Early this year, Robert Hogan, a packaging expert and director of global business development in Asia for Zip-Pak, shared research and insights from the Manteno, IL, company with attendees at the Store Brands Decisions (SBD) Conference. Zip-Pak, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc., is a global leader in resealable packaging innovations.
Attendees of Hogan’s presentation learned about five key packaging innovation trends emerging in store brands:
Look to Japan
For the highest quality innovative packaging, Hogan advised listeners to look to Japan, where packaging is regarded as a piece of fine art, created for ease of use and aesthetic pleasure. He cited a Tokyo hotel that offers individually packaged Q-tips that have laser-scored vertical lines on the plastic package to help consumers access each one separately.
Hogan also compared North American chewing gum packaging, which can be difficult to open and reseal, with Japanese gum packages that open neatly and offer easy access to each piece. Use instructions on the Japanese packaging further illustrate the Japanese manufacturers’ attention to detail.
Speed to market
Increasingly, consumer preference at point-of-sale is being influenced by such features as resealable closures on salty snack bags, Hogan told listeners. This shift in behavior is occurring with both new and established store brands.
With today’s speed to market, retailers can afford a new consumer-preferred technology, such as the front-panel Inno-Lok zipper found on Target’s Archer Farms potato chip packages, Hogan said. Technology converters can apply a zipper or other consumer-friendly feature to flexible packaging in as few as six weeks, with minimal disruption to the manufacturing process and little to no capital investment.
Providing consumer convenience enhances brand appeal, Hogan said. Independent market research indicates that consumers instantly recognize the ease-of-use that resealable packaging offers, and are more inclined to choose such a package, regardless of price. He cited Giants Sunflower Seeds as a store brand that enjoys greater customer convenience switching to Zip-Pak Pour & Lok resealable pouches with pour spouts.
Store brands recognize the power of packaging
Store brand manufacturers are realizing increased consumer confidence and production efficiencies when they use packaging solutions that are distinct to the market, Hogan told presentation attendees, citing Zip-Pak’s Zipbox, The Resealable Box as an example. Zipbox combines rigid and flexible packaging in a novel way, and results in savings for food manufacturers because it requires no inner liner.
Cost and source reduction
Moving from a rigid package to a flexible pouch creates significant cost and source reductions for store brands, according to Hogan. For example, taking a product from glass to plastic saves on production, lowers the weight and reduces the number of trucks required for distribution.
To download a PDF of Hogan’s presentation, visit www.zippak.com/five-flexible-packaging-innovation-themes.