Dow to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through food packaging solutions

Marking the first carbon mitigation project in Japan under Dow’s Official Carbon Partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dow and AEON CO – the largest retailer in Asia – signed a Carbon Project Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and food loss by utilising Dow technologies in food packaging solutions and practices. The Dow-AEON Carbon Project Agreement is one of several projects executed by Dow and the IOC around the world as part of the carbon partnership program.

The international community set a goal of halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a reliance on imported crops, Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate is at a 25-year low. In contrast, 6.43 million tons of food in Japan are wasted per year due to food products that are unsold, unconsumed or past the expiration date.

“Plastic packaging can play a critical role in reducing food loss, ensuring consumer safety and meeting environmental goals of lowering carbon emissions,” said Dr. Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, circular economy market director for Dow and global technology and sustainability director for Dow Olympic and Sports Solutions. “At Dow, we foster collaboration across the value chain – film producers, converters, equipment manufacturers, brand owners and retailers – to promote packaging solutions that support resource efficiency and a more circular economy. In teaming up with AEON on this project, the goal is twofold: integrate new packaging technologies that preserve food freshness and deliver quantifiable environmental impacts, while raising awareness with consumers on the issue of food loss and its importance.”

In 2017, AEON committed to contributing to the industry’s SDG by setting a target of halving the company’s own food waste by 2025. AEON started adopting the use of vacuum skin packaging (VSP) for several types of food in its stores owned by group companies. Supported by Dow’s lonomer technology (in Japan, a joint venture, Dow-Mitsui Polychemicals Co., Ltd., manufactures and markets under a license from Dow)4, VSP extends the shelf life of products and offers better protection during shipment, leading to food loss mitigation and carbon reduction throughout the lifecycle.

“Powered by our vision for a low carbon society and a country with zero food waste, AEON has set challenging yet attainable sustainability goals for our company and customers that will contribute to the industry’s effort to help build a sustainable future,” said AEON. “This agreement will accelerate the achievement of our goals through this first-of-its-kind food packaging collaboration in Japan.”

Aeon’s group company – Daiei, made a trial sale in November 2019 with four of its beef products. Since then, they have expanded their product lineups to include poultry and lamb packaged products, with plans to increase the store count and expand this packaging solution to seafood application.

The collaboration with Dow and AEON will drive the adoption of more sustainable solutions that mitigate GHG emissions throughout the products’ lifecycle. The resulting climate benefits will be validated by a third party and contribute to Dow’s Official Carbon Partnership with the IOC.

“Through the reduction in food loss and food waste, combined with the need for less packaging material, VSP provides a better-protected product with an improved environmental footprint,” said Taro Fukuzaki, Executive Vice President, Dow-Mitsui Polychemicals. “This technology removes nearly all residual oxygen from the package, which not only leads to extended shelf life of products and better protection during shipment, but also minimizes the need for added preservatives depending on its applications. The strong sealant and surface adhesion to meats and seafood helps minimize migration of liquids and presents a cleaner package to the consumer.”

Dow’s Carbon Partnership with the IOC aims to help to build a positive legacy of low-carbon business practices and drive action-focused collaborations against climate change. Initiated in 2017 to balance the operational carbon footprint of the IOC and beyond, the partnership encourages organizations outside the Olympic movement to adopt programs for reducing carbon emissions while catalyzing change across value chains. Dow also recently committed to additional global carbon emissions reduction targets, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Caspak appoints new CEO

Caspak Australia has appointed Greg Roberts as the new Australian CEO from Wednesday, 29th April. With a background predominantly in growing and managing teams in the textile industry, Greg has extensive experience in supply chain, sourcing and manufacturing in Asia, and leading acquired businesses to success.

“After running the business for 30 years I’m witnessing a really exciting time for the packaging industry, one where we have the opportunity to have great impact through innovation,” says Bryce Hickmott, founding managing director.

“With new technology and materials becoming available I’m keen to focus my efforts on product development and evolution. And bringing someone of Greg’s calibre onto the team means I can turn my attention fully to development of our sustainability and new product initiatives.”

But this appointment is more than simply handing over the reins. Having a fresh pair of eyes with a new perspective will also provide support and direct their soon-to-be-released product and operational initiates.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Caspak team, learning more about our impact in the industry and how we can collaborate and take the company to the next level by building on the solid base that Bryce has created over the last 30 years,” said Roberts.

“There are many overlaps in my experience in the textile industry, as well as ways that I can apply new thinking to future goals,” he added.

“I’ve always had an interest in the food industry and the complexities of the supply chain so this will be a great opportunity for me to formalise that interest.”

Roberts began his tenure at the company’s Braeside facility whilst construction continues on the new Caspak premises in Mordialloc, which are set to open in the next 6 weeks.

“We’re passionate about changing the way our company and society in general impacts our planet,” said Hickmott. “And this appointment will help us to cement the new direction we as a group have charted for the company, at the same time as allowing me to explore our future impact on the industry with sustainability front and centre of our thinking.”

Companies shift to plastic packaging to avoid outspread of Covid-19

Sustainability has been a big trend in the past few years and many companies in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region have switched to more eco-friendly alternatives, such as replacing plastic materials and removing single-use packaging. However, since the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19), companies may resort to plastic packaging to combat the spread of the pandemic putting the sustainability aspect in the back seat. Concerns around food hygiene due to Covid-19 could increase plastic packaging intensity which is likely to hurt the sustainability efforts of the industry in the near term, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Covid-19 seems to have originated at a wholesale seafood and meat market in Wuhan. Following the epidemic, the Chinese government is likely to enforce tighter regulations to change meat handling and distribution practices. Distributing meat in plastic packaging is likely to reduce the risk of a future outbreak but it may negate some of the progress made towards sustainability goals.

Aseptic single-use packaging is back in fashion after food and beverage brand Yakult launched its first aseptic products on the Korean ambient market in Ecolean Air Aseptic lightweight packages. In addition, the adoption of disposable packaging is likely to gain traction due to the (temporary) rise in demand in food delivery and takeaway in the APAC region.

Arvind Kaila, Practice Head of Consumer Beverages at GlobalData, says: “Single-use packaging, which has faced lots of criticism in recent years because of environmental concerns, might be seen as a better packaging alternative from a ‘hygiene’ point of view because of limited handling/access of the inner products; which may hurt sustainability goals sustainability goals set forth by governing bodies and businesses alike.”

Covid-19 appears likely to create a long-term effect for online retail; persuading online-sceptic consumers to move spend away from physical stores in a bid to reduce time spent in public places. For Instance, lockdown in India started this week led to ‘panic stocking’ by consumers of all packaged food items, which will further drive plastic packaging in near term.

“However, understandably, these consumers’ views are likely to change for more hygiene-driven features in the short term, in which consumers may view disposable packaging as positive,” said Kaila.

Why the food packaging industry needs to sell itself better

Keith Chessell is a packaging evangelist. Being in the industry for the best part of 50 years, he was there at the beginning when consumers and manufacturers alike knew that packaging sustainability was going to be an issue going forward for many industries, including food and beverage. He was there when the Keep Australia Beautiful campaign was launched and knows that the image of the packaging industry isn’t what it could be.

As well as being a consultant at Sustainable Packaging Design, Chessell is also heavily involved with the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) – you could say that packaging and all its issues are in his blood.

Generically, packaging doesn’t have the greatest of reputations among consumers these days. At best, it’s seen as a necessity to transport products from the factory to the retail outlet, while others at the other end of the spectrum see it as an unnecessary pollutant that chokes our waterways, oceans, parks and other recreation areas.

Being in an industry for five decades gives Chessell a unique insight into the issues, not just on what they are now, but how far the industry has come. And while he’s not about to sell packaging as a brilliant accessory to human endeavours, he said that the industry itself needs to do a better job of informing the public of its true role in the wider scheme of things.

At a recent SAI Global Food Safety conference held in Sydney, Chessell outlined some of the issues facing the packaging industry. One of the key discussions at the moment is in the area of reducing packaging. For example, Chessell compares opening up some toys to that of unpacking a piece of IKEA kit. While some may nod in agreement, a large number of companies have spent years reducing the amount of packaging in a product – not that the public would know.

“The focus from many in industry over the past 20 years has been on removing and reducing packaging where possible,” said Chessell.

“ Some companies are now at the stage where they have reduced everything they can. I can remember eight years ago saying, ‘I can’t take any more out of my packaging with my products’. If the boss wants me to save another $2 million, I’ll start having other issues, such as maintaining the integrity of the packaging.”

Chessell also pointed out that most companies now do not want to overpack a product because it is becoming economically unviable to do so. This is where it is necessary to start educating people on the why. He cites the examples of cucumbers and bananas that have plastic packaging.

“Why are some cucumber wrapped in plastic? I know the answer, but most people don’t. Why not put a sign above that cucumber saying, ‘We’re doing this because it extends the shelf life of this cucumber’. It’s the same with wrapped small bananas. People ask ‘why?’ Well, it protects the fruit, stops it from bruising and is designed to reduce food wastage and spoilage.”

However, lauding the innovations that packaging can sometimes have unintended, negative consequences. He talks about a recent entrant into the AIP’s Packaging Innovation and Design (PIDA) awards.

“One of the companies that entered this year’s awards was a fish company with a fabulous innovative pack that extended the shelf life by 15 days,” he said. “But the company chose to not communicate this significant benefit to the consumers on-pack as they did not want a perception that their fish wasn’t fresh. For this company by promoting the extension of shelf life to the customer potentially offered a negative connotation.”

And it’s when Chessell starts throwing out stats on food waste that you begin to appreciate his frustration at how packaging is undersold. Globally, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted at an estimated cost of $1.3 trillion.

According to the National Food Waste Baseline Executive Summary, Australia generates about 7.3 million tonnes of food waste annually. Of that, 1.2 million tonnes is recycled, 2.9 million tonnes is recovered, while the remaining 3.2 million tonnes is disposed of at landfills. Households contribution is 34.3 per cent and primary production 31.3 per cent, while manufacturing comes in at third with 24 per cent. With figures like that, it is no wonder Chessell is passionate about reducing food waste.

“Unfortunately, many consumers see all packaging as a negative. They don’t see any useful purpose for it and don’t understand the true role of packaging. I believe we can change that if we start to communicate better to customers about why we use certain types of packaging. They might then understand there are other benefits of packaging if we start to put more information on our packaging.”

Are there other answers? How can food and beverage companies sell the role of packaging in the food chain to the public? How do we better communicate that packaging plays a huge role long before the pack needs throwing away once the food has been extracted? There are several things, according to Chessell, and it’s all about education, education and education.

Packaging’s main role is to contain and protect goods and keep them in perfect condition until they are consumed. It also carries important information on the label that gives insights into the ingredients. Adding the Australasian Recycling Label on-pack to communicate the true recyclability of the pack is also important.

The final part of the jigsaw is the on-pack communication, that allows the manufacturer to expound the virtues and benefits their food or beverage encompasses. These criteria need to be explained loudly and often, said Chessell. Getting the public educated is one way of reducing stigmas surrounding packaging, and Chessell points out the AIP itself is taking the initiative by developing a set of Save Food packaging design criteria for reducing food waste for the industry. This criteria includes improved barrier packaging and processing; retaining nutrition; active and intelligent packaging; utilising skin (vacuum), MAP and EMAP packaging formats; portion control packaging; easy opening/resealable packaging; and controlled dispensing, which will mean all the product will be consumed as opposed to leftover product being thrown out (i.e. sauce bottles etc).

Chessell believes that the AIP has started the conversation and he wants it to continue.
“Packaging is a difficult topic these days and the important question we need to ask is, ‘What is the consumer’s view on packaging and how can we help change the perception so that they start to understand that intuitive packaging can actually help minimise and prevent food waste?”

This is something the AIP and Chessell are well on the way to doing.

APCO launches new guidelines with regard to food packaging

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has today launched the Food Services Packaging Sustainability Guidelines, a new resource to help Australian food service businesses to achieve the best sustainability outcomes for their packaging. The guidelines were launched on Thursday at the Australian Waste and Recycling Expo at the Sydney International Convention Centre, during an industry panel discussion.

APCO developed the guidelines in close consultation with government, the food services industry, waste handlers, composters and recyclers, academics and community groups. Designed through the lens of the waste hierarchy and utilising a circular economic approach, the resource will provide organisations with a framework for reviewing and implementing more sustainable food service packaging options, incorporating considerations such as materials and recyclability, waste capture and handling and alternative delivery models. 

The report also includes case studies from Qantas, GPT Group and Hobart City Council, providing real-world implementation examples, evaluating barriers to implementation and offering practical guidance on overcoming challenges.

READ MORE: Federal government commits $3 million to support APCO recycling projects

“Food service businesses are facing unprecedented pressure and confusion, as they navigate not only the growing consumer backlash against problematic and single-use plastics, but also a rapidly changing marketplace that’s inundated with new materials and disruptive models,” said Brooke Donnelly, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.

“We are delighted to be launching this new resource which will support those businesses that are considering more sustainable packaging, but don’t know where to start.

The Guidelines were launched during the “Australia’s Best Practice Food Service Packaging Guidelines” panel discussion on the Food Waste Stage, a key focus on this year’s AWRE Expo. The session was chaired by APCO Sustainability Manager Jayne Paramor, who was joined by panelists Barry Cosier, Australian Food & Grocery Council, Richard Fine, Biopak, Tom Lunn, Detmold Group and Belinda Chellingworth from GPT Group.

“Sustainable packaging plays an important role in reducing food waste. We are pleased to be presenting a guide that will support a reduction in food waste going to landfill through more sustainable service ware choices,” Donnelly said.

One-third of Australians want eco-friendly packaging

A rejuvenated sense of purpose regarding environmental issues is now prompting many Australians to take positive action to be more sustainable when it comes to product packaging.

Mintel’s 2019 Global Food and Drink Trends reveal that when it comes to Australia, 32 per cent of urban Australians prefer products that are sold in eco-friendly packaging. The global market intelligence agency which surveyed 1,500 Australians aged 16+, also found that 34 per cent of urban Australians prefer to buy products that are produced using sustainable sourcing methods.

Mintel’s food and drink predictions for 2019 explore new trends in sustainability, health and wellness, and convenience, sharing insight into market forces driving growth and influencing consumer behaviour. It contains analysis from more than 15 countries and predictions based on insights by more than 90 Mintel analysts and thought leaders, representing expertise in food and drink industries across Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas.

Associate consulting director, ANZ for Mintel, Shelley McMillan, said the trends are largely being driven by younger generations. “Australian i-Gen consumers, more so than any other generation, prioritise the importance of sustainability and environmental practices of brand,” she said. “In particular, 16-to-34-year-old urban Australians have significantly higher purchase intent regarding food products with a carbon neutral claim versus other age groups.

“The definition of sustainability is changing to encompass the entire product lifecycle from ingredient sourcing to package disposal or reuse. This more circular approach will require companies, retailers and consumers to embrace their roles in the sustainability cycle in the near future.”

Sustainability will be one of the big three food and drink trends for Australia covered by McMillan in a keynote presentation at the upcoming Naturally Good Expo, on June 2–3 at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. The annual event is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest natural, organic and healthy products trade show featuring more than 360 exhibitors and 20 presentations from influential leaders.

McMillan will address the key issues of evergreen consumption – the circular view of sustainability spanning the entire product lifecycle; trends throughout the ages – how food and drink is building on today’s dialogue about wellness and solutions for healthy ageing; and elevated convenience – how upgrades in convenience to match the premium expectations of consumers in the on-demand age.

Regarding the issue of healthy ageing, Mintel research shows that compared to a year ago, 70 per cent of urban Australians aged 55 and older are now either spending more or about the same on healthcare products.

“Younger consumers are now looking for products that help them manage their stress and sleep better – new formats and ingredients show future opportunities,” said McMillan noting that half of Australian metro consumers are planning on getting more sleep in the next 12 months.


“The category of ‘edible beauty’, also known as nutricosmetics or ingestible beauty, is also one of the hottest concepts in the beauty industry and quickly moving from the supplement segment into the food and drink space. In Australia, 56 per cent of urban consumers consider diet to be a factor that can impact the appearance of skin.”


Another key observation is that consumers are now seeking to save time without any sacrifices. Some 57 per cent of urban Australians consider ‘healthy food’ products as one containing all-natural ingredients. McMillan said the packaged food and drink is being challenged to make improvements to keep up with a combination of modern preferences including healthy eating priorities, quests for “foodie”-inspired flavours, interest in personalisation, and competition from speedy delivery services.


“Meal kits and food service-inspired beverages have led the way for premium convenience food and drink with two in five urban Australians saying that convenience, as in ease of ordering, influences their decision to buy one everyday product over another.


“Today’s consumers need to save time throughout the day. This creates opportunities for brands to develop healthy, flavourful, customisable and quick products for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert occasions.”


Automation has also set new expectations for retail with 31 per cent of urban Australians having made a purchase through an online retail site or app such as Amazon or eBay. Online shopping and delivery have attracted consumers who need quick and easy food solutions. “A new generation of automated convenience stores is accelerating the pace of grab-and-go even more. Integration with technology makes automated retailers potentially faster than fast food, drive-thru or ordering for delivery.”

Food & Beverage Industry Awards – Food Safety Equipment & Materials 

Have you developed a new technology or product to increase food safety?

You’re invited to nominate now for the Food Safety Equipment & Materials Award in the Food & Beverage Industry Awards. The Awards are seeking new products or advancements in technology designed to improve and maintain food safety standards in manufacturing facilities.


Environmental Product Declarations lead to transparency in packaging industry

With an emphasis on the life cycle impact of the processes from raw material to product end-of-life, Ecolean is the first packaging system supplier to review an entire production system.

It has detailed analysis and description of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) – encompassing the lightweight packages as well as filling machines.

It also continues to develop its focus on sustainability.

Ecolean’s EPDs are designed to make it easy to understand and compare the environmental life cycle impact of Ecolean’s packages and machines.

In developing the EPDs, Ecolean has conducted a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of its operations.

“I think that far too many in our industry focus solely on a small part of their offering – be it raw materials, recycling or machine performance – never the full environmental life cycle impact. But that’s what we are doing now by publishing these EPDs. We are raising the bar in order for food producers and consumers to get the full picture, without green washing,” said Peter L Nilsson, CEO, Ecolean Group.

“Although our new EPDs are only one part of our dedication, to be honest and transparent in how we conduct our business, they are very important,” said Anna Palminger, sustainability manager for the company. “They contribute to making it much easier for brand owners to compare our offering to other packaging solutions on the market. Small measures can make a big impact in the lives of the consumers, but in order to really change something, one needs to equally look at all measures. With the EPDs, we are providing a powerful decision-making framework for making sustainable packaging solution investments.”

In order to be as transparent as possible, Ecolean is the first packaging system supplier to trace the environmental impact of the components in the filling machines as well as the packages.

“I welcome the publication of Environmental Product Declarations by Ecolean, providing a transparent declaration of the life cycle environmental impact of their products,” said Kristian Jelse, programme manager, The International EPD System.

“This is to my knowledge the first case where a company publish EPDs of both their packaging and filling machines, which demonstrates how communication of life cycle based environmental information may be relevant for different applications and target audiences,” said Jelse.

Focusing on sustainability, Ecolean’s ambition is to continuously push the industry agenda and provide transparent and comprehensive sustainability facts from a life cycle perspective in order to achieve real change across borders.

Simplot and Riviana benefit from new product packaging approach

Getting products to shelf in half the time for half the cost sounds too good to be true. But design execution agency Task by Kirk has been able to do that by providing clients with an end-to-end service that removes time-consuming and costly process inefficiencies.

Task is a new division of leading print specialist Kirk Group. General manager, John Kapiniaris, said the motivation to start a design execution service was born out of a desire to show brands how packaging could be done better.

Mistakes made throughout the design-to-print process can impact final print quality, with colours that don’t print as expected and inconsistencies across the product range.

“We were constantly seeing artwork files produced by other suppliers with mistakes that could have been anticipated and easily avoided,” Kapiniaris said. “It results in high packaging costs due to expensive agency fees to fix mistakes, subsequent delays getting products on shelf and disappointing packaging quality.”

Inefficiencies in the design-to-print process can also rack up the costs and push out critical deadlines.

“The more suppliers and touchpoints involved in getting a design printed, the greater the chance of costly errors and time-consuming process inefficiencies,” Kapiniaris said.

Simplot Australia, with iconic brands Leggo’s, Birds Eye, John West and Edgell, was an early adopter of Task’s new way of doing things, engaging the business to streamline its design execution process. Task is now responsible for turning Simplot’s package concepts into shelf-ready printed products.

“The process before working with Task was adhoc, with marketers throughout the business engaging their own production suppliers, resulting in high packaging costs and delays,” Simplot Australia creative services manager Paul Fenech said.

“Now we have a streamlined process that results in consistently high-quality printed packaging, lower costs and faster speed to market.”

Providing an end-to-end service is vital in getting products to shelf faster and has huge financial implications given the competitive retail market, with retail shelf space at a premium and the high costs associated with a failure to launch products on time.

Task recently worked with Riviana on the rebranding of its Always Fresh line of products. Artwork was delivered in just two months, halving the time from the previous process and at half the budgeted spend.

Riviana retail strategy manager Georgina Vergunst said she was impressed that Task was able to handle such a difficult brief so quickly, which involved producing colour-accurate, press-ready artwork for international print partners.

“Task helped us navigate the complicated world of design to print,” Vergunst said. “They knew the fastest way to get things done and help us make our deadline. Task made the whole process so much easier and they were able to take care of whatever came up.”

Task’s other clients include PepsiCo, Kimberly-Clark and Cerebos.

Kapiniaris said clients recognised that the Kirk Group’s long history of working closely with printers meant the team was familiar with individual print-press specifications, resulting in high-quality artwork, and time and cost efficiencies.

“We know what will work and what won’t. We know if a particular colour or design is difficult to print from the outset and can advise the client at the start of the new product development process and suggest suitable alternatives to avoid problems or disappointment with the final result,” he said.

“Brands shouldn’t have to compromise on the quality of their packaging. Quite often they don’t know there is a better or smarter way to get products on the shelf faster and at a lower cost.”

Australian Institute of Packaging to introduce sustainable packaging design course

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) will be launching its new Introduction to Sustainable Packaging Design half-day training course.

The course is designed to assist anyone who is responsible for making packaging changes in their business to meet ‘war on waste’ questions, changes to retailer and consumer trends and behaviours, while not spending any more money.

The course will provide attendees a better understanding of the practical guidelines and criteria needed to design and develop sustainable packaging.

This includes the sustainability hierarchy of reduce, reuse then recycle, and the circular economy approach to packaging and the environment.

READ: AIP to discuss consumer & environmental trends in plastics

Discussions will also cover plastic, glass and metal packaging and their impact on the environment.

It will also cover whether the use of non-renewable resources, plant-based bioplastics, compostable and recycled materials and various tools can assist businesses to understand the full life of packaging.

Participants will be invited to bring with them a sample of their company’s packaging materials to use as a case study.

As part of the course, attendees will visit a material recovery facility to expose participants to the realities of a working these facilities, their equipment, limitation and material handling issues.

The visit to the material recovery facility will take place on the 17th October in Melbourne.

The participants will get an understanding of what is and is not separated out for possible recycling, and why.

This is followed by understanding the next stage of the recycling process after the material recovery facility.

The course aims to provide participants an understanding of the current environmental issues that are impacting the producers of packaging and the manufacturers and retailers of packaged product.

It will provide participants an understanding of sustainable packaging design and the practical design guidelines and approaches required in the packaging design process including end of life thinking.

It will also provide participants with a better view of best practice examples and case studies of award-winning sustainable packaging and save food packaging innovations.

People who are responsible for a business’s packaging design, performance or purchase specification, are encouraged to attend.

This includes packaging designers, technologists and engineers, anyone responsible for environmental strategy development, marketing and sales, and graphic designers.

Presenters include AIP education coordinator Ralph Moyle.

Moyle is an experienced food-packaging consultant, with 40 years in the food processing industry and 20 years focus on packaging.


Birdstone proves packaging design with clear 3D printed prototypes

Anyone who has opened a box of crackers to find the contents reduced to broken bits and pieces knows firsthand the consequences of poor packaging.

Carman’s, an Australian food company passionate about only using the best ingredients, is mindful of how it delivers its products to consumers to ensure a high quality experience before the first bite is ever taken.

Therefore, when Carman’s launched its new Super Seed and Grain Crackers, the food company kept presentation and preservation top of mind, and enlisted Birdstone, an Australian packaging design agency, to design an engaging tray insert.

Due to the various requirements they needed to balance, multiple prototypes were required to demonstrate the proposed designs both aesthetically and functionally.

Balancing client requirements in packaging design

The packaging considerations in play for Carman’s were multifaceted: it needed to be easy to open, functional as a serving vessel, and enable Carman’s customers to reclose the container for storage.

For ease of access, it was determined that the crackers should be stacked in three columns with room to encase the top crackers without crushing them, but also be easy to fill to not disrupt the production line.

Lastly, the packaging needed to meet the retailer requirement for vertical packaging to maximize differentiation on the shelves.

There was also a question of onshelf instability due to the light weight of the product and the properties of the tray material.

Birdstone knew that arriving at the correct design would require accurate prototypes, and therefore reached out to 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing due to previous successful collaborations.

Due to the complexity of the casing designs and unique functional requirements involved, 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing experts helped Birdstone select the most suitable prototyping process, materials, and finishing process to meet its outlined requirements. Using Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing on 3D Systems ProX 800 machine, 3D Systems built both a one- and two-piece prototype in Accura ClearVue, a rigid and tough clear 3D plastic material offering the highest clarity and transparency on the market.

Prototyping functional and aesthetic packaging

In just four days, the SLA prototypes were printed and finished to meet Birdstone’s quality and realism requirements.

3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing experts followed the premium finishing protocol for Accura ClearVue to deliver water-clear prototypes through a process of wet and dry sanding followed by clear coating.

These prototypes were then submitted for manufacturing tests and consumer research to validate and rate the success of each concept, and to assess the performance and limitations of each packaging option at all critical touch points.

At this stage, Birdstone ordered four copies of the leading packaging design from 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing, which were created using 3D Systems’ cast urethane process.

The preferred SLA prototype was used to make a mold which was then used to cast additional waterclear copies using polyurethane, a material very close to what would be used for the final product.

Arriving at the final design

Following full evaluation of the clear prototypes, the final design was officially selected: an attractive one-piece clamshell case, uniquely contoured to the shape of the stacked biscuits. According to Grant Davies, director, design & strategy at Birdstone, “The final design plays to the strengths of the packaging material and provides a secure, re-useable home for the crackers throughout the supply chain and into the customers’ hands.

It is functional enough to be filled, stylish enough to serve from, and securely recloseable for on-the-go snacking,” he said.

Birdstone said that by adding another level of consumer engagement through functional and aesthetic packaging, Carman’s is able to offer a deeper brand experience beyond consumption.

Carman’s exciting range of crackers has forged a new place in the market for the company, and the tray has earned it many fans through the cleverness and convenience of its design. Birdstone said it is delighted to have contributed to a successful final product for its client, and to answer the unique challenges of the project within a tight deadline.

“3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing was a wonderful partner and worked with us to provide the most effective and appealing concept prototypes within the project budget,” said Davies.

Birdstone’s packaging insert for Carman’s Super Seed & Grain crackers was a 2018 finalist in the Packaging & Processing Innovation & Design Awards.


SMC to showcase its new Industry 4.0 technologies at Foodtech Packtech New Zealand

As the global innovation race continues, the continent looks to it manufacturers to advance innovation, unlock new opportunities and to ultimately accelerate the economy.

This is evident in the food and packaging industries, where SMC has been working on its new Industry 4.0 technology.

SMC has a clear strategy and the technology to help implement Industry 4.0 solutions for all its customers.

Today it’s all about faster and more flexible processes and plants to ensure sustainable, increased production and reduced costs.

READ: Potato company partners with SMC to bring field to fork while saving energy

The company will be showcasing its latest Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for the food and packaging industries at this year’s FoodTech PackTech event in New Zealand.

SMC has also developed a state-of-the-art training system to further enhance the skills of maintenance teams for optimised productivity and maintenance scheduling.

The SIF-400 is SMC’s latest training system which looks to simulate a production line using IoT technologies.

Training can be conducted at the company’s training facilities or on-site and it allows maintenance team to get hands-on with the latest technologies in a safe and controlled environment.

SMC Digital transformation leader and electronic platforms manager Jozef Ceh will be featured as a guest speaker at FoodTech PackTech and will be talking about Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 brings with it a host of jargon and uncertainties.

The feedback from customers in the past when attending Industry 4.0 talks is that at the end of these, they still aren’t too sure of how to approach Industry 4.0 practically and how to incorporate it into their environment.

The team at SMC will be at FoodTech PackTech to discuss industry 4.0 with ease.

The event is at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland from the 18th to 20th of September.

SMC delivers automation solutions worldwide.

It offers more than 12,000 basic products with over 700,000 variations.

Consumers know best – the key to making new products flourish

Why do products such as Cadbury Marvellous Creations’ popping candy chocolate and Chobani’s high-protein Greek yoghurt succeed, when others fall short of the mark?

Because the people behind these products listen to consumers and offer the best packaging to get people grabbing for their products.

Food innovation expert Angeline Achariya explains that companies often forget to find out what consumers want, which leads to products failing before they even hit a high.

“Take a consumer inspired approach. Understand the market, understand the consumer,” she said.

READ: Food companies can learn from start-ups, Practical Innovation says

“In FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), 90 per cent of products fail in the first 12 months of product launch,” said Achariya.

Perhaps with better consumer knowledge and packaging this wouldn’t be the case.

In a presentation hosted by St.George Bank, in Sydney in July, Achariya talked about “finding the next UBER in food”.

Food producers and manufacturers gained valuable advice on how to introduce new products to the market that will bring consumers back for more.

Achariya is the chief executive officer at Monash University’s food innovation centre. She and her team helped Chobani succeed in the Australian dairy retail sector, and she recalls Mondelez buying “all of the popping candy in the world” for its Cadbury Marvellous Creations range.

Cadbury listened to consumers. People liked the chocolate melting on their tongues to reveal textured candy with a satisfying crunch. They liked the crackling on the roofs of their mouths, which reminded them of their childhood, said Achariya.

“The most successful things in the market place are always meeting a need. It’s really about making sure that consumers want it.”

During the innovation cycle process, focusing on packaging first was necessary, said Achariya.

When it comes to launching new products, it’s what’s in the outside that counts at first glance.

“Consumers eat with their eyes first,” said Achariya.

Beak & Johnston founder David Beak agreed that good market research, and the right packing, helped the success of a product.

Beak’s company is a family owned food processing business with 30 years’ experience dealing in fresh cut and value added meat products, fresh soups, sauces and prepared meals.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the company, which brought products, such as fresh ready meals, out a decade too soon, Beak said.

“A lot of the ideas we had 25-30 years ago were 15 years or 20 years too early. It comes back to doing market research,” he said.

Although it could be daunting to launch a new product, it was all about perseverance, Beak said. “Don’t give up.”

St.George relationship director Mark Burgess said the event was about supporting businesses in the food and beverage industry.

“We love bringing our customers together to showcase different perspectives and trends in the industry.”

Learning more about consumers’ needs and wants, and making sure this is reflected in packaging, could help a new product succeed.

These steps may seem simple, but speakers at the event, Achariya and Beak, highlighted them as they can get lost in a large list of ‘must-do’ tasks.


Heat and Control, and Ishida, open their doors to industry people

With a combined 200 years of experience in the snacks industry, Heat and Control, and Ishida open their doors to industry people.

The companies demonstrated their complete solutions in a snacks food production Open House event at the Ishida factory facility in Birmingham, UK.

About 100 snack food producers visited the demonstration centre during a three-week period in June, 2018.

The event provided snack food producers the opportunity to see the equipment in action and to participate in a series of information and training sessions.

READ: Ishida and Heat and Control announce enhanced co-operation

Packaging & Inspection Systems business manager Robert Marguccio, said the event was a great way for customers to interact with snack food experts from both Heat and Control and Ishida.

“Given the automation benefits of Industry 4.0, engaging with a single source supplier like [Heat and Control] Snack Solutions can add value through increased connectivity levels and digital data exchange, along all stages of the processing and packaging production lines,” said Marguccio.

Working with one supplier was a far easier and cost effective process, as customers only needed to speak to one team, he said.

Snack food producers were able to see demonstrations of product moving through key sections of the processing and packaging lines.

One example was potato chips moving from a switchback conveyor into an incline conveyor, which can move product vertically to where it’s needed, while reducing drop damage.

After reaching the top of the incline conveyor, the potato chips are transported down the line through Heat and Control’s fastback revolution proportional gate.

The gate eliminates product breakage during gate closure and provides an accurate feed of product to weigher via the fastback Left Right Center (LRC).

The LRC is a double multihead weigher feed solution designed to provide a precise and consistent product stream to Ishida’s patented back-to-back 218 twin weigher.

The product then moves from the weighers into twin or single snack food bagmakers.

For quality control, Ishida checkweighers will verify correct product weight or count, eliminate underweights, and protect profits by eliminating costly product overweight giveaway.

The snack product is then packed using the ACP-700 case packer, which can be integrated into any snacks production line.

Automation of the line is controlled using Heat and Control, and Ishida’s data solutions technology, which enables operators to fully oversee the production line and provide real time feedback to the operator.

The companies came together to form a strategic alliance that provides snack customers with full end-to-end processing and packaging solutions.

In Australia, New Zealand and the USA, Heat and Control is the exclusive distributor of Ishida packaging and inspection technology.

In India, Heat and Control is the exclusive distributor for snack food packaging.

Coles switches to recyclable and renewable meat packaging

Coles is introducing meat packaging made entirely from a combination of recycled and renewable material.

The new packaging will be used for a wide range of its Coles brand fresh meat and poultry products.

Coles bought about 121 million recyclable meat and poultry trays, in 2018, from Australian manufacturer Plantic Technologies.

Coles will use Plantic’s barrier trays, made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), along with a thin layer of Plantic’s renewable barrier material to help keep the meat fresh.

READ: Coles and Woolworths still lead fresh fruit and vegetable market

During the recycling process, the thin plant starch layer washes away, allowing the PET tray to be recycled.

Coles director of fresh produce, Alex Freudmann, said it was an important step in Coles’ goal to become more sustainable.

“For four years, our Coles brand beef, lamb and pork mince has been packaged in recyclable trays sourced from Plantic. We now want to take the next step by transitioning a wider range of our fresh meat and poultry trays to Plantic’s new packaging, so that it is not just recyclable but also made from recycled plastics and renewable plant materials including corn,” he said.

“We understand the important role that packaging plays in maintaining food safety, supporting product longevity and reducing food waste. At the same time, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and continue to look for opportunities to increase the content of recycled material in Coles brand packaging and improving recycling communication to customers on pack,” said Freudmann.

Plantic’s materials carry the Australian Recycling Label, which provides consumers with information on what packaging can be recycled and whether it can be recycled in kerbside recycling.

Plantic Technologies CEO Brendan Morris said the company saw the partnership with Coles as a defining opportunity to strengthen the local recycling industry.

“The problem in Australia is that there hasn’t been lot of processing of kerbside recycling done on-shore. Instead we’ve been sending it to China. As a result, there has been little investment to reprocess the waste within Australia and there’s not enough capacity here. At the same time, Australia is importing plastic into the country that can’t be recycled. These two factors combined means the waste is just piling up,” he said.

“Plantic decided that if we’re really committed to this and want to make a benefit to the environment and make a real difference then we need to start now, with Coles supporting us.”

Coles aims to make all Coles brand packaging recyclable by 2020.

AIP to discuss consumer & environmental trends in plastics

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) New South Wales Division will hold a technical seminar entitled “Consumer & Environmental Trends in Plastics: Reuse. Recycle” on 4 July in Parramatta.

All of industry is invited to attend and participate in the important discussion.

The AIP NSW Technical Seminar will be designed as a panel with key topics and trends being discussed openly by the guest speakers allowing interaction and questions to be drawn from the attendees.

The panel will discuss the current global discussion around Plastics and the Circular Economy, oxo degradable plastic, the shift towards Sustainable Packaging, better understanding of the current Recycling Issues and Trends, moving away from single-use plastics and how you can actually make an impact personally by buying recycled products.

Other areas for discussion will be how compostable bioplastics can assist in the diversion of organic waste from landfill and utilising compostable bioplastics for foodservice disposables.

Panelists will include: Paul Klymenko, Chief Executive Officer, Planet Ark, Joanne Howarth AAIP, Managing Director, Planet Protector, Richard Fine MAIP, Founder, Product Development & Sustainability Director, BioPak and Kurt Palmer, Director-AIEN, Business Development Manager – Steinert Australia.

Packaging solutions for the meat & poultry industries

Signode has 40 years’ experience in supplying innovative, fast, hygienic and reliable strapping machines to the meat and poultry industries. The company’s packaging equipment is manufactured and designed to improve businesses’ bottom lines.

Signode manufactures load containment and protective packaging systems that have been engineered to specific applications; systems that protect products, streamline production and improve profits.

The company knows the meat and poultry industry and understands that, for businesses operating in this sector, the hygiene imperative extends beyond their actual products. By law, for example, packaging machinery used in this sector must be made (internally and externally) with stainless steel.

On top of this important consideration, much like any manufacturer, these businesses are looking for packaging machinery that delivers them speed, accuracy and reliability, while minimising downtime. They want machines that will cut their labour costs and provide good returns on investment.

Signode has become a one stop shop for its customers’ strapping and wrapping needs. The company’s extensive range of equipment, strapping and consumables, backed up with onsite national service and parts supply, suit any application no matter how challenging or demanding.

Strapping machines

Signode makes stainless steel strapping machines to suit low to high volume users, who perform a range of applications and have varying budgets. The company offers everything from entry level semi-automatic machines, right up to fully automated inline strapping machines that can apply as many as 65 straps per minute.

The Signode MST (Pictured above), a semi-automatic, low-cost option for low to moderate volume strapping applications is ready to use in minutes. The machine features an easy-touch LED display control panel and electronic tension adjustment up to 50kg. Available with a full stainless steel body, it also comes with safety switches on each door (including the tabletop cover).

The next step up in terms of speed is the Predator 12 Stainless Steel Automatic (pictured below). An automatic strapping machine manufactured with safety in mind, it is suitable for use in the corrosive environments found in food and meat processing industries, and can apply up to 30 straps per minute.

Features of the Predator 12 Stainless Steel include safety switches on all doors, automatic strap loading, and electronic tension adjustment up to 70kg. It also has an automatic strap eject feature for coil changes and it operates in three modes – manual, tabletop sensor and foot pedal.

Any mis-fed straps are easily and quickly corrected with the Signode Predator’s automatic cut and re-feed feature.

Then there is the top-of-the-line strapping machine, the MOD GPX, which can apply up to 65 straps per minute. Available in automatic and fully automatic inline options, this machine features an entirely modular design that provides unparalleled flexibility and longevity for general purpose strapping machines. Each module can be quickly replaced by operators for desired upgrades or maintenance without disrupting production.

Available in stainless steel for hand presented cartons or fully automated applications, the MOD GPX is ideal for cold, damp environments where corrosion resistance is necessary.

Further features include safety switches, adjustable strap tension up to 90kg, and self-diagnostics.

Given the importance of food safety and the increasing prevalence of food fraud, it is important for food and poultry producers to be able to clearly identify their products.

This imperative makes strapping – rather than say taping or gluing – of boxes a wise choice for these businesses. Signode offers printed strap to compliment export users to identify products for security purposes. This type of identification is particularly valuable for exporters who need to identify themselves in the global supply chain.

Nation-wide support & services

Signode offers more than just quality products. The company’s service, maintenance, engineering and spare parts support help achieve year-on-year uptime for businesses and ultimately reduce their cost of ownership on their machinery.

Before any sales take place, the company works with clients to choose the best machinery for each job. It also conducts audits in order to identify, and then fix operational bottlenecks.

In terms of after sales support, Signode keeps standard equipment in stock to cover maintenance requests and also offers training to enable businesses to fix their own machines, as well as safety training. Service agreements along with preventative maintenance help ensure mechanical issues are fixed before they result in costly downtime.

While the company offers over-the-phone technical support, it realises that this cannot be relied upon in all circumstances. Its field sales and service representation is nation-wide. Importantly, this means that customers in regional areas of Australia are not left out of the service equation.

The company offers flexible buying options for all strapping machines, meaning that customers can either buy outright or take advantage of a rental program.

The Signode package allows customers the peace of mind that they are using safe, reliable, fast, new equipment technology available in full stainless steel or painted finish.

The Predator 12 Stainless Steel Automatic can apply up to 30 straps per minute.
The Predator 12 Stainless Steel Automatic can apply up to 30 straps per minute.