vendredi 27 juillet 2012

The rise of smarter packaging

Increasingly demanding requirements from food manufacturers and their consumers mean that packaging is becoming progressively 'smarter'. Active or intelligent packaging is a sector which continues to grow in size, with expansion driven by new applications and innovation. Jonathan Thomas reports.

Many areas of the global food industry now feature active and intelligent packaging. Although this covers a multitude of different areas, the sector is best described as a specific type of packaging capable of controlling or reacting to what is going on inside the container. Active/intelligent packaging offers numerous benefits, ranging from extending the shelf-life of certain products to controlling temperature and moisture levels inside containers.

Most estimates agree that the active and intelligent packaging sector is growing in size. According to data from BCC Research, the global active and intelligent packaging market rose from US$6bn in 2008 to US$7.6bn in 2011, with a figure of US$8.7bn forecast for 2013. If a broader definition incorporating other forms of controlled packaging is used, global market value increases to nearer US$20bn. Some of the world's largest markets include the US, Japan, the UK, Germany and Australia.

Although the active and intelligent sector still accounts for just 2% of the global packaging market at present, further growth in market value is expected. According to a spokesperson from Linpac Packaging, this is due to "the convenience trend, the need to extent shelf-life and reduction of waste". The market is also set to benefit from growing concerns over food safety, with more legislation expected in this area.

mercredi 25 juillet 2012

Bannissement des sacs plastiques : cause environnementale dérisoire ?

Depuis plusieurs années, un peu partout dans le monde, les sacs en plastiques sont mis à l’index, accusés d’être un terrible fléau environnemental dont le symbole ultime est le terrible 6ème continent formé par un vortex de déchets essentiellement plastiques flottant au centre du Pacifique.

Au Québec, il paraîtrait que la taxe de 5 cent a porté ses fruits et que les consommateurs seraient de plus en plus nombreux à utiliser les sacs réutilisables. Et tout le monde s’en félicite.

Selon une étude (ici) présentée lundi par le ministre du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs, Pierre Arcand, les Québécois ont réduit de 52 % leur utilisation de sacs d'emplettes à usage unique entre 2007 et 2010.

Mais est-ce vraiment un geste vert dont on doit s’enorgueillir quand on sait que…? :

-   Les sacs représenteraient seulement 1 % des matières envoyées aux sites d’enfouissement dans lesquels le problème n’est pas le plastique inerte mais les matières putrescibles.

-    L’une des alternatives qu’on nous propose, le sac biodégradable ne fait toujours pas la preuve de sa valeur ajoutée ni de son innocuité environnementale. Pire, les centres de tri, les accusent de contaminer la chaîne du recyclage et nous demande de les jeter aux rebus, bref de les destiner à l’enfouissement.

-    Le véritable problème est celui du suremballage qui est bien plus dommageable.

-   Le souci environnemental c'est moins  le sac en lui-même que le comportement inconsidéré de certains consommateurs qui  jettent les sacs n'importe où.

-     Encourager l’usage du sac réutilisable est une politique de petits-pas qui ne cause pas de débat politique risqué, et qui contente ceux qui veulent se donner bonne conscience…c’est peut être bien, mais c’est trop peu, surtout pour les entreprises de la distribution qui souhaitent développer une image éco-responsable. On parlera de véritables efforts lorsque l’éco-conception des emballages sera généralisée.

Le sac plastique c’est un peu un non problème pour lequel on a trouvé une solution.

mercredi 18 juillet 2012

Food Packaging: Less is Sometimes More!

Food waste is a growing issue, anything that can assist to reduce the volume of spoilage in a safe manner are welcome advances.  At the same time the growing volume of garbage is also a global issue and food packaging is a substantial contributor to this dilemma.  Reducing packaging at its source means less waste and material to recycle and lowers overall transport costs; thus lowering the environmental impact. Few things influence individual health more than the food they eat, therefore safety in the packaging of food items is a global health issue. The quest to create safe, low waste, low environmental impact packaging is therefore likely to continue to drive innovation in this area.

mardi 17 juillet 2012

Flexible Packaging Reduces Energy Consumption First

The flexible industry is claiming to be the most energy efficient in a paper released last month (Here).  Most sustainability energy mantras say “Reduce first and then optimize”, with renewable where possible.

According to Flexible Packaging Europe, because flexible packaging can be assembled at the filling plant from rolls of material, there is no need to transport the empty, but already formed packaging, from the packaging converter to the filling/packaging facility, hereby saving a significant number of truck journeys on our congested European road network. For example, it would take approximately 26 truck journeys to transport the equivalent quantity of pre-formed packaging from the manufacturer to the filling factory whilst it would require only one truck load for the equivalent quantity of rolled flexible pouch material.

Flexible packaging not only occupies minimal space during the inbound transport, but also on the outbound transport of the filled product to the retailer/consumer.

Optimized transportation of filled packs made from lighter and thinner materials means more product per truck load which in turn equals less energy consumption. Comparing the difference between transporting a beverage packed in a 0.2l flexible stand-up pouch with a 0.2l glass bottle, we see that product packed in foil-laminated pouches requires half the number of standard truck loads due to the lower weight and reduced space between the products says the flexible packaging body.

These energy savings translate directly to a reduced overall environmental impact. On top, the reduced truck loads along the supply chain help reduce traffic congestion in the cities and on the highways. And this leads to more energy savings due to a more fluent traffic and less frustration for drivers.

Flexible packaging provides both effective and efficient packing solutions according to the industry body because it can optimize the combinations of different materials to maximise the practical functionality of the packaging and optimize the cost whilst reducing the environmental impacts throughout the product’s lifecycle.

To learn more about how Flexible Packaging aids more resource efficient consumption and lifestyles
check out ‘A Perfect Fit’ on

vendredi 13 juillet 2012

US demand for Pouches to Reach $8.8 billion in 2016

Demand for pouches in the US is projected to increase 5.1 percent per year to $8.8 billion in 2016, driven by faster gains for standup pouches stemming from sustainability, functional, and marketing advantages over alternative packaging media. Unit demand is expected to expand 3.0 percent yearly to 90 billion.

Burgeoning consumer acceptance of pouches as an alternative to rigid containers will buoy demand, as will such advantages as superior aesthetic appeal, portability, light weight, reduced material use, and significantly lower shipping costs than rigid containers.  In addition, heightened use of reclosing and dispensing components will increase the competitiveness of pouches against rigid containers. These and other trends are presented in Pouches, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.  

Standup pouch demand is forecast to expand 7.2 percent annually to $2 billion in 2016. Advances will be well above those of the overall packaging industry, reflecting heightened interest among packaged goods companies resulting from savings achieved in shipping costs due to the benefits of lighter weight and lower material use compared to rigid containers. Also supporting gains will be attributes of product differentiation; aesthetics; the presence of convenience features (e.g., zippers, spouts); and the perception, especially among younger consumers, of pouches being a more contemporary packaging format than cans, bottles, and cartons.

Demand for flat pouches is forecast to increase 4.5 percent yearly to $6.8 billion in 2016, fueled by above average gains for four-side-seal pouches based on rising demand in medical and pharmaceutical markets and in food uses such as meat, poultry, and seafood; and cheese.  Advances will also be aided by improved barrier structures and solid gains for pouches employing self-venting films to enable steam cooking of contents in the package.  Additionally, robust growth is expected for stick packs (small tube-shaped flat pouches), based on differentiation and material savings over conventional single portion configurations.

mercredi 11 juillet 2012

Discover the Hidden value of Packaging

New brochure explains how the thoughtful use of packaging actually helps prevent waste and save energy. Sections focus on economic, environmental, and social benefits.

vendredi 6 juillet 2012

US bioplastics demand to exceed 550M lbs in 2016

US demand for bioplastics is forecast to climb at a 20 percent annual pace through 2016 to 550 million pounds, valued at $680 million.  Although they have achieved a considerable degree of commercial success, bioplastics remain in an early stage of development, representing only a small niche within the overall plastics industry.  Going forward, technical innovations that enhance the properties of bioplastics and lower their price will drive growth.  These and other trends are presented in Bioplastics, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Although biodegradable resins accounted for the vast majority of bioplastics volume in 2011, the emergence of non-biodegradable bioresins will dramatically alter the market landscape going forward.  By 2021, these materials will represent more than two-fifths of volume demand, up from 13 percent in 2011.  Growth will be propelled by large-volume production of bio-based polyethylene, as well as the eventual commercialization of bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  Since these resins are chemically identical to their conventional counterparts, market acceptance is forecast to occur at a rapid rate.  Among these bio-based plastics, PET is projected to offer significant growth potential over the longer term, particularly as large corporations -- especially those in the soft drink industry -- are investing heavily in the development of this material.

Polylactic acid (PLA) is expected to remain the most extensively used resin in the bioplastics market through the forecast period, despite issues regarding the inability of biodegradable products such as PLA to decompose in landfills and their potential to contaminate the recycling stream.  Advances will be promoted by a widening composting network and greater processor familiarity, as well as ongoing efforts to diversify PLA feedstocks, as critics cite the food versus fuel debate and the energy- and pesticide-intensive nature of corn production as a key drawback of biopolymers.

Bio-based polyethylene -- which entered the market in 2010 -- is expected to offer the best opportunities for growth through 2016, increasing rapidly from a small base.  These exceptionally strong gains are predicated on the expansion of production capacity, which will reduce prices and enable this resin to compete more effectively with its petroleum-based counterpart. 

mercredi 4 juillet 2012

Fibres recyclées : comment concilier écologie et sécurité alimentaire?

Dans un billet récent, nous avons discuté de l’enjeu que pose la présence d’huiles minérales dans les fibres recyclées au niveau de la sécurité alimentaire. Nous avions avancé que plusieurs pistes de solution existaient, mais qu’elles suscitaient toutes des interrogations. Elles impliquent notamment des augmentations de coût substantielles de l’emballage et des changements majeurs au niveau des procédés. Mais ces solutions, quelles sont-elles?

Gaspillage alimentaire : L’emballage à la rescousse !

Je vous invite à lire mon article publié dans le dernier numéro de la revue l’Actualité Alimentaire : Gaspillage alimentaire : L’emballage à la rescousse !

Lorsque l’emballage et l’environnement sont évoqués, surgit inévitablement le problème des déchets. Cependant, le problème n’est pas l’emballage en tant que tel, mais le suremballage, un phénomène qui coûte cher au fabricant et agace énormément le client.

Tout le monde semble en effet avoir oublié à quoi sert un emballage. La principale fonction de l'emballage est d’être au service du produit. L’emballage doit conserver et protéger le produit tout au long de la chaîne allant du fabricant au consommateur en passant par le transport et le stockage intermédiaire. Il évite ainsi qu'une partie du produit ne se perde ou ne s'abîme, ce qui impliquerait une perte économique et écologique beaucoup plus importante que celle causée par l'emballage. Un bon emballage constitue aussi une garantie pour la santé et la sécurité des consommateurs. Enfin, l'emballage a encore d'autres fonctions telles que la mise à disposition d'informations, le marketing, la diversification et la présentation des produits en portions adaptées.

Nb: N'hésitez pas à me contacter (pak-bec@hotmail.comsi vous voulez consulter l'intégrale de cet article