Candy and Snack TODAY November/December 2013 : Page 58

FLEXIBLE PACKAGING With the ability to save in logistics and material costs, flexible packaging options are seeing more facings at retail because of consumers seeking convenience and the improved shelf presence they offer. Making The Switch For Shelf Appeal F ROM FLOW WRAPS TO standup pouches, flexible packaging is a staple of the confectionery industry. In fact, the category represents three percent of all flexible packaging sales, according to Marla Donahue, president of the Flexible Packaging Association. Further, some $760 million, or 3.4 percent, of total confectionery sales are attributed to flexible packaging, she says, a trend she expects to endure. “Flexible packaging will continue to be the fastest growing segment in the packaging industry,” Donahue tells Candy & Snack TODAY . “Innovation will continue to drive growth, with constant advances in materials and enhanced consumer conveniences.” Jeff Hopp, general manager of shelf stable foods for packing supplier Bemis Co., Inc., says the company sees growth in the candy category at a rate of three to four percent, compounded annually. The benefits of flexible packaging are numerous and, as the name suggests, accommodating. The advantages include sustainability, decreased energy consumption in production and transportation, light weight and improved inventory control and storage at retail. “Flexible plastic options have dramatically changed the logistics market,” says Nestor de Mattos, group marketing director, North America, for Dow Food & Specialty Packaging. “Flexible packaging takes a lot less energy and materials to make. It also gives brand owners impressive cost savings. More packs can now be stored in each vehicle, reducing fuel usage and the number of cars needed to transport the products to retailers.” Flexible packaging offers a number of benefits compared with rigid materials, with source reduction being one of the biggest, according to Sal Pellingra, director of innovation for Ampac Holdings, LLC. “There’s a pretty big range, but flexible packaging can be anywhere from a 40 to 95 percent reduction,” he tells Candy & Snack TODAY . “Some in volume and some in packaging weight.” Another area of innovation for flexible packaging is the development of barrier coatings, according to Marcus Magnusson, director of sales & marketing for Multifilm Packaging Corp. He notes developments such as nanocoating, which can give a very hard barrier to clear packaging, and metalized films replacing aluminum foil are two trends. However, there will always be a place for rigid packs, Pellingra says, pointing to the potential for more packaging to utilize both rigid and flexible materials. He gives for example a paperboard cup with a barrier and sealer on the inside that could replace cans for candy and snack products. POUCHES PROLIFERATE IN MARKET While manufacturers are filling their needs with both flexible and rigid materials, standup pouches have gained wide traction among consumers, retailers and suppliers alike, with sources citing it as a major trend, along with its reclosable features. Larry Walton, vice-president of sales, marketing and technical services for American Packaging Corp., corroborates this, explaining CONTINUED ON PAGE 60 58 Candy & Snack TODA Y N o v e m b e r / D e c e m b e r 2 01 3 w w w . c a n d y a n d s n a ck t o d a y. c o m

Making The Switch For Shelf Appeal

With the ability to save in logistics and material costs, flexible packaging options are seeing more facings at retail because of consumers seeking convenience and the improved shelf presence they offer.<br /> <br /> FROM FLOW WRAPS TO standup pouches, flexible packaging is a staple of the confectionery industry. In fact, the category represents three percent of all flexible packaging sales, according to Marla Donahue, president of the Flexible Packaging Association.<br /> <br /> Further, some $760 million, or 3.4 percent, of total confectionery sales are attributed to flexible packaging, she says, a trend she expects to endure.<br /> <br /> “Flexible packaging will continue to be the fastest growing segment in the packaging industry,” Donahue tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “Innovation will continue to drive growth, with constant advances in materials and enhanced consumer conveniences.”<br /> <br /> Jeff Hopp, general manager of shelf stable foods for packing supplier Bemis Co., Inc., says the company sees growth in the candy category at a rate of three to four percent, compounded annually.<br /> <br /> The benefits of flexible packaging are numerous and, as the name suggests, accommodating. The advantages include sustainability, decreased energy consumption in production and transportation, light weight and improved inventory control and storage at retail.<br /> <br /> “Flexible plastic options have dramatically changed the logistics market,” says Nestor de Mattos, group marketing director, North America, for Dow Food & Specialty Packaging. “Flexible packaging takes a lot less energy and materials to make. It also gives brand owners impressive cost savings. More packs can now be stored in each vehicle, reducing fuel usage and the number of cars needed to transport the products to retailers.”<br /> <br /> Flexible packaging offers a number of benefits compared with rigid materials, with source reduction being one of the biggest, according to Sal Pellingra, director of innovation for Ampac Holdings, LLC.<br /> <br /> “There’s a pretty big range, but flexible packaging can be anywhere from a 40 to 95 percent reduction,” he tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “Some in volume and some in packaging weight.”<br /> <br /> Another area of innovation for flexible packaging is the development of barrier coatings, according to Marcus Magnusson, director of sales & marketing for Multifilm Packaging Corp. He notes developments such as nanocoating, which can give a very hard barrier to clear packaging, and metalized films replacing aluminum foil are two trends.<br /> <br /> However, there will always be a place for rigid packs, Pellingra says, pointing to the potential for more packaging to utilize both rigid and flexible materials. He gives for example a paperboard cup with a barrier and sealer on the inside that could replace cans for candy and snack products.<br /> <br /> POUCHES PROLIFERATE IN MARKET<br /> While manufacturers are filling their needs with both flexible and rigid materials, standup pouches have gained wide traction among consumers, retailers and suppliers alike, with sources citing it as a major trend, along with its reclosable features.<br /> <br /> Larry Walton, vice-president of sales, marketing and technical services for American Packaging Corp., corroborates this, explaining that he is beginning to see companies that didn’t use the format, such as Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., which historically packed its products in paper-based metalized films, embrace pouches, particularly during the past 12 to 18 months.<br /> <br /> While some companies are moving away from metalized films, Pellingra notes that some are looking in this direction as a way to replace foils. “Ultra metalized films are close to foils, but don’t have the weight or flex crack issues. They can reduce packaging weight and keep the barrier even when folded during use. That’s a really big trend, especially for confections, because they make sure they are fresh, not dried out, and taste the same as when they were purchased.”<br /> <br /> He says the pack format’s popularity has grown because of positive consumer response following early introductions. Pellingra explains that there are two types of consumers: One unswayed by pack formats who will buy no matter what and the other, who needs shelf appeal to be drawn to items.<br /> <br /> Bill Roberts, president of Roberts Packaging International, Ltd., says plastic pouches offer substantial savings over paperboard boxes. “The films per pound cost a lot less,” he tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “In the processing of paperboard materials, even though plates for printing and dyes cost less per unit, plastic film packs still cost less overall.”<br /> <br /> COST SAVINGS ADD TO APPEAL<br /> He adds that the input materials for films are also often less expensive and this cost savings is further enhanced by the thin gauge of flexible materials, giving for example the half-millimeter width of 48-gauge polyester.<br /> <br /> “With paperboard you are working with a much thicker substrate. Every time I look at prices for materials, paperboard seems much more expensive than pouches,” Roberts says.<br /> <br /> Hopp says another advantage of pouches is the ability to enhance on-shelf displays, explaining: “It’s a better billboard effect with vertical positioning versus horizontal.”<br /> <br /> The popularity of pouches is also driven in part by marketing departments searching for a way to differentiate their brands with the improved shelf presence, Pellingra adds.<br /> <br /> Dow’s de Mattos agrees, saying: “A pouch’s structure allows consumers to easily see a brand’s logo on grocery store shelves, providing a brand owner with added exposure when the item is placed next to its competition’s slouched flexible pack.”<br /> <br /> Millie Nuno, market manager, food, for Ampac, notes a recent study found the market for flexible film pouches is growing at five to six percent per year.<br /> <br /> “Pouches from a packaging standpoint are one of the hottest pack types,” Hopp says.<br /> <br /> He tells Candy & Snack TODAY that flexible pouches have dramatically changed packaging formats and how products are displayed. “Moving forward, that is going to continue. Companies are launching products for those packages and are seeing the benefit.”<br /> <br /> When considering making the switch to pouches, Roberts points out sales volume is the main factor to contemplate when deciding between pre-formed pouches or making investments in machinery to make your own. He says that for product lines that are running more than 250,000 units per year, purchasing pouch-making machinery is a good choice, as the cost-savings from buying film roll stock is significant compared with preformed pouches.<br /> <br /> However, he says that for lines running fewer than 250,000 packs a year, preformed is the way to go, as the volume won’t justify the equipment investment.<br /> <br /> There’s also a convenience element driving the rise of pouches, Hopp says, noting reclosable options are a major feature fueling this factor. “You’re able to contain the product easier in the pack, while maintaining brand identity, even within the household.”<br /> <br /> CONSUMERS SEEK CONVENIENCE<br /> Adding a zipper to a standup pouch increases cost four to six cents per unit, according to Roberts, who adds these costs can change depending on the size and quality of the pack. However, he says that from a consumer standpoint, zipper and slider closers are an added value.<br /> <br /> “If a consumer opens a bag of potato chips or popcorn they’ll want to close the bag to keep it fresh. Rather than use a clip, these features offer easy ways to reclose the bag and retain freshness,” he says.<br /> <br /> Walton expects more reclosable packaging options that don’t include some type of a zipper or slider, explaining: “Something similar to the Oreo pack, where you peel a layer back and there’s an adhesive on it that allows it to take to the pack. They’re cost-effective approaches.”<br /> <br /> In addition, Ampac’s Pellingra says that portability is also a big part of convenience, noting that the gum segment is seeing a lot of applications in this area. He gives for example an innovative gum pack currently on the market in Japan that includes a pocket on the back for easy product disposal after chewing. “Again, it’s the convenience part of it. Now the consumer doesn’t have to worry about where they are going to throw the gum out.”<br /> <br /> While adhesive-closing systems might offer a lower cost alternative to zippers and sliders, Roberts says that some new options are already patented by product manufacturers, such as the Snack ‘n Seal system used for Oreo. In fact, Oreo supplier Mondelez International, Inc. has been in patent disputes in the past with other manufacturers over this packaging.<br /> <br /> A recent study found that consumer satisfaction significantly decreased when they encountered negative experiences with packaging, according to de Mattos. “One negative experience mentioned was difficulty opening and reclosing the package,” he says, noting that Dow’s Robond L flexible packaging line consists of one- and two-component, acrylic water-based adhesive systems for laminating flexible substrates.<br /> <br /> “The line of adhesives can be used in the end-use application of candy and snack packaging,” de Mattos says. “Robond enables quieter packaging, which we feel impacts consumer satisfaction. “<br /> <br /> Although easy open and close features are top of mind with consumers, protecting the product is paramount among manufacturers looking to improve shelf life.<br /> <br /> Dow’s de Mattos explains that each individual pack has a variety of distinct, individual layers and each one aims to meet a specific challenge. “For example, the barrier layer keeps air out and the aroma in; the sealant layer allows the entire package to stay together; and the abuse layer keeps food safe,” he explains. “The innovative layers all play roles in ensuring consumers’ foods remain safer, longer.”<br /> <br /> Also impacting flexible packaging is the ability to extend the color gamut and cut processing costs, Walton reports. “Using the same seven colors to reproduce graphics, when you go from one item to the next, you only have to change print cylinders, not ink, reducing setup times.”<br /> <br /> IMPROVING PACK GRAPHICS<br /> He tells Candy & Snack TODAY this serves as an additional value when running multiple items on an order, as typical setups could be an hour and a half, which can be reduced to a half hour.<br /> <br /> Further, Walton says the use of highdefinition flexographic printing will increase. He also sees the possibility for more work to be done in the area of textured printing, which is still in its infancy.<br /> <br /> “It would look like a confectionery product, but also have a feel that resembles the product,” he explains.<br /> <br /> Ampac’s Pellingra notes that the product often dictates the packaging needs, and in some cases, the design. He gives for example the use of clear materials being a poor choice for chocolate products, as the items can smear on the inside of the pack. Conversely, clear packaging is important for items such as hard candy because consumers want to see the product.<br /> <br /> Roberts also highlights the advancements that have been made in printing on flexible materials, noting that 180-line screens are possible now.<br /> <br /> “The graphics these days have come so far they almost look like offset lithographic printing,” he explains. “You’re not losing anything by going to a plastic bag from a printing standpoint.”<br /> <br /> SANFILIPPO FINDS SAVINGS IN FLEX FILM SYSTEM<br /> <br /> JOHN B. SANFILIPPO & SON, looking for a packaging solution that had the strength of rigid materials, but the shelf appeal and convenience of flexible film, turned to Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.’s PrimaPak technology.<br /> <br /> Made on vertical form-fill-seal machines from a single roll of custom film stock, the flexible packs resemble pop-up boxes, offering improved shelf presence while still being rigid enough to stack and protect the contents. The packs, used for Flavor Tree brand Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Pretzels, also feature a Peel and ReSeal system for easy opening and reclosing.<br /> <br /> In addition, using PrimaPak film helps reduce costs, claims Clear Lam, as it can achieve up to 70 percent weight savings compared with plastic jars and a packaging cube reduction of 30 percent or more.<br /> <br /> RECYCLABLE OPTIONS IN FLEXIBLE PACKAGING<br /> <br /> STANDUP POUCHES, while offering dramatic shelf presence and the convenience of reclosability, present an end-of-life challenge.<br /> <br /> To meet these issues, more recyclable and biodegradable films are being developed, according to Bill Roberts, of Roberts Packaging International, Ltd. However, he notes some confusion can emerge when it comes to plastic packaging and its green attributes.<br /> <br /> “If there’s plastic involved, it’s probably not biodegradable,” Roberts tells Candy & Snack TODAY, adding: “There are some that are compostable, which can be considered biodegradable in some areas.”<br /> <br /> Sal Pellingra, director of innovation for Ampac Holdings, LLC, notes that while some flexible packaging is recyclable, no real infrastructure currently exists to collect and reprocess them. To address this problem, Ampac developed the No. 2 Pouch, which can be recycled through the same channels as plastic shopping bags.<br /> <br /> The packs are made from a coextruded high-density polyethylene, which results in a SPI resin identification code of 2, the company reports. In addition, when clean and dry, the pouches can be recycled with grocery bags as part of the How2Recycle Label initiative and the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group.

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