Innovation a key to thriving in packaging sector

Jessica Hobrook

Published: February 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Sustainability, Packaging, Film & Sheet, Design

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 10, 6 p.m. ET) — Innovation was the name of the game at the annual Packaging Conference.

Packaging industry insiders and experts gathered to discuss issues and advancements in their field, ranging from the development of new oxygen scavengers to the creation of zero-landfill pouches. While trends and topics varied, most presenters agreed: it’s time for brands and companies to start innovating or risk being left behind.

With an improving, but still tumultuous, economy, capitalizing on a niche market or addressing consumer needs can be the key to success.

“Innovating in a down economy is probably the best time, because when the recession is over you’re going see yourself reaping the benefits,” said Michael Orkoroafor, vice president of global packing at H.J. Heinz.

Orkoroafer used Heniz’s latest packaging advancement, the Dip-n-Squeeze portable ketchup packet that debuted in 2010, as an example of change done right. The package addressed a long-term customer complaint -– the small, difficult to open ketchup sachet. The result drew national media attention and snagged several awards, he said.

When working on new developments, companies need to make sure they are not innovating for innovations sake, because they have the capability or because there’s a new technology, he said. Instead, change should be rooted in trying to create a product a consumer wants and is willing to pay for and that will help grow your brand.

“That means you have to run and chew gum at the same time,” he said, adding that it’s not easy, but when it’s done correctly everyone wins.

Technology and engineer can help bridge the gap between what consumers want and what a company can produce, explained Yu Shi, world-wide director of early research at Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Consumers want packaging to be functional and to do its job well, they want packages that are easy and quick to use, and protect its contents, Shi said. They also want products to be catered to their specific needs and feel personal, something packaging can help fulfill.

Interlocking toothpaste caps, for example, make consumers feel like their product is being protected. It also helps the product feel personal – like “it’s my toothpaste,” she said.

Excellent engineering finds a way to fulfill those needs, even if consumers can’t articulate them. Consumers don’t know they want their toothpaste tubes to have a better UV barrier, they just want their toothpaste to come in a clear package and taste fresher, she said.

All packaging innovations, from the cosmetic to the complete overhaul, need to communicate a brands message to buyers and stand out from its competitors.

“Purchases shouldn’t be complicated, but store shelves are,” said Denise Lefebvre, vice president of global beverage packaging at PepsiCo.

Global brands like Pepsi need to ensure that their packaging carries the same iconic look in every location, but should be adapted to local needs. A bottle of Pepsi in Vietnam will look different than a bottle of Pepsi in the United States, but they both evoke the same feelings and convey the same messages of quality and sustainability, she said.

“Every time your consumer comes in touch with your brand it’s the same promise over and over again,” she said.

To achieve this, companies need to think like consumers, an area where many companies fall short.

“They’re so focused on technology and that’s great, but that’s a tool, that’s an enabler to get to the consumer,” she said.  “It’s not about falling in love with the technology; it’s about falling in love with the drive to improve the consumer experience.”

The Packaging Conference, which is produced by Plastic Technologies Inc. and SBA-CCI Inc., was held Feb. 6-8 in Las Vegas.


Comments

Innovation a key to thriving in packaging sector

Jessica Hobrook

Published: February 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Chicago City Council committee approves plastic bag ban

April 24, 2014 7:11 pm ET

Chicago is poised to become the next major U.S. city to enact a ban on single-use plastic bags after a City Council committee vote on April 24.    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Simpsons go Lego, Pharrell Williams gets into recycled plastic

April 24, 2014 8:45 am ET

Lego has teamed up with "The Simpsons" for a special episode, we see the trends at the International Home + Housewares Show and musician Pharrell...    More

Image

PolyOne says new Shanghai center will ease collaboration across segments

April 24, 2014 2:34 pm ET

PolyOne Specialty Engineered Materials is opening an innovation Center in Shanghai's Jinqiao development zone that will serve as its new Asia Pacific ...    More

Bemis Co. reports flat quarterly sales and profit

April 24, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Bemis Co. Inc. feels no pressure to fill its vacant chief financial officer’s position, a slot that has now been vacant for months.    More

Interactive map aids polypropylene recycling efforts

April 24, 2014 1:34 pm ET

Folks interested in recycling polypropylene products now have a new tool at their disposal.    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events