Knowing that consumers will not be won without a good product in good packaging, the old marketing maxim of the 4Ps has expanded to encompass 7Ps (product, place, price, promotion, packaging, position and people), placing more importance on branding and packaging.
With packaging’s role becoming ever-more prominent, BillerudKorsnäs commissioned a study (June 2011) focused on packaging at retail. In March, with its findings as a backdrop, a two-day South African conference, organised by Jimmy Nyström, business development director, was held at Spier Wine Estate (Western Cape). The aim was to grow partnerships with packaging converters, retailers and brand owners. With a strong footprint in Europe and Asia, and growth in the Middle East and the US, BillerudKorsnäs is now focusing attention on Africa’s fast-growing markets.
Swedish-based BillerudKorsnäs, locally represented by Gerber Paper, is a leading provider of renewable packaging material (paper and board) and works with partners to create smarter packaging products that increase profits, excite consumers and contribute to sustainability.
At the conference, delegates were given an overview of the company’s primary products, including sack paper, liquid packaging board, cartonboard, fluting, liners, 3D paper and kraft paper.
‘Connecting new people and new ideas is the key to innovation’ was a common thread that wove its way through every presentation.
‘Collaboration is essential to our success,’ explained Jon Haag, corporate innovation manager at BillerudKorsnäs’s New Business Lab. ‘The conference is about connecting with customers, converters, brand owners and key industry players to develop the value chain, innovate and share ideas.’
To allow paper products to compete with plastics, Marcus Lager and Uwe Pfander explained how Bosch is collaborating with BillerudKorsnäs to develop VFFS (vertical form-fill-seal) equipment that runs PE-coated paper as well as flexible packaging.
Based on trends for sugar and flour packaging in Europe (a demand for speciality packaging, convenience, ready mixes, varying packaging styles, better print and visual appeal, more functionality and the burgeoning private label market), they highlighted what they believe sets paper and board apart from plastics, including renewable resources and cost efficiency.
A prototype machine manufactured by Bosch is still in its development phase, but this exciting technology shows that it’s possible to make paper pillow, gusseted or stand-up bags, either by using VFFS technology or a mandrel wheel.
Shaping up packaging
Another fascinating presentation, delivered by Armin van Overbeck, BillerudKorsnäs business segment director, consumer laminates, was entitled Shape up your Packaging.
BillerudKorsnäs’ FibreForm is an innovative packaging material that offers the freedom to shape and form packaging for any number of applications, including trays and blister packs, sleeves and packaging. ‘The high-strength FibreForm material makes it possible to replace plastics, glass or metal with a fully-renewable material,’ Armin explained. ‘The result is packaging that has the impact, creativity and sustainability to resonate immediately with consumers.’
FibreForm consists of 100% primary fibre, and its purity and strength are approved for food contact. It can be coated with an array of films to protect against light, moisture, bacteria and other impurities, and is ideal for deep embossing, foiling and offset printing.
Working in collaboration with Swedish-based FibreForm Packaging, BillerudKorsnäs also offers FreeFormpack, a complete inline form-fill-seal packaging system based on two ground-breaking technologies – FibreForm formable paper and the PAM/BOM forming machine. This 3D forming and shaping technology is suitable for non-liquid foods (granulates, powders, tablets and pieces) and all non-food markets.
‘Innovation is the core; sustainability is our watchword,’ were the opening words of a presentation by Patrik Bosander, business development director, packaging paper.
‘It’s the slow-growing Scandinavian forest that provides the strong fibres for high-quality paper,’ he commented before pointing out that a growing forest absorbs more carbon dioxide than one that’s fully grown. ‘Paper can be recycled and burnt as biofuel, replacing fossil fuels and, if discarded carelessly, is biodegradable, ensuring the environment comes to no harm. Thinking sustainability is in our DNA. We borrow timber, water and energy from Mother Nature and, of course, we want to repay her. For every tree we cut after 60 to 100 years of growth, two to four new trees are planted. Additionally, the water we use is purified and returned to the cycle.’
According to BillerudKorsnäs, its operations are firmly rooted in a natural eco-cycle. The right packaging for the right purpose is resource efficient, resulting in a lower environmental impact thanks to less loss of packaged goods, lower fuel consumption and higher production capacity.
The two-day event was jam packed with nuggets about innovation, collaboration and quality. ‘To deliver smarter packaging, overcome problems and improve efficiencies you need to work with trusted partners,’ commented Lars Bergström, technical customer service manager bag solutions.
Delegates were treated to superb hospitality, including wine tasting, a dinner banquet at Moyo and many opportunities for networking. Another of the event’s highlights was a talk by journalist and author, Max du Preez, who had delegates hanging on every word as he presented his views on South African business development, current risks and the economic vision for post 2014 elections.