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Airless Packaging Brings Form, Function
By: Jeff Falk
Posted: January 9, 2009, from the January 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.
There is much to be said about the push-pull nature of the beauty industry. Suppliers meet marketers’ initiatives to fill a consumer demand, which leads to supplier innovations that can, in turn, create or push another consumer demand to start the circle again.
Airless packaging is a successful result of this push-pull scenario. It facilitates the delivery of products that fulfill a number of trend desires for a beauty product (preservative free, high-tech, luxury), and its practicality suits consumers—delivering measured product and increasing shelf life.
“It definitely allows for more stable delivery of formulas using ingredients known for instability or oxidation,” says dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD, creator of MD Skincare, which now utilizes airless packaging for 21% of its product line.
As more and more brand owners opt for airless packaging, designs, too, are pushing the envelope—and gaining both prominence on shelves and in the industry. The Rexam airless packaging for L’Oréal’s Skin Genesis, for example, won the International Package Design Grand Award for 2008 Package of the Year, and the increasing variety demonstrates suppliers’ work to combine aesthetics and function—again, marketers are willingly succumbing to the nudge and utilizing the offerings.
The evolution and impact of airless packaging on consumer perception is explored with Jim Gabilanes, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Flexpaq Corporation; Vonda Simon, president and founder, SeaCliff Beauty Packaging & Laboratories; Jim Slowey, vice president, sales and marketing, Arrowpak; and Terry Sweeney, director of sales, Mega Pumps.
Advantages and Perception
GCI: What are the advantages of airless pumps?
Gabilanes: In part, it is the sleek and high-end design of the package, and it’s an all-inclusive package (pump/bottle/cap). In addition, an airless package can handle very viscous products compared to a conventional pump, and no air gets back into the package. Therefore, it’s ideal for products that discolor with air (vitamin C, for example) or for products formulated with fewer preservatives, and it allows more complete product usage, with less bulk residual left in the package compared to a standard bottle. There is also the cleanliness and product efficacy aspect, as compared to a tube or, especially, to a jar where product is exposed several times during usage to air, fingers, etc. In airless packaging, product is delivered fresh with each application. Previously, high [viscosity] products were usually packaged in tubes or jars; now, airless systems provide marketers more packaging options.
Simon: The pumps evacuate 99% of the product, which is great for the consumer. And because they are beautiful and less messy, there is a larger perceived value, since they look so much larger in size than dispensing pumps and bottles.