carbonate, the biodegradable, bag-like plastic pack is cut into a striking jug shape. It is innovative, stylish and sustainable.
• Sainsbury’s debuted the milk bag with Jugit from Dairy Crest that comprises of a plastic pouch of milk used in conjunction with a specialized reusable jug. The jug’s two-piece lid features a hollow spike attachment that perforates the pouch when closed. The top of the attachment flips open to provide a handy, recloseable spout.

The GreenBottle - A Bag-in-Box
When you take a look at the bottle with its mat white appearance, it looks like a plastic milk container. However it is a double folded tray made from cardboard pulp, a system identical to the well-known pulp packages for eggs. The outer shell is made from recycled paper (90.7% waste paper) which can be recycled again, or if left it will just decompose within a matter of weeks. The plastic inner liner, which takes up less than 0.5% of the space of a plastic bottle if dumped in a landfill, prevents liquid from contaminating the paper case. The bag can be made from conventional Low Density Polypropylene or a Corn Starch alternative.
The GreenBottle consumes about a third of the energy required to make a plastic bottle and has a Carbon Footprint that is 48% lower than plastic.

To get this result some handling has to be done: First a loose inner bag is inserted into a paper spout. The bag is then folded and with the spout, placed into the outer shell. The bottle rim is glued, folded over and closed. Finally the bottle is filled, the spout is closed and sealed, and the label is applied.

Resistance of the consumer is probably minimal as the final result looks and handles like a plastic milk container. A clever idea, which has some similarities with the 360-Paper-Water-Bottle, I wrote about some time ago.

Bio-degradable bag-pack
Over twenty years ago, Daylesford began to turn their family land in the Cotswolds and Staffordshire over to sustainable, organic farming. It was the start of a passion: to grow crops naturally, and rear healthy animals. The rich organic milk from their herd of Friesians - a different taste entirely from more industrially produced milk - seemed to entreat Daylesford to expand in a creamery and other related activities.

Skilled artisan cooks work alongside organic gardeners; cheese-making is practised next door to willow basket-weaving, dry stone walling and other traditional, precious country crafts; people working together, sharing a vision.
From this traditional, if you like ‘old-fashioned’ environment, almost gone everywhere else in the world, comes an amazing development: The bio-degradable milk bag-pack.

As Daylesford does not reveal details, we have to make an assumption as the 'Daylesford' bag-pack (photo left) looks very similar to the recently by Sweden-based manufacturer Ecolean (photo under) unveiled new lightweight aseptic packaging system for liquid food products.

This package is made up from a flexible multi-layered polymer film, baptized Calymer, consisting of 60% polyethylene and polypropylene and 40% calcium carbonate.
According to the manufacturer, the package weighs just 14 grams, which is a 40-50% reduction on a conventional liquid food carton or bottle.
Although flexible material, the bag-pack stands up steadily, thanks to the flat-bottom design that does the job. The air-filled handle makes it easy to get a grip and the spout makes it easy to pour.

The Calymer material should not be confused with bio-degradable plastics on the market as they follow a different life-cycle. According to Ecolean’s site, a disposed Calymer package can either be recycled as a traditional plastic or “recovered as energy by incineration.” And here is the difference with Daylesford, as they claim that the bag-pack is bio-degradable.

The system requires a proprietary production line with filling machines and packing stations. The filling machine opens, fills and re-seals the packages in 2.4 seconds. Although their Ecolean packaging is available with the system, the Calymer material itself is not for sale separately.

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rock, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, and eggs..

The Jugit
In the past milk-in-a-bag has been introduced in several markets, among others in the Netherlands, with none or little success. Apparently the UK consumer is more open to this type of 'dressed-down' milk packaging and I must say the jug necessary to be used with this milk bag has undergone a tremendous innovation.

Developed by Dairy Crest in association with the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain, Jugit offers consumers a pouch-based format that uses substantially less packaging material than conventional plastic milk containers, allied to the convenience of an easy-to-pour, reusable jug.

The basic consumer resistance to adopting liquid pouches is the means of opening and pouring. Typical consumer fears about pouches include the suspicion that bags will burst, their lack of recloseability and concerns that they can only be opened using scissors. Design agency Vibrandt 1hq developed the Jugit to specifically overcome these factors.

The secret to Jugit’s success is an innovative two-part lid featuring a hollow spike attachment, which perforates the pouch as a natural consequence of assembly. After the pouch is dropped into the jug and the main body of the lid closed, trapping the top of the bag using secure clips, the spike is inserted to perforate the pouch. The top of the attachment then flips open to provide a handy, recloseable pouring spout.

The lid, spike and handle are injection moulded in white PP, while clear material is used for the two pint jug all manufactured by RPC Market Rasen. The pouches are manufactured by Glopak.

This new packaging system for milk for Dairy Crest, has been so successful that it is now been extended to over 200 Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stores across the UK.

80723 - 90315 - 90330

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Functional products demand packaging innovation

In her article “Consumer Trends for 2009” published in FoodProcessing, News and Trends Editor Diane Toops expects for 2009 premium ready meals that give a restaurant experience at home or beauty products that bring a spa-like feel to the bathroom.
Beyond this, manufacturers will launch products specifically designed to enhance people’s moods in unique ways.
From food and beauty to household cleaners, Chicago-based Mintel, expects to see a widening range of products that soothe, energize or simply lift the spirits.

Health and wellness is expected to continue its march into new product development as a rapidly growing segment in the food and beverage industry that is having an impact on both food content and packaging.
Studies from The Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts conclude, that functional foods providing health and beauty benefits, including those known as ‘beauty foods’, ‘nutracosmetics’ or ‘neutraceuticals’, are experiencing an overwhelming growth, with Americans spending more than USD 27 billion on such products in 2007.

For many functional food and beverage products, maximum potency and effectiveness relies on the way in which the ingredients are delivered.

Beauty foods and packaging innovation
Obviously the new way to look beautiful is with an emerging generation of specially formulated foods and drinks. Though the trend is very much in its infancy, it has attracted some attention from heavy-hitters in the food industry, including Nestlé.

Nestlé launched a new functional drink product called ‘Glowelle’. The dietary supplement, or “beauty juice,” is high in antioxidant properties, vitamins and fruit extracts. Aimed at nourishing and hydrating the skin, Glowelle fights signs of aging from the inside out with skin-beautifying antioxidants.

The tapered, custom-made 8-oz (237 ml) glass bottle, from Vitro Packaging, is decorated with applied ceramic labels (ACL) in two colours.
The elegantly simple graphics design, created by KU Productions, is inviting to the brand's targeted female audience. One graphics detail helps do that on the label: A starburst element inside of the "O" of the vertical ‘glowelle’ logo makes it resemble a flower.

As designer Ken Ussenko explains: "I did not want it to come across as a perfume or have a look that was borderline clinical, I wanted it to be welcoming and fun for the everyday woman."

Nestlé chose a glass container to support the brand's notions of purity, quality, and natural sustainability. The caps, from Crown, are tamper-evidently sealed with a shrink band around the neck.


Friday, 10 April 2009

A Probiotic Packaging

Although the pictures shown with this post suggest that I want to discuss a special application for Tetra Pak, it is, however, a little packaging included in or added to the Tetra Paks which have our attention today.

The probiotic straw. As a matter of fact it is per definition a packaging as the straw, made and developed by Unistraw from Australia, holds probiotic bacteria, which are released when the consumer sips the liquid from the pack through the straw.

The Australian company sold the straws as a separate item, till the moment they signed, end of last year, a global agreement with Tetra Pak to add the probiotic straw to all Tetra Brik Aseptic individual portion pack drink cartons.

The patented ’on-pack’ probiotic straw allows the industry to supply probiotics separately to long life milk and other dairy products as well as fruit juices, without the need to keep the product refrigerated.

UniStraw’s unique system stores the probiotics as dry, stable UniBeads in the straw, where they are kept in position by filters located at both ends of the straw. The UniBeads dissolve in the liquid as it passes through the straw when sipping it. The probiotic straws have a shelf life of 12 months.

Till recently probiotic beverages such as smoothies and fruit juices could only be marketed under chilled conditions. With the application of dry probiotic formulas packed in straws which can be added to the original packaging, a new market concept opens up for the beverage and dairy producers, which are now able to offer probiotic drinks with a stable shelf life out of the refrigerating section.

In addition to the worldwide agreement with Tetra Pak UniStraw announced one month later to have signed a similar agreement with Danisco for the exclusive worldwide sales and marketing of its international patented concept for the HOWARU probiotics.

With the introduction of the Howura Probiotic straws Danisco, a leading worldwide supplier of cultures, offers one of the most extensive ranges of probiotic bacteria, to accommodate the consumer demand for intestinal health and improvement of the natural defences.

According to Euromonitor, the global market for probiotic dairies had a value of USD 10.2 billion in 2007. Asia and Europe are leading with, respectively 54% and 30%. At this moment with USD 310 million, North-America is currently a small, but fast growing market with a forecasted annual grow of 14% in the next three years.

Nestlé Nutrition, as far as I know, is the first in North America to add the probiotic straw to its children's nutritional beverages with Boost Kid Essentials.
The shelf-stable Tetra Prisma package pairs with a patented, probiotic-containing straw from the Swedish biotechnology company BioGaia. Previously used only for beverages in Spain and Japan, the straw holds 100 million L. Reuteri Protectis cells contained in an oil droplet that is released when the consumer drinks through the straw. Tasteless and colourless, the probiotic is said to help strengthen child's natural defences by supporting a healthy immune system.

The 8.25-oz (244 ml) Tetra Prisma is available in a six-pack format held in a paperboard sleeve. With reference to the targeted market segment the graphics on the packages are bright and eye-catching, using a spectrum of primary colours. A cartoon on the top of the six-pack sleeve shows a cutaway of the straw and the words, “Immunity Support from Probiotic Straw!”

For the Tetra Pak Aseptics the straw can be added automatically by using the Tetra Pak TSA/21 or TSA/22 straw applicator.

81205 - 90226

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Natural In and Out - Fresh Handmade Cosmetics as Easter Egg

Easter Eggs are supposed to be made from chocolate, although loved by everyone, chocolate isn’t Justify Fullalways the best gift. But everyone loves to receive an Easter Egg, that ancient Pagan symbol of springtime.
Try an alternative to the standard chocolate Easter Eggs often packaged in nature unfriendly material. Try the Honey Toffee Scented Easter Egg of ethical handmade cosmetics company Lush. All Lush's Easter Eggs are vegetarian and four are vegan. Don’t eat them, They are to dip yourself into a nice 'fragrance bath’.

Each Bubble Bar and soap gift is housed in 500g of Ballistic "egg shell". The hollow eggs, available in two varieties are made from bath ballistic mix and contain two Lush products inside. When the inner products have been used, consumers can simply break off pieces of the outer shell and throw them into the bathtub for an indulgent fragrant soak. To protect the eggs Lush wraps them in biodegradable eco-plastic which can be put on the compost heap.

Or as Lush is stating: “Luxury without the guilt; just the way we like it best.”

The gift eggs are wrapped in Innovia Films’ transparent NatureFlex NE30 film, which has been converted into sheets by Innovation Packaging Solutions Ltd.

For the ethical handmade cosmetics company Lush, NatureFlex was an obvious solution for the packaging as the film begins life as a natural product - wood - and breaks down within a matter of weeks. It also offers advantages for packing and converting such as inherent dead fold and anti-static properties, high gloss and transparency, resistance to grease and oil, good barrier to gases and aromas and a wide heat-seal range.

NatureFlex films are cellulose based, derived from renewable wood-pulp and are certified to meet both the European EN13432 and American ASTM D6400 standards for compostable packaging. The wood-pulp is sourced from managed plantations operating under Good Forestry principals (FSC or equivalent). NatureFlex films typically have a renewable bio-based content of some 95% by weight of material.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The ‘greenness’ of Easter Eggs

Worldwide the period up to Easter is traditionally a ‘wasteful’ period in terms of packaging material. The sales in Easter Eggs and other (chocolate) products during the Easter period is enormous and consequently the consumption of fancy and mostly non-recyclable packaging materials. Easter time is one of the most important periods for the chocolate industry, it represents some 10% of their annual sales volume and for years, chocolate companies have used bigger and more flamboyant packages to excite children and their parents, to boost sales and profits.

In several countries, however, the Easter Eggs are stripped of their exorbitant packaging, as manufacturers cut down on packaging material or replace it by environmental friendly alternatives in their attempt to let Easter Eggs go green.

Reducing packaging creates challenges, as Easter Eggs are typically hollow and fragile. They need a form of protection during the distribution chain in order to ensure that the eggs arrive on the shelf in one piece.
Although in general Easter Eggs are presents, with the packaging representing an integral part of the gift presentation, the chocolate industry is under constant pressure, as consumer’s attention is increasingly turned to sustainability.

Let’s visit the UK and Brazil to see the difference in “waste-management”.

United Kingdom
In the UK the most remarkable changes in the Easter Egg packaging can be seen, since major Easter Egg manufacturers in the UK such as Cadbury, Kraft, Mars and Nestlé entered into a collective and voluntary covenant with WRAP ((Waste & Resources Action Programme’s), agreeing to make significant packaging reductions to their 2009 edition of Easter Eggs.
The move by the leading chocolate manufacturers is part of a sustainability drive across this industry segment, which uses 4,500 tons of packaging material for Easter Eggs every year. ....... continue reading


Monday, 6 April 2009

Designing and developing packaging with i-Design

Consumer product companies requiring innovative and branded designs, which use less and/or alternative and/or recycled material so packages are more sustainable, with an eye on the bottom line, minimizing prototyping and concept testing and that all as quickly and accurately as possible so that they can be the first in the market with the best packaging, might find the answer now by automating the modelling and analysis process, which provides innovative, high-performing, value-added packages in a fraction of the time.

I-Design is a package development software-solution developed by Constar, which automates the time-consuming modelling and analyzing needed to design and develop new packages. With a few clicks of the mouse i-Design users are able to develop custom-designed packages, arrange complex modifications of existing packages and even configure three-dimensional optimized pallet patterns. Projects traditionally consuming some 40 hours of intensive design time of an experienced engineer, can now be done within minutes.

The software system debuted at the Packaging Conference in Las Vegas, where Constar demonstrated a packaging project with i-Design. In less then 10 minutes, a 20-ounce (592 ml) six-panel hot-fill bottle was created, the height of the panel for the label altered, and the waist of the bottle improved resulting in a lighter bottle weight, to finish with converting the entire structure into Constar's horizontally banded Vertical Compensation Technology. Furthermore the packaging design was optimized for the pallet pattern, pre-forms were created based upon the specifications of the new bottle and ready-to-go CAD-drawings of the new improved bottle were printed. And that all within 10 minutes.

In stead of limiting the use for in-house projects only, i-Design is developed as a user-friendly device to operate inter-actively with all CAD and analyzing systems, using other servers. It can be approached via the World Wide Web, with Internet Explorer as interface, so that packaging designers, engineers and even technical sales men are able to design and develop a packaging in-the-field, right at the conference table with the customer.

Constar is a global producer and supplier of PET (polyethyleentereftalaat) plastic containers for the food and beverage industry.