By and  on November 21, 2007

Product Packaging Key Theme at Trade Show

MONTE CARLO, Monaco — Sustainability was a watchword at Luxe Pack Monaco, the packaging trade show held here from Oct. 23 to 26.

A total of 6,121 people attended the session, representing a 9.5 percent increase from the number at the same event in 2006.

Durability was discussed during a roundtable conference led by Agnès Kubuak, artistic director of Style Vision.

"How do you inscribe a product in the long term?" she asked. Kubuak said one way companies can prolong product life cycles is by creating packaging that can be used in various manners. A box, for instance, may second as a CD holder when emptied of its original content.

"Not one week goes by when a company doesn't ask me for sustainable packing," continued Laurent Morlieras, production director of Carré Noir, echoing the experience of many executives at the trade show.

"We have more and more requests to use recyclable paper," agreed Markus Poppe, marketing and sales director at Procos.

However, a fully sustainable solution is rarely available these days.

"No packaging is 100 percent 'white,'" added Jean-Pierre Cornillou, packaging department manager at Strate Collège. "You have to find a compromise. It is a question of an equilibrium."

DuPont Cosmetic Solutions' new makeup brushes have a green element. The company is using bristles made of Tynex Natrafil, a polymer composite that resembles animal hair, said Claudia Tillmanns, account manager Europe for the company.

Andreas Ritzenhoff, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Seidel GmbH, a German-based supplier largely specializing in aluminum packaging, has embarked on a nanotechnology research mission to create methods of manufacturing containers that use less material. As a side benefit, Ritzenhoff, who is working with two German universities, has already discovered how to create different surface effects that, for instance, make aluminum look like porcelain. Ritzenhoff indicated that his goal is to make luxury packaging more sustainable. "We don't have to spoil the world," he noted, adding, "I think we will see a revolution."Ritzenhoff puts such importance on the project that he reorganized top management by naming two general managers — Frank Hemer will oversee business affairs while Michael Hoff is in charge of technical matters — "so I can dedicate more of my time to innovation."

Also, at Alcan Packaging there is an effort to reduce the amount of material used in packaging, said Nicholas Thorne, innovation and development director. He explained in order for Alcan to discuss sustainability in "real terms" with its clients, the company has worked with outside databases to create a model — called Alcan Sustainability Stewardship Evaluation Tool — through which Alcan can make a "lifestyle analysis." In other words, ASSET is used to show clients the sustainability of different packaging.

On creating sustainability in general, Thorne said, "We can go much further than where we are today; we've just scratched the surface."

The subject is clearly here to stay, judging from a panel discussion led by packaging designer Marc Rosen. It was called "Echo Eco, the Advent of Sustainable Luxury," and featured fashion designer Linda Loudermilk and the heads of two organic beauty brands — Brenda Brock of Farmaethetics and Jane Dir and Rohan Widdison of Nvey Eco Cosmetics.

Widdison, the founding ceo of Nvey Eco, said, "what was a far-out idea two years ago is now a trend moving toward a future."

Bridging the Price Points

Many executives attending the Luxe Pack show say mass and masstige beauty product manufacturers are trading up when it comes to packaging.

"We're not just in the selective market anymore," said Claudia Tillmanns, account manager Europe for DuPont Cosmetic Solutions. "We are in the mass market, too."

The company's trademarked Surlyn, which is scratch-resistant, has been used by mass and bridge market brands for two years. And that business is growing, she said.

So, too, is SGD noting an uptick in demand from masstige brands, said Eugénie Ponsar, market manager, prestige perfumery, for the company. She added, "The flanker market is getting bigger, so people are asking for more ways to differentiate their bottles."At Luxe Pack, SGD displayed techniques including glued-on metal plates, holographic effects made with lacquer, stuck-on Swarovski crystals, flocking and various other metal effects, along with more traditional finishings.

Rexam showcased Visible Lips, a stock lipstick with a transparent tube and cap allowing consumers to see quickly the makeup color. The airtight tube, whose cup is a slender 11 millimeters, was created with the whole range of distribution channels in mind — from specialty stores to supermarkets.

Meanwhile, Cosfibel Inc.'s new ceo Ilan Schinazi said the company's primary packaging business stems these days not just from the traditional high-end brands, but also from mass market names.

Schinazi would not discuss numbers, but industry sources estimate Cosfibel rings up $20 million annually from primarily packaging and $50 million a year from promotional items. The firm — through a reorganization and the opening of subsidiaries in some major cities worldwide, among other changes — expects to double its sales within five years.

Samples Get Snazzier

Sampling is more dynamic by the minute.

"People are sampling more," said Fabio Mangiarotti, European sales director for business sampling at Valois. "Studies show consumers are not keen to use vials, since they're not representative of the final product; they are perceived as cheap," he said, referring to the classic versions, adding the demand for more qualitative sampling is on the rise. "Companies need to differentiate themselves because of the hundreds of launches."

Among the novelties Valois highlighted at Luxe Pack was the next iteration of its Easy Cap, called EasyLink. The new styles come as a pour and a spray format, and each was created so eye-catching attachments can be hung from them.

"The idea was to present something in line with trends," explained Mangiarotti, referring to the fashion of attaching little knickknacks to objects, such as cell phones.

Procos, meanwhile, displayed at Luxe Pack a shopping bag replete with an ample-size scratch-and-sniff sample stuck to its side.

"We can virtually make it with any scent," said Leander Kritikos, president of the company.

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