APET sheet and PET resin manufacturer, Octal, has identified three major market trends that are changing the face of packaging around the world.
“These are fundamental, long-term trends,” said Chief Operating Officer Joe Barenberg, speaking on the eve of Interpack 2008 in Düsseldorf. “Some packaging design features come and go, but these three trends will have a lasting impact.”
Product Visibility and Protection
Most established of the three trends is product visibility and protection. Consumers increasingly expect to see the product that they are buying – whether it is convenience or fresh food or an electronic gadget – before they pay. “If customers cannot see the product for themselves, there is a constant temptation to open the package in-store. In the worst case, even if the contents are acceptable, the consumer may discard the opened pack and select a pristine one to buy,” said Mr Barenberg. “That creates waste, clutters the shelf and reduces the quality of the consumer experience.
“APET has already played an important role in helping the packaging industry to meet the needs of producers and retailers to deliver high performance packaging solutions that allow products to be presented attractively. This has been particularly important for convenience foods that continue on their growth curve in many countries. The inherent barrier properties of APET, which protect the product from mechanical damage and degradation, make it the packaging material of first choice for many convenience foods.”
Product Display Flexibility
Product display flexibility is the second big trend identified by Octal. Brand managers and store planners alike, need products that are capable of effective display in a variety of ways - whether on hooks, shelf stacked, multi-packed or in trays – to maximise in-store impact and simplify display refreshment. The product itself becomes the centre of the display, and APET provides the kind of flexibility that allows merchandisers to organise products on shelves or on pegboard hangers, for maximum in-store impact, product visibility and display quality.
Single Material Packaging
Third and newest of the three big trends identified by Octal is the move towards single material packaging. “Chocolate bars used to come wrapped in foil with an outer printed paper sleeve,” said Mr. Barenberg. “Disposable razors once came in a heavy plastic box mounted on card. Today, for production speed and efficiency, there is an increased focus on selecting the best single packaging material for the product and developing the ideal packaging solution from that one material. This also enables easier recycling as the consumer takes on no burden of material separation. With its rigidity for product protection and clarity for display, APET is often an ideal single material for packaging. Especially in folding carton applications, APET is easily printed, making the need for paperboard inserts unnecessary.”
He added: “Together, these three trends provide APET with unique growth potential. As a robust packaging material that delivers product visibility, shape, closure and display flexibility, APET will undoubtedly claim a greater share of the $450bn global packaging market that continues to grow at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent. In the food sector, annual packaging growth is at five per cent and plastic packaging already accounts for 34 per cent of that market segment.”
Product protection from point of fill to the home is a key performance parameter of all packaging. With the three global trends identified by Octal – product visibility and protection, display flexibility and single material packaging – all on a growth curve, it is not surprising that the company is expecting demand for its APET sheet to rise and is expanding production capacity in 2008 to meet demand.
Octal started operations in December 2006 with 30,000 tons of annual extrusion capacity, and its PET resin and APET sheet complex opening during 2008, will be providing an additional 300,000 metric tons of APET sheet-making capacity - nearly 20 per cent of total industry output of APET sheet.
“That production capacity provides manufacturers and thermoformers with an assured supply of a precision manufactured product that can reduce raw material costs and increase packaging productivity,” said Mr. Barenberg. “That creates the opportunity to convert large scale packaging production to APET, benefiting from its unique combination of clarity, toughness, multiple sealing and closing options, higher yield and better end tray quality.”
Octal is exhibiting at Interpack (Hall 9, Stand B19), displaying the quality and uniformity of its APET sheet, soon to be made from its own PET resin in an integrated process.
Visitors to the stand will be able to see and learn about both Octal’s resin and APET sheet product. APET sheet will be displayed in roll form.