Blog Post by Jesper Gustavsson, Business Development & Founding Partner of V-Shapes
If 2020 and 2021 taught us anything, it is how unpredictable the future is. That being said, there are certain trends in the packaging industry that we expect to see accelerate over the coming year.
There are two key factors we see driving change in packaging: an increased focus on climate change and sustainability, and the need for improved hygiene.
In terms of improved hygiene, this applies primarily, although not entirely, to communal venues, whether it is Sunday morning in the Church basement, or at the arena for your favorite football team. Whereas people were comfortable with using large containers of condiments in the past, they may be a little more concerned now, in light of the virus threat. This is driving increased demand for single-dose packaging of condiments and other food and cosmetics products. But there is also an opportunity to improve the usability of those little packets. There is nothing worse than either having difficulty opening that little packet of ketchup or having it spray all over everything when you do open it. We’ve all had that happen, and it is not fun!
That’s where the V-Shapes approach to single-dose packaging has an advantage, both in hygiene and convenience. You don’t need to use your teeth to open the packet or worry about the contents going where they are not wanted! You simply use three fingers with a single gesture and the product is deposited exactly where you need it, everything from hydroalcoholic gel to honey.
Sustainability and hygiene also overlap in this new view of single-dose packaging. By that I mean finding a single-dose solution that is easy to open and takes less space in packing and distribution than conventional packets. At V-Shapes, we addressed this with a sachet strategy that optimizes the size of the sachets based on desired contents and requires no air head space in the sachet. Not only does that decrease the size of each sachet enabling more of them to fit in a shipment, it also affects the longevity of the contained product, which could have its usable life shortened by oxidation. Plus, because our sachets dispense all of the contents in the packet, there is less product waste, important for both efficiency and sustainability.
Finally, and importantly, brands are increasingly focusing on sustainability across their entire supply chains. For us, this means an increased emphasis on R&D for recyclable laminates to create our sachets. Plus, because they are manufactured on demand, there is less waste in the process – it is no longer necessary to meet minimum order quantities in order to gain the best pricing, when it is uncertain how much of the production will actually be used. Feedback from consumers has been positive as well – they like the fact that the product is contained in minimal packaging, and that the packaging is recyclable.
I know this is happening, because about 90% of the inquiries I am now receiving have a key sustainability component. We think this will continue to be a driver for brands in the coming years. While we have offered recyclable laminates to customers almost from the outset, we expect to ramp that up to the point that by mid-2022, we are convinced that 75% of our sold laminates will be the recyclable version. There is still work to be done to achieve that, of course, including additional testing for shelf life, proof of compatibility with various filled products, and efficiency across a wide range of applications. We are in the process of doing that and will continue on that path. Meanwhile, many of our customers that are already using the technology are willing to share their experiences with others to help accelerate adoption.
For these reasons, we see sustainability and innovative safe opening of unit dose packaging as the two most important drivers in packaging in 2022 and beyond. And we are working hard to ensure these factors permeate everything we do.