Simplify My Packaging spoke with Esko’s Product Managers, Richard Deroo and Suzie Stitzel about plastics ban, packaging beyond consumption and digital tools for smart label transparency in this edition of Pack Snacks.
There was a panel discussion regarding plastics in packaging at the Packaging Innovations 2018 summit. Iceland is banning all plastics from its own-label packaging by 2023 and the UK is looking to ban the UK’s plastic waste by 2042. Sustainability is a huge challenge for brand leaders of packaged goods, as new attitudes and legislation around plastics is forcing companies to consider other alternative materials for packaging.
Richard Deroo: The plastic ban will have a positive impact on the corrugated and folding carton industries, which will allow for growth in that segment, as it is normally small compared to others. Brand owners who are responsible for the package redesign will find fit-for-purpose software for creating cartons and boxes, like CAD software very helpful in this transition from plastics to more rigid packaging; some such tools even have some premade resizable design templates that they could use during the process to simplify and streamline operations, providing rapid turnaround of their design process.
Susie Stitzel: Another positive from this initiative is that it will not only reduce the amount of plastic being used, but it also offers the opportunity to redesign for sustainability. Small changes in those redesign efforts can make a big difference in transport efficiencies. This helps reduce the overall number of trucks on the road to ship and transport materials.
This article highlighted trends within snack packaging in conjunction with a webinar in late February. According to Mintel, nutritional benefits will drive new consumption occasions and brands should provide something that offers not only convenience but also a packaging format suitable to the busy lifestyles of the modern consumer.
Susie Stitzel: There was a bit in this article that personally made me think differently about the packaging industry. Most brands I speak with think about packaging in terms of promoting and protecting the product – but this article goes on to mention usability and “packaging for a purpose.” For example, they specifically highlighted packaging formats that suit someone who is traveling – where he or she can use the packaging as a bowl because it comes with a flat bottom.
Another example could be a package becomes something else before or after its intended use; for example, first aid kit packaging that can be transformed into a soccer ball that children can play with after the kit has been depleted. This idea of usability and reusability can inspire marketers and designers think more creatively about packaging beyond the time of consumption or transport.
The University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Medical School study found that young adults read the label for sugar (74 percent), total calories (72.9 percent), serving size and the ingredient list. These findings were released right as the FDA is pushing to making nutrition labeling easier to read.
The FDA issued updates to the Nutritional Facts label changes earlier this month, companies must be in compliance by 2020-2021. The administration also released draft guidance to help the industry declare added sugars on nutritional labels for honey, maple syrup and some cranberry food products while updating serving size requirements.
Susie Stitzel: These articles really make a case for digital tools. Regulations and “guidance” from the FDA are changing at an increasing frequency. Digitizing the information contained within the Nutrition Facts label gives designers flexibility while providing assurance for quality or regulatory professionals that the information can stay correct and accurate, even if there is a requirement to change the design or format of the NFT in the future. We’re in a dynamic regulatory environment, and brand marketers need to be able to adapt their packaging with agility.
With the technology available to support QR codes, brands can utilize Smart LabelTM easily, providing additional transparency to consumers. For instance, consumers can review product information and nutritional facts by scanning a QR code from their phone. Tech-savvy consumers will enjoy being able to review detailed product information from their smart device, which could free up space on the product packaging to either simplify the look and feel or to increase the marketing copy on the pack in the form of claims, benefits or romance copy.
Richard Deroo: This is an exciting trend for the brands to start developing interactive packaging, but I’m not sure that QR code technology is the technology that will impact the entire population. Perhaps there will be newer, more widely used technologies. QR codes just don’t have pervasive enough adoption to take over entirely.