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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: Because there is a strong trend of premiumization of mass market packages, high luxury brands must find new ways to keep their rank: they do that by offering added convenience, enhanced functionality and attention to details, like the smoothness of a lipstick mechanism or the quality of a closing click feature. With fine mist dispensing, for example, there is an art of spray and actuator development. We continually study the performance of our pumps, in order to enhance the spray characteristics and quickness of priming. We have an R&D team dedicated to the study of canal geometry, calculation of flows and turbulence, in order to constantly offer pumps that can handle the world’s great fragrance brands. Superior spray and ease of priming enhances the end-user experience, as with the XD-11 fine mist pump, now being used around the world.

In lipstick packaging, a good example is the Chanel Allure Lipstick case with its unique opening-closing mechanism: the very sleek package looks seamless until a gentle push on the golden top reveals the lipstick, which is ‘stored’ in the same way after usage; this case is equipped with the Rexam R2000 mechanism, which offers dry, non lubricated operation and is designed to protect even the more delicate formulations. Another example of exciting prestige product decoration is our work for Dior, using Opalis, a surface treatment developed with this customer. It is a painstaking process of metal spraying over the entire surface, resulting in a sparkling, gemlike effect.

Further, this premiumization of mass-market product packaging results in greater demand for quality materials, decoration elements, finishes, etc. The Maybelline Mineral Power case, for example, opens both on the side and vertically, an exciting, unique feature that enhances the end-user convenience. When the case is turned sideways, to the right, the mirror position housing the puff is revealed. Opening the top section reveals the powder, which can then be easily applied. The design also allows for a shade-evident top lens, heightening convenience and retail appeal.

Then, too, is the impact on packaging derived from the popularity of natural and or organic formulations. These are inherently more fragile; also the general trend is to limit as much as practical the preservatives and anti-bacteria additives in all formulas, organic or classical. Such formulations require packaging with higher protection levels, like higher barrier property, airless functioning and extreme closure features to prevent the formulation from oxidation.

MC: Currently, there is a strong demand for rigid containers as companies continue to prioritize the protection of their products across the supply chain. However, I expect to see more of a shift to flexible packaging. We’ve already seen this taking place in the food and beverage sectors and the cosmetics industry has begun to follow suit, with many brands packaging lotions in tubes.

How do material trends in beauty complement or reflect other, larger, trends? Or, how are they influenced by larger trends?

JV: Our business is innovation-driven. We are part of the daily lives of consumers: every day there are multiple interactions with our customers’ products and our collaborations on packaging solutions. Brands are built through ongoing product differentiation. Product packaging is a large part of the equation. Our knowledge of demographic changes, our ability to create ergonomic advantages, all help our customers keep consumers engaged with the brand.

In makeup, for example, we note many new trends, such as volumizing mascara, anti-clumping formulations, water-proof mascara and more. Working in partnership with our customers, we will continue to work to drive innovation in this sector and develop packaging solutions that build brands. Innovation in mascara has been mostly driven by the applicator over the past few years, to the point that applicators, whether traditional twisted-wire-and-fiber brushes or more recent molded-polymer applicators, have become extremely efficient and produce spectacular makeup results. It is uncertain how much further we’ll be able to sustain this trend to more-than-perfect makeup results. However, we believe that package convenience has been to a large degree left aside in the "Quest For The Holy Applicator." There is significant room for improvement in package functionality and ergonomics. Also a new generation of materials are making their entry in waterproof mascara containers by offering high barrier property materials that are more affordable and easier to process.