Packaging Digest

  1. For beauty and personal care products, packaging is more than just a pretty face

    When people queue, the popular adage is “age before beauty.” But among consumers at retail, functionality, freshness and, foremost, the ability to dispense 100% of beauty and personal care (BPC) products are the packaging attributes for which they stand in line. In many cases, consumers are also seeking BPC products that perform multiple functions, and often times that means packaging must do double duty as well. 

    Mintel data shows there is rarely a beauty or personal care product category today where consumers are not interested in multifunctional products. In the U.S. and U.K., almost half of consumers use between four and eight different skincare products, and both men and women are looking for products in a specific category that perform more than one function.

    For example, 60% of U.S. consumers who buy and use anti-aging skincare products choose products that provide such multiple benefits as anti-aging and moisturizing. In the sun care category, for example, according to Mintel’s 2014 US Sun Protection and Sunless Tanners report, 71% of U.S. sun care users express interest in sun protection with anti-aging benefits.

    However, beyond interest in products that perform dual functions, consumers are also looking for packaging that does the same. In Mintel’s 2014 UK Beauty and Personal Care Packaging Trends report, close to one in five consumers would like to see packaging that incorporates a second function. Slightly less than 9% are interested in dual-compartment packaging. While that may seem like a small percentage, it’s with good reason.

    Unlike automotive or lawn/garden products, beauty and personal care brands rarely use on-pack messaging to communicate to consumers that the product they are selecting comes in a dual-chamber container. Full body shrink sleeve labels also contribute to hidden or even covert dual-chamber packs. In other cases, brands use clear packaging, which allows packaging to speak for itself—often further reinforcing the notion that the product has “dual advantages”, and therefore, reinforcing the value proposition of the product but without the need to market the dual-pack functionality.

    Where dual-chambered packs are sought after is among mass and prestige brands, where these specific-use packs allow consumers to effectively dispense two products at once or mix them prior to use, which often either increases the product efficacy or helps extend the number of uses.

    From Malaysia, Watson’s line of eye and skin care kits (left) feature a dual-chamber pack that separates the ingredients and instructs consumers on how to effectively dispense and use the two-step beauty care product. At right, Estée Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Diamond uses a highly visual dual-chamber pack for its skincare infusion product. Here, the brand has chosen to feature the attributes of two separate ingredients that are mixed together during dispensing.


    Dual-chamber packaging is only one of the ways that packaging can support multifunctional beauty and personal care products. While it has been used by many brands already, there are definitely opportunities for brands to enhance this pack type by combining with other packaging technologies, such as airless packaging for example.

    But without doubt, the attribute consumers are particularly interested in is packaging that affords the ability to dispense or evacuate 100% or as near 100% of the product as possible. According to MWV’s (now WestRock’s) Packaging Matters Packaging Satisfaction Index (PSI), 63% of consumers say the ability to easily dispense product is a key attribute of importance.

    In its original 2013 PSI, across all end-categories, 65% of consumers said the ability to dispense 100% of the product was an important attribute, versus just 12% who indicated they are satisfied with packaging performance against that attribute.

    Now-entrenched purchasing habits that carry over from the 2008-2009 recession, mean consumers are still frugal, and still looking to stretch the fewer purchasing dollars at their disposal. That means the ability to use every last drop or dollop of product is critical, especially to the repurchase decision.

    But today, and for the foreseeable future, no conversation about dispensability in beauty and personal care would be complete without mentioning the growing popularity of airless dispensing systems, and pump-on-tube, plastic bag-on-valve, springless, dual-chamber airless and even airless jars. While Mintel doesn’t track airless spray systems specifically, it has recorded a 20% increase in airless dispensing systems within the BPC, household and pet care markets between January 2010 and December 2014.

    One of the key attributes of airless systems, and again, bag-on-valve systems in particular, is their ability to evacuate, in most cases, all of the product. For brands seeking to sate consumers’ thirst for more environmentally friendly packaging, the perception that airless is a better alternative is an attractive marketing tool. The combination of 100% dispensing and a more environmentally friendly package is an attractive proposition, and one that builds both brand equity and brand loyalty.

    For example, Nordictan (left in the top photo) was the first skincare product to embrace the SprayPET plastic airless technology from APPE, a plastic aerosol claimed to deliver a lower carbon footprint than tinplate or aluminum versions, as well as being fully recyclable. And the MiiSTS 11ml credit-card-size pack (right in the top photo) uses a micro-thin airless pump and valve systems to dispense up to 150 doses of product.


    This article was co-authored by Viktorija Gnatoka and David Luttenberger.

    Viktorija Gnatoka is a packaging analyst at Mintel, where she covers food, drink, beauty/personal care and household products. She has more than 8 years’ experience in brand development and private label packaging. She can be reached at

    David Luttenberger is the global packaging director at Mintel. He has 24 years’ packaging experience. He can be reached at You can also follow him on Twitter at @packaginggeek.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015
    Airless package examples include (l to r) Nordictan, the first skincare product in SprayPET from APPE, the Flairosol container with a trigger sprayer and MiiSTS 11ml credit-card-size pack.
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  2. The case of the invisible machine

    Gary’s phone call caught me as I was coming into the office. "I can't see my new machine," he told me.

    "What does that even mean?" I asked.

    "When I look at my machine, all I see is the mesh guarding,” Gary said. “I can't see inside without stopping and opening the guarding."

    "That doesn't sound good," I told him.

    "Not good at all," he replied. "How soon can you get here?"

    It was soon enough and then Gary was showing me the machine, brand new with all the modern features. The guarding was shiny expanded stainless mesh. I told him, "This is a pretty reliable machine. You should be able to enclose it in a big black box and never look at it.”

    "Yeah, but not being able to see a machine working is a recipe for disaster." We both agreed there.

    "In any event, Gary, fiddlesticks on obfuscatory guarding. All you need is some black paint."

    "Black paint? Won't that make it even less transparent?"

    "Not if you use a flat black paint," I explained. "The shiny stainless looks really nice but it tricks the eye. Because it is so visible, our eyes focus on the metal rather than looking through to focus on what is behind it. That's why it is so hard to see through. A flat, non-reflective, black paint hides that focal point for the eye and you will find it much easier to see what is going on behind the guarding."

    Sometimes it is good to go over to the dark side.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015
    Funny how our eyes can be tricked into not seeing beyond the mesh guarding.
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  3. The 5 best packaging advancements of September

    'Throwback’ green materials, mass-customized cans, ‘cannabusinesses’ and pouches and a packaging fable all drew high interest from the packaging community over the past month.


    The seasonal changeover on September 23 from summer to fall was seamlessly completed again this year as was the monthly change to October—a passage that signals a fresh list of the Top 5 Best-Read Articles at from the past 30 days.


    At #5 is a “throwback” entry from August where the 5 Hottest Packaging Advancements from that month made our list. This inclusion demonstrates the value of reviews as well as for multiple articles bundled together—essentially the editorial equivalent of five articles for the price of one. The August quintet includes a pachyderm-shaped bottle (shown below) that was developed with an assist from 3D printing, a home-appliance for pouched beer, “blockbuster film” packaging and more. You can go back to the near-term future here.


    Next is this true tale of elves fighting to protect their packaging…


    #4. This packaging fable has all the elements of a cracking good story that involves a battle and elves—sounds like a Lord of the Rings-type adventure to me—but also adds in a powerful dose of packaging.

    The tale begins, as such tales do, once upon a time…“This one is about an Elf named Ernie, who lived in a hollow tree in the land of Keebler (a Kellogg brand), who was famous for his delicious cookies. Looking for a better way to keep his cookies fresh, he used a resealable package, featuring a top-opening flow wrap that could be resealed.

    But one of Ernie’s biggest cookie competitors, a group of sailors who called themselves Chips Ahoy!, objected, claiming they had invented the resealable package and had a patent to prove it. They accused Ernie of stealing their IP.

    Ernie responded that he stole nothing. Their resealable package was a neat idea, he argued, but was obvious and not worthy of a patent.”

    We don’t want to spoil things so you can read the rest of the story “An IP fable: How the Keebler elves fought off patent infringement charges”  here.


    Articles about this controversial product—and its packaging— remain smokin’ hot…



    Nearly half of the United States has passed laws legalizing cannabis, and yet brands in this market are faced with numerous challenges getting their products into dispensaries and, ultimately, to their target consumers. Smart “cannabusinesses” are partnering with consultants, licensing experts, packaging suppliers and strategic marketers to ensure they are abiding by their state’s legal regulations and presenting their marijuana products in their very best light.

    We pull back the curtain on this mystery-shrouded and booming business in Why ‘cannabusinesses’ choose stand-up pouches for marijuana packaging

    This Bud and 200,000 more unique cans are for you and other festival goers…

    #2. Mass customization of beverage packaging continues to find applications, most recently in a special edition of 200,000 Bud Light cans. In this summertime promotion that ended in late September, each 16-oz can is decorated with a shrink sleeve label that has been digitally printed with a unique packaging design. The Festival cans target drinking-age younger consumers, recognizing the millennial generation’s desire for personalized, yet shareable, experiences. The fun, one-of-a-kind package graphics and bold colors energize the designs and amplify the appeal for this demographic.

    Read the mass custom can story here.


    The #1 article for the month hosts a reunion of green materials…

    #1. Ever wondered what became of those materials that were going to change the world for the better? Wonder no longer: We have an update on a number of them in a “then and now” format that includes foamed rPET, an algae and polypropylene blend, algae and polystyrene blend, direct-to-sheet polyester (DPET), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and polylactide, i.e, polylactic acid, better known as PLA.

    Read how these green “oldies” have weathered the years in this update.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2015
    We’ve gathered together the Top 5 articles of last month in this group photo of what advancements gained the most attention.
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  4. Vertical bagger makes Doyen-style pouches in a much smaller footprint
    Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    Stand-up pouches with reclosable zippers have become more and more popular in recent years. Traditionally these have been made on horizontal pouch machines. Bosch Packaging has turned this concept on end.

    At first glance, the Model SVE252 from Bosch Packaging, aka the Doy Zip bagger, looks like a typical vertical form-fill-seal (VFFS) bagger, and there are similarities in the material path and filling. The difference is that this one makes a true Doyen-style pouch with a zipper.

    Advantages include speed (100 bags per minute) and reduced footprint (6 sq ft) when compared with a horizontal poucher.

    Film is unrolled and formed over a special mandrel that also adds the V to the bottom for stand-up gussets. The film extends to the front of the mandrel, a zipper is fed between the seals and it is all welded together to form the "top" of the finished pouch. As the pouch pulls down, a horizontal bar seals the sides and cuts the pouches apart.

    Bosch feels that this machine is so revolutionary that they have set up a dedicated website at

    Check it out at Pack Expo Las Vegas Booth C-2800.

    Tell 'em the wizard sent you.

    Known as the Changeover Wizard, John R. Henry is the owner of, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He has written the book, literally, on packaging machinery ( and is the face and personality behind packaging detective KC Boxbottom, the main character in Adventures in Packaging, a popular blog on

    Bosch Packaging Technology
    Close-up shows how the zipper material is added to the Doyen-style pouch on this vertical form-fill-sealer. The fin seal is at front of the forming tube and bottom gussets are already formed on the back side. Horizontal sealing creates the bag's sides.
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  5. Case erector cuts set-up time by almost half
    Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    A new way of feeding and setting up cases on the 30 Series case erectors from Wexxar/Bel speeds up the process. What used to take about seven minutes can now be done in about four minutes.

    Cases now are loaded horizontally in strapped bundles. Once the bundle is in queue in the magazine, the strap is easily removed. Case blanks are then fed on a belt from the bottom using gravity and, once clear from the stack, are stood up for vertical opening (just like before). See the system operate in the video clip above.

    At Pack Expo Las Vegas (booth C-3123), national account manager Peter Zweber explained that case size changeovers are easy. You loosen the hand-cranks, slide the guides in (or out) until they touch the new case size and then tighten the handles back up. No tools needed.

    Because the design uses gravity to help feed the cases, the system can handle a wider range of case styles and materials. Plastic cases, for example.

    With this new feeding system, the overall machine footprint is a little bit wider and a little longer. The magazine section could also be extended to reduce the frequency of replenishing the case supply, but that would add a little bit more to the length of the machine.

    In addition to easier case loading and faster set up, this new design eliminates any potential pressure problems with vertically loaded and stacked cases.

    We also showed a solution to carton-feeding pressure problems from Kliklok-Woodman on its CertiWrap Elite system, which debutted at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The problem is the same—controlling material feeding pressure—but the solution was different and was for cartons rather than cases.

    WexxarBel, powered by Pro Mach
    Video of OcNPrLowH8I
    The WF30T automatic case erector now has a new and faster way to setup cases.
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  6. All-paper packaging for ecommerce avoids void fill

    This “smart ecommerce solution” is a case former that uses patented and patent-pending technology to form corrugated cases with an integrated kraft paper liner that eliminates void fill.


    The growth and interest in ecommerce was evident at Pack Expo with a number of inventive solutions to make the process speedier and more efficient if not more sustainable. One of the most fascinating was found at the booth of WestRock and its latest member of the company’s Meta series of case-forming equipment, the Meta e.


    The new Meta e relies system relies on the Meta series’ “precision mandrel” case forming operation using die-cut blanks with an added twist for ecommerce: An adhesive-strip coated kraft paper sleeve is cut inline from roll and affixed to the inside of the corrugated blank before the case is formed.  


    The result is an all-paper, ecommerce-optimized case with a protective kraft insert that provides “blocking and bracing of primary product” without the need for void fill. The entire packaging is 100% recyclable in paper streams.



    Don Reggio, vp of marketing, corrugated packaging solutions, says the system outputs 25 cases per minute. He says it will be field-tested soon and that they are “in conversations with a dozen” potential customers.


    More about WestRock’s Meta systems can be found here.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015
    Vp Don Reggio shows off WestRock’s new all-paper ecommerce solution with an integrated kraft-paper protective insert.
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  7. Robotic case packing sans vacuum or pick-and-place

    The new TriVex SL case packing system debuting at Pack Expo offers a revolutionary simpler way to robotically load pouches into cases without the use of vacuum cups or any pick-and-place operation.


    The TriVex SL system combines the functions collation and loading into a single, integrated operation using a pair of SCARA robots. The controls programming is also simpler: Run by Rockwell Automation ControlLogix, it does away with dedicated robotic programming. The robots’ end effectors are the loading box.  It is optimized for pouches, bags and cartons in a standup configuration. Douglas Machine’s Steve Lipps, vp sales and marketing, says the system can output 25 retail-ready display cases/min.


    Monday, September 28, 2015
    SCARA robots load pouches into retail-ready cases without vacuum or pick-and-place operations.
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  8. ‘Waterfall’ carton feeder solves pressure problems
    Monday, September 28, 2015

    Replenishing cartons on a high-speed carton erector can keep an operator busy. Sometimes too busy.

    But if you extend the carton magazine to hold more cartons, the added weight pressing on the carton supply could cause cartons to be pushed out at the end before a reciprocating feeder can grab them and set them up properly.

    A new “waterfall” design on the CertiWrap Elite cartoner from Kliklok-Woodman—announced at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2015 in Booth C-2603—makes sure that the pressure on carton blanks feeding into the machine is just right.

    The design basically separates a small quantity of cartons at the end of the machine feeding area. The rest of the cartons on the magazine are pushed up until they drop down into this separate area…in a controlled waterfall action. The photo shows a close up of this feature on the machine.

    Pack Expo Las Vegas is also the North American debut of the Elite cartoner.

    This carton feeder controls the pressure in a unique way so you can extend the carton magazine and minimize the frequency of carton blank loading without dropping a lot of cartons.
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  9. Laser codes show up on HDPE bottles

    Coding variable information like lot and date directly onto high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles has always been difficult. Ink jet will do it but is messy and there may be solvent bleed-through issues. It can also be removed. Lasers work great on a variety of materials but not on HDPE.

    Until now.

    At Pack Expo Las Vegas, DPSS Lasers (Booth N-512) is showing some white bottles with what looked like high-quality inkjet printing. When they told me it was laser, my first thought was that there was an additive in the plastic.


    The DPSS uses an ultraviolet scribing to code text and two-dimensional (2D) codes directly on the bottle. Printing is a very dark, almost black, grey. Since it is a laser, the code can be focused down optically to as small as 50 microns. This is great for hidden product surety codes. Speeds can go to 600 bottles per minute with three to four lines of text.

    I've been a laser fan for many years but applications with plastics have been limited. This ultraviolet (UV) laser gives manufacturers a whole new way to code.


    Known as the Changeover Wizard, John R. Henry is the owner of, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He has written the book, literally, on packaging machinery ( and is the face and personality behind packaging detective KC Boxbottom, the main character in Adventures in Packaging, a popular blog on

    Monday, September 28, 2015
    Laser-printed text and 2D codes appear clearly, cleanly and permanently on high-density polyethylene bottles.
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  10. Peer-to-peer advice helps packaging designers and engineers succeed

    Packaging leaders from McCormick & Co., Kraft Foods, General Mills, ConAgra and more will share ideas, tips and their thoughts on future packaging trends and technologies at an intense one-day conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during PhillyPack 2015 (Oct. 7-8; Philadelphia).

    While the program is strong in the top packaging-consuming food and beverage markets (where a lot of innovation is happening), packaging professionals serving other markets will also benefit from hearing from these packaging industry thought-leaders.

    Consumer trends and demographics, automation advances and alternative packaging materials are among the key topics on the agenda (view the full line-up here):

    • Keynote Michael Okoroafor, vp, global packaging innovation, McCormick & Co. (left in the photo above), will talk about the best-performing packaging features that consumers value today. His insights come from an illustrious and productive career as a packaging executive at various consumer packaged goods companies, including The Coca-Cola Co. and H.J. Heinz (remember the revolutionary HeinzDip & Squeeze ketchup package?).

    • Personalization on the plant floor? What’s that all about? Robotics experts from Fanuc and Schneider Packaging Equipment will explain how advancements in robots are driving down costs and shortening the time between concept and final product. You’ll also hear a case study on how one packaging operation achieved personalization and how it benefitted from it.

    • Packaging developers and designers are constantly on the hunt for the next best packaging material innovations. Veritiv product development manager Michael Bashaw aims to show you some new materials for primary and secondary packages that address key concerns for barrier and sustainability.

    Additionally, Packaging Digest Editorial Advisory Board members David France and Mary Gregg (shown in the center and right, respectively, in the image above), will participate in two different panel discussions:

    France, packaging research fellow, ConAgra Foods Packaging R&I, will be one of three panelists talking about “Collaboration through the Entire Supply Chain to Drive Success & Cost-Effective Packaging Innovation,” along with supply chain and packaging experts from Chobani and Lutece BV.

    Gregg, previously global director, next-generation packaging, research and development, Campbell Soup Co., and now an industry consultant, will join packaging executives from Kraft Foods and General Mills in a panel discussion on “Taking Intelligent Risks in Packaging Innovation & Design When Revitalizing or Introducing a Brand.” During the discussion, they’ll identify the packaging triggers that help drive trial and repeat purchase.

    Expertly leading attendees through this dynamic program, moderator and conference chair Dan Balan will bring his own insights and energy to the content and discussions. A pioneer in business transformation, Balan is the head of Chicago consulting firm Fastraqq, and creator of The Packaging and Business Innovation Show and the Packaging 360 Leadership course that defines the next paradigm in packaging.

    The learning opportunities expand beyond packaging, too. Other manufacturing- and design-related seminars taking place in Philadelphia at the same time include Innovations in 3D Printing, MD&M-Medical Device Innovation and MD&M-New Materials/MedTech Polymers.

    These educational sessions enhance the immersion into packaging innovation at the PhillyPack 2015 event. You can also find solutions and inspiration from leading packaging suppliers exhibiting at the show.

    Friday, September 25, 2015
    Packaging leaders Michael Okoroafor (left), David France and Mary Gregg share their insights at the PhillyPack 2015 conference.
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