Feel the benefit22 July 2019
Innovations in coating and laminating mean that products are better protected than ever before – without compromising on quality or sustainability. With the right solution, brands are able to guarantee premium freshness and meet consumers’ expectations
The packaging team comprises many members, all pulling together to create a final product that reflects the values and goals of the brand – and makes consumers buy it and love it. So each member of the team has a key role to play to ensure that winning formula happens time and time again. The healthiest snack is not going to turn a profit if it goes all soggy and the coolest artisan treat is just a pipe dream if it has gone mouldy when the person who has paid good money for it opens the box.
While brands may be surprised with just how much time designing and developing their packaging actually takes, it is often the unseen elements that are most unexpected – and time consuming. That is why packaging manufacturers that advise on the soup-to-nuts of their customers’ and potential customers’ packaging plans are worth their weight in gold; they have seen it all before and can help avoid costly mistakes.
For Grimbsy’s Ultimate Packaging, its solutions-focused approach means that it takes a pride in working closely in partnership with customers in order to help them create packaging that performs and lives up to the customers’ expectations.
“Being an independent, family-owned business enables Ultimate Packaging to remain lean and agile in an increasingly corporate packaging industry,” says Chris Tonge, executive director of the Ultimate Group. “We are focused on the development of innovative packaging solutions and over 90% of the product we manufacture is supplied into the food industry. At the heart of the food packaging industry is the need to develop solutions to reduce waste, improve convenience and provide help to empower food suppliers to create a wide range of products to meet the demands of the retail sector.
“Our business works closely with the UK retail sector, retail suppliers and our diverse supply network to drive ongoing developments linked to print, packaging materials including specialised films, and packaging technologies such as laser perforation and specialist adhesives.”
Tonge explains how the particular demands of the food industry means that Ultimate Packaging is at the forefront of developing coating and laminating solutions that deliver solutions.
“Packaging is an industry under pressure to drive sustainability while ensuring high quality,” he adds. “We also understand the need to control waste and facilitate responsible waste management of packaging by using eco-friendly packaging films where possible. Effective coating offers this, so we work with our customers to ensure their products have the right technical performance to keep them in peak condition.”
Ultimate Packaging has worked with the UK’s first handcrafted salmon skin crisps brands, Sea Chips, whose charismatic founder Daniel Pawson is gaining great recognition, having been featured on popular BBC TV programme Dragon’s Den. Sea Chips is a great example of a thoroughly modern product because it is delicious, healthy and responsible – without compromising on style. Available in individual sachets in Lightly Salted, Salt & Vinegar and Lime & Chilli variations, Sea Chips are available across selected retailers including Whole Foods, Harrods, independent delicatessens and Amazon.
Pawson tells Converting Today about the role of packaging in the brand development, particularly with a focus on the performance of the packet itself.
“We wanted our packaging to reflect our brand values; we are ethically conscious and we don’t try to be anything we are not,” he explains. “Our packaging allows us to portray our brand values and message; we tried to include our branding on every consumer touchpoint as it is our packaging that keeps us in people’s minds.
“Our packaging is quite light and dainty and it feels clean, which represents what is inside the packet. Of course it [the coating] allows us to keep our product fresh for 12 months too without spoiling.”
Pawson explains how Sea Chips’ most recent packaging development is the perfect illustration of how the right packaging reflects on the brand.
“In February we took our first delivery of compostable packaging from Ultimate Packaging,” he says. “We started with standard plastic packaging as there wasn’t an alternative but now we are one of the first producers to use compostable packaging for crisps in the UK.”
It is fair to say that freshness is at the heart of the performance of effective coating in food and beverage applications. The connection between the product within and the coating of the packaging material is a relationship that must be understood, as well as the presence (or not) of additional items such as a silicon sachet or the type of closure. The recyclability of the packaging is also an element of awareness for brand owners, with this increasingly being the rule rather than the exception, especially for brands that pride themselves on their transparency and appeal to responsible consumers.
For traditional Italian food brand Coppola Foods, which is available in 35 countries and has recently launched in the UK, its smart marketing approach that celebrates its long-standing Italian heritage with very modern eating trends, packaging is a great way to communicate its brand values to consumers. By using traditional materials such as paper and glass, Coppola Food’s range of soups, pasta sauces and ready-to-heat risotto is carefully positioned as a premium product in the homemade style. Of course, the packaging has to perform in the right way in order to uphold this carefully developed approach.
Now in the fourth generation of the Coppola family, Coppola Foods is bringing its much-loved Italian foods to the UK. Marketing assistant Federica Bolognese tells Converting Today how packaging is supporting its mission.
“The UK is currently one of our smallest markets but we have a presence in independents and online,” she says. “Packaging plays an important role in our mission to make good food better. We are continuously looking for packaging solutions that can bring a better experience to our consumers and to improve the sustainability of the packaging itself. We are using BPA-free tins, stackable cans for better use in shops and individual pots instead of pouches for our ready-to-eat risottos as they offer a better experience for consumers.
“We always use our packaging to bring consumers to the best result and the ultimate product experience. The pot solution we developed for our new risotto respected all the parameters we aimed to achieve in product quality and in transparency, making visual product assessment by the customer easier. Importantly too, the packaging is fully recyclable, both the pot and the plastic sleeve.”
For artisan products that are created in small batches, the importance of freshness and quality control is incredibly important. Brands know that consumers that have bought into their brand can quickly change their minds if the product doesn’t live up to their expectations – a costly mistake. So decisions like the right coating to suit the product within – and reliable, honest support from their packaging supplier – is paramount.
For disruptive sweet treat brand The Marshmallowist, whose small-batch, innovatively flavoured artisan marshmallows are getting attention in high-end magazines like Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and The Times, its packaging is key to riding the impressive wave it has created.
“Packaging is something we spend a lot of time on – it is integral to the brand,” explains founder Oonagh Simms. “In order to grow the brand we had to find a way of transporting and presenting that still kept that very strong sense of brand. We have a strong brand and a strong aesthetic. In practical terms, it also has to be easy to assemble by hand.”
The eye-catching, highly stylised boxes for The Marshmallowist contain six handcut marshmallows, with a clear transparent film carefully keeping the delicacies fresh. “We’ve invested so much in getting the marshmallows absolutely perfect that we cannot let the packaging let them down,” adds Simms. “The coating of the box must support the film in keeping the product fresh without adding any moisture. We work with luxury retailers like Harrods and Harvey Nichols as well as smaller independent gift shops, so we have to be able to guarantee that The Marshmallowist marshmallows are reliably perfect. I am extremely proud to say they are.”
The appeal of a product works in layers; from the shelf appeal or online appeal that convinces consumers to spend their money to the moment of truth when they actually eat or use the item, the various layers of the packaging have to work in tandem. The information, the freshness, the practicality... packaging is working harder than ever.
BOXOUT Giancarlo Caimmi, commercial director at Nordmeccanica, offers a manufacturer’s perspective
“There are multiple trends affecting the market, but when it comes to coating and laminating sometimes it is simple enough to just take a look around and see where certain evolutions are already having an impact,” he notes. “They may be national or geo-specific, though the solution is worth installing globally. For example, we have recently launched a barrier with Henkel, on the back of the US imposing duties on aluminium and needing to find high-barrier performance which is not reliant on foil.
“In my opinion, 2019 will see the final proliferation of digital in print,” he continues. “Although the technology has existed for nearly 20 years it has been viewed as a stand-alone option and not enough has been considered regarding the converting process.
“For example, when attempts are made to use technology like pre-lamination, thermal lamination and water-based lamination in association with digital printing in an industry that has retired those solutions years and years ago. Converters are not consumers, but business-oriented professionals with clear targets to meet. We knew that coating and lamination in combination with digital printing was going through the same mainstream consideration as traditional conversion: no emission, low energy consumption, simplicity of use and profit.
“Therefore, we have been serving digital printers since day one with solventless laminators, learning more at every installation. Now, in close cooperation with digital printers, we have been able to identify the ideal set-up for a laminator intended specifically for that purpose.”