Packaging of the Future
Filed under: Industry Trends
Recyclable and biodegradable packaging is experiencing consistent growth as the industry continues to drive forward packaging innovations. To remain competitive, businesses need to make improvements in their packaging designs to allow for fewer materials and more protection. As a result, packaging now needs to be more efficient than ever.
This week’s blog will look at where packaging is heading in the future, from transport packaging materials, through to product and secondary packaging.
Transport Packaging Materials
As businesses look to do more with less, efficiency has become increasingly important within the packaging industry. This is seen within transport packaging innovations, which have allowed businesses to gain both environmental and economic sustainability.
Wood remains the dominant pallet material; however, it has a significant weakness. It is strong, but if the blocks and the leader board are not protected it can be easily destroyed by a forklift. Plastic pallets last longer, yet they are more expensive. As a result, suppliers have started to create hybrid pallet designs and attachments that combine the benefits of both wood and plastic pallets.
This is demonstrated in one design, which features oak boards on both ends of the pallet with moulded recyclable plastic bumpers. The plastic ends provide more strength whilst the wood in the middle delivers higher capacities than plastic for a much cheaper price.
Hybrid approaches have also been applied to bulk containers. One company has mixed structural foam sidewall with a tow piece welded injection moulded base to create a container that delivers the best of both manufacturing methods.
Product packaging itself has evolved to the point where in some cases it no longer exists. Many organisations are going further than biodegradable or recyclable packaging and are extremely inventive with their ideas.
Where many companies look to reduce packaging, the EU has gone one-step further, removing the need for any form of packaging and labelling on produce. Companies within the EU are able to apply labels and barcodes to produce using laser printing. Technology has been developed that allows organisations to print marks onto the skin of the produce, ranging from bananas to tomatoes, without damaging it. The printing is clear enough to be read easily by a barcode scanner.
A Brazilian fast food chain reduced product waste by creating an edible burger wrapper. This meant customers no longer had to unwrap their burgers before eating them. This was part of a marketing campaign to promote their burgers as irresistible and to reduce paper waste headed for the landfill and is a clear example of how creative some companies are becoming in reducing product packaging.
It is equally important to reduce the amount of secondary packaging that is used to get the product from one point to another. As this packaging generally does not go home with customers, it is discarded almost immediately once it reaches the store. Secondary packaging includes boxes, tape, void fill material and pallet stretch film.
As with product packaging, many companies are moving towards getting rid of secondary packaging altogether. This can be seen where an ice-cream company eliminated the need for outer secondary packaging through using the inner wrapping as the retail packaging. Therefore, removing the use of boxes in boxes.
Packaging has evolved a lot in the past few years. The future of packaging will see the continuation of smarter designs and reduction of packaging waste.
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