Sustainability, functionality and luminosity dazzle in packaging designs for 2008.
The next big thing in packaging may just be the next small thing. As more and more marketers strive to roll out eye-catching products with flashy exteriors, multi-use functions or strong sustainability, suppliers have to take it even one step further to stay on the cutting edge of the future’s finest packaging details that make or break a sale.
For cosmetics and toiletries, changes have come mostly at the margins, with smaller brands switching to metal packaging, for instance, in an attempt to stand out in a sea of glass or plastic bottles, according to Euromonitor in its March 2008 report, “Non-Food Packaging in the U.S.”
Closures, too, have proven a potent source of brand differentiation, with airless pump closures appearing for a wide variety of skin care products—many of which feature exotic functional ingredients, which degrade quickly when exposed to air, notes Euromonitor. A number of high-end skin and hair care brands, such as Aveda, have also embraced metered-dose closures, which dispense a set amount of product with each push of the pump.
Specialty cosmetics containers continue to evolve, with traditional compact-type packaging giving way to newer products bearing a strong influence from skin care; roll-on and stick applicators have gained share in color cosmetics, as have rigid plastic bottles featuring a brush closure.
“The key trend in cosmetics distribution has been the continuing blurring of the lines between high-end and low-end retailers, with premium, ‘professional’ products continuing to make their way into channels such as drugstores, which have aggressively courted cosmetic consumers in recent years,” says Senior Research Analyst Virginia Lee of Euromonitor. “The end result of this shift has been an intense struggle for consumers’ attention, with even low-end, value product brands making heavy investments in design and development, often drawing upon innovations first appearing in premium products, many of which originate from the same manufacturer.”
The top trend in packaging for 2008 is definitely green, says Jerry Ruud, vice president, sales and marketing for the personal care business unit of Berry Plastics, Evansville, IN. According to Mr. Ruud, many of Berry’s customers sell product via Wal-Mart and complying with the new Wal-Mart scorecard is high on their list.
“Being more environmentally conscious not only gets higher scores at Wal-Mart, but also is simply good for our environment,” says Mr. Ruud. “Even companies that do not market through Wal-Mart are pushing green packaging concepts. This involves eliminating PVC whenever possible, reducing part weights, eliminating additional packaging (cartons) as well as seeking alternatives to minimize waste throughout the entire supply chain.”
Mr. Ruud notes that Berry Plastics has tackled this approach via its new laminate technology, which utilizes less material than traditional extruded tube applications; via deckless closure packages which have up to 35% less material in the closure versus a traditional dispensing closure; and by introducing PCR (post consumer resin) in a variety of processes, from bottles to extruded tubes to laminate tubes.
Alison von Puschendorf, director of public relations, MWV, Richmond, VA, notes an increase in the use of, and interest in, recycled PET for cosmetic and personal care secondary packaging.
“The industry is seeing innovative developments in PET films in the past few years, and we are expecting additional capacity of PET resin, as well as an overall improvement in the quality of PET,” says Ms. Puschendorf. “For our dispensing range, we are developing new membrane systems in order to replace several parts and materials. Those membranes and valves are made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and/or thermoplastic elastomers (TPE).”
Ultimately, packaging suppliers are responding to consumer demands for natural ingredients in their products. “People tend to be more conscious about the protection of the environment. They recycle products in the kitchen. They want to recycle the products from their bathroom as well. They have also adopted a healthier lifestyle using products made of natural ingredients,” notes Virginie Lemeunier, global lotion product manager, Rexam Personal Care, Purchase, NY.
Ms. Lemeunier mentions a growing trend for airless packages or more protective packaging. “The formulations containing natural ingredients and no or few preservatives tend to be more sensitive to the light or oxygen, therefore need to be protected in airless packaging,” she tells Happi.
Companies continue to look for a “wow factor” that will entice the consumer to pick up their product when walking down the aisle. “The probability of purchase increases geometrically if the consumer will pick up the package. In this way, unique packages and highly decorated packages continue to be a trend,” says Mr. Ruud of Berry Plastics.
Ms. Puschendorf of MWV agrees. “When it comes to beauty packaging, discerning customers respond to sophisticated and creative packaging designs that use versatile materials and printing and finishing elements to communicate a product’s quality and elegance. Many brands also utilize high-visibility secondary packaging as a means to effectively promote and showcase the primary package. This type of packaging creates a strong visual impression and is particularly effective as a promotional vehicle during special promotions and holidays.”
An aesthetically attractive package gives an upscale look, which in turn gives the consumer confidence that the product inside will be efficient, notes Ms. Lemeunier of Rexam Personal Care. She says that potential customers also seek out easy-to-handle packaging that doles out a precise dosage of product.
“They are looking for clean packages that dispense the product without making a mess and drying out at the tip of the nozzle,” says Ms. Lemeunier. “They are also looking for packages which evacuates the whole product (good evacuation rate). They want to make sure they get everything out with no waste.”
Consumers are also attracted to packaging that visually appeals to their lifestyle, says Carmen DePasquale, marketer of New York Streets, a hair care line packaged with images of trendy urbanites. “Many consumers will buy a product based on packaging alone, therefore demonstrating the value of eye-catching packaging. The visual effect that packaging has on a consumer can be compared to the effect that home décor or fashion has on that consumer. It needs to form a connection with the consumer and mirror their lifestyle.”
On the Rise
Industry insiders agree there has been a swift rise in green packaging along with convenience products and metallic/luxe looks for 2008.
“Green packaging is currently in vogue and consumer awareness is heightened due to all the publicity. This will require suppliers to address eco-friendly and recyclable packaging for their products,” says Hui Herskovitz, vice president of Qosmedix, Edgewood, NY.
Mr. Herskovitz adds that multi-use will continue to be an important facet of packaging for the “on-the-go user,” while metallic and luxe packaging will move on an upward trend as more technology for delivering unique metallic and materials become available.
And more flash means more cash for marketers—as seen in Tarte Cosmetic’s Summer 2008 collection. According to Heather Ratushny, senior manager, product development, Tarte’s new line incorporates all of the green/multi-use/luxe design elements—from the multi-functional, co-branded enbrightenmint/BriteSmile teeth whitener to the lipgloss/pen component in a luxe metalized finish to the Lips Ahoy natural lipgloss collection packaged in an eco-friendly reusable zipper case.
At first glance, it seems as if a sloppy user spilled nail lacquer and then haphazardly closed the bottle. But it’s only an illusion—a plastic adhesion of faux polish dripping below the cap and the spark of a top-selling new nail polish from E.L.F. The whimsical product—packaged by Three Stars in China—sold out of every color during its first month of availability with a record breaking 70,000 orders on its website, www.eyeslipsface.com.
E.L.F.’s Creative Director Achelle Dunaway created the “color drip” design to put a new spin on nail polish packaging. “I wanted the bottle to be classic aesthetic, while being elegant and eye catching at the same time. You only have a second to attract consumers and at first glance, the bottle looks like it’s broken, but when you look again, you see it’s just the design,” says Ms. Dunaway. “Consumers don’t have to guess what color the nail enamel will look like because the dimensional packaging makes it easier to see what the color payoff will be.”
“I definitely see a rise in green packaging, but the consumer still wants that luxurious product that can be used for everything,” says Ms. Ratushny. “The challenge for us is how to incorporate all of those elements into one sleek component design. Consumers don’t want to forgo luxury items for environmentally-responsible design concepts, nor do they feel comfortable supporting over-packaged consumer goods. It’s all about striking the right balance between your brand’s point of difference and your customers’ needs.”
Ms. Puschendorf of MWV agrees that today’s market is more in-tune with global issues.
“The latest beauty packaging trends can be attributed to the recent sustainability and eco-friendly push by most brand owners and consumers. Consumers are more aware of the environmental and social impact of the manufacturing process than ever before. They are demanding sustainable and/or eco-friendly products that align with their environmental concerns. Brand owners are now incorporating sustainability into every aspect of the manufacturing and production cycles—ranging from how materials are sourced to how materials are ultimately used.”
Ms. Puschendorf notes there are many possible approaches to enhancing the sustainability of packaging, but coming up with the right solution means finding the right balance between efficient use of materials and innovative package design. For example, building on the success of its Evolution line of luxury folding cartons, MWV recently unveiled Evolution2, a paperboard package that provides the same look as a rigid set box but costs less to produce and maximizes efficiencies in the transportation process.
Pangea Organics, Boulder, CO, a skin care company well known for its 100% compostable and plantable packaging, is a marketer leading the way in the green movement. “The latest trend in beauty packaging is a push for companies to use less, or as our motto at Pangea is ‘give things a second chance.’ So if you have to use it, use it wisely and source post-consumer options first.
“I think people are beginning to catch on to the notion that not only does the product need to be good for you and good for the environment, but the packaging does as well,” says Joshua Onysko, founder and chief executive officer of the company.
Bottles are also impacted by the green wave. According to Ross Reback, executive vice president of Vogue International, Tampa, FL, the company recently converted packaging for its Organix hair care to eco-friendly bottles.
“The materials containing recycled post-consumer resin and labels printed utilizing environmental inks, and environmentally friendly compostable label film manufactured from annually renewable resource corn, not from a petrochemical,” says Mr. Reback. “As the green message becomes even more prevalent, consumers will gravitate to products packaged with a socially responsible commitment.”
The Next Big Thing
Designers of luxe products are moving more and more into the makeup and fragrance area, according to Mr. Herskovitz of Qosmedix. “Followers of the designers will make their products successful,” he tells Happi. Recent examples include top-selling fragrances from fashion staples such as Marc Jacobs and Ed Hardy or the recently released limited-edition Fafi and Heatherette collections for MAC Cosmetics.
Environmentally friendly packaging looks to be the big growth driver in the years ahead, says Mr. Ruud of Berry. Taking traditional packages that were not able to use PCR and adding that feature looks to be a future trend, he adds.
“The beauty industry has only scratched the surface of what can be created through innovative sustainable packaging design, and there still remains so much more room for growth in this category,” says Ms. Ratushny of Tarte. “Last year, we saw the emergence of PLA materials and are currently seeing the use of wood composites and bamboo molded compacts that support different regions across the world. It would be great to see more brands sign on to sustainable initiatives.”
Smart packaging is also the wave of the future, according to Ms. Puschendorf of MWV. “We have implemented smart packaging through the use of the conductive ink technology featuring visual lighting capabilities that activate when touched, creating a memorable and interactive customer experience between the consumer and the product. And because of the package’s unique design and long-term functionality, it is meant to be re-used, which continues the brand promotion and loyalty among consumers.”
Ms. Puschendorf notes that this smart packaging technology operates without any wires, switches or buttons, making such applications less bulky and more affordable. At the end of the day, value is always paramount in a product and will never go out of style.
Packaging Supplier Directory
Here is a list of packaging suppliers. For more information on the companies listed, contact the supplier directly using the information provided.
ABA Packaging Corp.
Tel: (800) 443-9799
Specialties: Specializes in all types of cosmetic packaging, from high-end glass bottles to economical plastic jars.
Specialties: Airless packaging for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical market
Tel: (740) 522-2203
Specialties: Embossing, screening, stamping, assembly, printing, metal caps, collars/rings and aluminum containers.
Brad-Pak Enterprises Inc.
Tel: (908) 233-1234
Specialties: Distributor of glass, plastic aluminum bottles and jars along with a variety of pumps and closures.
Tel: (631) 491-4000
Specialties: Injection molding, custom plastic and dispensing closures.
Cameo Metal Products
Tel: (718) 788-1106
Specialties: Closures, overshells, jar covers, tube caps, candle lids and tamper evident closures.
Tel: (815) 363-0025
Specialties: Color, special-effect and additive masterbatches for plastics used in packaging.
Port Washington, NY
Tel: (516) 767-9119
Specialties: A product design, development and manufacturing company servicing the cosmetics industry.
Custom Bottle Inc.
Tel: (800) 537-6449
Specialties: Manufacturer of plastic bottles for various industries using HDPE, PETG and PVC.
Dieter Bakic Enterprises
Tel: (973) 473-2995
Specialties: Packaging and design, overcaps, tottles, tubes, valves, collars/rings.
Tel: (800) 628-6208
Specialties: Seals, films and molded parts.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Tel: (201) 227-0059
Specialties: Brushes, wands, puffs, frosting, stamping and screening.
Tel: (203) 377-8100
Specialties: Lotion pumps and fine mist sprayers.
Tel: (800) 222-0342
Specialties: Pigments for coatings, packaging, plastics and printing applications.
Tel: (860) 274-6791
Specialties: Distributor of screening, stamping, assembly, actuators, caps, containers, jars and dispensers.
Tel: (908) 203-8610
Specialities: Color cosmetic packaging, pots, cardboard and metal.
Tel: (800) 824-4119
Specialties: Stocks, celons, custom molds, specialty items.
Tel: (800) 4-Lerman
Specialties: Bottles and related products manufactured by producers of bottles, jars and closures sprayers.
LF of America
Tel: (954) 963-6226
Specialties: Unit dose containers, bellows bottles, droppers.
Specialties: Cosmetic containers and accessories made of glass and plastic.
McKernan Packaging Clearing House
Tel: (800) 787-7587
Specialties: Applicators, actuators, aerosol cans, bottles, caps, closures, collars/rings, containers, dip tubes, discs, overcaps and pumps.
Tel: (804) 327-5200
Specialties: MWV provides packaging solutions to many of the world’s most-admired brands in the healthcare, personal and beauty care, food, beverage, media and entertainment, and home and garden industries.
Specialties: Airless dispensers and foamers.
Tel: (973) 993-1694
Specialties: Bottles, caps and jars.
Mid-Continent Packaging, Inc.
Tel: (580) 234-5200
Specialties: Liquids, powders, tablets, dry room processing and fully-automated pouch packaging.
Tel: (908) 851-9500
Specialties: The total packaging resource for glass, plastic and metal bottles, jars, jugs, and cans for the cosmetic/personal care, household and industrial markets.
Tel: (631) 242-3270
Specialties: Bottles, jars, vials, containers, applicators.
Mt. Vernon, NY
Tel: (914) 699-1818
Specialties: Company is known as the problem solvers for the personal care industry.
Rexam Personal Care Division
Tel: (914) 251-8420
Specialties: Supplier of advanced packaging solutions with global capabilities that attract fragrance, beauty, personal care and home product manufacturers.
Tel: (847) 639-2124
Specialties: Manufacturing of dispensing systems—aerosol, bag on valve, fine mist pumps, lotion pumps.
Stoffel Seals Corporation
Tel: (800) 344-4772
Specialties: Metallic, plastic and wax-like seals.
Tel: (732) 873-5000
Specialties: Design, development and manufacturing of dispensing closures, lids and packaging.
Teknor Color Company
Tel: (800) 554-9885, (401) 725-8000
Specialties: Colorants including frosted effect and PET concentrates.
St. Louis, MO
Tel: (314) 569-3633
Specialties: Options in rigid packaging.
Tel: (973) 328-6800
Specialties: Single and multi-use tubes and reclosables.
New York, NY
Tel: (212) 974-8919
Specialties: Standard and customized cosmetic packaging.
Florham Park, NJ
Tel: (973) 805-6500
Specialties: Distributor of containers, compacts, pots, jars, bottles and tubes.
Tel: (201) 627-1000
Specialties: Cosmetic customized packaging and stock containers.
Tel: (888) 291-5757
Specialties: Distributes closures, custom products and standard stackable buckets.