Baking Management INNOVATION AWARDS (Packaging)

Innovation Awards - Less to ship, more to love

A redesigned cookie container packs a big punch by shrinking both its shipping and environmental footprints.

With the economy moving sluggishly at best and threatening a double-dip recession at worst, the ecofriendly trend has fallen victim to accounting figures. But what if you could add some green to both your business and your coffers? A new cookie container from LINDAR does just that.

The new container features a redesigned trim style that moves the traditional closure point out of the product area, resulting in an unobstructed view of the cookies inside and a better shape for shipping and displaying.

"Moving the closure part of the container gave us an additional benefit of reducing space by up to 20 percent in shipping cases and display cases, compared to current packaging," explains Dave Fosse, director of marketing for Baxter, Minn.-based LINDAR.

Since the container takes up one-fifth less space without reducing the amount of product inside, manufacturers can pack more containers into the same amount of shipping space, reducing the number of trucks used to transport the product, which shrinks both shipping costs and the emissions produced by that shipping process.

The space-saving design evolved from a current customer's need for a new cookie container. LINDAR plans to incorporate the new trim style throughout its packaging range.

"It was a combination of a customer wanting a new look for a new cookie product line introduction and the LINDAR design team creating something unique," Fosse says "We have had a great response to this new style of container, and it is really gaining traction for new product introductions."

And instead of offering a one-size-fits-all version of the container, LINDAR decided to offer customers three different packaging options for maximum adaptability. Customers can choose to have the container manufactured from APET, a combination of RPET and PCRPET, or they can opt for Ingeo, the popular plant-derived biopolymer. Given the compostable nature and non-petroleum origins of Ingeo, it is the greenest choice, but all three materials offer baking companies an eco-conscious option.

"It is very important to LINDAR to offer materials that are sustainable," Fosse explains "By us offering these different materials, our customers have options for their various perspectives of sustainability."¬

APET, which can be identified by the recycling symbol bearing the number 1, is known for being the easiest consumer plastic to recycle. RPET is recycled PET, and PCRPET is post-consumer recycled PET. The latter contains between 25 and 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, making it an excellent environmental choice, while the former can contain either post- or pre-consumer recycled materials.

A study by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) examined the life cycles of several plastic resins in order to provide packaging manufacturers with insight into the environmental impact and performance characteristics of different materials. The report concluded that using recycled PET in packaging greatly decreases a container's environmental impact due to the reduced energy used and emissions produced during the packaging's manufacture.

"There's no true sustainability without recycling, and this new study confirms and quantifies the environmental benefits of recycling PET," says Tom Busard, NAPCOR chairman and vice president of global procurement and material systems for Plastipak Packaging. ¬"We're seeing more customers requesting LCIs in order to do life cycle assessments so that they can more accurately understand the sustainability profiles of their packaging."

Make no mistake - it is indeed important that companies stay informed about their packaging, as consumers are paying attention to the green claims being made. Fifty-seven percent of consumers surveyed by market research firm Datamonitor said it is important to buy ethical or socially responsible products. The same number also said that packaging was a key consideration in their purchasing decisions.

"The more tangible nature of packaging allows consumers to actually see and feel the difference they are making,"¬explains Katrina Diamonon, Datamonitor analyst. "Sustainable packaging is a claim that can be physically substantiated, rather than just supported by a stamp or logo, which can draw considerable skepticism. Buying products with reduced packaging has ethical implications, so this is becoming an
increasingly popular way for consumers to translate their good intentions into action¬- a marketing technique that brands will need to continue to tap into if they wish to establish ethical credentials."¬

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© 2008 Penton Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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