Welcome to the PAC Global Leadership Awards Innovation Trends update brought to you in partnership with UK packaging innovation consultancy, ThePackHub. We have hand selected four packaging innovation highlights that we think are deserving of mention and will pique your interest. Look for more of these in the coming weeks!
The UK Plastics Pact was launched earlier this year as a collaborative initiative to create a circular economy for plastics. 42 major brands, retailers and suppliers have made a pledge to have 100% of their plastic packaging as reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Also making waves is a petition signed by more than 150,000 people calling for PepsiCo’s Walkers and other crisp manufacturers to make their packets more “environmentally-friendly”. In other words, consumers are no longer prepared to wait until 2025 for a solution. In response to this activity, the Walkers brand has announced the UK’s first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets. Rather than throwing away in domestic waste, consumers will be able to post their used bags for free to be recycled. The bags will be sent to TerraCycle, which takes non-recyclable pre-and post-consumer waste and turns it into raw materials to make new products and the packs will be cleaned, shredded and turned into small pellets which will be converted into plastic items such as benches, watering cans and plant pots. Any brand of crisp packets will be accepted. Consumers will also be encouraged to drop off their packets at public access collection points throughout the UK.
Digital print for packaging continues to present opportunities for brands to create a unique point of difference on shelf as well as to help to engage shoppers and build brand values. The two main opportunities are through personalisation and pack versioning. The latter is where Tony’s Chocolonely hopes to make a difference with the introduction of a limited-edition activity that sees 50,000 different wrappers designed across three varieties. The variation algorithm deployed ensures that every chocolate bar wrapper is a one-of-a-kind unique execution. The seven colour artwork was printed using an HP Indigo digital press using their HP SmartStream Mosaic algorithm software. As always, a seed file with a handful of core designs creates a range of unique designs by automatically zooming and turning the images to ensure print varieties. The packs are available while stocks last online and in selected US retailers for $5.99 (£4.56) per bar.
There has been increased efforts from brands to put the vast amounts of ocean waste to good use. It is reported that around eight million tons of plastic waste enters our oceans every year and this is likely to double by 2025. We have reported on initiatives from Ecover, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Dell computers in recent times. Kevin Murphy, the Australian hair care brand has reported that the 360 tons of plastic is uses each year for its packaging will come directly out of the ocean. This is the first example, to our knowledge, of a 100% ocean plastic waste initiative. Pack Tech, a Denmark-based packaging manufacturer cleans and shreds the waste material to the point that it can be reconstituted as a usable material. The complex and lengthy process to collect the waste results in a cost that is reported to be around five times more expensive than virgin plastic. The brand will be increasing retail prices to pass on the additional costs.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of packaging used. A Los Angeles, California based toothpaste brand has turned things very much on their head by inventing a new pack format for the category with a solution that significantly reduces the amount of packaging used. A completely new plastic free way of providing toothpaste has been created by Bite Toothpaste Bits, which is positioned as an easier and mess-free alternative to traditional oral care pastes. The hand-pressed toothpaste portions are made using organic plant-based ingredients that are apparently up to the job of cleaning and protecting teeth. The solution claims to be 100% biodegradable. Consumers simply need to pop a single ‘Bite Bit’ in their mouth and bite. They need to wet their toothbrush and start brushing as normal. The bit will foam up just like conventional toothpaste formats. The packaging-free Bite Bits come in a medicinal-like glass jar.