Getting a handle on multipack options
When you go to grocery and club stores, there are multipacks of beverages of all sorts; sports drinks, soda, beer and juices with different packaging to best suit each product’s needs. Common threads amongst these different packaging styles are the need for ease of lifting and carrying, securing the product inside and hitting the mark in sustainability.
What’s new in the beverage multipack segment? Multipack experts weigh in on emerging trends.
According to PakTech’s (www.paktech-opi.com) Amie Thomas, VP sales and marketing, there has been one specific growing trend in the beverage multipack segment. “Rapid growth in the craft beer industry has created a demand for multipack can packaging that sets customers’ product apart from the traditional can packs. There is also increased demand for products that keep the tops of the cans covered and clean, especially for distribution outside the U.S.”
The company launched its PakTech Can Carrier that completely covers the can’s top and features a clean design, variety of colors, and is easy to use.
“We designed and introduced the PakTech Can Carrier, which provides an innovative, eco-friendly alternative to traditional multipacking and distinguishes our customers’ products with a premium look,” continues Thomas. The Can Carriers are available in 4-, 6-, 8- and 12-pack configurations.
PakTech’s Can Carrier strikes a sustainability chord with its 99% PCR (post-consumer resin), resulting in 78% fewer greenhouse emissions.
Thomas comments, “Manufacturers in the packaging industry see the need for products that reduce packaging and can be recycled. Over the last year we introduced the option of handles manufactured from PCR. The response has been extremely positive. Many new and long-time customers are switching to handles made from PCR.”
It’s not just plastic that is featuring recycled content, a paperboard container for canned beverages has gone green with a 100% recycled package. The Treehugger from Zumbiel Packaging (www.zumbiel.com) is an easy-open paperboard carton that is 100% recycled, uses no trees and requires 47% less energy and 81% less wastewater to manufacture than a traditional beverage carton. It also generates 53% less greenhouse gases and 59% less solid waste.
The subject of sustainability also resonates with Chris Turner, sales director-plastics, Roberts PolyPro (www.robertspolypro.com), powered by ProMach Inc.
“Sustainability is still our largest opportunity for growth,” says Turner. “Our current competitor has a different manufacturing process than us and when compared it favors us greatly when it comes to sustainability. Our handles typically use about 40% less plastic and our pallet counts average about 40% more handles than our competitor. When fuel prices and raw goods pricing goes up, then manufactures’ need to find savings wherever they can goes up and secondary packaging is a great place to start.”
And it’s no coincidence that the green packaging craze also addresses the other green issue, that of cost savings.
“Capital expenditures have been flat to falling due to the economy and currently manufactures are looking for a way to cut per-case cost; we are starting to see a trend to automate the handle application process,” Turner continues. “Manufacturers can reduce case costs by automating a portion or all of their line.”
Roberts PolyPro offers several options for packaging beverages with its EasyLift bottle carriers line. Available in 2-, 3-, 4-, 6- and 8-pack or custom sizes, the carriers feature a pop-up style handle that provides a comfortable fit for consumers. The bottle-carrier handles are made from 100% recyclable high density polyethylene (HDPE, SPI #2) with a manufacturing process focused on reusing resources and reducing waste. The unique design and sheet extrusion process allows the company to manufacture handles that are 60 to 75% thinner than competitive injection molded handles, saving the customer money in shipping and storage costs.
As companies strive to reduce costs, go green and provide the end-user with an easy-to-use solution to handling beverage multipacks, new options are showing up in stores. From 6-packs of craft beer to cans of soda, multipack packaging never stops evolving to include new materials, designs and all-around effectiveness.
Wrapped and ready
The market for shrink film, one of the most popular multipack materials, continues to expand. Demand for shrink film will grow 4.2% annually to $970 million in 2015, according to Stretch & Shrink Film, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. (www.freedoniagroup.com). Driven by accelerating demand for product packaging and for the bundling and protection of goods during warehousing and distribution, as well as competitive advantages over other packaging materials, shrink film’s high clarity and excellent print capabilities greatly enhance product marketability.
Exopack’s (www.exopack.com) AquaCrystal film for multipacking offers cost-effective brand visability, providing outstanding billboard graphics. Versus cartons, film is a vibrant, lightweight package option and is available in monolayer, co-extruded or laminated structures.
AquaCrystal is a high-clarity, high-gloss shrink film designed for multipack bundling systems. Tailored for individual applications, this family of films is ideal for can or bottle configurations. AquaCrystal is fully recyclable as a polyethylene-based resin.