fastener, velcro, bag
Velcro Industries has received positive responses from consumer studies supporting its new fastener’s ease-of-use and reliability over many competitive fasteners on the market.
It’s no secret that consumers live in an ever-changing world when it comes to packaging solutions. Retail food shelves are constantly updated with products that are designed to differentiate themselves from their competition. Appealing to consumers with new approaches have been a key driver behind the growth of the converted flexible packaging market, forecasted to reach $22 billion by 2015.
Already, the industry sees value in new tubular ergonomic shapes
 that lend themselves to younger demographics and address the difficulties of how to safely hold and pour liquid contents. These shapes, combined with spout features are a designers dream, and bring to light how the combination of form and function can truly influence buying patterns among parents. The on-the-go lifestyle is now supported by food products that are leak resistant and encourage child independence.
Similarly, growths of flat bottom design and side gusset pouch forms are changing the face of shelving presentation at retail locations. Coupled with these new formats are bright foil patterns and multilayers of high-resolution inks that are eye catching while supporting necessary barrier properties. Stagnant messaging has been replaced with co-branding, interactive QR codes, and highlights of eco-friendly materials to further capture conscientious buyers. 

Considering the Consumer

Designers have met changing consumer needs for reclose fasteners in packaging as well. For years, adhesive tabs, zipper and slider-type reclose fasteners have been part of the ever growing stand-up pouch format. Regardless of whether food products are consumed immediately after opening a package, there is a growing desire among consumers to have the ability to seal packages with built-in closures. This sentiment is shared by a demanding workforce that is constantly on-the-move, with less time to take advantage of home cooked meals, and a greater need for portability.
The changing demographics also support the idea of presenting consumers with incremental design improvements. Globally, there is an increased number of single-person and empty nest households. The U.S. will lead the world with an estimated 36 million single person households by 2020. This demographic propels a demand for food products in smaller package sizes. They are also willing to pay a premium for package convenience, supporting the growing adoption and deliveries of flexible pouches that offer reclose features.
There is also an increasing proportion of an older demographic burdened with decreased mobility and reduced hand coordination. In the US alone, over 50 million people are affected by arthritis and 70 percent of them are over the age of 65. This group will benefit by having fasteners that are not only intuitive, but reliable and remain secure. At the opposite side of the spectrum, younger demographics need intuitiveness built into a package. While they may understand how tearing open a package might get them instant gratification, closing a package is not always well planned. Developers and marketers should focus on making fasteners desirable to use, not only for children, but for their parents.

Did You Know?

The History of Velcro Industries
The history of the Velcro Companies dates back to 1941, whereby a Swiss Engineers’ curiosity around how cockleburs “stuck” to his wool clothing, eventually turned into a global commercial fastener enterprise. 
From its simple beginnings, Velcro Industries has endeavored to make life easier for consumers in very traditional industries in apparel, footwear and medical markets. The company has evolved into supplying products uniquely designed for the packaging and materials handling markets. 

A Reclosability Innovation

Velcro Industries has introduced a revolutionary new reclose product line that supports some of the key consumer needs within flexible packaging. First unveiled in 2010, Velcro Brand Press-Lok reclose fasteners solve a frustration that has often been voiced; not knowing if the package is truly closed. Simply pushing two sides of the package together is not enough to assure that a traditional fastener is engaged. A clicking sound may indicate that the closure is working, but often it is false feedback to the consumer. This is further complicated if a package is chock-full of product, or subjected to freezer conditions that make the structures more rigid.
The Press-Lok closure design addresses any chance of package misalignment. Its unique design offers a series of interlocking micro features that connect at multiple levels. These broad areas of features allow for a reliable engagement of the flexible package sides, even after repeated use. Additionally, Press-Lok closure has a tactile element so as the consumer presses the package sides they can feel it to ensure it is secure. This is particularly important when thicker, stiffer bag films reduce the feedback necessary to be confident it is properly closed. Even frost buildup on packages can be a challenge to resealing a package stored in a freezer, but the interlocking features of Press-Lok closure show incredible resiliency in freezing conditions. It has been tested to be functional and able to withstand temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees F. 
Velcro Industries has received positive responses from consumer studies supporting the new fastener’s ease-of-use and reliability over many competitive fasteners on the market. This study was geared specifically to the experience of opening and closing small flexible packages typically used by a wide age-range of consumers. The results were further supported by Industry Manufacturers internal studies using different fastener lines whereby a unifying belief was confirmed that Press-Lok closures had a unique feel and user experience that would benefit all consumers.
These results are supported by recent commercial successes in multiple product categories within North American markets including pet foods, pet treats, cat litter, protein powder and a number of rice products. Consumers have recognized that the look and feel of the reclose fastener on these new packages were much different, and offered an easy opening and closing experience. Product reviews via social media websites confirm the incredible excitement around Press-Lok closure, and its commercial success will help energize the fast growing flexible packaging market now taking shape globally. 
Velcro Industries Brand Press-Lok
About the Author
Chris Lerra is senior business development manager at Velcro USA Inc., and has been with the company for 24 years. Velcro and Press-Lok are owned by Velcro Industries, B.V.