interpack 2017: Technical Article No. 6
Beauty out of the tube, glass and jar—a look at the beauty industry in a White Paper supplied by interpack 2017.
March 31, 2017
by Melanie Streich, freelance journalist
Beautiful prospects: the cosmetics sector is growing and with it the choice of innovative packaging. Photo: Beauty, Messe Düsseldorf
“Beauty is everywhere a very welcome guest,” wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at the start of the 19th century.
Some 3,000 years before this, a great deal of time and care was devoted to the outer appearance of humans.
The Ancient Egyptians were famous for their highly-developed beauty culture—serving as a reference and the epitome of purity and beauty was the legendary Queen Nefertiti.
Whether make-up, ointments or tinctures often made by priests, the products found their place in select and finely-decorated containers made of clay, slate, metal or wood.
That trend continues today, with packaging for cosmetics evoking the idea of luxury, as it combines high-quality materials with sophisticated graphic applications and finishes.
That certain something
The body care cult is not going away any time soon. On the contrary, spending money on cosmetics continues to rise, year-after-year.
According to a business report by cosmetics giant L’Oréal, global transactions of cosmetic goods in 2016 were worth an estimated €205-billion (CDN $291.7-billion)—a rise of 4 per cent over the previous year, and more growth than achieved in the previous three years.
However, this growth goes hand-in-hand with increased competition.
To be successful in the highly-competitive cosmetics market, one also has to ensure to have precise positioning and communication of brand content.
When selecting packaging, brand and packaging firms look for unmistakable brand design. Going hand-in-hand here are multi-sensory effects and special finishes that turn simple packaging into a real brand experience.
To achieve its impactful results, family-owned high-quality packaging experts Edelmann combine different finishing technologies.
Edelman head of marketing Oliver Eschbaumer explains the special effect this achieves: “By combining individual elements the original contrasts develop into a new symbiosis and in a smart combination they achieve unexpected impact.”
An example is the interplay achieved by using both matte and gloss coatings.
Surfaces can be emphasized like this or lettering can be highlighted.
Tactile aspects are also a very important trend in packaging and beauty products.
By embossing graphic elements individual accents can be created.
“At Edelmann, time and again we are inspired by tactile communication,” explains Eschbaumer. “But we know that featuring tactile-looking elements on packaging often only makes sense if a dialogue is initiated with the product promise.”
Whiter than white
A product promise of “whiter-than-white” is not only found in the laundry detergent brand Persil, but also via the Finnish-Swedish group Stora Enso.
Stora Enso has achieved a very white tone on its new and improved virgin-fiber carton board, Ensocoat.
“Luxury packaging typically includes processes like embossing and hot-foil embossing as well as other special effects that make high demands of the material in terms of smoothness, whiteness and folding characteristics,” stresses Stora Enso product manager Eva Lundqvist.
Whiteness and lightness of the carton are, she says, the most important technical properties.
Established on the market since the 1960s, this bleached cellulose (solid bleached board or SBS) carton will be presented at this year’s interpack 2017 trade fair alongside many other innovative packaging solutions for the cosmetics industry.
From May 4-10, 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany, visitors to interpack 2017 will find answers to all questions concerning the manufacturing, packaging and logistics of highly sensitive products.
Also providing interesting insights into the latest components for manufacturing technologies will be the accompanying event “components—special trade fair by interpack” that is primarily aimed at upstream suppliers to the packaging industry and firms that offer drive, control and sensor technology products for industrial image processing, handling technology, industrial software and communication as well as complete automation systems for packaging machinery.
Nature in focus
In the beauty sector, it’s not only ingredients and production that need to be as sustainable as possible because consumers also make the same demands for packaging. Here they want recyclable packaging in the same way as they want resource-saving production.
Alongside the use of renewable raw materials, companies also offer special compact packaging that can help avoid unnecessary waste.
Special packaging solutions also help to reduce cosmetic residue by ensuring tubes, bottles and jars can be more easily emptied.
Especially with natural cosmetics, brand owners and manufacturers look to sustainable packaging concepts.
Originally known for its comfortable sandals, footwear firm Birkenstock has developed a natural cosmetics line focusing on the main active ingredient cork in February 2017.
To tie in with this, packaging systems with a refill system were selected. The stable bottles with airless dispensers and cork bases contain replaceable cartridges. When a product is finished the consumer just buys the refill and places it in the original container.
This saves resources and shows how clever and uncomplicated sustainability can be.
What’s more, the product is protected since the airless dispenser prevents air from reaching the contents, protecting against oxidation, contamination and dehydration.
Safety as a basic principle
With sensitive products like cosmetics, protection is a top priority. Just like in the pharmaceutical and food sectors, stringent hygiene rules apply.
Use of cleaning products and disinfection methods means the materials in the sterile environment of the packaging machinery are often subjected to high stresses; at the same time they must offer as little room for contamination as possible.
To prevent contamination ingress from cleaning or packaging materials, unsealed closures must be avoided as much as possible within the filling process.
For filling ointments, creams and other paste-like products, the specialist packaging technology firm IWK offers “FP Sterile”—a platform for tube filling in metal, plastic or laminate tubes that avoids so-called dead spaces where residue or bacteria can collect and multiply.
This particularly applies for critical transitions to components. To prevent any particles entering the open tube the grippers only touch the outer sides of the tubes—unlike with conventional machines where the mandrel penetrates the open tube.
Men’s cosmetics have become one of the biggest growth markets in the body care sector in recent years.
The segment saw its first boom at the beginning of 2000 when the cosmetics industry put the metrosexual man into focus, leading to numerous dedicated men’s cosmetics lines.
Seventeen years later expectations many have lowered but at the same time niche products have become generators of income. Market researchers value the turnover at more than US$47-billion (CDN $62.6-billion).
The packaging world has also changed in pace with the development of this male target group for beauty care products: what women like, isn’t necessarily what men like.
This is something corporate consultant firm bluestone AG chief executive officer Diane Jaffé knows all too well. She advises companies on the topic of gender marketing and is familiar with men and women’s different expectations of packaging. Shape, size and material play an equally decisive role as surface textures, colors or ornamentation.
“Women are often attracted to the opposite of what appeals to men,” explains Jaffé.
Straight, square and angular means masculine; rounded forms look more feminine. Brand-name companies have long since recognized the potential of targeted packaging design and do not just attune their marketing and packaging according to gender but also their prices.
The right color
However, packaging colors must not just be seen in the context of gender.
Colors also increase recognition levels and underline brand identification.
More than fonts, colors are easier recognized by consumers and remain in one’s memory for a long period of time than fonts.
Strong brands like Coca-Cola or Nivea have managed to be distinctive with their choice of color.
Special color systems help to choose the unique corporate or brand color. There are thousands of colors to choose from. But for long-term recognizability it is vital that the same color tone is uniformly used.
This also entails technical challenges—especially in printing and finishing processes that can impact the chosen color tone.
To choose, compare and check printing inks there are so-called color fans that are produced using offset printing and which therefore ensure particularly high concordance.
Proprietary colors can be defined in any gloss level as a color standard: as a printed version, in plastic or digital.
The nearer the material of the master is to the original material the easier it is to compare. And the easier it is for the packaging to meet shoppers’ expectations thereby making it the perfect brand ambassador.