If there is one word to summarize the consumer landscape today, it’s “options.” Whether we’re at the grocery store or online perusing Amazon or Etsy or similar marketplaces, we’re inundated with choices, often indistinguishable from each other at first glance. Additionally, as we increasingly welcome the “maker” movement and cottage industries, these artisanal goods add to the myriad of quality options available to us.
From a brand perspective, whether as converters, closure manufacturers or food product creators, companies are faced with developing a distinctive personality. As brands continue to differentiate themselves in an ultra-crowded marketplace, they’re looking for new ways to communicate their message and often the quickest way to do this is through aesthetics. Packaging is a trusted way to rapidly articulate differentiation. However, one relatively unchartered territory is the closure portion of the package. Innovative closures allow customers to engage with a product in a unique way, create value for the consumer, and thus, differentiate the brand.
“People Pleasing Packaging”
A recent study by Smithers Pira revealed the top five innovation trends in packaging; Nostalgia, Personalized Packaging, Pack Differentiation, Technology, and “People Pleasing Packaging.” The last of these refers to convenience, easy-to-use packaging that allows individuals to control the amount of the product they consume and use. There are many “moments of truth” between a consumer and a brand, and even though it’s a small part of the whole experience, the moment the consumer opens a package and touches the purchased good for the first time is definitely a critical one. This is why there is a great emphasis today on innovation in the packaging closure domain.
Velcro Industries is seeing a trend impacting industries that range from gardening to dry food to pet products. Consumer goods companies are adopting a new generation of closures – ones that last until the product has been used up, helping to keep the original brand packaging in use for the duration of the product life, and in some cases, well after. Brands are adapting their packaging styles to address customers’ needs and, in turn, benefiting from these initiatives.
One of the primary forces driving consumer demand is our need for additional value. We’re continually seeking solutions that simplify our daily routines, such as making opening and closing products easier for a variety of ages and abilities. Some of the benefits of a durable reclosure solution – like Velcro® Brand Press-Lok® (figure 1), our proprietary hook-to-hook closure system – are that it reassures customers that the product will not spill even if tipped over. It can also be opened and closed multiple times and with one hand. Additionally, consumers can quickly be assured that the product is sealed, even in the freezer. Naturally, this mitigates the need for additional storage solutions such as bags, containers or clips.
Second, consider that packaged goods prices continue to rise, due to environmental factors such as drought and increasing regulation among the supply chain. Consumers look for differentiation not only in ingredients but seek value wherever they can, to help validate the increasing costs of, in particular, food. A package with a semi-permanent reclosure adds immediate value, for the ease and convenience it brings to the user. Additionally, eco-consciousness is increasingly a factor in many purchasing decisions and helping to eliminate additional storage products is a green perk, for many.
There are many studies on consumer packaging where the ease of opening and the ability to reclose come first or second on addressing unmet customer needs.
These are two of many forces driving a demand for reclosure innovation from the consumer side of the ecosystem, yet, this demand delivers equally great benefits for brands. When a company can increase the length of time its brand visuals, like its logo and packaging, are present in a home or marketplace, it helps drive brand recognition and can improve brand preference among consumers.
As the call for distinctive packaging solutions continues to grow and expand, manufacturers are being asked to integrate advanced closure systems into the packages, bags and pouches they produce for their customers. These capabilities create differentiation for manufacturers and converters, who must ensure they’re meeting their clients’ demands and anticipating their needs.
In many cases, these manufacturing initiatives require specific equipment, which means reclosure and fastening solution providers, like Velcro Industries, must work in close collaboration with converters to ensure proper integration and that machinery is updated to mirror any changes in the fastening system. For example, we have worked with PFM, an Italian packaging manufacturer, to create the Scirocco, a flow-wrapping machine for flexible packaging that can process different closure styles. This type of machine endows manufacturers with the flexibility to integrate a range of closures into the packaging, based on the product and the customer’s need.
Additionally, converters must consider that these reclosure solutions will be implemented on different scales – not just by the giants but by small, regional brands seeking unique packaging solutions. Because scale drives cost efficiencies, converters need to ensure that their capabilities are a cost-effective option for both the small and large consumer good products.
Both brands and customers benefit from incorporating reclosure innovations that provide durable, long-lasting seals that can be opened and closed easily after repeated use. From enhancing shelf appeal to keeping products fresh and eliminating the need for additional storage solutions, reclosures create additional product value for the consumer, helping to create a unique brand perception for companies and ultimately, drive product adoption and growth. As the landscape continues to evolve, packaging converters, closure manufacturers and consumer goods brands must partner closely to ensure they’re anticipating and meeting consumer needs in a cluttered marketplace.
(800) 225-0180; www.velcro.com