6 MVPs of packaging 2016

What packaging developments and insights riveted packaging professionals’ attention through the first half of 2016? Persistent trends, fabulous flexpacks, exciting sustainable materials, some fishy cans, a well-read foursome and a little self-reflection in the beauty market.

We take a mid-year break from our regular compilation of the best-read articles of the month to reveal the most popular articles for the first half of 2016 as a wider angle view of what trends and content draw packaging professionals’ interest.

We could call these our MVPs: Most Valuable Posts, as determined by page view metrics of articles posted at PackagingDigest.com since January 1.

While these lists usually comprise the Top 5, we make an exception for a very atypical entry to lead things off: a 1-page article that made up in quality and drawing power what it lacked in quantity by scoring the second-most initial page views of all other 2106 articles (with the exception of #1) while the rest are multipage articles with numbers boosted by their 4-, 5- or 6-page lengths.

The honorable mention is Beauty care packaging trends: It’s all about ‘me’, an exclusive interview that taps the 25 years’ industrial design experience of Scott Jost, who heads Berlin Packaging’s Studio One Eleven. The article develops from this intriguing setup: “The line between human and technological device is blurring as smart technology puts people in greater control of their individual health and beauty needs.” Described as “Augmented Human,” this was one of four key global beauty trends revealed by Mintel in its December 2015 report.

#5. Persistence pays off when it comes to these trends.

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/top-6-mvps-of-packaging-2016

Top 10 ‘right-on’ packaging designs for store brands

Are retail insiders more in tune with what shoppers want or need when it comes to product packaging? A look at some of the top packaging designs of store-brand products shows that their packaging creators definitely “get” today’s consumers.

Packaging Digest editors Rick Lingle and myself were treated to a smorgasbord of dazzling designs as we once again served as judges in the packaging competition organized by Store Brands magazine. Packaging mavens Ben Miyares and Linda Casey were also there to review the 184 entries submitted this year.

The winners will be announced in the September issue of Store Brands, but here’s a quick look at some of the entries that stood out to me and why.

A couple general comments first:

• Several packages took advantage of direct-package printing technologies, such as in-mold labeling. I’ve always been a fan of this method because of its secondary tactile feature. Direct-package printing technologies are on the upswing and it’s one of the issues covered at the EastPack 2016 show at the Packaging for Foods & Beverages conference. Package design experts Tim Bohlke of Avery Dennison and Jim Warner of JW3D tackled the topic in the session “The Future of Labeling & the Emergence of Direct-to-Package Printing.” (Highlights of that session to come later.)

• The quality and amount of packaging designs entered into this competition by CVS Pharmacy is most impressive—and for the second year in a row! This drug-store retailer definitely does not prescribe to the outdated “me-too” strategy of private-label packaging design we still see at competitive stores (Walgreens, are you hearing this?).

• The packaging department at Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy—a regional grocer with stores in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana—has also been active, based on the number of entries in this year’s competition, a couple of which I’ve included in this slideshow.

• Color coding is a staple in any package designer’s toolbox, especially for product lines with different flavors or varieties. Several entries in this year’s competition used color coding to their advantage, through unique placement of color bars and/or the use of contemporary hues.

• One last comment specific to packaging designs for foods and beverages. This year, we saw even more clear packages that showcase the product and let consumers judge taste and quality before buying. And we also saw a continuation of graphics that depict “foodie” values such as unusual or exclusive recipes, as well as “restaurant inspired” designs. Several labels used a stylized “distressed” font, to replicate hand-written menu boards at trendy restaurants.

Interested in comparing the 2016 competition with previous ones? Here are the Packaging Digest articles about last year’s Store Brands Packaging Awards competition:

The top winner: Store-brand packaging pairs good looks with utility

From Rick Lingle’s perspective: Winning retail packaging starts with attention to detail

Through my eyes (Lisa Pierce): Packaging design trends add value to store brands

Here is my take of the 2014 competition: Sophisticated packaging sells store brands

And the trends I saw during the 2013 judging: A brand by any other name…


Now for this year’s stand outs …


1. Tangled Tree snacks (see photo above)

Although there are 22 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in the Tangled Tree line of snacks, distributor Pique Brands in Grand Rapids, MI, uses just two sizes of stand-up pouches for all of them. Pouches are generically printed—beautifully so—with matte and gloss areas to highlight the background tree graphic and brand name. Branding is further reinforced with the circle logo, which also adds a bit of color to the front of the pouch.

Separate labels on the front (in the upper left primary position) and on the back are printed with product specific info. This is cost efficient (volume buying) and simplifies inventory management. We’ve seen this type of label strategy on bags of coffee and some confections, but this was the first time I have seen it on snack nuts and berries.

The muted colors of the labels are contemporary and the ragged right edge of the front label (which has a soft-touch feel to it, too!) adds an element of “natural” to the design. All labels were carefully positioned—so much so that it wasn’t obvious at first that it was a label.

The clear window at the bottom lets consumers see what’s in the bag before buying and showcased the products well.

I thought this was one of the best package designs in the competition. Visually appealing with a touch of tactile dynamism.


NEXT: Jumbo impact!


Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/top-10-right-on-packaging-designs-for-store-brand-products-2016-06-30

Molson Coors Canada uses beverage packaging to promote this summer’s Coors Light Games

Canadians are gearing up for the second annual Coors Light Games, a high-energy, fun event that takes an Olympian approach to backyard sports. To help consumers get in the spirit, Molson Coors Canada has created variably printed, promotional packaging with graphics representing the event’s various competitions. The games will be held Aug. 26-28, 2016, in Ottawa, Ontario.

The variably printed packaging design comprises seven sets of graphics: Each can is printed with one of seven pictograms, each corresponding to a sport featured in the Coors Light Games. The sports are the Inflatable Peak Climb, Water Luge, Capture the Case, Zorb Croquet, Volley Pong, Splatter Dodgeball and Bubble Soccer.

The 473-ml cans are litho-printed using Accents technology from Crown Beverage Packaging; this technology makes it possible to mix up to 24 separate graphic designs in one production run. Lasers are used to engrave printing blankets with the variable content.

Coors Light’s variably printed cans are produced at Crown’s plant in Batesville, MS, and they are filled at Molson Coors Canada breweries north of the border. The cans require no filling line modifications. The promotional cans appeared on store shelves in mid-May 2016 and will be available until approximately mid-August.

Also as part of the promotion, Molson Coors Canada is running a contest in which consumers who find a rare, gold-colored can in a Coors Light multipack win a free round-trip for four to the Coors Light Games. Only 12 gold cans will be produced; they will be packed randomly in specially marked multipacks distributed throughout Canada.


Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/molson-coors-canada-uses-beverage-packaging-to-promote-this-summers-coors-light-games-2016-06-29

Transparency in sustainable forestry aids paper packaging procurement

Growing up in the ’90s, we were told that using too much paper was killing trees and, well, who wants to be a tree killer? From this perspective, it seems that we are better off embracing the digital era; books and notepads ought to be a thing of the past, replaced by laptops and tablets—but, when taking a closer look, it’s not so cut-and-dried. When done responsibly, forestry and paper production can actually help save trees and play an important role in sustainability.

Let’s consider a practical example:

Imagine there’s a local timber company where you live, and it has managed forest stands in the area responsibly for decades. Over the years, paper sales decline and the company slowly loses business, it is eventually forced to close and sell off its land. A local dairy farmer looking to expand business purchases the property and converts it into pasture. A couple years down the road, the area is covered in cattle and grass, without a tree in sight. Not only is carbon no longer sequestered in the forest, but methane gas now pollutes the air. This hypothetical situation is an ever increasing reality in the 21st century. Indeed, the culprit behind deforestation is often not papermaking, but land-use change.

So, what does this mean and why does it matter?

First off, it means that we need to move past the days of equating paper products with killing trees, and it matters because when we understand an issue, we can make an informed decision. We know that paper products and sustainable forest management are fundamental to protecting forests from land-use change, but we also know that we can’t clear-cut vast swaths of forest and pretend that’s a responsible management practice. Instead, we need to be equipped with the knowledge of how to identify and purchase paper products from responsible sources.

One of today’s trending topics in sustainable business is transparency. After decades of eroding consumer confidence in corporations, it is no longer acceptable for businesses to make baseless claims about the quality, safety and origin of products. Consumers are demanding more transparency in supply chains; they don’t just want to know you make a quality product, they want to know you make a quality product with quality components. They want to know where the product comes from and how it was produced. These types of questions are reshaping the way that businesses interact with their customers and one of the outcomes of this has been the proliferation of supply chain transparency tools across all sectors.

In the forest sector, conversations around transparency have helped facilitate the development of forest certification programs, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and many others. These programs have fostered sustainable forest management practices and increased transparency in supply chains.

In recent years, additional tools have been developed to further enhance the transparency of forest products, specifically related to paper products. One example is the Environmental Paper Assessment Tool, or EPAT, which is an innovative platform for buyers and suppliers of paper products to share supply chain information on environmental performance.

More than just a transparency tool, EPAT is stimulating and facilitating discussions on sustainable paper procurement between industry leaders. With the emergence of these kinds of tools, transparency is becoming an integral part of business operations and its importance will only continue to increase in the future.


Evan Bruner joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition as project associate in the spring of 2016 and focuses on the Forest Products Working Group and EPAT. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Bruner obtained his BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, in 2011. Shortly after, he moved The Netherlands to pursue a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Development from Utrecht University. During his studies, Evan had a variety of unique opportunities, ranging from working as a legislative intern with a Washington State Senator to developing a campaign with the world’s first investment fund for sustainable aquaculture business models, Aqua Spark.

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/transparency-in-sustainable-forestry-aids-paper-packaging-procurement-2016-06-29

Smart Label with memory strengthens packaging authentication

The Xerox Printed Memory small flexible label with 36 bits of non-volatile, rewritable memory based on Thinfilm’s printed electronics is a low-cost anti-counterfeiting format for packaging including refillable formats.



You’d be hard-pressed to find a market worth $82 billion that’s seeing double-digit growth like the 13% CAGR of the Anti-Counterfeiting Packaging Market, according to research from MarketsandMarkets, which forecasts this market to reach $154 billion by 2020. The market is driven by the “increasing popularity of the benefits of authentication technologies and the need for track & trace technologies, which are embedded in packaging.”

One of the newest products that looks to strengthen brand protection through anti-counterfeiting technology is Xerox Printed Memory, which adds low-cost intelligence to objects or packaging by printing thin circuitry on a flexible substrate using technology from Thinfilm.

One interesting twist to these smart labels is that they can enable refillable packaging in a safe and secure way. Because the Printed Memory labels can interact with a dispensing device, brands or manufacturers are able to count/record time/calibrate and provide other usage information associated with a refill cartridge or unit. Segments such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, beauty products, appliances, and food and beverage can benefit by offering consumers more convenience while potentially increasing sustainability.

Responding to our questions about Xerox Printed Memory is Bill Cummings, senior vp of corporate communications, Thinfilm.


What’s the status?
In January of this year, Thinfilm announced a strategic partnership with Xerox. As a core element of the agreement, Xerox licensed Thinfilm’s proprietary technology to manufacture Thinfilm Memory labels and is commercially available today. Also, the technology was demonstrated by Xerox earlier this month during the Drupa tradeshow in Düsseldorf, Germany.

What’s innovative about this application?
Cummings: Xerox Printed Memory labels are an ideal solution for brand protection needs across a range of industries – particularly pharmaceuticals, government, and other verticals concerned with gray market sales, counterfeiting and supply chain integrity. Brands can also add in optional tamper-evident adhesives and a cryptographic feature that includes barcodes or QR codes, making the Xerox Printed Memory offering one of the most tamper-proof, anti-counterfeit solutions on the market.


Another example of what the non-volatile memory label looks like in a close-up.


How is it different/better than an RFID tag or other smart labels?
Cummings: Traditional anti-counterfeiting methods such as invisible ink, holograms and RFID tags can be easily copied and hacked, and are often expensive to implement. By integrating Thinfilm’s technology with advanced security printing and digital cryptography, the solutions are inexpensive and difficult to counterfeit as every stamp is uniquely encrypted and can only be created by authorized personnel. In addition, key features of the solution will work offline, enabling secure validation of an object or process without being bound to the Internet.

Rewritable data within each tag can identify if a medication refill has been authorized, a shipping tax has been paid, or whether a package passed through an authorized distributor. Using a smartphone-based reader, printed memory tax stamps can be used for tracking and tracing the location of packages, authentication and verification of a product’s information.


How is the information written to the label?
Cummings: Xerox Printed Memory are manufactured through a printing process and add low-cost intelligence to objects or packaging by printing thin circuitry on a flexible substrate. The non-volatile memory is delivered in small flexible labels, a form factor that provides a wide range of design freedom not offered in other solutions. The labels can be placed on products at any stage of the manufacturing or supply-chain process.

Xerox Printed Memory labels can store up to up to 36 bits of information, which enables 68 billion distinct data combinations. Everything from lot codes and serial numbers to expiration dates and geographic IDs can be stored on the labels, and the data is preserved until overwritten within a 10-year span.


When are the labels applied to packaging?
The Xerox Printed Memory solutions are geared toward supply-chain applications. Manufacturers who are in partnership with Thinfilm would apply the label to the packaging on their packaging lines.


For more of the technical details of Xerox Printed Memory, see Printed Memory to Secure IoT  from sister publication EE Times.



Visit MinnPack September 21-22 in Minneapolis to see the latest in smart packaging, brand protection, labels and labeling and more.



Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/brand-protection/smart-label-with-memory-strengthens-pkg-authentication1606