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Masters of Dispense

Sara Mason

In a marketplace that is saturated with new product introductions, thanks in part to increased speed-to-market and evolving technology, it is critical that marketers make a point-of-difference impression almost immediately. It is understood that to stand out on the shelf, packaging has to address all the senses in terms of color, shape, ergonomics and surface feel. Because consumers are becoming more critical in making their purchasing decisions, suppliers must go a step further to create sophisticated packaging that meets real-world demands.

The challenge to the industry is to optimize the consumer pull of innovative and attractive packaging while focusing on the primary conditions for today’s design—convenience, portability and purity. Innovation from several suppliers gives manufacturers the opportunity to differentiate their brands and offer packaging that meets current consumer demands.

Active Living

Today’s consumer has a very active lifestyle and is looking for convenience and easy-to-use packaging. Ergonomics and comfort are two design concerns for ease-of-use. “On the other hand, internal procedures need to be efficient—standardized—to make costs reasonable,” explained Christian Hauger, marketing and product management, fragrance and cosmetics, Pfeiffer GmbH. “Therefore, modular concepts and structures are key success factors.”

An active lifestyle often means time at the gym, and no one wants to open the gym bag and find a puddle of lotion at the bottom. Airspray’s Symplicity lotion pump features a fool-proof pump lock, all-plastic design and water-resistance. “(This pump) offers manufacturers clear advantages in the growing lotion market, in terms of its appearance, ergonomics and ease-of-use,” said David Stob, director of new product development, Airspray. “The output is generous, and the transparent bellows offer full visual control of the dispensed volume.”

Viscous Formulas

“Formulas are becoming more and more viscous, demanding a high suction force and, therefore, (there is a need for) dispensing that can handle these formulas with relative ease,” explained Eric Desmaris, marketing manager, Rexam Dispensing Systems. The company offers a dispensing system that has benefits to the consumer—including low-actuation force, which translates to ease of use and a 90%+ evacuation rate for even the most viscous of formulas.

As the market advances, systems such as Rexam’s Airfree packaging, developed with Plastohm, will take precedence. The package’s 360-degree application allows the consumer to apply product at any angle. “Making personal care lotions and creams as easy to apply as fragrance sprays is a major advance,” said Desmaris.

Portability Flourishes

The smaller, the better! The market for portable products has grown to encompass a variety of communications, entertainment and nutritional products—from portable audio players to on-the-go foods. The personal care market is not to be left behind. Several packaging manufacturers have accommodated today’s mobile consumer. “Everybody is talking about portability; consumers want to take product with them wherever they go,” said Des McEttrick, global marketing director, Emsar. In this case, Emsar brought portability to a unique sprayer that the company already offered with Eco-Mist, which sells well in emerging markets, according to the manufacturer.

Borrowed Technology

The trigger pump has long been popular in the household market, but the only option for personal care marketers who wanted to give consumers the convenience of the trigger was the household pump. SeaquistPerfect Dispensing began production in October on a fine mist trigger with a twist-lock collar that always stays with the package, meeting consumer demand for an easily portable product. “The past few summers have shown a very strong market response to sprays in sun care also,” explained Carleen Kreider, vice president of innovation, SeaquistPerfect Dispensing. “In fact, sun care marketers have been using household triggers just to get the function.” Instead, the Seaquist innovation allows a fine spray with the convenience of a trigger. “The trigger is accumulative, meaning it generates pressure inside before it dispenses,” explained Kreider, who also stated that the advantage of a true fine-mist trigger over a household trigger is that particle size is very fine and it is dose-appropriate for personal care applications.

Demanding New Ingredients

“For marketers to differentiate themselves and remain competitive, they must innovate and push the envelope in terms of product development—this means new ingredients,” said Francois Danielo, technical marketing manager, cosmetic and fragrance, Saint-Gobain Calmar. In the cosmeceutical market, for example, a lot of actives must be protected from losing efficacy. For these formulas to work effectively, they need a secure and compatibly safe package. “Packaging that protects against dust, contamination and oxidation brings enhanced quality of product to consumers,” added Pfeiffer’s Hauger.

To address this trend, Pfeiffer developed an innovative pump process to eliminate the presence of particles from makeup formulas. The resulting Make-up Pump has been combined with Metropolitan, the company’s original lotion design. “The biggest concern in the conception of the new pump system was to resolve the problem of makeup components, such as powder particles and non-dissolved wax particles, creating sediment on the surface,” explained Hauger. Due to optimized product flow resistance with regard to the ball and spring, the gel-pump system resolves this issue for makeup products and similar viscous products. A smooth actuation force and an average of five priming strokes, independent of the product, are just a few of the pump’s characteristics.

Purity—Beyond Aesthetics

Also with purity in mind, Saint-Gobain Calmar introduced Pure-Path® Technology, a patented design that places the metal spring outside of the fluid path, eliminating the risk of corrosion and discoloration. In terms of fragrance, compatibility is the primary concern. However, packaging has a special role in this market, as designers are using packaging to convey the fragrance’s personality more than ever. Flexibility is a key, and smaller pumps offer designers that higher level of versatility. “There is an ongoing customer driven trend toward miniaturization in fragrance,” said Emsar’s McEttrick.

From Burberry’s incredibly successful Hummer fragrance to Estée Lauder’s Cyber White, products already on the retail shelf are utilizing innovative packages that go beyond aesthetics to excel in function as well. The packaging supplier’s role in brand success is obvious. “Suppliers are focused on helping customers gain an edge by being faster to market, better than the competition or more affordable,” said Saint-Gobain’s Danielo. Suppliers will continue to provide the market with solutions, anticipating the needs of both the cosmetic industry in terms of innovative technical solutions—and the end-users in terms of convenience, portability and purity.

Recognizing the need is only the beginning.

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