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Packaging Material Trends 2010

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: January 19, 2010, from the January 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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JV: In terms of eco-friendly materials, the tipping point has been reached where our customers and consumers understand the importance and desirability of such materials. And this intersects with the worldwide trend to premiumization of packaging. And it’s why the latest eco-chic fragrance from Tous (the Spain-based luxury brand known for its environmental and fair trade policies) has selected our 100% recyclable Sof’n’Touch dispenser for the mini-version of its new H2O fragrance. We created the Sof’n’Touch with only three parts(bottle, applicator and cap) for the ultimate in consumer appeal, timeless aesthetics, production efficiency and value. Fragrance application is by touch, achieved by capillary action, for precise placement of the fragrance, with no waste.

Given its earth-friendly attributes, classic elegance and proven functionality, the Sof’n’Touch was a logical choice for the mini-version of H2O. The mini-product communicates all the aesthetic values of the brand, is in congruence with their respect for the planet and is a cost-efficient packaging solution as well.

Another example is our just-launched Crystal Transparency material, perfect for samplers, which are increasingly important in new product launches. In addition to its remarkable clarity and visual appeal, this material offers manufacturers startling clarity and beauty, as well as cost and manufacturing efficiencies, and is available on all Rexam standard samplers, including Sof’n’Touch, Mini-Mist and Sofistic’s. It offers all the aesthetic allure of glass, yet without the cost. It is lighter than glass, for reduced transportation costs, and is tough enough to reduce filling line breakage. In fact, use of Crystal Transparency cuts development time, as compared with glass. Plus, supply chain management is enhanced, since we offer both the pump and bottle (both recyclable, with less energy needed, as well).

MC: From a materials perspective, we believe the focus on bio-based materials will be the biggest news-maker in 2010. Driving this will be the evolving impact of biodegradable materials such as PLA, as well as Coca-Cola’s recent announcement of the company’s goal to adopt bio-based containers.

Outside of new or emerging materials, we believe that the lightweighting packaging through redesign and material reduction will be another important topic carried into 2011.

Do these trends grow upon themselves yearly? Are the 2010 trends direct outcomes or progressions of 2009 trends? How do these trends evolve? What longer-term trends can be projected from the 2010 trends?

MC: The packaging sector is evolutionary in nature. The introduction of new resins and materials prompts machinery manufacturers to adapt equipment as needed, which can take time in order to guarantee efficiency. No one wants to risk a product launch failure resulting from incompatibilities on the packaging line. So, while existing trends may foster new innovations in materials and package design, all are ideas until they can be manufactured. Then, it’s time to launch.

What are some of the technical advances that have allowed expansion in the use of certain materials for beauty packaging?