February – Five New Packaging Innovations

The last day of this short month arrived, so I have to fulfill my promise and post an issue of my series “Five New Packaging Innovations”. This time the article represents a variety of packaging formats. The amazing heating pot of soup and intelligent cereal box. The Easy-To-Grow Mushroom Garden which comes in a recycled box. Crisp sausages for on-the-go packed in a plastic cup without water. Tactile and textural surfaces via a master-batch as well as via a shrink-sleeve and finally the Sparkling Zork, an alternative bottle closure for the sparkling wine bottles. Enjoy

eCoupled Technology to Wirelessly Heat Instant Soup in its Container
Although no microwave or stove is used, it is not a self-heating container, but still the soup packaging cooks its contents without any external heat source. It features charging technology printed onto the packaging. This allows the consumer to cook the soup by just placing the pack on a wireless charged work surface and choosing low, medium or high temperature.

The soup container demonstrated at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas last month, showed that Fulton Innovation, the creator of eCoupled intelligent wireless power continues to move the wireless power industry forward.
The company demonstrated how the technology is advanced enough to be printed directly onto consumer packaging. For so far the soup container is concerned the consumer just has to pull a tab and by placing the container on an eCoupled-enabled countertop, the contents will heat to a low, medium or high temperature, depending on the user’s preference. This new application of eCoupled technology demonstrates not only the intelligence of the technology but also that wireless power doesn’t need to be expensive.

Also on display was an eCoupled-integrated cereal box showing how consumers will soon be able to monitor their kitchen inventory wirelessly. Nutritional information, quantities, expiration dates, and other information can be managed and monitored wirelessly through a PC or mobile device. Consumers will benefit from being able to better manage what and how they consume on a daily basis while also making informed decisions about those products.

Easy-to-Grow Mushroom Garden
The world production of coffee is nearly 7 million tons a year. Only 1% ends up in the cup, while 99% ends up in land fills. The possibility of diverting this waste stream, a negative externality, into something of value, gourmet mushrooms, was something BTTR just couldn’t let go. At its heart, BTTR Ventures (pronounced as Better) stands for “back to the roots,” a phrase that encompasses the idea of creating a company that stands for sustainability, innovation, and social responsibility. What is so unique about Back to the Roots is its completely closed loop system. They utilize a large waste stream (used coffee ground) to produce something of value (gourmet oyster mushrooms).
The coffee grounds, enriched by the mushroom growth, turns into premium soil amendment.
Founded in 2009 by Alex Velez and Nikhil Arora as a 100% sustainable urban mushroom farm, Back to the Roots has transformed into an eco-centred company dedicated to bringing fresh, sustainably grown food straight to the home through their grow-at-home mushroom kits: the Easy-to-Grow Mushroom Garden.

The consumer just has to place the Easy-to-Grow Mushroom Garden box on a windowsill and mist twice a day. Within 7 days, little mushroom pinheads are coming out, and after that, they double in size every day and can be harvested.
The Easy-to-Grow Mushroom Gardens, sold on the company’s website, are packaged in post-consumer cardboard and printed on with soy ink, an environmentally better alternative.

Crisp sausages without water
Cooked sausages, Wieners, Frankfurters etc, are sold packed in water as long-life products in glass jars or cans.
Since mid-October last year, Rügenwalder Mühle, based in Bad Zwischenahn/Germany has been selling its newest “Mühlen Würstchen” sausage products in stable, resealable, clear plastic cups manufactured by Weidenhammer Packungen GmbH & Co KG, using in-mould labelling (IML) technology.

The clear polypropylene cups are produced at the Weidenhammer plant in Zwenkau, near Leipzig. Both the shape and design stand out from other packaging solutions in the sausage market. Each of the semi-circular 222-gram cups contains 6 sausages that are packed upright in the container. The crystal clear cup with only partially printed wrap-around label ensures an unrestricted view of the product inside. Consumers can check the freshness of the content at a glance. The high-quality of the IML packaging underscores the premium quality of the product. The cup is sealed with an aluminium membrane to guarantee tamper-proof freshness.
The extremely lightweight, virtually unbreakable cup, guaranteeing the sausages to stay fresh crisp, with a long shelf life – even without water, can conveniently be packed in a rucksack and fits perfectly in most car cup holders.

Ancient Textural Elements
Flawed is not fatal; but in fact, is viewed as being “real”. Nuances of centuries-old natural stone, raw and exposed to the elements of nature and encroachment from neighbouring plant life, display unmatched beauty in their imperfection.
As global consumers seek reattachment to memories and truths of times long past, Ampacet decided to create earthy colours and rugged textural nuances of centuries old natural stone captured in its new Textural Elements master-batch collection. These effects are supposed to mirror the consumers’ quest for authenticity that package designers and marketers can use to connect with consumers within personal care, cosmetics and household products market segments.

Textural Elements proprietary colour formulation by Ampacet is offered in Rugged Russet, Tempered Travertine, Silvered Sandstone, Black Onyx, Sunkissed Moss and Weathered Rock.

Has Ampacet’s Textural Elements to be achieved via a master-batch, a tactile surface effect can also be reached by a shrink-sleeve. French company Sleever International is offering a range of tactile coatings that offer quick and easy, customised finishes.

The SkinSleever effect is created with Helioflex printing technology, which provides a textured surface. The initial range of coatings offers surface finishes with the feel of metal, stone, cloth, wood or skin, but the choice will be extended to include over 26 different effects over the coming year, the company says.
The 3D-effect is obtained by a special outer varnish that enhances and boosts the printing volume. The process is compatible with all types of films. The operation is carried out with such precision, within a few tenths of a millimetre, that the resulting finish is superlatively subtle.

The sleeve labelling company has also developed a new range of films. A white satin dyed GPET referenced film takes away the plastic aspect of the sleeve and gives it a density and feel identical to that of paper. Despite this change of material, the procedure promises to retain all the features, such as its retraction curve. With an 80% differential in diameter, it can cover a bottle of champagne in its entirety.

Sparkling Zork
A new re-sealable top for sparkling wine has recently been launched in the UK at Tesco stores. Zork first launched in Australia, was developed in response to the demand for a reliable, resealable closure for sparkling wines. Tesco is the first retailer to bring the closure to the UK and Yellow Tail Bubbles is being re-launched in the US with Zork closures.

Tesco also was the first supermarket in the UK to switch all its own label wines over to the screw cap. Now the supermarket believes the Zork presents a similar opportunity for sparkling wine.
The Zork, which is made of plastic, contains four separate components: a cap with a tamper proof band, a collet with a spring loading pin allowing it to lock onto a standard wine bottle; a foil which is a high quality gas barrier keeping air out and gas in; and a seal which prevents leaking under extreme, high pressure conditions.
The Zork top is not only safe and easy to use but also retains the satisfying pop, as well as the sense of celebration and ceremony associated with opening a bottle of sparkling wine. It is 100% recyclable and can be used to reseal other similar bottles.

Tesco thinks that the sparkling wines featuring the Zork will appeal especially to women. Research found that some women have a fear of opening sparkling wines because of the pressurised cork so this innovation will ultimately give them greater control.

The wineries have put information about the new closure on the packaging for the consumers. Some use the back label but Zork’s market research has shown that the best place is on a neck label.

4 responses to “February – Five New Packaging Innovations

  1. Pingback: Some Crunchy Numbers – 2011 In Review « Best In Packaging·

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