Flexible packaging trends: keeping it lidded
John Harrison, Technical Sales Manager at Chadwicks, talks about future key trends and the continued challenges for flexible packaging in the Australia and New Zealand.
In recent years we have seen continued growth in our traditional dairy and beverage markets. We are also seeing a move towards our lidding solutions for other products such as snacks, pet food, ice cream, fresh salads and general foodstuff from both large FMCG manufacturers and SMEs.
As in the rest of the world, much of the discussion around packaging regionally is based on plastic reduction, sustainability and recyclability. Customers are increasingly moving away from unfavourable materials, such as polystyrene, towards more environmentally friendly alternatives — a goal seen by many as critical in the next few years.
Polyester as a rigid packaging format is advancing significantly. Chadwicks is able to respond to this with lidding that is both commercially proven and suitable for PET containers. The use of PET lids with PET containers improves the ability to ensure a single plastic component in the lid/container combination. This makes the ability to feed into the post-consumer recycle streams easier.
PET lidding is also capable of being reduced in terms of its overall plastic content, either by incorporating rPET or by gauge reduction. The use of materials that incorporate recycled content or use less virgin plastic is important to many customers. In response to this Chadwicks has developed recycled content white (30%) and clear (50%) PET lidding. These lids offer the same functionality and optical properties as standard lids. Likewise, we have been working on downgauging and now have a 36 micron product in white, clear and RPET gauges which is ready for market. This is a 28% potential overall reduction in plastic consumption on standard 50 micron PET lids.
Innovation is key to meeting the growing demand for not only sustainable packaging but food safety, which will certainly increase in the short term given the global pandemic and potentially longer term. New technologies in packaging are emerging all the time. Very often this means challenging conventional packaging solutions whilst ensuring there are no major cost implications.
For example, Chadwicks has a paper-based lid, suitable for wet products, which a few years ago would not have been considered a viable option. We are also looking at a two-component, resealable lid, which removes the necessity for a plastic over-cap.
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