News

  • EPA Joins Rep. Marshall for Navigable Waters Protection Rule Announcement at Kansas Commodity Classic
    by Region 07 on January 24, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Environmental News FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE […]

  • More Widespread Support for EPA and Army's Navigable Waters Protection Rule – A New Definition of WOTUS
    by Headquarters, Water (OW) on January 24, 2020 at 5:00 am

    WASHINGTON (Jan. 24, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. […]

  • EPA and Army Deliver on President Trump’s Promise to Issue the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – A New Definition of WOTUS
    by Region 10 on January 24, 2020 at 5:00 am

    With the the 52nd annual Idaho Potato Conference and Ag Expo in Pocatello serving as a backdrop, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, U.S. […]

  • EPA and Army Deliver on President Trump’s Promise to Issue the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – A New Definition of WOTUS
    by Region 03 on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    PITTSBURGH, PA (January 23, 2020) – Today, at an event at the US Army Corp of Engineers’ (USACE) Pittsburgh District Office, EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio, USACE Deputy Commander Jon Klink, and Representative Glenn Thompson (PA-15) celebra […]

  • What They Are Saying | EPA and Army Deliver on President Trump’s Promise to Issue the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – A New Definition of WOTUS
    by Headquarters, Water (OW) on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    […]

  • EPA and Army deliver on President Trump’s promise to issue the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – a new definition of WOTUS
    by Region 08 on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    COLORADO SPRINGS -- Today, at an event at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, U.S. EPA Region 8 Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin and Lt. Col. Robin Scott, Deputy Commander of the U.S. […]

  • EPA and Army Deliver on President Trump’s Promise to Issue the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – A New Definition of WOTUS
    by Region 02 on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    SYRACUSE, New YORK  – Today, at an event at Emmi Farms in Baldwinsville, New York, EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez and Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District Commander LTC Jason Toth celebrated the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. […]

  • EPA helps improve watershed in central Arkansas
    by Region 06 on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    DALLAS – (Jan. 22, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded funding to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division to develop modeling strategies to help improve water quality for the Bayou Meto watershed in central Arkansas. […]

  • U.S. EPA and Army Deliver Navigable Waters Protection Rule and Redefine WOTUS
    by Region 09 on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    PHOENIX — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker, Col. Daryll Fust, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Deputy Commander, and U.S. […]

  • Correcting the Record: Media Erroneously Claims EPA and Army Jeopardize Wetlands & Stream Protection
    by Headquarters, Office of the Administrator (AO) on January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

    WASHINGTON (Jan. 23, 2020) — According to multiple media reports, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which delivers a new, clear definition for “waters of the United States,” issued today by the U.S. […]

  • Barrier Bottle packaging: 9 fascinating facts
    on January 22, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Qualifying as recyclable, reusable and refillable, the freshly patented, low-cost Barrier Bottle insulates the drink inside. David Fussell, president of VenturSource Consulting, is a prolific inventor, holding more than 30 patents worldwide. He has also been successful—the patented Ornamotion proved a holiday ornament sensation, selling more than 60 million units.Fussell believes the Barrier Bottle that he co-invented is another winner, telling Packaging Digest, “I’ve been working with new products for a long time and have never been involved in a product that had such potential.”Here are 9 fascinating facts about Barrier Bottle, Fussell’s first patent in the packaging market.The concept originated on a train.“My associates, RP Agarwal and Dr. Anup Gupta, are professors at GLA University, Mathura, India,” explains Fussell. “For years they observed many of their countrymen riding non-airconditioned trains in high temperatures without access to cold water. Even if you freeze the water bottle overnight, the water heats up quickly, and the condensation on the bottle makes it difficult to carry in a bag or clothing. They thought about the thermos concept and wondered if the design could be used to manufacture an inexpensive plastic bottle.”The professorial pair sought Fussell’s expertise in intellectual property manufacturing and marketing. He worked with them and filed for the U.S. patent in September 2019.   The name Barrier Bottle describes the structure.The concept is similar to a thermos and is effectively a plastic-bottle-within-a-plastic bottle.According to Fussell, the space between the two interior surfaces allows the use of specified gas mixtures to fill the barrier to maintain the contents at an optimal temperature for longer periods to extend the shelf life.The bottle stays cold for 4-plus hours.Engineers in India engineers performed extensive testing demonstrated that B.B. bottles of water refrigerated overnight remain cold for up to 4.5 hours longer than standard bottles of water.A professional engineering firm also validated the test results.“If you freeze a B.B., you have cold water all day long with little or no moisture on the outside of the bottle,” offers Fussell. “Think about the value of that in countries where cold water is scarce.” It can be used as a single- or multiple-use container.“I believe Barrier Bottle is valuable as a single-use bottle as well as a reusable bottle,” states Fussell. “B.B. can be produced from the same PET material as traditional water bottles, but the walls are a little thicker, so it makes a great reusable container. Both concepts can be implemented at the same time.”In countries where the single-use bottles are threatened or barred, the Barrier Bottle would qualify as a refillable and reusable bottle, he points out.Customers can promote a reuse bottle option at a price that competes with current single-use options where it’s extended shelf life and environmentally friendly design. The per-unit cost is nominal. Fussell pegs the cost at approximately $0.035 using PET, which could vary depending on the energy cost in the manufacturer's country. The larger the size, the better it insulates.In addition to the industry standard PET as the bottle polymer of choice, the B.B. is suitable for any FDA-approved thermoplastic.As for container size and designs, Fussell reports that “our tests show all shapes and sizes see the same positive shift in performance. There is a slight gain in shelf life and insulation factors as the vessel volume increases.” The Barrier Bottle floats. The B.B. is approximately 0.20 grams heavier than a standard 0.5-L PET bottle with 0.20mm-thick walls, Fussell reports.Yet, whether capped or uncapped, the B.B. floats in water. Fussell points that out because a plastic PET water bottle, for example, sinks in water if the cap's off.“If discarded in a marine environment the Barrier Bottle does not end up on the lake, river or ocean bottom, which makes environmental cleanup far easier and far less costly,” he points out. Fussell developed prototypes in his garage.The pairing of inventions and garages is not only a cliché, it’s common: several among numerous include the telephone, Etch A Sketch, Dyson vacuum and the personal computer.The Barrier Bottle is no exception.“We’ve made about 40 prototypes, some of which were created in my garage before I hired an engineering firm to construct a prototype mold to produce bottles for testing,” says Fussell. Licensing discussions are underway.Fussell is in licensing discussions with several beverage companies in India.“I’m seeking to license the concept to bottlers around the world,” he reports, “and am considering partnering with packaging experts that can help facilitate this product development into the Industry.” David Fussell can be reached via the VenturSource Consulting website or dafussell@gmail.com or LinkedIn.___________________________________________________________________________________WestPack 2020 February 11-13 presents the latest solutions in food and beverage packaging, automation, package design and more in an advanced manufacturing event that includes PLASTEC West and offers the Cannabis Packaging Summit, all held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Register to attend today! ___________________________________________________________________________________ […]

  • Cornell joins consortium to ‘green’ business supply chains
    by TSC Webmaster on January 21, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    The university has new opportunities to champion greener consumer products, supply chains and commercial trade, as the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability on Jan. Read more  » The post Cornell joins consortium to ‘green’ business supply chains appeared first on The Sustainability Consortium. […]

  • Labeling 20/20: A clear look at this year’s top trends
    by Ken Moir on January 17, 2020 at 4:31 am

    As we focus our attention on 2020 and the coming years, it is more evident than ever that labeling is changing in a big way. To many, this should be no surprise as the nature of business itself has rapidly shifted with the addition of new technologies that are digitally transforming the way we work—from cloud infrastructure models to increasingly connected devices, as well as societal demands for greater consumer safety and organizational transparency.To capture the state of labeling technology and where the industry is trending, here are five predictions that will not only impact 2020 but also countless years to come. 1. Integrations and migrations—the key to efficiency.The evolution of labeling will be driven by broader information technology (IT) trends of digitization and modernization. These trends will encompass evolving technology and processes in solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES). And many businesses will not only have to prepare for today but make their systems scalable and competitive for 10 years down the road.When an enterprise updates its ERP, one result of this is that the organization must then modernize its labeling system, which often means implementing or migrating to a new standard and centralized global labeling solution. As changes to enterprise systems accelerate and new technology is adopted, a new pipeline of opportunities for label management or global labeling solutions is creating a watershed moment. This trend will likely speed up beyond 2020, and increasingly persist throughout the next decade.One particular component involves cloud technology. According to recent Statista reports, the cloud ERP market revenue worldwide will jump to $40.5 billion in 2025. As a result of the rapid cloud adoption already underway, cloud labeling solutions are already operating in the field. This change is often not done all at once though and, many times, organizations place some elements on-premise, and components like printer drivers that generate printer command languages may still operate on local servers, even though they will likely migrate over to the cloud soon.With the increase in cloud-based labeling, there will also be higher levels of cloud-to-cloud integration both in general business systems and with label management systems. This will reduce the complexity of the process for businesses and make label management more efficient and simpler.Photo courtesy of NiceLabel 2. Say hello to a simpler and connected IoT ecosystem.Along with software, the hardware involved in labeling—such as printers—will also become more streamlined and modernized. For example, as mobile Windows computers are nearing end-of-life, many organizations are switching over to Android-based devices instead.But it’s not just PCs—printers are also being standardized. Among the benefits, this requires fewer spare parts to stock, results in less unplanned downtime, streamlines operations and reduces admin work as well as the need for support for basic tasks like changing printer settings, loading media and training operators.While many organizations are adopting a “less is more” mantra by standardizing their equipment, greater adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is also drastically reshaping the hardware environment.One report estimates that the manufacturing industry will spend $310 billion by 2023 on IoT and other Industry 4.0 products and services, and following this, the printers themselves will likely become increasingly connected. The technology making this possible has been available before, but the evolving market is now becoming advanced enough to take advantage of this, and over the coming decade, we will likely see businesses profiting from key benefits like driverless printers in the cloud. 3. One system to rule them all: The convergence of labeling and direct marking. Historically, most label printing has been done with traditional thermal printing, while direct marking has typically involved continuous laser etching and inkjet printing. While many organizations have managed the two separately in the past, they are now converging to use one system for both technologies.Supporting this transition is centralization through a label management system, which makes using one system to print both easier. Modern label management systems can interface with a range of direct marking and labeling printers, regardless of manufacturer. This interoperability will prevent discarding products, reworking of labels or large upfront capital expenditures on products that won’t integrate with other systems.____________________________________________________________________________________________Find your success! Subscribe to free Packaging Digest enewsletters.____________________________________________________________________________________________4. RFID goes mainstream.The apparel and garment sectors have already become a hotbed for radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. But in 2020, you can expect to see greater adoption from others as well. It’s clear why: Among the benefits, RFID can streamline operations by providing greater visibility and immediate insights into inventory. Don’t just take my word for it—a recent Future Market Insight report estimates that the global RFID market will grow 14.5% annually from 2018 to 2028.    5. Stricter regulations (and a simple solution).As times change and governments and consumers alike try to ensure safety and protect consumer rights, regulations around accurate packaging will undoubtedly get amended. Following this trend, labeling regulation across countless industries has become more stringent. This will surely continue into 2020 and beyond.It’s especially evident in the pharmaceutical industry, where organizations must adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices, as well as local regulations, and in the Food and Beverage space, where new nutritional facts guidelines will be enforced by the Food and Drug Administration by 2020 (or 2021 depending on business size), the rules around allergen labeling are being tested with instances like Illinois adding sesame as a recognized allergen, and controversies over how meat substances should be labeled are changing regulations.Adding to this, we are seeing new international regulations that will impact organizations that operate around the globe. For instance, Russia is introducing serialization requirements on everything from fur to pharmaceuticals and the European Union will introduce new medical device regulations in May 2020. In a time when mergers and acquisitions are rife and many businesses are reaching a global level, international businesses will have to customize their labeling by location to comply and keep up with these regulations.To protect consumers and account for changing regulations, businesses will need to ensure their labeling is completely accurate, not only for compliance but for the public’s trust in their brand. Again, this will push organizations to adopt a label management system that provides a reliable method to maintain compliant and accurate labeling. Looking to the future Already, 2020 is shaping up to be a compelling year for label management and the entire labeling industry. Trends like stricter regulation will continue to challenge organizations and the growth of RFID will continue to speed up. All the while, movements towards modernization, digital transformation, the adoption of cloud technology, and increasingly connected hardware will have a dramatic impact on labeling and are propelling the industry into the future, today.____________________________________________________________________________________________  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13 […]

  • Open design of premade pouch filler/sealer simplifies cleaning
    by Kate Bertrand Connolly on January 17, 2020 at 4:05 am

    For food packagers that require flexible packaging, the Triangle/JDD Rotary Pouch Machine provides an automated method for filling and sealing premade pouches. The filler, from vertical form-fill-seal machinery manufacturer Triangle Package Machinery Co. and JDD Packaging Ltd., features an open machine design for proper sanitation and maintenance.The system is compatible with Doyen-style bags, three-side seal pouches and stand-up pouches. Packagers can also switch between various film structures, including foil.Application examples include granola, snacks, candy, nuts, powders and fresh, frozen or dried produce. Depending on the product, the filler uses either a Triangle InLine Combination Weigher or other scale or auger to fill pouches. Standard features include an integrated date coder and a pouch shaker to settle product.The filler, which features tool-less changeover, can store up to 48 recipes and run multiple pouch sizes. A “no fill/no seal” feature reduces product and pouch waste by not dispensing product into pouches that haven’t opened; those pouches also bypass the machine’s sealing station.The easy-to-operate filler comes in two models—Model JRPM-8812 and JRPM-81215—and delivers filling speeds of up to 50 pouches per minute.See the new Triangle/JDD Rotary Pouch Machine in person at WestPack 2020 (Feb. 11-13; Anaheim, CA) in Triangle Package Machinery Co. Booth 5061.____________________________________________________________________________________________Find your success! Subscribe to free Packaging Digest enewsletters. […]

  • Rotary thermoformer saves floor space in medical cleanrooms
    by Kate Bertrand Connolly on January 17, 2020 at 4:00 am

    The rotary design of the SP-32-20 Thermoformer from Shawpak, a division of Riverside Medical Packaging Co., enables medical packagers and others to significantly reduce their thermoforming footprint and boost automation efficiencies.The thermoformer can be used to form, fill and seal rigid and flexible blisters and to produce flat, four-side seal sachets and three-side seal premade pouches.Featuring a compact vertical carousel instead of a linear design, the machine is both space- and energy-efficient. In cleanroom applications, the thermoformer’s footprint is less than 1.5 cubic meters, versus 4 to 12 linear meters for a conventional thermoformer.Designed without clip chains, the machine eliminates trim, which translates into reduced materials waste. It features fast, simple changeover and can accommodate multiple web widths on a single machine.The thermoformer features a flat, open surface that can be accessed from multiple sides for ease of loading, either manually, automatically or semi-automatically. In addition, the thermoformer costs 30% to 40% less than conventional machines, according to the manufacturer.See the Shawpak SP-32-20 rotary thermoformer in person at WestPack 2020 (Feb. 11-13; Anaheim, CA) in Shawpak Booth 4929.____________________________________________________________________________________________Find your success! Subscribe to free Packaging Digest enewsletters. […]

  • Perdue chooses dissolvable foam for ecommerce packaging
    by Kate Bertrand Connolly on January 16, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Perdue Farms sells chicken and other meats, but when the company recently launched an ecommerce channel, it turned to plant-based foam to boost its sustainable packaging game. Made from non-genetically modified organism (non-GMO) cornstarch, the foam in Perdue’s ecommerce shippers provides product insulation and can be disposed of via composting or dissolving in water.KTM Industries Inc. supplies Perdue Farms with the insulating material, called Green Cell Foam.The foam can be commercially or residentially composted—or, it can be dissolved and washed down a kitchen drain. Consumers can even place the foam in a bucket of water, let it dissolve overnight and then use the mixture to water plants.To further reduce the carbon footprint of its ecommerce operation, Perdue makes a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation for every order it ships. Consumers also receive a reusable grocery bag and a pollinator seed packet with each order. The company’s corrugated shippers are recyclable, as well.A reusable tote is also sent to Perdue's ecommerce customers. Some early reports from mainstream media about Perdue’s sustainable ecommerce packaging implied that the company is using the dissolvable foam for meat trays, but that is not the case.“We use the water-soluble, compostable Green Cell Foam as insulation inside the cardboard boxes,” says David Zucker, senior vice president of ecommerce and new ventures for Perdue Farms. “The base ingredient of this foam is cornstarch. It replaces what would normally be a Styrofoam cooler commonly used in perishable shipping.”He adds, “The actual packaging around the products is our standard packaging that meets United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements for food safety. The cardboard box is packed with the Green Cell Foam as an insulating liner, then the products go inside it with dry ice or frozen packs to keep the products at the appropriate temperature during shipping.”Zucker answers additional questions from Packaging Digest about Perdue’s new ecommerce operation and packaging. When did Perdue’s ecommerce site launch?Zucker: We conducted a soft launch late last year and a full launch to the general public on Mon., Jan. 6, 2020. Consumers who sign up for email alerts from PerdueFarms.com will receive 10% off their first order! Are the ecommerce products all shipped frozen? Zucker: The site will initially offer a selection of about 100 items across some of our most popular brands, including Perdue, Niman Ranch and Coleman Natural, with plans to add additional offerings over time, as demand increases. All products are shipped frozen. What types of primary packages are shipped in the ecommerce shippers?Zucker: Product packaging for our ecommerce items is the same standard, food-safe, USDA-approved packaging that you’d find in retail. Are all the ecommerce packaging components recyclable or compostable? Zucker: The shipment packaging for our ecommerce orders is all recyclable or compostable. The cardboard box is recyclable, and the insulating foam is compostable or dissolvable. The actual packaging that encases the products themselves is our standard, USDA-approved, food-safe packaging, much of which is recyclable.Each order from our ecommerce website will also arrive with a recyclable, reusable shopping tote and a packet of bee- and butterfly-friendly seeds for consumers to plant in their yards or elsewhere around their communities to help the local pollinator population flourish.Additionally, with each sale through our website, we will make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation to help offset our carbon footprint that will equate to removing more than 70 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere (the equivalent of 4,250 smartphone charges). How is Perdue communicating to consumers how they can recycle or compost the packaging components? Zucker: Each recyclable material is indicated with the standard marks to indicate its grade of “recyclability.” We also have information on our website that describes the Green Cell Foam in particular. Did the ecommerce site’s launch mark the beginning of Perdue’s use of compostable, dissolvable foam?Zucker: Yes, our ecommerce channel is the first place we are using this compostable foam insulation for shipping. Does the consumer need to remove the plastic film encasing the foam prior to dissolving or composting the foam?Zucker: Yes. Since the foam is water-soluble, the thin plastic around it protects it from any moisture from the products, weather or other packing materials in the shipment.[Note: According to KTM Industries, the low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film is recyclable with #4-coded plastics.] What are the sustainability impacts of using water to dissolve the Green Cell Foam in the home? Does it take a lot of water to dissolve?Zucker: The foam can be either rinsed down a sink or composted. A video showing how it can be washed down a kitchen sink can be found at the bottom of this web page.  Is Perdue looking at ways to use Green Cell Foam for retail sales, either in shipments to retailers or possibly in primary packaging?Zucker: We’re constantly seeking new and better ways to reduce our environmental impact as a company. As we get traction with our new ecommerce site, we’ll certainly have learnings and will explore if there are opportunities to expand the benefits even further across our supply chain. How have consumers reacted to Perdue’s sustainable ecommerce packaging, particularly the Green Cell Foam?Zucker: We’ve received many positive comments from consumers regarding the use of this compostable foam insulation.We have specific targets that we’re constantly working toward as a company, one being our goal to reduce our greenhouse gas intensity by 30% by 2022. The decision to use recyclable material in our ecommerce shipping materials, including the compostable foam insulation, is one of many steps we’re taking throughout our supply chain to help us achieve these targets.____________________________________________________________________________________________  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13 […]

  • Can you hear me now?
    on January 16, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    While not quite controversial, the results of our first poll on the viability of using voice-assistants to help monitor or control packaging machines or a packaging line were surprising.Our 2017 survey results showed that 70% of potential users at brand owner companies were open to it. But only 50% of packaging machinery manufacturers saw promise in voice assistants for their machines or for packaging lines.I first thought of the idea of using this technology in packaging production applications three years ago and talked with several packaging machinery manufacturers while I was at interpack 2017 to get their take, which was mixed.As we’re coming up on another triennial interpack show, I wanted to re-poll the packaging community to see what, if any, shifts in acceptance have happened over the last several years. Has my idea taken hold??Please take this short poll to let us know what you now think of this technology. Create your own user feedback survey ____________________________________________________________________________________________  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13 […]

  • 6 food and beverage packaging trends that will dominate 2020
    by Pamela Webber on January 14, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Like any good design, consumer packaging tells a story. It communicates what a product is, who it’s for, and helps to communicate a brand’s value proposition. But in the highly competitive—and increasingly saturated—food and beverage product landscape, where countless new offerings hit shelves each week, just standing out among the crowd is tougher than ever.In recent years, this cut-throat competition has prompted F&B brands to experiment with many innovative approaches to packaging design, both aesthetically and functionally, and 2020 will pick up right where 2019 left off.Here are a few of the hottest trends our designers expect will dominate food and beverage packaging in the year ahead.Beak Pick jam by Backbone Branding. 1. MetamorphosesAs the name implies, metamorphoses is where one design element goes through a transformation into another, creating an optical illusion that adds visual interest and draws consumers in to view the more intricate details of the packaging.Already picking up steam throughout 2019, we predict brands will increasingly embrace this artistic, avant garde trend in packaging as a way to make a statement and stand apart from the competition.Seedlip distilled non-alcoholic spirits. CLICK NEXT: Maximalism Pukka Tea packaging.   2. Maximalism and rich, heavily detailed packagingWith many economic experts predicting a global slowdown on the horizon, we expect (and are already seeing on our platform) more consumers seeking a sense of opulence, luxury and extravagance in their products. That’s why maximalism in packaging design is poised to be all the rage in the upcoming year. What’s emerging is more luxurious, more attention-grabbing, intense, richer colors, full of details.Dandelion Chocolates advent calendar.  CLICK NEXT: Retro-futurism, wha?! Sour Kush candies by 99designs designer Terry Bogard.  3. Retro-futurismRetro-futurism sounds like an oxymoron. However, actually, the combination of design elements evoking nostalgia (retro) and positive anticipation (futurism) can actually work very well together.In 2020, we expect to see packaging designers using the current gradient trend as a jumping-off point for creating packaging that pairs both futuristic and retro design elements to create remarkable designs that will appeal to a variety of consumers. CLICK NEXT: Eco-aware packagingPlastic-free cellulose packaging designed by Emma Sicher. 4. Ecologically-aware packagingWith most agreeing that we’re diving into a full-blown climate crisis, marketers are increasingly driven to seek out more ecological, plastic-free packaging alternatives to current packaging materials.In the year ahead, expect brands to start exploring the use of more eco-friendly materials in their packaging, moving towards packaging that’s easily recyclable, minimizing the amount of materials necessary for their packaging design or even forgoing packaging altogether. CLICK NEXT: Transparent packaging Beetroot juice packaging design by freedom+n on 99designs.  5. Transparent packaging Using transparent packaging that shows off a product’s color is already popular within the beauty and skincare sector, and in 2020, we expect to see a surge of this trend in food and beverage packaging as well. Layering design elements of transparent materials and using the drink or food product’s color as a design feature allows designers to add contrast and make those elements pop once the brand’s product is poured into it.This trend is a win-win: It allows brands to take a more minimal approach to the design process, but also places the product itself front and center of the customer experience without compromising on visual impact. CLICK NEXT: Structured layoutsDrinks packaging design for La Luna Brewing company by Obacht on 99designs. 6. Neatly structured layouts This packaging trend is focused on how a brand’s selected typography is used within the broader design.Text, which is typically comprised of a variety of unique and interesting font combinations, is separated by clear lines that divide the space into neat and balanced spaces, making for easy readability and a sense of structure that appeals to consumers and allows designers to take a more minimalistic approach to the rest of the design.&nbs […]

  • 7 things to know about the remarkable Smart Cups
    on January 14, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Created to be sustainably optimized, the world’s first printed—and waterless in shipment—beverages are energized for new products, packaging and markets.Chris Kanik’s career path is, as everyone’s, a unique one, but his is singularly remarkable. For one thing, he may be the only person to start working in an American Chemical Society lab at age 12 and years later, after relocating from New York City, enjoy a stint as a stand-up comedian in California.Kanik’s one-of-a-kind path continues as first an inventor and now chief excitement officer, aka founder and CEO, for Smart Cups, based in Mission Viejo, CA. The namesake product is based on patented technology for one-of-a-kind cups printed with functional ecapsulated ingredients that consumers activate by adding adding water to at the point of use.Here are seven noteable aspects of Smart Cups’ past, present and future. 1. Humble, yet explosively productive, beginnings.The idea for Smart Cups was sparked by a margarita, specifically due to Kanik’s impatience awaiting the drink’s arrival from a too-busy server at Taco Tuesday circa 2010.Kanik recalls thinking, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could just add ingredients to my cup of water ala Crystal Light and make my own drink?” On a napkin he jotted down the basic protocols that led to in-home experimentation using Everclear and filters.Although he succeeded in blowing up his kitchen, Kanik also created three different flavors of a dried, reconsitutable alcohol.In 2012/2013, he partnered with an inventor to develop a patented delivery system based on printed technology that permits the printing of ingredients on a substrate.That’s when they realized that the government would never allow a rehydratable alcohol drink into market. Kanik proceeded down a different path and, today, has overseas operations in a 23,000-sq-ft facility with 16 employees.2. The relaunch of proof-of-concept energy drinks.Smart Cups have been in the market since December 2017 when they were introduced in six flavors, all of which were taken out of circulation over the past months.Smart Cups were relaunched in October 2019 with what Kanik claims are better-tasting flavors: berry blast, tropical punch and green tea lemon and the most popular, raspberry lemonade.Kanik considers the line of energy drinks as a proof-of-concept rather than the best version of the technology.“It’s not that I loved energy drinks,” he tells Packaging Digest, “but because I wanted to prove the functionality and versatility of the technology—that we can print caffeine, amino acids, vitamins inside a cup. A short time after adding water, the user has an energy drink.”Kanik entered the mainstream beverage market because it was viewed as the easiest path to  commercial acceptance. 3. Waterless advantages.Smart Cups’ fundamental advantage versus standard drinks is the sharp reduction of storage and transportation requirements. Kanik explains that a truck that delivers 96,000 12-oz beverage cans now deliver 1.2 million units of that beverage in Smart Cups and with a significant weight reduction.Having the ingredients in dry encapsulated form particularly for sensitive functional formulations protects against microbial growth while greatly improving shelf life. "Currently, shelf life is declared at one year, but we are working towards improvements that will extend that for way beyond the average consumable," Kanik says.Notably, the Smart Cups manufacturing process uses no water. 4. Processing, manufacturing and upgrades.From a regulatory view, Smart Cups’ patented formulation uses only ingredients generally recognized as safe, or GRAS. At the heart of the patent and printable aspect is a food-safe polymer that protects the ingredients within that activates and dissolves in contact with a liquid, presumably water. The products dissolve in 45 to 90 seconds."The technical description is that the material is amphiphilic, meaning that it has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties," Kanik explains.Kanik says the entire two-part process of chemistry/formulation followed by manufacturing is critical to their success.As for the printing, Kanik will only acknowledge that “it’s not technically 3D printing” as some have surmised. “We built all our manufacturing equipment from scratch, and it takes a lot of art in addition to the science,” he adds.Output has grown from making batches of 50 to 100 in the lab to thousands in the plant, a capability that will further be “tremendously increased by mid-2020” through automation upgrades.Sold only online at the company website and at Amazon, the cups are available in two multipack sizes: 5- and 10-pack pouches made of a moisture-resistant, heat-sealed polyfilm pouch with press-to-close reseal that retail for $11.99 and $15.99 respectively; the latter works out to about $1.60 per energy drink, Kanik points out.The 9-oz serving size makes for faster consumption versus the industry standard 12-oz size, but users can dilute to whatever strength they prefer—it’s the labeled dosage regardless of dilution, he says.The company is expanding the printing technology to include the interior cup sides as well. “That provides more surface to increase the flavor profile and allows for more complex formulations,” Kanik says. Next: New packaging, products and markets____________________________________________________________________________________________  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13____________________________________________________________________________________________ Now made of PLA, next-generation Smart Cups may include recycled paper, edible materials and hot beverages. 5. PLA cups for now, but next…The cups, which serve as container and ingredient carrier, are made of polylactic acid (PLA) and supplied by Fabri-Kal, preprinted with the brand logo and related information.“I didn’t want a typical plastic and we weren’t ready to use paper,” explains Kanik of the decision. “Consumers needed to see and experience the Smart Cups in action.” Note that the photos are of actual Smart Cups.Now the company is considering other substrate options.“We can print onto virtually any surface, recycled paper, edible materials…you name it, we can print on it,” he offers. “We could print coffee complete with flavor, sweetener and creamer.”That would require hydration using hot water reconstitution for which PLA is unsuitable, so Kanik would look into recyclable paper cups.Other cup sizes are on the table as well. 6. The model—and a demographic shock.Smart Cups’ direct-to-consumer business model was done primarily because Kanik wanted to understand the consumer mindset.“It’s a technology that has not existed so we’re creating awareness and education as well as creating new brand with no footprint or track record, but asking consumers to trust us and buy it.“We’re creating a completely new consumer behavior,” he says. “With a can or bottle, the consumer perceives a value based on the product’s weight. With Smart Cups you’re holding an empty cup.”The energy drinks’ target were on a core demographic of males aged 18 to 35 as was the company’s marketing support.Six months later, Kanik received a shock about their actual customers.“I found that 98% of sales were from females age 25 to 45 predominately from the Midwest and South,” he says. “Now we’re increasing our demographic as more males adopt it.”The product and its unique technology have drawn the interest Kanik hoped they would.“We made splash with something new and companies came to me,” he reports, including in licensing the technology. Kanik will consider those existing options and new ones in the coming months. “It will be a very exciting time for us,” he states.7. Beyond energy drinks and beverages.“We’ve had continual growth, but I’m excited about the next 18 months as we make a big push in diversifying our product offerings,” says Kanik. Smart Cups’ upcoming beverage category offerings include kids’ beverages, electrolytes, coffees, teas and even alcohol beverages.Why alcohol versions now that were dismissed years ago?"The government is opposed to powder versions of alcohol," explains Kanik. "Because it is a dosing technology, our printing technology solves all issues associated with free-floating powder alcohol. Ours is en ecapsulated ethanol. Each serving is precisely alcohol by volume, which satisfies concerns from both regulatory and taxation standpoints. Further, if someone tried to scrape it, it would liquify and denature, solving the safety issues."The range of categories is expansive and far afield of drinks.“We have a rich pipeline of innovative ideas from cosmetics to food to industrial cleaners to prescription and over-the-counter drugs,” he states.Potential markets include hospitals, stadiums, schools and cafeterias.“Instead of apple juice, kids could have a range of calcium and vitamin fortified drinks,” he says. “Any application where the reduction of transportation and storage requirements are advantageous.”Those include humanitarian endeavors throughout the world.“I always knew that the tech presented storage and transportation advantages, but I didn’t realize how important that really is to the world—it’s really shocking the limitations in sharing resources across the globe,” Kanik reports. “An airplane can only get so many supplies to a relief area in Africa, this technology will greatly improve that.“That’s the thing I’m most passionate about it. I got into this to make a difference in the world—and Smart Cups is the technology that can do that.”Kanik will be speaking at The Packaging Conference, Feb. 3-5, at the AT&T Conference Center, Austin, TX, and will feature new plastic and packaging technology for sustainability.____________________________________________________________________________________________  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13____________________________________________________________________________________________&nbs […]

  • TSC and Cornell University Join Forces on Research and Innovation for a More Sustainable Future
    by TSC Webmaster on January 13, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    TSC and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability to explore improvements in digital agriculture, conservation finance, sustainability research projects, metrics and policy. Read more  » The post TSC and Cornell University Join Forces on Research and Innovation for a More Sustainable Future appeared first on The Sustainability Consortium. […]