Avery Dennison, a substrate and adhesive supplier based in Mentor, OH, USA, defines functional packaging as product packaging with added functions that goes beyond simple product containment. The ultimate goal of these products is to simplify the consumer’s life.
“By delivering greater utility, functional packaging increases the overall value of a product while enhancing the consumer’s experience,” says Alison Schuitema, product manager, Reclosure, at Avery Dennison.
Avery Dennison offers several portfolios for functional packaging such as reclosure or peel and reseal solutions; flexible packaging; security solutions; intelligent labels. These expansive portfolios offer multiple solutions. For example, flexible packaging can range from stick packs to pouches.
These solutions are especially valuable for food applications. “One of the biggest unmet needs in the food packaging space is resealability,” says Schuitema. “Dry foods, such as rice, pasta, tea, coffee and cookies, are often packaged in resealable packages, and we are seeing pack types converting to resealable in the perishable foods space, as well. This includes deli meats, cheeses and fresh produce. These can provide convenient, easy, peel-and-reseal functionality, which in turn can extend the freshness or lifetime of the product.”
Soup mixes, seasonings, dry powders and sauces are also making the switch to flexible packaging. These containers offer several features, including small sizes, ease of opening, easy storage and less waste. As consumers become busier in their day-to-day lives, on-the-go snacks provide another layer of convenience.
Brand owners are starting to recognize the capabilities and their associated benefits. Not only can a brand stand out on a crowded shelf, but they’re likely to see repeat business if the functionality improves the user experience. “Functional packaging is helping brand owners add value to consumers hurried lifestyles through innovative product packaging solutions,” Schuitema adds. “If a consumer has a good experience with the product and the packaging, they are likely to purchase it again. Functional packaging is ultimately another way for brands to stand out and build brand preference in an increasingly competitive area.”
The label can also pack more information than ever before, providing a brand additional ways to communicate with retail customers. Avery Dennison houses a facility in Miamisburg, OH that is dedicated to various forms of smart labeling and tagging. An RFID inlay can be applied to nearly any label construction, making smart labels appealing for various applications.
“This transformation truly represents a new world of opportunities for label converters,” explains Schuitema. “Major food suppliers are beginning to use RFID to track returnable shipping trays and crates. We’re starting to see some additional uses, too, mostly at the retail level, prompted by the consumer demand for quality and transparency.”
Smart labels can aid users in food and pharmaceutical applications. Stores can manage use-by dates and limit food waste. All retail brands can ultimately track and trace inventory, as well. According to Avery Dennison, “fast checkout systems” are being piloted in China, Japan and Europe with RFID. This form of functional packaging could expand globally in the coming years.
Avery Dennison has also released a white paper that details the benefits of its functional packaging offerings. The company discovered three main takeaways:
- Functional packaging delivers practical benefits, and people would likely pay more for those benefits.
- Packaging drives powerful emotional responses.
- Brand owners and designers should carefully consider their package design and messaging.
By interacting with customers, Avery Dennison has learned that this is a growing market with increased staying power. “Reclosure packaging is becoming increasingly common and is expected to continue to grow in the near future,” says Schuitema. “Label converters can enter the space by making little or no investment on their existing assets to quickly find opportunities for growth. Avery Dennison is willing and able to assist with driving connections within the value chain.”
Avery Dennison’s reclosure portfolio offers a variety of adhesives and constructions for different application needs, including R1490, which the company says is the first direct-food contact approved adhesive for reclosure applications in North America. Avery Dennison is also committed to providing support and resources to its customers, specifically with Avery Dennison ADvantage.
“Many people aren’t sure how to get started with functional packaging solutions like reclosure or intelligent label,” says Schuitema. “The Avery Dennison ADvantage means you have access to more than just leading products and technology. It means you have access to our people. Our people, in turn, offer expertise, perspective, a deep understanding of the challenges faced by converters, and knowledge of how to turn those challenges into opportunities for growth. We are here to support our customers and provide a deeper understanding of the value chain.”