For the last 60 years, Halloren Kugeln chocolates have been a favourite on Germany’s confectionery shelves. But the Halloren management team refuses to rely solely on popularity and tradition and the brand recently received a facelift. Cartons for 16 different flavours now feature uniform corporate design elements, and the company’s snack brand Choc ’n Snack is now being sold in stand-up pouches – more conspicuous on-shelf and resealable.
‘In a highly-competitive environment, companies want to win market share with a constant stream of new products,’ comments Torben Erbrath, spokesman for the German confectionery Industry. The pack is key to the purchase. It not only has to protect delicate contents, but also catch the eye – calling for exceptional creativity from packaging designers. Showy colours and shapes are just as important as effective consumer marketing.
However, some manufacturers tend to overdo things and those who mislead consumers with fraudulently oversized packages come in for repeated criticism. A survey by the North Rhine-Westphalian Consumers Association reveals that on average biscuit and snack packs contain around 40% empty space. Such deception is not only illegal, but also pointless.
Consumers feel cheated. Not only do wasted resources impact negatively on the environment – of which consumers are well aware – but inflated packs are also counterproductive for economic reasons. Confectionery manufacturers face massive cost pressures, as energy, packaging materials and ingredients become increasingly expensive.
To avoid alienating environmentally-aware consumers and to offset cost increases, manufacturers have to minimise packaging and use more efficient production methods.
Halloren leads by example, as the new packaging makes a mark without elaborate design and extra frills. Other manufacturers are resorting to material downsizing, giving preference to easily-recyclable materials.
Sustainability is a megatrend
‘Sustainability is a megatrend,’ comments Ralf Weidenhammer, head of the eponymous packaging company. Among other things, Weidenhammer produces recyclable composite cans for confectionery and savoury snacks. These cans have helped brands such as Knack & Back and Pringles to achieve popularity, enabling them to find the balance between extravagance and efficiency.
Meanwhile scientists are searching for greener and cheaper alternatives.
One sustainable alternative to transparent multilayer films, as employed in Weidenhammer’s composite cans, has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging – in the form of a film coating made of whey. This EU-funded project makes use of whey protein instead of oil-based plastics. Researchers have found that whey’s naturally-occurring substances extend shelf life; and, unlike oil, whey is available in unlimited quantities and is biodegradable.
With their numerous innovations, packaging and machine suppliers have adjusted to the new requirements in the confectionery and baked goods sector. Consumer goods manufacturers will have plenty to choose from among all the new packaging and more efficient machine solutions. At the coming interpack, they can put themselves in the picture.