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Packaging for a more sustainable world

Sun Chemical and BASF hosted an event in Dusseldorf titled ‘Packaging for a more sustainable world’, to highlighted the ever-growing demands of the consumer for smarter and more sustainable packaging and the need for brand owners and their packaging converters to be able to react to and anticipate future changes.

Keynote speakers included Dr Benjamin Punchard, Global Packaging Insights Director at Mintel who highlighted the need for more innovative packaging solutions to enable waste-conscious consumers to play their part in reducing food waste, which currently stands at 2 billion tonnes a year.

Dr Punchard noted changing consumer perceptions with 61% of consumers now more aware of the food they waste, with 60% unhappy with this wastage. He also outlined how flexible packaging, in particular pouches and resealable closures are playing a valuable role in extending shelf-life and reducing food waste, while lightweighting was another area of importance in lowering material unit costs, reducing bulk in product display and storage, as well as minimising material waste disposal for the consumer.

According to Dr Monika Brandt, Category Procurement Director, Hair & Oral at Unilever, the more informed and educated consumer is now playing a much more influential role in their choice and delivery of packaging solutions. Dr Brandt outlined Unilever’s goals for delivering greater consumer packaging benefits, by sourcing more sustainable raw materials and presenting a ‘more for less’ approach while delivering superior functionality and intelligent packaging.

While consumers are more informed than ever before, there are still some conflicts in the industry, highlighted by Sonia Whitely-Guest, Group Commercial Director, Sun Branding Solutions. “Consumers want to do the right thing for the environment, but they aren’t willing to compromise on quality, price or convenience; retailers also want to be seen to be responsible, but have to battle against rising costs and lower margins.” What was clear from Sonia’s presentation was that consumers won’t forgive brand owners who don’t take responsibility and therefore ‘the need to find a sustainable solution that still looks premium is key.’

Commenting on the trending issues and market insight highlighted at the event, Felipe Mellado, Chief Marketing Officer at Sun Chemical said, “As consumers continue to expect more from brands, the brand owners are turning to the manufacturers and packaging converters to provide the materials, technologies and applications to help them reach their environmental goals. As leading innovators we are constantly working on pushing the boundaries of innovation to deliver ink solutions that not only address the needs of the industry today, but also satisfy the demands of the future. We are delighted to have teamed up with our development partners at BASF to present expert insight in to the drivers within the packaging sector and to equip delegates with the knowledge, foresight and tools to deliver sustainable, functional and appealing packaging solutions.”

“More demanding consumers with diverse requirements who like to see food safety and quality combined with environmental compatibility are pushing the need for innovation in flexible packaging. Nowadays, many of these innovations cannot be developed and introduced in the market without partnering and without joint efforts in the packaging sector,” explains Ulf Neidlein, Vice President of Business Management, Resins and Additives Europe at BASF SE. “As a technical solution provider who is constantly developing and launching new raw materials and products, we engage in close partnerships to drive forward system innovations. Bringing together experts from different parts of the packaging value chain has offered a unique opportunity for fruitful discussions about the challenges and developments in the manufacturing and usage of flexible packaging.”

Addressing the growing demands of the consumer, the need to tackle issues such as food waste, shelf-life and consumer protection was the rationale behind the latest range of collaborative solutions developed by BASF and Sun Chemical. Drawing on their expertise and ongoing research and development partnership, the organisations have been working for several years on combining BASF’s water-based resins and Sun Chemical’s ink technology; jointly the companies have developed a number of compliant, eco-friendly water-based inks for flexible packaging to serve converters looking for alternatives to solvent-based inks.

Some of the latest solutions and innovations were presented during the event by Tanja Kuiphuis, Senior Market Manager Resins for Printing inks at BASF and David French, Senior Manager, Key Accounts at Sun Chemical. These included water-based inks, water-based electron beam (EB) cured inks, Wetflex and Offset Electron Beam (EB) cured inks.

  • Water-based inks are a good low cost in use option for lamination, suitable for flexo and gravure printing, they can be printed on existing presses and are an excellent option for process printing.
  • Water-based EB cured inks are required for surface print with good resolubility. The inks have excellent resistance properties from EB cross linking and are available for non-food applications.
  • Wetflex specifically offers gravure quality high speed printing and is an “Ultra Press friendly” solution.
  • Offset EB cured inks is the best option for fast turnaround and short-runs, with low cost plates, based on the extended gamut concept.
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