lundi 30 janvier 2012

Global packaging industry expected to reach $820 billion by 2016

The global packaging industry will swell to almost $820 billion by 2016 predicts Pira International in a new market forecast. Driven mainly by increasing demand for packaging in emerging and transitional economies, a 3% per annum growth rate will focus on board products and rigid plastics, with $40 billion and $33 billion in cumulative predicted growth respectively to 2016.

This growth is being driven by a number of broad trends such as growing urbanisation, investment in housing and construction, a burgeoning healthcare sector and the rapid development still evident in the emerging economies, including China, India, Brazil and some eastern European countries. An increase in personal disposable income in the developing regions fuels consumption across a broad range of products, with consequential growth in demand for the packaging of these goods. For instance, increased demand for white goods, like washing machines and dishwashers, driven also by growing time pressure on consumer lifestyles, leads not just to a growing demand for packaging for the machines themselves, but also for associated products such as the household care products needed to operate these machines, thus stimulating demand across a range of packaging media.

More specifically, robust growth in demand for rigid plastic packaging, especially in sectors like drinks, cosmetics, toiletries, and household and personal care products, is stimulating packaging consumption. Similarly, flexible plastic packaging materials are receiving a boost from sectors like perishable foods, healthcare, convenience foods and various industrial markets. Corrugated board consumption is being egged on by the processed food sector and a number of non-food applications including personal and household care, chemicals, electrical goods and others. At the same time, folding carton consumption is benefiting from the growth found in healthcare products, electrical goods, and frozen and chilled foods, among others.

According to the Pira, the US was the largest consumer for packaging in 2010 with a demand of $137 billion; China was close behind at $80 billion. China is anticipated to surpass the US by 2017, and India will enter the top ten packaging countries with its demand set to almost double in the next five years to $24 billion.

Technological developments in packaging are seeing an upswing in the consumption of bio-polymers in both rigid and flexible applications, improved value adding in products with functional and barrier coatings, as well as enhanced graphics, resource reduction by way of continuous lightweighting across all materials, and other developments.

Board products account for the biggest sector of the packaging market, totaling some $210 billion in 2010 and maintaining their leading position into 2016 when the sector will be worth $40 billion more at nearly $250 billion.
Pira research shows that food and healthcare packaging will continue to be the biggest end uses in global packaging, with the food and drinks industry growing by almost $43 billion combined to 2016. The study shows that health care packs will grow 4.5% each year to reach a total of $34 billion. Cosmetics packaging should grow 4.2% per year to reach $24 billion.

mercredi 25 janvier 2012

Fully recyclable packaging – good green cred or unsustainable smokescreen?

Recyclable products are key to a sustainable business model but companies must go further to be considered truly green. Frances Cook looks at whether packaging companies hide behind a 'fully recyclable' slogan and asks, what must be done to create a more sustainable product life cycle?

All look and no substance?

Consumers' perceptions can be created by all manner of factors, but one of the greatest influencers in packaging is the design - the way the product looks and feels.

"Printing a recyclable device or message is very prevalent in most first world countries now but there are subtle differences and there is sometimes a tendency to play this up with brands from S-MEs more than multinationals" said Andrew Streeter of Pack-Track, a Datamonitor packaging research service and packaging expert.

"People are beginning to using words like fully recyclable and probably stretching the point. It is not used as a smokescreen as such, but more as a marketing claim - it is opportunistic," he added.

"There is a trend of sustainability and greenness which some companies are taking advantage of. I hold the view that packaging in some regions is taking on a consumer perceived 'greenish' persona. Matt inks have enjoyed a renaissance, surface texturing, plastics can look very paper like and there are more board applications.

"They are trying to fulfil a consumer need, that recyclable, green element in the brand values. Perhaps there is a hidden or more covert approach to this development, it also conveys a quality dynamic in the brand."

dimanche 22 janvier 2012

Why haven’t bioplastics captured a larger market share?

Market expectations for bioplastic usage were initially hyped as this wonderful technology that would replace traditional plastics in all applications.  Some predictions say they will replace 20% of all plastics. Who were the proponents of these lofty predictions kidding?  They certainly were not uttered by people with knowledge of market development realities or experience in the plastic industry.  So why haven’t bioplastics captured a larger market share than their reported 1-2% of total plastic usage?  There are four reasons: 

  1. Performance is not matched to brand owner or consumer expectations;
  2. Time-line to market acceptance not realistic;
  3. Bioplastic companies marketing efforts not given enough field support and
  4. Difficulties selling to an uninformed customer base and an uninformed end-user base. 

Read more…

vendredi 20 janvier 2012

Consumers believe products are over-packaged

Three-quarters of Americans believe many consumer products are over-packaged, according to a survey of lifestyle of health and sustainability (LOHAS) consumers conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Harleysville, Pa. Minimal packaging is most preferred among consumers, followed by recyclable packaging and use of environmentally friendly packaging materials.

“The ‘less is more’ trend continues to resonate with consumers,” said Steve French, managing partner of NMI, in a statement. “Marketers can maintain current and attract new consumers by using less packaging and ‘greener’ packaging materials. Specifically, ‘renewable’ and ‘plant-based’ materials are rated most environmentally friendly among consumers.”

The survey results reveal that consumers show an increasing adoption of new — and easily executed — behaviors that can save the planet, the institute said. NMI recommends that businesses promote the use of post-consumer recycled packaging as well as incorporate new environmentally sourced materials where applicable, but it cautions that companies should not choose packaging that will affect the expense of the product or the consumer’s experience with it.


mardi 10 janvier 2012

6 Myths and Facts about What’s Green Packaging

1. Less packaging or no packaging makes smart eco sense. I get so annoyed when people say leave the packaging at the store or don't use any packaging at all. The truth is that products that we use or consume need packaging to protect, convey, keep sanitary and secure and even educate us about what's inside. Packaging is integral to our modern lives. When someone complains about excess packaging I ask them this simple question. You brushed your teeth today didn't you? I rest my case.

2. Compostable: means you can throw it out in the back yard and it will disintegrate. The truth is this is one of the most misunderstood packaging phrases and the industry doesn't do a good job explaining it either. Consider what happened with the Sun Chips compostable package. Consumers expected one thing and the reality was something else. In most cases compostable applies to a set of controlled conditions in a special facility for the packaging to degrade. The material itself sometimes has unique disposal issues because of limited composting facilities.

3. Packaging is 50%-60 % of the waste stream. I see this number bandied about and it’s untrue. Packaging accounts for around 30%-35%. These companies that claim they sell their products with zero contribution to the waste stream is a misnomer. They may not have the products in the store packaged but they certainly use packaging to get them there undamaged and ready for sale.

4. Recyclability is the only answer. Unfortunately although recycling packaging makes sense, in many cases the infrastructure isn't in place to make it a widespread practice. Consumers have to want to recycle too. In many cases it’s simply too much trouble to save and dispose of in a recycling facility. Another quandary, washing out containers to recycle (you are using energy and water so where's the eco win?)

5. Sustainable packaging will solve all our environmental problems. This is a lofty goal to aspire to; unfortunately the technology isn't quite there yet. Companies have significantly reduced the amount of packaging used. A good example is the "ultra detergents' that offer a concentrated product in a much smaller packaging container, reducing significantly the amount of packaging used an what goes into the waste stream.

6. All plastic packaging is bad. Not true. There are so many new compounds and formulations that have been introduced. Companies are seriously looking at ways to not only reduce the amount of plastic used but alternative methods for disposal and reuse.  I might mention here too that in many cases the eco plastic alternatives use more energy to manufacture and have disposal issues of their own.


lundi 9 janvier 2012

Active Packaging: M&S to roll out 'life-extending' fruit packaging

Next week M&S will become the first major retailer to roll out ground-breaking new packaging which it claims will extend the life of fruit stored in the fridge by up to two days, helping to cut domestic food waste.

The supermarket will add a small plaster-style strip at the bottom of punnets of strawberries, containing a patented mixture of clay and other minerals that absorb ethylene – the ripening hormone which causes fruit to ripen and then turn mouldy. The strip measures 8cm x 4.5cm and does not affect the recyclability of the packaging, and the retailer claims there is no extra cost to the consumer of the packaging. If successful, it will be added to all the supermarkets' berries.

Trials carried out in M&S stores showed a minimum wastage saving of 4% – during the peak strawberry season this would equate to 40,000 packs, or about 800,000 strawberries. M&S says it is committed to reducing waste as part of its Plan A programme to be the world's most sustainable retailer.

Hugh Mowat, M&S Agronomist, said: "This new technology is a win-win for our customers – not only will their strawberries taste better for longer, but we really hope it will help them to reduce their food waste as they no longer need to worry about eating their strawberries as soon as they buy them."

Communication pour le développement durable: Emballage et suremballage

Suite au succès de la première rencontre annuelle de son Université d'hiver, le Conseil de la comdd prépare déjà pour les 16 et 17 février 2012, Les 48 heures de la communication pour le développement durable sur le thème Communication et marketing responsables.

Le concept de l’université d’hiver: la grande rencontre annuelle des communicateurs propose un cadre de dialogue et d'innovation pour les professionnels de la communication en collaboration avec des experts en environnement et en développement durable.

Je serai sur le panel thématique: Communication visuelle responsable pour échanger sur l’emballage et le suremballage:
Au lieu de parler de zéro emballage, il serait plus adéquat de parler de Lutte contre le suremballage; un phénomène qui coûte cher au fabricant et suscite des réactions du client. L'emballage est un bien nécessaire plutôt qu'un mal. Il joue un rôle majeur dans la protection et la conservation des aliments en garantissant la sécurité alimentaire. Il constitue aussi un atout majeur dans la réduction des pertes de produits périssables.
Au plaisir de vous rencontrer et d’échanger avec vous!

dimanche 8 janvier 2012

Nine steps to environmentally friendly packaging

Improving the sustainability (environmental friendliness) of packaging is a hot topic for packaging professionals. The packaging industry has seen sustainability progress from the latest buzzword to an everyday part of our vocabulary. Still, there is room for basic knowledge and guidance, especially for those companies lacking large packaging staffs or sustainability departments.

Nine steps to take when designing more environmentally friendly packaging :

1-     Identify your company’s goals and initiatives. It is important to understand what environmental impacts your company is most concerned with and design with those in mind. For example, is your company concerned about the amount or types of plastic they use? If so, then that should be taken into consideration when designing new packages.

2-     Identify the destination of the package. This knowledge helps the designer understand what end-of-life options (recycling, landfill, incineration) are available at the destination, which may affect how you design your package. In addition, knowing the destination allows you to account for fees associated with any environmental impacts pertaining to your package.

3-     Identify applicable regulations. Regulations should supersede all other considerations in package design and, therefore, need to be considered early in the process. It is important to understand whether regulatory requirements are consistent for all destinations. If not, can the package be tailored to each destination, or should it be designed to meet regulations in all destinations?

4-     Determine how a package will be shipped. In general, the most energy-efficient mode of shipping is preferable. However, the mode of shipping is often determined by business requirements (e.g., balancing cost challenges, reduced inventory/increased turnover, flexibility/customized features/delivery, suppliers’/customers’ locations, etc.) It is important to design packages consistent with the mode of shipping selected and, when possible, to choose the most energy efficient shipping option.

5-     Identify internal requirements; marketing, regulatory affairs, and/or other applicable departments that should be considered. Internal requirements take into account whether the environmentally responsible package is economically viable, whether it enhances the product’s image and acceptability, and whether it protects the product from physical, biological, or chemical harm, among other considerations.

6-     Identify and understand any applicable customer requirements. It is much more common for customers (mainly retailers) to have specific package design guidelines that must be followed. These guidelines often include packaging materials they will not accept, specific pallet requirements, etc. Your best source in your company for finding this information is your sales team or supply chain organization. In addition, often you can find information on a customer’s website.

7-     Raw material selection. Product manufacturers face many tradeoffs when choosing between raw materials. Choices should be made with the complete life cycle of the package in mind.

8-     Address the actual package design. If you followed steps one through seven, you should be armed with enough information to minimize the environmental impact of your package.

9-     Communicate what your package hopes to accomplish, what has been done, and why it is important. Educating the consumer and the retailer is important to ensure that everyone’s understanding of environmentally responsible packaging is improved.

By following these nine steps, you will improve on the environmental impact of your packaging. 

vendredi 6 janvier 2012

10 tips for sustainable package design

With the fundamentals of sustainable packaging in mind, following are some areas to consider when implementing changes to your packaging for improved environmental impact.

For nearly a decade, the biggest buzz in packaging has been the move toward sustainability, or “green” packaging. Driven by retailer requirements, public perception, economic pressures (petroleum, in particular), and government policies, sustainability impacts every aspect of a package—from the source of its raw materials to its end of life—and as such has proven to be an incredibly complex issue.

But over the years of debate and discovery, we have learned some core truths about the topic. First, there is no such thing today as a completely sustainable package. Instead, sustainability is a journey. The goal is to make incremental improvements over time in the sustainability of a package to reduce its overall environmental impact.
Second, in sustainability terms, packaging materials—including glass, plastic, paper, and aluminum—cannot be classified as good or bad. Each has its advantages and shortcomings, depending upon the product application and the goals and mission of the packager. Trade-offs are an inherent part of pursuing sustainability.

And last, packaging must be put into perspective by understanding its role in the full product supply chain. Packaging typically makes up less than 10% of the carbon footprint of a product; manufacturing and consumer use often comprise the largest proportion. While packaging’s footprint may be small, its importance cannot be understated. If the package fails in its primary functions—protecting the product through the supply chain, enticing consumers to purchase, and facilitating consumption—all the energy consumed in manufacturing the product is lost when the product is wasted.

Ten tips for sustainable packaging design With these fundamentals in mind, following are some areas to consider when implementing changes to your packaging for improved sustainability:

1. Take a life-cycle approach to package design. 
2. Evaluate each component of your package. 
3. Consider new alternatives for distribution packaging.
4. Look for opportunities to make your packaging reusable—where it makes sense. 
5. Consider changes in your product. 
6. Whenever possible, design for recyclability. 
7. Employ packaging strategies that encourage product consumption. 
8. Know where your packaging materials come from. 
9. Evaluate your distribution system for space-saving opportunities. 
10. Consider materials made from renewable feedstock. 

mardi 3 janvier 2012

2012 Plastics Packaging Predictions

Plastics Today Reveals 2012 Packaging Predictions

1. Lightweighting in primary packaging has run its course: Anyone who's handled a bottled water lately knows that brandowner and packaging suppliers' work to lighten their products has reached a tipping point. Any less material in today's water bottle, for instance, and the transformation from rigid to flexible package is complete. As a result, look for brandowners and retailers, at the vocal behest of their customers, to start targeting wasteful or unnecessary secondary and tertiary packaging, reexamining goods from the case, carton and pallet level, all of which could mean continued changes for the primary packaging component.

2. Plastics bags and bottles will remain embattled: In cash-strapped governments around the globe, where economic uncertainly and hyper-partisanship have paralyzed nearly all other legislating, bag bans or bag taxes seem to be the one piece of legislation that city councils, state houses, and national governments the world over can pass. Almost every day in 2011, my inbox received news of either a new bag ban or a status update one on currently being passed. Plastic bottles have been getting their own attention as well of late, with Grand Canyon National Park weighing a bottle ban for 2012. This will not stop in 2012, and will likely increase until the law of unintended consequences kciks in and consumers and legislators realize some of the shortfalls of paper and cloth bags.

3. Biobased PET takes the lead: Led by Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the bottling industry has effectively pushed biobased polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into the lead of the group of materials hoping to replace petroleum-based plastics in bottles. Biobased replacements for PET, including polylactic acid (PLA), ultimately couldn't unseat PET due to end-of-life concerns over recycling or processing difficulties, while attempts at upping recycled content in the bottles were undermined by the lack of an unreliable supply stream of post-consumer PET. Coke and Pepsi's work to create a 100% biobased PET will have broad ramifications for the burgeoning bioplastics market, with non-fossil fuel routes pursued for all those base resins that have established themselves within various markets, including packaging.

4. Recycled content will increase: Apart from the bottle push, recycled content, more than biobased materials, bill have an increasingly important impact on packaging, with brandowners proudly displaying to the public any recycled content in their packaging, and in the process solving two problems: resource reduction and end of life. The use of recycled content will be buoyed in 2012 by advancements in sorting/shredding/cleaning technology as well as increased collection.

5. Industry association/supplier efforts to address litter will increase: Industry trade associations, resin suppliers, and plastics packaging manufacturers have seen the enemy and it is litter. To that point, these groups, which already announced anti-litter campaigns in 2011, will continue to do so in 2012. Continued increases in fossil-fuels, and all their derivative products, including plastics, will drive home the fact that plastic packaging is not a throwaway material.

lundi 2 janvier 2012

Five Packaging Trends That Will Shape 2012

After PackagingDiva, here is my list of 5 packaging trends to watch closely in 2012:

  1. Functionality and sustainability: Finding the balance between under-packaging and over-packaging 
  2. Sustainable Packaging: Increased focus on recyclability and Increased demand for sustainability
  3. Paper-based packaging : Keep the Molecule in Play
  4. Stand-up pouches: Maximum Flexibility, Sustainability and Convenience
  5. The development of Bioplastics: A viable eco-friendly solution?

Best wishes for a healthy, wealthy, sustainable and innovative New Year 2012! 

1)  Functionality and sustainability: Finding the balance between under-packaging and over-packaging

For decades, packaging was seen as nothing but waste, a nuisance to be avoided. However, packaging waste pales into insignificance compared with the losses caused by food waste. According to recent FAO study, One-third of food in developing countries is destroyed before it ever reaches the consumer.

Food packaging—could now move from being the villain to being the hero:

  1. Packaging prevents food waste and saves resources
  2. Packaging is part of the solution for an overall resource efficient economy
  3. Packaging facilitates more sustainable lifestyles
You have to balance functionality with sustainability

2)    Sustainable Packaging:  Increased focus on recyclability and Increased demand for sustainability

Concerns about sustainability and environmental friendliness will continue to impact all areas of the packaging industry. Consumers are increasingly interested in their personal impact on the environment and are demanding more from manufacturers.

Major companies are beginning to take note and a few have stepped forward to lead the “sustainable packaging revolution”. They are looking for ways to reduce, down-gauge, lightweight their packaging. Companies will benefit from these efforts, thanks to material savings and increased demand from green consumers.

World demand for green packaging—including recycled-content, reusable, and degradable packaging is projected to rise 5.7% per year to $212 billion in 2015 (Freedonia, 2011).

 Sustainable packaging:  Win-Win-Win for the environment, for manufacturers and suppliers, and for consumers

3)     Paper-based packaging : Keep the Molecule in Play

Paper-based Packaging provides versatile and responsible packaging solutions for product manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. Paper has an excellent image as packaging material (renewable and biodegradable). However due to missing performance characteristics and barrier properties, paper has been largely replaced by polymers (e.g. PE).
Improving paper's barrier properties is seen as a crucial step in increasing its viability as a packaging material:

  • Wax is on the Wane: The future is clear – wax replacement packaging will become a necessity
  • With the push towards sustainability, repulpability and recyclability, water-based technologies are gaining acceptance.
  •  Water-based coatings can be custom-formulated to meet the packaging requirements of a wide range of fresh and frozen products
  • Opportunities for retailers to sharply reduce their landfill costs, while boosting their recycling levels
 Bright Future: Water-based technologies are gaining wider acceptance

4)     Stand-up Pouches: Maximum Flexibility, Sustainability and Convenience

The trend toward stand-up pouches packaging has been mainly driven by companies looking for ways to increase shelf appeal and differentiate their products from the competition and add consumer convenience. Stand-up pouches can be used as an additional marketing tool for brand owners looking to boost sales.

From an environmental point of view, pouches are more sustainable than traditional packaging formats (cans, boxes or rigid plastic container). They utilize much less material, improve the product to package ratio and eliminate over packaging and waste. Depending upon the application, pouches can weigh up to 95% less than rigid containers and take up less than 10% of the space typically used by rigid containers. In addition, pouches require much less landfill space than other containers.

Stand-up Pouches: Lightweight packaging solutions with optimal protection

5)     The development of Bioplastics: A viable eco-friendly solution?

While bioplastics are being embraced, labeling confusion, skepticism on functional abilities and environmental claims continue to pose challenges and concerns:

  1. Confusion in terminology:  Biobased, Compostable, biodegradable, Oxo…? - Education is needed to clarify in the minds of consumers and clients, the environmental benefits of these new materials
  1. End of life hurdles: the puzzle?  - Consumers are confused when it comes to separating biodegradable, compostable and recyclable plastics. Information about how to best dispose of it, is necessary
  1. Carbon footprint: bioplastics not necessarily greener than oil based relatives? - Skeptics about LCA studies: data may not be accurate or complete and system boundaries are not easily defined
  1. Price: Current prices for bioplastics are significantly higher than the cost of PE - People are environmentally conscious when it’s convenient and affordable. Higher oil prices are lowering the gap in prices of bioplastics and conventional plastics
  1. Weak barrier properties: MVTR, OTR, heat resistance, microwavable…? - Barrier and physical properties may limit applications - Blends and compounding
  1. Value proposition: Promoting Biobased, Biodegradable or Compostable? - Is not yet clear in the minds of most consumers and clients

Finally, both the packaging industry and consumers need to work together to develop a unified set of standards that will end confusion and maintain transparency in the rapidly growing sustainability sector:

  1. The distinctions are subtle but significant:  not all bioplastics are created equal and there are a lot of misleading claims out there
  2. Education: has to be a combined effort from resin makers, converters and the companies that will be selling these products to the consumer