Packaging Spotlight

Resealable seeds

January 24, 2014

Attend a baseball game or any other sporting event where sunflower seeds are the snack of choice and you’ll see players and coaches trying to reseal opened sunflower seed packaging in all kinds of ways: elastic bands, tape, paper clips, and sometimes even transferring the remaining contents into a plain, recloseable plastic bag.

The same do-it-yourself methods of resealing a package are also being applied to just about every other food or product group that comes in a flexible pouch. While these homemade techniques are frequently employed, none are particularly consumer-friendly or effective.

Sunflower seed marketers have recognized that these makeshift methods are far from ideal for consumers, and are incorporating resealable features into their packaging designs. One company at the forefront is Giants Snacks. Working with TechniPac, a leading flexible packaging converter, in conjunction with Zip-Pak, a global leader in materials and machinery for resealable packaging, Giants Snacks recently introduced consumers to a new level of convenience for the many flavors of its Giants Sunflower Seeds.
In embarking on a resealable solution for Giants Sunflower Seeds, the goals were clearly stated. “The packaging had to be pourable, with a half close. We also placed a high priority on the reliability of the zipper to secure and protect the contents,” says Al Engstrom, plant manager for Giants Snacks.

TechniPac and Zip-Pak are long-time collaborators in the world of flexible packaging, having established a working relationship more than 10 years ago. This most recent collaboration represents something of an evolution for  Giants Sunflower Seeds packaging. TechniPac initially worked with Zip-Pak to develop a package for Giants Snacks that used the Pour & Lok closure for Giants Sunflower Seeds.

More recently,  Giants switched to Zip-Pak’s Vector closure for its most popular 5.0 oz and 5.7 oz sizes of sunflower seeds in all varieties. Vector features a proprietary self-sealing matrix that closes securely without exact alignment of opposing segments. The closure provides tactile and audible feedback for reassurance of complete fastening.

According to Greg Melchoir, vice president of sales & development at TechniPac, “Collaborating with Zip-Pak is always productive and rewarding. Like TechniPac, creating innovative solutions in the flexible packaging space seems to be in their DNA. That’s why our teams work so well together.”

Because the Giants snacks are gas-flushed to preserve freshness, a hermetic packaging barrier was needed. TechniPac recognized that they could not perforate the film due to the potential for gas loss. They responded with a heat score technology that detail enables an even tearing of the material across the top of the zipper, leaving sufficient film to facilitate repeated closings and openings. Without the patent-pending heat score technology, an uneven tear could make re-sealing and re-opening virtually impossible.

“Innovation rarely happens in isolation,” adds Art Malcomson, director of sales and marketing at Zip-Pak. “Given the requirements of the packaging, it was critically important to work hand-in-hand with Tec hniPac throughout the process to ensure a successful result.”

In addition to the Vector resealable matrix, Zip-Pak refined the closure profile to adapt to the packaging film and the tooling designed by TechniPac. They also provided technical support to the development of the manufacturing equipment to better facilitate the mating of the zipper to the film in the package manufacturing process.

Engstrom concludes, “We are extremely pleased with the quality and performance of the Vector closure and the overall package. To date, the solution has performed consistently with zero failures.” lnw
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