Leaders of the pack31 October 2019
We dive into GlobalData’s Pack Track database to chart the latest innovations to hit the world of packaging, with the addition of one launch from earlier in the year that has been labelled game-changing within the industry. The remaining products are all major developments or improvements, and have been chosen for the degree of innovation they show.
1. Game-changer from ID Fresh
This ready-to-use batter is for making traditional vadas (fried, doughnut-like savoury breakfast food). It comes in a plastics film free-standing pouch with a three-piece injection-moulded orange plastics closure set into the top seal of the pouch. Each pack contains enough batter for 10 vadas. Supplied by Huhtamaki PPL, the closure is patent pending and the product should be refrigerated at 0–5°C.
The game-changing label is applied here for the closure that incorporates a cutting ring and is shaped to assist with the formation of perfect, round vadas. Vadas are traditionally round in shape with a hole at the centre (rather like a doughnut), which is typically formed by hand; a sticky, messy and time-consuming process that often results in irregular shapes.
According to the brand-owner, many consumers are put off by the messiness of making vadas at home. This game-changing pack was designed to allow anyone to make perfect vadas, and offers a clean and convenient usage experience. The nozzle acts as the dispensing point, ring shaper and batter cutter all in one, and eliminates the need for any direct handling of the batter by the consumer. The contoured, hourglass shape of the pouch is easy to hold for squeezing out the batter and helps to channel the product towards the closure. The screwin cap closes off the nozzle aperture to prevent leakage and keeps the batter fresh until it is required.
2. New coffee-drinking experience for China’s coffee drinkers
Coca-Cola has created a screw cap that can be used as a drinking cup for its Georgia RTD brand.
Made by the China-based Ziri Packaging, the closure is an injection-moulded opaque black PP cup-like screw-cap closure with a flat top, widening side walls with evenly spaced grip ridges and ‘stepped’ shape on the lower body that sits on top of blow-moulded clear PET bottle. There is a full-length shrink sleeve that can be fully removed for recycling.
A closure that can be also used as a drinking cup adds functionality to the product that is intended for consumption on the go or in the office environment. It also offers a somewhat ‘gourmet’ touch, providing a home or café-like drinking experience and adding a point of difference to the product in a competitive sector. This small bottle is ideal for travelling as it can be reclosed for greater convenience and protection. The wide neck of the bottle allows convenient pouring of the coffee into the cup or for drinking straight from the pack. The decorative citrus peel-like surface texturing to the bottle shoulder raises the presentation level and brings a more luxurious feel to the packaging.
3. Refreshment and entertainment
Another Chinese innovation, but this time in the ‘drinks for kids’ area with Baby Planet International’s Eiboo It’s My Toy Drink. It is packaged in an injection-stretch blow-moulded clear plastics bottle, with an injection-moulded white plastics screw cap closure and finished with a vivid yellow plastics cubical overcap, shaped to resemble a toy’s head. A stepped circular top allows overcaps (taken from other bottles) to be stacked onto each other like building blocks/bricks.
The overcaps are stackable and can be used as building blocks to play with. Other stackable brick-like packs include Hedegaard EggyPlay eggs from Denmark or Wiggly Eggs from Australia. However, this is a first for drinks. The small cubical bottle looks like a character and therefore the pack is designed to appeal to children, encouraging their parents/carers to pick it up at retail. The overcap is designed to be used as a toy after use – the variety of heads and colours available may encourage consumers to try and collect them all, which means repeat purchase. Square-shaped bottles are unusual in the category and instantly noticeable on the shelf. The product maintains good cube efficiency for transportation, storage and retail display. The small bottle format makes it easy to carry in a bag or lunchbox.
4. Convenient cereal beverage for on-the-go consumers
Kottaram Agro Foods of India has created a cereal-based beverage mix described as cocoa milkshake with millet, pulses and cereals that result in a high-protein content free from preservatives and sweetened with jaggery (cane sugar).
The container itself is formed of an injection-moulded clear PP tub, one side with embossed fill-level markers from 50–350ml. There is a plastic friction-fit lid on top with a large lip to the front of the lid for easy opening – the pour spout is closed with another friction-fit lid that is hinged at the opposite side via an elongated overlay that pivots to open and close. Finally, a printed foil-plastics laminate vertical ‘form-fill-seal’ sachet sits inside the container, ready for use.
The use of a reusable shaker to extend convenience adds value to the product, though the product is also sold in sachets without the shaker. To make, simply put 150ml cold or warm milk/water in the shaker, empty a sachet into the shaker, close lid and shake well.
The rigid tub is well made and ready to withstand repeated use, and can be refilled with the same product or with other beverage mixes. Once closed, the lid is leakproof and withstands the extensive shaking that is required to prepare the beverage. If needed, the tub can be stored in a bag for consumption on the go. The reclosable lid makes the pack resealable and is convenient to use. Embossed fill-level markers help with measuring out the right quantities of liquid for preparation of the smoothie. Simple instructions are printed on the label for added convenience.
5. Maze entertainment in pocket-sized pack
Morishita Jintan has developed breath-freshening capsules with melon flavour using patented capsule technology from Japan. Described as a first-in-the-market ‘breath and belly freshener’, the outer packaging consists of a rectangular blister cavity while the product is a green-tinted two-piece pack, welded to form a maze inside the pack that the product capsule rolls down to dispense. Directions for use state, “Take one capsule after meal, or whenever you need sweet and fresh breath for a confidence boost. Step one: melt the outer shell in mouth for instant breath freshening. Step two: swallow inner capsule into digestive tract for extra belly freshening.”
This maze-style pack is very unusual and creates a strong visual effect for the product, which could help to create a manual ritual that can be well received by consumers. This adds an obvious element of fun as consumers could try to roll the balls to various positions while dispensing the product. The small, flat, pocket-sized pack is easy to operate with one hand thanks to a hassle-free, thumb-operated dispensing mechanism. Opening is easy and efficient, and allows the release of one capsule at a time. The transparent pack results in a good presentation of the unusual product so consumers can take a closer look in-store. The clear pack also makes it easy to assess how many mints are left.
6. New for clean, green lavatories
Erdal Rex in Austria and Germany has designed a toiletfreshening and cleaning rim block, claimed to be made of 100% recycled plastic and 100% recyclable.
The product packaging is made of thermoformed clear ‘rPET’ – made of 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – clam-pack, formed as two roughly T-shaped halves. The front half has four domed cavities, each of which contains a hexagonally shaped cleaning block. The rim block device is made of 100% used recycled PET that is also 100% recyclable. This means that the plastic remains as a raw material in the recycling loop and does not end up in the oceans. According to the manufacturer, the product comes ‘without clip’ and should be ‘stuck/clamped directly under the toilet rim’ For an ‘optimal grip, it should be slightly shifted’. This is a slightly different concept to a standard toilet rim block and may surprise consumers, therefore clear instructions with pictures are printed on the back of the carton.
7. Ice cream in compostable board tubs
Imballaggi Alimentari has created a patent-pending product for its Bio-Eco ecogel range. Found in central Europe – currently Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia – at Spar shops, the pack consists of a pressed board tub and friction-fit lid, with the board being made from bagasse (waste sugar cane). Both tray and lid are smooth on the inside, and have a herringbone-type textured pattern on the outer surface.
The tub and lid are coated on the inside with cornstarch-based polylactic acid, which means they are fully compostable, unlike conventional board-based formats lined with petroleum-based plastics. All branding and product information is carried on the board sleeve, leaving the pack itself plain and unadorned, so that its compostability is not compromised by printing inks. The pack is certified compostable under industrial conditions by TUV Austria (formerly Vincotte) and can be disposed in curbside food waste collections or recycled in the paper waste stream.
8. Paper tray for dairy
Austrian dairy brand SalzburgMilch has developed its Ja Natuerlich organic cheese slices in thermoform-fillseal shallow trays made from EVOH-coated ‘Advantage Formable’ paper. Made by local supplier Mondi Fibre Packaging, the material is suitable for meat and fish products and is made of 80% paper. This paper-based tray replaces an all-plastics format, and is claimed to reduce plastic usage by 70% and carbon footprint by around two thirds.
In Austria, the tray can be recycled in the waste paper stream as it is made from 80% virgin paper content and only 20% plastic. The paper-based material can run on existing form-fill-seal machinery with only minor adjustments. According to the packaging supplier, the ‘Advantage Formable’ material can also be embossed, which allows brand logos and marketing messages to be incorporated.
9. Compostable, recycling packaging for chocolate bars
Conscious Chocolate, with the help of Qualvis, has packed its bars in a new line of compostable, recyclable packaging following consumer demand. According to the manufacturer, the structural design of the pack features a “glued reclosure system, with user-friendly tear perforation, allowing consumers to easily reseal the pack”. The flow-wrap film is clearly tagged as ‘home compostable and plant-based’. In addition, the packaging has been printed with Corona vegetable-based inks (‘double coating of a gloss water-based varnish’), which are fully biodegradable. It also uses MM-K’s Accurate material, which is fully biodegradable to EN13432 standards. The reclosure system is neat and facilitates sharing – it creates a wide opening to unveil the pack’s contents while retaining the main body of the carton so that the pack can be reclosed. The carton opens neatly with the board tearing easily along large notches to form a V-shaped flap.