In the packaging industry, convenience is at the forefront when it comes to consumer satisfaction and developing strategies for future growth. Whether in the design and manufacturing processes, or as a feature of the packaging itself, convenience is a major influence in our buying decisions. Consumers accustomed to squeeze bottles and pre-packaged meals are likely to snub packaging that is viewed as inconvenient.
Likewise, converters, OEMs and food brands are all focused on saving time and resources in their day-to-day business, particularly in the current economic environment. To accomplish this, they all require technological expertise, detailed consultation and clear communication from their supplier and package design partners. Similarly, these partnerships aim to produce packaging that offers ease-of-use, transportability and freshness to consumers-all at an effective retail price.
Consultation and establishing trustIn the packaging industry, where converters, OEMs and brand owners rely so heavily on each other, even a minor inconvenience can spiral into much larger problems, including downtime, increased costs, lost business and reduced profits.
The interconnectedness of the packaging industry places added emphasis on the need for ease-of-communication, shared direction and common business goals. It is the responsibility of packaging innovators like Zip-Pak, for example, to assemble integrated partnerships that meet the needs of all involved. A well-balanced partnership brings together the mechanical knowledge of OEMs, the packaging expertise of outsourced converters and the marketing experience of brand owners.
Meeting converters' needsIt is absolutely vital for packaging designers to establish a relationship of trust and effectiveness with their converter partners. To do so, they must have an intimate understanding of what converters require-the elements that make true convenience a reality.
First, planning and design. Resealable packaging is extremely versatile, and suitable for a wide range of products. When packaging designers pair brand owners with converters, they should do so based on focused market knowledge and varied experience in how to approach packaging updates. In this way, each is able to bring their own specific area of expertise to the table for maximum benefits.
For example, designers themselves receive knowledge of the latest material innovations from suppliers, and are then able to incorporate them into new package designs. Be it for shredded cheese, deli meats, or dry goods and snacks, Zip-Pak Systems, the company’s experienced and innovative in-house equipment division, works closely with converters to carefully plan all elements of adding a resealable feature. This applies to both hand-fill and semi-automated packaging processes.
This approach is crucial to the success of a packaging update, and converters really reap the benefits of multi-skill planning. By considering consumer behavior in target age groups and demographics, and the appropriate technologies to meet their needs, packaging experts create initial designs and engage in detailed consultations that ensure customer convenience from the word go. Focus groups and market research allow partners to approach their packaging solutions in a manner that reduces problems later on in the supply chain.
Secondly, the manufacturing process itself. Thorough training and well-rounded customer service are the best ways to overcome inevitable technical and operational issues. Integrated partnerships with OEMs reassure converters that any inconveniences they face can be handled swiftly and efficiently. Converters should be able to call on expert engineers, who can help to streamline the packaging process and minimize any disruptions that occur.
Innovative resealable packaging features can be incorporated with great efficiency. They fit seamlessly into basic operating parameters without sacrificing operation speed or requiring new skill training. Converters can be assured that the transition to resealable packaging is seamless and cost-effective.
Consumer convenienceWhen we talk of convenience in food, we are not referring to ‘convenience food’ and its implications of heavily processed, low-quality products. Modern consumers demand good value food that fits around their everyday lives, but this cannot come at the expense of quality and freshness. The convenience we talk about refers to ease-of-use that also takes into account modern consumers’ main demands: freshness, taste and sustainability.
Resealable packaging offers two unbeatable benefits. Not only is it convenient throughout use, it looks convenient on the supermarket shelf. In a supermarket age when consumers take between three and seven seconds to make a purchasing decision, the need for visual shelf appeal and brand differentiation is more acute than ever. Resealable packaging offers brands a subtle form of on-the-shelf marketing that non-resealable competitors cannot match.
Resealable sliders are used instinctively by consumers, and have proved their usability many times over in today’s busy modern household. Zip-Pak slider technology, for instance, is attractive, ideal for pre-made pouches and form/fill/seal applications, and can run on virtually all packaging formats and machinery configurations. It allows for multi-serve closing and opening and negates the need to transfer food to an unbranded, generic container, thereby keeping the brand in front of the consumer for the full life of the product. Resealable sliders let brands fill in a so-called “convenience gap” where consumers have previously used boxes, bags, clips and pegs to prevent food oxidation. Consumers really value the portability that resealable packaging offers, whereby food can be carried around without risk of spillage. This flexibility is very important in a highly competitive market where customers expect high standards at a low price.
Resealable packaging similarly appeals to the environmentally friendly sensibilities of modern food shoppers. Packaging with closures extends shelf life, and hence contributes to a reduction in massively damaging food waste that produces harmful methane gas (23 times more harmful to the environment than CO2).
Covering all the basesResealable packaging provides convenience on all levels. The key words here are ease and efficiency. For converters, the adoption of resealable features is a simple, financially sensible process, and can often be achieved by retrofitting. Zip-Pak’s TopZip Jr. retrofits existing form/fill/seal equipment by applying a compact resealable zipper applicator, without a significant capital investment from the converter. By applying the zipper in a transverse direction, the TopZip Jr. adds the convenience of a resealable closure to a variety of packaged goods including cereal, dried fruits, nuts, powdered drinks and soups. The TopZip Jr. is also upgradable for converters seeking high speeds, and support for different styles of pouches and zipper formats. Clients of Zip-Pak attest to the seamless upgrade services they have received. By offering resealable packaging capabilities, these converters now appeal to all innovative, forward-thinking brands looking to outsource their packaging production. In difficult times, resealability is an easily implemented route to business growth, client trust and a reputation for innovative packaging solutions.