Exceptional show success for Benson Group

As Packaging Innovations closes for another year, Nikki Clark, marketing manger of convenience and consumer products at Benson Group, reflects on an exceptionally successful event.

She says, “Packaging Innovations is always the highlight of Benson’s exhibiting calendar, and this tenth anniversary year was particularly successful for us both in terms of visitor footfall to our stand and in the number of positive business leads we generated.

“Our Theatre of Food was a new venture for Bensons – and having the fantastically charismatic Dhruv Baker doing live cooking demonstrations was a really exciting way to entice the crowds. At each demonstration Dhruv’s gorgeous food was served in bespoke carton trays. Our display fridge showcased our DesignerWare tray and just as we’d anticipated, this proved to be a really effective way for visitors see and handle this innovative product. Also, having our concept design team on the stand not only brought the product displays to life but gave our experts the opportunity to share the rationale behind their designs.

“Packaging Innovations 2015 was also the perfect opportunity for Bensons to unveil the high-end designs and print techniques developed on our new state of the art presses. We received particularly enthusiastic reactions to the tactile effects displayed on our ‘Molecule’ Personal Care Cartons, and the ground-breaking 3-D print techniques on our ‘Depth’ Whiskey Carton certainly sparked more than a few imaginations in the Premium Drinks sector.

“We were delighted to be able to showcase samples created for the European beverage market, and also thrilled with the reaction to our FruitPack® samples – visitors were particularly impressed with our creative yet practical approach to fresh fruit and vegetable packaging and I’m sure it won’t be long before we see our carry packs making an impact in the retail environment.

“As always, Benson’s is proud be part of Packaging Innovations experience – the opportunities that the organisers facilitate for the packaging industry never fail to impress us, and we look forward to returning next year with even more exciting concepts and designs.”

Dhruv Baker says, “I have thoroughly enjoyed cooking for the enthusiastic visitors to the show, we've had lots of really inquisitive people who've loved both the food and the packaging."

Kite Packaging acquires Burnhead Packaging Supplies

Kite has acquired Burnhead Packaging Supplies – a £4 million sales packaging distributor based in Sittingbourne.

The business will continue to operate with its eleven-strong team, who will now become Kite employee partners, under the name “Burnhead Packaging Supplies, a division of Kite Packaging”. Kite has also acquired the Sittingbourne freehold property.

Burnhead has historically been strong in the stretch film market, and will now benefit from Kite’s preferred relationships with key suppliers, and have access to its vast standard stock product range from Kite’s National Distribution Centre. The availability of a comprehensive packaging product range at highly competitive prices, together with a focus on high service levels to customers, will enable Burnhead, under the Kite banner, to grow aggressively and extend its position as the leading packaging distributor for Kent and surrounding areas. The addition of Burnhead will also strengthen Kite’s multi-branch capability for its major key accounts.

The activities of Burnhead will be overseen by Kite Managing Partner Paul Mustard, who is also responsible for Kite’s other branches in the South East, which includes a large operation in Harlow, whose majority customer base are positioned north of the Thames, and a smaller operation in Maidstone.

A spokesman for Kite Packaging says, “We are really pleased to announce the acquisition of Burnhead, our largest acquisition to date. As the UK’s largest employee-owned packaging distributor, the Sittingbourne site will become central to our partnership in Kent and nearby areas. We are looking forward to welcoming new local business customers on-board, and aim to grow turnover significantly, affirming Burnhead’s position as the leading packaging supplier in the region.”

New bottling line opened at Radnor Hills

The Rt Hon William Hague MP officially opened a new bottling line at Radnor Hills Mineral Water. Radnor Hills, near Knighton in Powys, is a soft drinks business and one of the largest employers in the region.

William Watkins, Managing Director & Founder of Radnor Hills, says, "I’m absolutely delighted that William Hague was able to come here and open our new plant. Radnor Hills currently produces over 175 million bottles a year employing 144 people and this new line will enable us to increase our capacity to 250 million.”

Founded in 1988, Radnor Hills produces water and soft drinks for some of the leading supermarkets, as well as, the foodservice, education and on-trade markets. With a product range that includes mineral water, tonics, flavoured waters, juices & premium pressés, it has a turnover of £26 million and is one of the largest businesses in Mid Wales.

A key factor in the success of Radnor Hills has been the local workforce. Situated in the rural setting of Radnorshire, the company has a committed, knowledgeable and loyal workforce that has adapted and learnt new skills to help the business progress and grow.

William Hague said, “This is an outstanding example of a successful British business manufacturing a range of world beating soft drinks employing talented local people & the best locally sourced produce.”

Radnor Hills will be taking some of its drinks brands all over the UK this year in a series of national and local food festivals. This ‘Roadshow’ is designed to give potential customers the chance to taste and try drinks, including the new premium presse range Heartsease Farm. Just over the border from the factory, in Herefordshire, they own a local inn called The Lion in Leintwardine which serves some of the brands and provides Radnor Hills’ employees with a place to socialise together.

Lincoln & York launches new kraft film coffee packaging

Coffee roaster Lincoln & York has added a unique kraft film to its range of private label packaging options. The machine-made kraft film bags maintain the premium look and feel of traditional paper packaging but with an aluminium interior and gas flushed production, keeping coffee fresher for longer.

The film, which is already proving popular amongst Lincoln & York customers, can be used in a variety of packaging formats ranging from 1kg, 500g and 250g machine-made bags of wholebean or roast and ground coffee along with filter sachets. Options of on-line printing and labelling are also available.

James Sweeting, Director at Lincoln & York, says, “We saw a huge increase in demand for kraft products in 2014 as many customers opted in favour of more premiumised packaging. While the traditional pre-made kraft valve bags and pouches will continue to be one of our most popular packaging options, this new kraft film is a great machine-made alternative. Industry data continues to show the consumer desire for premium looking products and optimal coffee freshness – this unique packaging option offers both in abundance.”

Innovative packaging solutions from SEALPAC

SEALPAC, the leading supplier of modern tray-sealing and thermoforming technology, will be presenting a wide range of innovative packaging solutions and international trends at Anuga FoodTec.

Focus at the SEALPAC stand will be on the latest convenience solutions for ovenable and microwavable food products. The company have won an international award for their EasyLid system, which they will officially receive during the exhibition. EasyLid is an innovative seal & lid on one solution, which provides full lid functionality in just one single step. It requires less consumables and provides more efficiency in production. Supported by the German Agricultural Society, the award is handed out every three years to innovative projects within the international food industry.

Marcel Veenstra, Marketing and Communications Manager at Sealpac International, says, "We are especially proud to be one of the gold medallists for the International FoodTec Award 2015. This award is a valuable confirmation of our development work, especially in designing more sustainable packaging solutions whilst maintaining their functionality."

In its ’Smart Packaging Inspirations’ area, SEALPAC will also present the latest trends in ovenable and microwavable packaging. The demand for these convenience products, which save time and provide practical handling, continues to grow. Modern solutions, that allow you to place the product in its packaging directly in the oven or microwave, are on the rise. A variety of film and valve solutions, combined with our latest packaging technology, for example, allow for gentle steam cooking or grilling directly inside the pack. Modern technology and innovative materials have allowed the sector to develop packaging systems that meet highest standards with regard to the taste and appearance of convenience products. In the catering area at the SEALPAC stand, visitors can gain an impression of the many possibilities.

Iggesund’s challenge to designers

Iggesund Paperboard is working via the American crowdsourcing company Crowdspring to challenge the world’s designers to improve existing consumer packaging.

Staffan Sjöberg, who is in charge of the project at Iggesund Paperboard, says, “Every day we all see examples of packaging that could be improved by a better choice of materials or a better design. Now we’re giving designers all over the world the chance to contribute their ideas on how to replace packaging made of glass, plastic or metal with solutions that use paperboard.”

Iggesund is not looking for inexpensive ideas which can be put into commercial use. Instead, the aim is to get a picture of how global designers as a collective group believe they can steer packaging development in a more sustainable direction. Staffan Sjöberg says, “We will not claim any commercial rights to the ideas that come in. We’re just interested in getting a snapshot of how designers believe they can improve the packaging they see in the shops they visit on a daily basis. We want to publish the ideas and maybe reproduce some of them in physical form but we are not interested in exploiting them commercially.”

For Crowdspring the collaboration with Iggesund Paperboard is an unusual project. Normally the online marketplace’s services are used when someone wants either a number of inexpensive design proposals or a wide range of ideas. Mike Samson, who is coordinating the project with Iggesund, says, “This is an unusual reason for initiating a project with us, but we believe its combination of sustainability and innovative thinking will attract many of the thousands of designers listed in our database.”

Corrugated packaging rises to the digital challenge

UK corrugated packaging companies are jumping on the digital bandwagon, driven by a combination of shorter run lengths, the dramatic rise of the discounters, emergence of online shopping and brand customisation.

The corrugated packaging industry needs to keep pace with a challenging retail landscape and is investing significantly - almost £500 million in new technology and plant over the last two years - to help support retailers and brand owners with enhanced merchandising productivity, whether in transit, back of store or on-shelf.

The Confederation of Paper Industries says that part of this significant outlay has been in cutting edge digital printing equipment to offer innovative solutions for display packaging and personalisation, which can provide a critical edge in a fiercely competitive market. While the black text printed corrugated box remains the de facto mode of transit packaging, contrastingly highly colourful and functional retail-ready solutions are now the norm on-shelf.

Corrugated is a flexible material that already protects, is colour-printable, merchandisable and the most recycled packaging medium. The latest advances in digital printing from a number of suppliers allows corrugated to align with labels and flexible packaging by providing tailored print runs with no minimum requirement.

Investing in print digitalisation is adding value for brand owners and retailers by catering for seasonal or event-based promotions that require short-run or variable print capabilities, as well as mass customisation. By offering different printing techniques, the industry provides considerable choice for brands.

Most of the major retailers are benefiting from these improvements in print quality but this has been particularly evident in discount stores like Lidl and Aldi which require functional, display-ready packaging and are big users of corrugated as it offers eye-catching designs and efficiency of shelf replenishment. Shelf-Ready Packaging reduces handling and waste and has a positive impact on branding – it is used for many of the discounters' products. Print-on-demand offers cost-effective, personalised marketing campaigns to raise a brand’s profile to meet the aspirations of leading companies for generating innovative sales and marketing potential. This latest advance gives corrugated another string to its bow, enabling the industry to become even more effective at engaging consumers.

Andy Barnetson, CPI’s Director of Packaging Affairs, says, “While the impact of digital on-shelf is self-evident, it’s the added value it brings to transit packaging that’s arguably even more exciting - a hitherto untapped potential, especially so in servicing the rapid growth of online shopping.

“The corrugated industry has made significant investments in digital technology which is becoming increasingly important across so many forms of everyday activities, not least in social media and communications, to ensure it is perfectly placed to capitalise on additional opportunities as they arise.”

Corrugated is meeting the modern requirements of many consumers and retailers for convenient, attractive and sustainable grocery and food packaging, while still delivering the supply chain with a highly functional solution that enables both suppliers and consumers to benefit from improved product marketing and presentation.

The corrugated industry is already a pioneering force in sustainable, lightweight, recyclable packaging that does not compromise the integrity of the goods, while innovative developments and investment in digital printing have led to new types of even more efficient and decorative corrugated packaging solutions.

Smurfit Kappa at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium

Smurfit Kappa’s 2015 trade fair season will kick off in late January in California, with the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento.

This event, held on 28th and 29th January, hosts more than 700 booths, has 28 large vineyard and winery machinery areas, and encompasses a wide range of products related to the wine and grape industry. There will be a wide range of international representatives at the various sessions and exhibits. As a true expert in Bag-in-Box solutions for wine, Smurfit Kappa will showcase its products and expertise.

Smurfit Kappa, one of the world’s leading packaging companies, is one of the few players offering a complete Bag-in-Box packaging system solution. From bags and taps, through to boxes and accessories, to complete filling lines, the company allows customers to work with a single partner throughout the whole process of packaging liquid products.

Christophe de Carbonnières, General Manager Smurfit Kappa Bag-in-Box in Canada, says, “Throughout the years, we have developed a unique expertise in the domain of wine packaging in Bag-in-Box. Not only by supplying top quality packaging, but also by studying and improving the whole life cycle of wine in Bag-in-Box in order to offer the optimal shelf-life to our clients and final consumers.”

Sidel Services identified as best performer in awards

Sidel, the global provider of PET solutions for liquid packaging, has received two awards for its service levels to customers following an independent study into service performance in the beverage industry by a leading German university.

The study was commissioned by HB Media and conducted by Professor Michael Koch, head of the Plastics Technology team at the Technical University of Ilmenau in Germany. The objective was to assess the quality of the service provided by machine manufacturers in the PET packaging technology sector, with a questionnaire distributed in seven languages to approximately 1000 participants in 334 companies.

Based on the findings from the questionnaires, Sidel was identified as the best manufacturer of stretch blow moulding and filling equipment in two categories - its ‘reachability’ in terms of customers’ plants and also the ‘close proximity of its technicians’.

Sid Johari, Executive Vice President for Industrial Operations at Sidel, says, “We are delighted to receive the award as it is the result of an independent evaluation of the service levels in the beverage industry.”

The importance that Sidel attributes to the service side of its business was recently demonstrated by the company setting up Sidel Services, a new dedicated services business unit that aims to deliver greater value to the beverage products, installed Sidel equipment and bottom line of beverage producers globally. The unit was developed based on the feedback from over 1000 individuals within hundreds of Sidel customers worldwide. Part of this process was the introduction in 2014 of new initiatives in spare parts logistics and technical support, providing customers with better access to the people and the parts that they need.

Fully renewable carton package now on the shelves

Finnish dairy producer Valio has becomes the first company in the world to sell products to consumers in carton packaging made entirely from plant-based materials. Consumers are able to buy these packages at shops in Finland from this week.

The package, Tetra Rex Bio-based, is manufactured solely from a combination of plastics derived from plants and paperboard. It marks a world first, and signals an important milestone in Tetra Pak’s long-stated commitment to drive ever-stronger environmental performance across all parts of its portfolio and operations.

Valio will trial the package with Valio Eila lactose free semi-skimmed milk drink in retail outlets across Finland until mid-March, and will then use feedback from consumers to decide whether to adopt the cartons more broadly across its chilled product range.

Elli Siltala, Marketing Director at Valio, says, “Valio is committed to increasing the share of renewable resources in its packaging material. We share a common vision of innovation and environmental responsibility with Tetra Pak and we are proud to be the first in the world to make our products available in a fully renewable carton package."

The products will be available in one-litre capacity Tetra Rex Bio-based packages, with a TwistCap OSO 34 opening. They will be produced at Valio’s Jyväskylä dairy in Finland, using a standard Tetra Pak TR/28 filling machine.

Charles Brand, Executive Vice President of Product Management & Commercial Operations for Tetra Pak, says, “To finally see fully renewable packages on shop shelves is a fantastic feeling … and bears testimony to the focused efforts of the many customers, suppliers and Tetra Pak employees involved in making this a reality. We have been gradually increasing the use of renewable materials in our packages over the years, and that work will continue, as we look for ways to extend the fully-renewable concept to other parts of our portfolio without compromising safety, quality or functionality.”

In Tetra Rex Bio-based cartons, the low density polyethylene used to create the laminate film for the packaging material and the neck of the opening, together with the high density polyethylene used for the cap, are all derived from sugar cane. These plastics, like the Forest Stewardship Council-certified paperboard, are traceable to their origins.

The Tetra Rex fully renewable package can be identified by the words “Bio-based” printed on the gable of the package.

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