Attend a baseball game or any other sporting event where sunflower seeds are the snack-of-choice and you’ll see players and coaches trying to reseal opened sunflower seed packaging in all kinds of ways: elastic bands, tape, paper clips, and sometimes even transferring the remaining contents into a plain recloseable plastic bag.
The same do-it-yourself methods of resealing a package are also being applied to just about every other food or product group that comes in a flexible pouch. While these homemade techniques are frequently employed, none are particularly consumer-friendly or effective.
Sunflower seed marketers have recognized that these makeshift methods are far from ideal for consumers, and are incorporating resealable features into their packaging designs. One company at the forefront is GIANTS Snacks. Working with TechniPac, a leading flexible packaging converter, in conjunction with Zip-Pak (zippak.com), a global leader in materials and machinery for resealable packaging, GIANTS Snacks recently introduced consumers to a new level of convenience for the many flavors of its GIANTS Sunflower Seeds.
In embarking on a resealable solution for GIANTS Sunflower Seeds, the goals were clearly stated. “The packaging had to be pourable, with a half close. We also placed a high priority on the reliability of the zipper to secure and protect the contents,” commented Al Engstrom, plant manager for GIANTS Snacks.
TechniPac and Zip-Pak are long-time collaborators in the world of flexible packaging innovation, having established a working relationship more than 10 years ago. This most recent collaboration represents something of an evolution for GIANTS Sunflower Seeds packaging. TechniPac initially worked with Zip-Pak to develop a package for GIANTS Snacks that used the Pour & Lok closure solution for GIANTS Sunflower Seeds.
More recently, GIANTS switched to Zip-Pak’s Vector closure for its most popular 5.0 oz. and 5.7 oz. sizes of sunflower seeds in all varieties. Vector features a proprietary self-sealing matrix that closes securely without exact alignment of opposing segments. The solution provides tactile and audible feedback for reassurance of complete fastening with each use.
According to Greg Melchoir, vice president of sales & development at TechniPac, “Collaborating with Zip-Pak is always productive and rewarding. Like TechniPac, creating innovative solutions in the flexible packaging space seems to be in their DNA. That’s why our teams work so well together.”
Because the GIANTS dry salty snacks are gas-flushed to preserve freshness, a hermetic packaging barrier was needed. TechniPac recognized that they could not perforate the film due to the potential for gas loss. They identified the problem early and responded with a proprietary heat score technology for the package. This detail enables an even tearing of the packaging material across the top of the zipper, leaving sufficient film to facilitate repeated closings and openings. Without the patent-pending heat score technology, an uneven tear could make re-sealing and re-opening virtually impossible.
“Innovation rarely happens in isolation,” adds Art Malcomson, director of sales and marketing at Zip-Pak. “Given the requirements of the GIANTS packaging, it was critically important to work hand-in-hand with TechniPac throughout the development process to ensure a successful result.”
In addition to the Vector resealable matrix, Zip-Pak lent technical ingenuity to the package, refining the closure profile to adapt to the packaging film and the tooling designed by TechniPac. They also provided technical support to the development of the manufacturing equipment to better facilitate the mating of the zipper to the film in the package manufacturing process.
Today, TechniPac and Zip-Pak continue to work closely to refine and improve materials, design, processes and machinery in collaboration with GIANTS Snacks to meet the specific requirements for packaging sunflower seeds.
Engstrom concludes, “We are extremely pleased with the quality and performance of the Vector closure and the overall package. To date, the solution has performed consistently with zero failures.”
The final issue of Flexible Packaging for 2020 takes a look back at the year that was as well as what’s in store for 2021. We share what products readers wanted to see the most from 2020, and then predict what label trends to expect in the upcoming year. Finally, we share the exploits of one staffer’s attempt to design a pouch.