“Smart packaging and digital printing are the next frontiers in terms of development,” agrees Sealed Air’s Thomazelli. “We believe in a digital future in which every package has a unique digital life enabling businesses to create end-to-end traceability while improving automation and efficiency across the value chain, taking the quality control to the next level, securing the authenticity of the product.”
As a result of improved quality control, “retailers and e-retailers can get greater visibility with real-time insights, enabling distributors to track stock movements, track products through the value chain and monitor delivery performance,” Goncalves explains, adding that more sophisticated food and beverage operations would enable greater connection with consumers: “For example, connected packaging opens up a world of new possibilities to engage consumers on food safety. Imagine if intelligent packaging could communicate with smart appliances in the home, then share that information with your smartphone. You could have instant and accurate information on not only the stock of products at home, but also the remaining life of each product via technology, like dynamically updated expiration dates.”
Can’t Touch This
With product safety top of mind in the current climate, tamper-proof and -evident packaging solutions have become more crucial than ever.
“Tamper-proof packaging is extraordinarily important in the delivery of food and beverages, a key component in the building of trust in a brand,” affirms Marbach. “There is select packaging that already provides this safety and integrity, with cans at the top of that list. The tight seal and tamper-proof nature of the beverage ‘end,’ or top of the can, is clearly visible and obvious and, as we are seeing, is increasingly becoming a value-add to brands.”
He believes that the future will increasingly bring “the balance between tamper-proof packaging and the preservation of taste profiles. It won’t just be about assuring tamper-proof packaging [or] assuring an unbroken seal. The consumer taste experience is what differentiates brands, so packaging manufacturers will also have to deliver the highest standards of not only safety ... but ingredient integrity, taste and, as retail food and beverage shopping increases, shelf life.”
“Tamper evidence is intrinsic to all of our solutions,” notes Thomazelli. “Our case-ready packages are hermetically sealed and, when opened, it becomes evident. The principle of vacuum sealing, the core technology introduced by Sealed Air under the Cryovac brand since the beginning of our operations, is the most solid tamper-evidence solution. Even our resealable solutions are tamper evident. A good example of this is the Cryovac brand Multi-Seal FlexLOK package, designed to allow consumers to open and close the package multiple times, yet [it] clearly identifies if the product has been previously opened.”
“Today, all our caps and closures include some method of tamper evidence,” says Tetra Pak’s Goncalves. “In some cases, this is in the form or a two-step opening that features a cap and a pull-tab. However, in response to consumer demands for convenience and simplicity, we also offer a wide range of one-step openings that combine easy opening with distinctive tamper evidence. Instead of opening a cap and then removing a foil seal or pull-tab, these two steps are combined into one convenient twist of the cap. With the interior foil seal and clearly visible tamper-evidence ring, consumers can be confident the product is safe and secure. With the screw-cap design, it’s easy to reseal and refrigerate any remaining product.”
The company is planning to launch the 50-ounce Tetra Brik Aseptic 1500 Edge in the United States and Canada around the third quarter of 2021. According to Goncalves, “This package will deliver all the advantages of aseptic technology, but in a larger size and with our very convenient, tamper-evident WingCap opening.”
“Considering the curbside economy that shows few signs of losing steam, we’ve also developed a host of tamper-evident Fast Take branded packaging for items large and small, and items specific to food or drink deliveries,” says LK’s Adamik.
“With the addition of the Eco-Lok and the 909 Tamper-evident machine, Kwik Lok is offering additional safety and sustainability options that meet consumer demands,” Karen Reed, director of marketing and communications at the Yakima, Wash.-based company, which makes bag closures for such items as produce and baked goods. “The 909 Tamper-evident machine creates a laser stitch across the top of the bag,” explains Reed. “Consumers can easily tell if tampering has occurred before they make a purchase. Once they have their purchase at home, the consumer can reclose the bag with our Eco-Lok to maintain freshness.”
Noting that “we’ll continue to look at food packaging through a sort of [personal protective equipment] lens” even after the pandemic is history, Adamik predicts: “I think we’ll see more configurations in packaging that include those three elements of antimicrobial, extended shelf life and tamper evidence. Packaging could even do its part to help rebuild communities as communal contact slowly comes back into fashion — for example, made-in-store meal kits, crafted for pickup and delivery, designed by local chefs and with their local restaurants’ brands, on the shelves of their local grocers.