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Brand Security's White Knight—Packaging

By: John Perkins
Posted: February 3, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

With today’s expanding global marketplace, companies and their brands are more vulnerable than ever to security breaches. Each year, according to the National Retail Federation, approximately $41.6 billion worth of goods are lost throughout the retail supply chain due to theft, tampering, and/or shipping and retail damage. Security packaging is a business imperative for retailers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers. But how do you determine a secure package? Some security packaging, for example, provides theft barriers by being unable to fit into a standard clothing pocket or by requiring the use of a tool to access contents. However varied the definition of secure packaging has become, security means protection of contents, intellectual property and the value of a brand.

Stopping Product Counterfeits and Tampering

For the most part, the product’s packaging is the first interaction a consumer has with a product. As such, product counterfeiting has become a significant issue, costing brand owners valuable time and money to combat—as well as the costs required to regain consumer trust. Counterfeiters strive to replicate this intimate connection between a consumer and a brand for illegal profit. Through the power of security packaging, brand owners can protect their product as well as their brand with authenticity and anti-counterfeiting features.

MWV has identified a trend toward tamper evidence solutions for pump, sprayer, closure and dispenser applications. Consumers are more inclined to purchase a product that has visible tamper evidence features in place compared to products without because the visual element provides reassurance that the product was previously untouched or unused by anyone. Furthermore, there is an increased demand by consumers for personal care and cosmetics products with fewer preservatives and more natural ingredients—especially creams, lotions and soaps—and, to meet the demand, brand owners are reinforcing and redesigning product packaging to prevent pre-purchase opening, protecting the formula from being in contact with the air, which may cause spoilage or contamination and, therefore, also damage the brand.

Product tampering, too, costs distributors millions of dollars in lost sales revenue. There are several tamper evidence systems for dispensers available that block the neck or lock ring in order to obstruct the dispenser from being primed on store shelves. The blocking clip is the tamper evidence feature that gives the consumer visual indication of product tampering. Other systems cover the spout of the dispenser, which both prevents consumers from priming the pump in-store while securing the product from outside contamination. However, the spout cap is more of a protection system than a tamper evidence feature because consumers can easily remove the cap in the store before purchasing the product.

These issues can effectively be addressed by combining two systems and multiple features to create an overall safety system—tamper evident features, spout protectors, blocking clips and nonremovable closures used in combination, for example. MWV has experienced success with a technology that ensures a metal-free fluid path and also has lock-up/lock-down features. Three-in-one systems such as this guarantee the first use to the consumer, and, therefore, help ensure consumer confidence in the product.