Modern Packaging Challenges in the Beverage Industry

Kyle Pischel and Ben Graham from Atlantic inspect pallet wrapped water bottles

Have you noticed changes in plastic water bottles over the last several years? Smaller caps, smaller printed labels, and lighter plastic are a few of the ways that beverage companies are reducing waste in their packaging.  They are also bundling their cases without the use of corrugated trays.

And these changes are making a difference.

Nestle Waters states that by reducing weight in their half-liter bottle, they are using an average of 37% less plastic than their original half-liter and have saved 65 million pounds of PET plastic resin.  And by reducing the label size on the bottle by 35%, they have saved almost 10 million pounds of paper annually (source: Packaging Innovation – Nestle Waters, link here).

Ice River Springs makes their bottles out of 100% recycled green plastic for closed loop recycling. This means that they’re making no new plastic for their bottled water (see: Ice River Green, link here).

As more and more beverage companies make moves to become environmentally friendly and adopt changes to their primary packaging, bulk shipments of the product from the bottling facility to distributors and retailers are in danger of being less stable and more susceptible to damage during transit.  Companies have to rely increasingly on their pallet wrapping operation to keep the product safe and contained during shipping and storage.

Beverage Industry Pallet Wrapping

At Atlantic, we have stretch packaging engineers and film specialists dedicated to meeting the demands of these unique and ever-changing packaging challenges.  This team studies prestretch, secondary stretch, wrap patterns, and overlap.  They analyze how these elements need to interact on the pallet in order to achieve the desired containment force that will protect the product in every individual case.

We share the results of our data and analysis in Stretch University, a program aimed at educating our customers on all the elements of a properly wrapped pallet.  Through hands-on demonstrations, we show the best practices and common pitfalls of film being applied to a pallet. Stretch University demonstrates that simply applying more film or increasing tension will not protect product from damage.  The right film matched with the proper equipment settings together with the appropriate prestretch, secondary stretch, and wrap patterns all collaborate on creating an effectively wrapped pallet.

Beyond analysis, training, education, and the technical service required to get all of these elements just right for our customers, Atlantic has also developed a monitoring system called Materials Usage Standards Tracking (MUST) to ensure that the proper benchmark settings are maintained over time.

It is inspiring to see so many companies evolving their products and processes to be more environmentally mindful.  Matching that evolution with a packaging process that results in less wasted film and less damaged product is not only possible, it is a fundamental part of Atlantic’s commitment to sustainable packaging.

Contact us to learn more about stretch packaging, Stretch University, or the MUST monitoring program.

Atlantic Employees Go The Extra Mile

Extra Mile Challenge Day

[Update: 159 Atlantic employees met this challenge of 15,000 steps in one day. What a huge accomplishment! Congratulations to everyone who made it and to everyone who made an attempt, especially in the hundred degree temps we are experiencing right now in North and South Carolina.]

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We’ve always taken great pride in our determination and ability to go the extra mile when it comes to meeting the needs of our customers.  Today, Atlantic employees are challenged to go the extra mile… literally.

As part of our current 30-week Wellness Challenge powered by Fitbit activity trackers, employees are challenged to walk 15,000 steps today. Everyone who accomplishes this goal with earn this badge in our Wellness Challenge Leaderboard: The Extra Mile Challenge.  Our usual daily goal is about 6,000 steps with an “overachiever” goal of about 8,500 steps/day.  So today is our big sprint day.

In issuing this challenge, our Wellness Coordinator provided employees with 15 ideas on how to get 15,000 steps on June 15th. These tips are great for anyone trying to work in some extra steps in their day-to-day activities:

1. Take a walk before work
2. Walk during your break/lunch
3. Park farther away
4. Use the restroom farthest from you
5. Walk to your co-workers desk instead of emailing
6. Go on a walk with your family after dinner
7. Have a walking meeting instead of using a conference room
8. Set a reminder every hour to get up from your desk and take a quick walk down the hall and back
9. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
10. Go grocery shopping and take an extra lap or two around the perimeter of the store
11. Skip the drive thru and walk inside to pick up your coffee or lunch
12. Walk to your mailbox
13. Utilize your stand-up desk and walk in place
14. Walk around while talking on the phone
15. Check your Fitbit throughout the day and set small goals to get to 15,000!

The Extra Mile Challenge

Here’s a little background on our Wellness Challenge.

Atlantic launched a Wellness Program in 2012 to encourage employees to live a healthier life. Management took the program to another level by issuing a Six-Month Wellness Challenge powered by Fitbit activity trackers and incentivized with valuable prizes.  They also put up a leaderboard with names and daily step activity to fuel the competitive spirit.

The results from that first challenge were amazing overall.  Employees lost a total of 630 pounds, some quite smoking, lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels, got off medications, and many went from doing no exercise at all to running 5Ks, 10ks, and even half marathons. It was truly life-changing for some of the participants.

We are currently in our third company-wide challenge with over 350 employees taking part.  As of 9am this morning, we already had 2 participants reach today’s goal of 15,000 steps with another 20 people halfway there.  Atlantic employees are going the Extra Mile today for our own collective health, confidence, sense of accomplishment and to show just how hard we will work to reach our goals.

Without a Scratch – Protective Packaging for Automotive Manufacturing

It’s no secret that people love their cars and trucks.  Well, some people.  But for the people who do, they really, really love them. And these car and truck lovers will appreciate the lengths that automotive manufacturers and their packaging companies go to in order to protect each and every part during the manufacturing process.

The challenges of shipping a windshield wiper blade or a car bumper so it arrives without a scratch are part of what fuels our custom packaging designer, Norm Samuelson. Norm has always been a car lover and, with an engineering degree from Purdue, he spent his early career on a race team, working his way up to crew chief.  His main goals in building racecars back then were to make them as light as possible and to make them simple, reliable and easy to work on.

Norm Samuelson, Custom Packaging Engineer

These goals eventually translated directly to the custom packaging lab when Norm began his work as a packaging engineer in 1992.  In the lab, they attempt to use as little material as possible in order to control costs.  They create designs that are simple and easy to pack so as to save time.  Saving time and money while protecting the product is the ultimate goal for Norm today. (See: Automotive Industry – Atlantic Packaging.)

Protective Packaging for Windshield Wipers

Norm and his team together with our sales representatives are acutely sensitive to the demands of the automotive manufacturing industry. They understand the unique requirements of this industry including product protection, competitive pricing, on-time delivery, and accurate, detailed invoicing.

Automotive part manufacturers count on Atlantic to deliver measurable results and innovative solutions for their packaging needs. Watch the video below to hear from Norm and to see our protective packaging design in action.

Paper Converting Thrives in the Digital Age

Paper Converting, Atlantic
Lewis Deans at Atlantic’s industrial paper converting facility in Tabor City, NC.

With the ubiquitous presence of smart phones, tablets, e-readers, and laptops that can deliver, publish, and save content on-demand 24/7, it seems that paper would be less relevant in today’s world.  And while the amount of paper used for books and newspapers has been in decline over the last decade, there are other markets for paper, including packaging, that have remained steady and even experienced growth in that same time.

This week, we’re following #ThePaperTrail, a series by NPR’s Morning Edition as they explore the future of the paper industry.  Their reporting finds thriving industry niches, including paper converting for recycled cardboard and high-end stock for self-published photo books.  They cite e-commerce, particularly Amazon, as a boon for the paper industry in terms of the cardboard and paper packaging.  Another aspect of their reporting reveals that students who take handwritten notes on paper during their classes are better able to remember conceptual information over the long term.  Paper notebooks and planners are as popular as ever.

At Atlantic, we are very much in touch with (and part of) the past, present, and future of this industry.

Paper Converting Industry, Atlantic
Atlantic Packaging’s Paper Converting Operation in Tabor City, NC

Our company got its start in the newspaper business, publishing a weekly community paper, the Tabor City Tribune.  Atlantic’s founder and Tribune publisher, Horace Carter, received a Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service in 1952 for his editorial work at the paper in speaking out against the KKK.

Later, Atlantic expanded from newspapers into printing, paper converting, and office products distribution. We have continued to grow these sectors of our business even as we’ve expanded into packaging equipment sales and technical expertise.

In 2014, Atlantic became the largest converter of bleached paperboard in North America. with the acquisition of three International Paper converting facilities and, in 2015, Lakeland Paper Company in Michigan.  We also run a robust brown paper converting operation that is heavily involved in die cutting, sheeting, and wide web printing.

Today, we work closely with paper mills, commercial printers, packaging plants, and manufacturers to provide converted paper that meets a vast variety of purposes, from slip sheets to folding cartons.

So as you reflect on life in a paperless world, take a look at all the forms of paper you interact with in your everyday life – tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, cardboard boxes, books, and notepads. You might envision a stronger future for paper than you thought.

Labeling, Coding, and HP Printing for Food Packaging

Labeling, Coding, HP Printing
Labeling, Coding, and HP Printing for PTI and FSMA Compliance

More and more consumers are demanding information about the food they’re buying. They want to know where it was grown and how it was grown. Retail sellers recognize this fact and are also acutely aware of food safety concerns when it comes to fresh produce.

Food safety hinges on the ability to trace a packaged food to its origin, especially when we’re dealing with fresh fruits and veggies that can be linked to a particular farm and to a particular packaging facility. In fact, it’s critical to be able to trace our fresh food throughout the entire supply chain.

The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) has been developed to help standardize case-level electronic traceability in the produce industry. Growers are adopting these standards as retailers such as Walmart, Costco, and Whole Foods announce their support and make PTI compliance a pre-requisite for supplier partnerships.

Compliance with PTI means that packers need case coding and traceability systems linked to the printing of PTI barcodes on cases. Packaging consultants and specialized printers who work directly with food packaging can help packers get set up with this level of labeling, coding, and HP Printing.

If consumer and retail pressure are not enough, brand owners and packers must also be aware of the impending requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Batch/Lot level requirements and advanced record keeping will soon be a legal requirement.

Why not let the experts at Atlantic Packaging work with you to get ahead of the curve and limit your liability in the event of a catastrophic recall?

Atlantic provides our customers with a unique combination of packaging expertise, equipment, and printing capabilities ideal for PTI and FSMA barcoding applications. Contact us to learn how we can help you become PTI compliant, understand FSMA and get out ahead of the curve.

Food Safety with Flexible Packaging

Flexible Packaging for Food

If you do your shopping at the supermarket, wholesale stores, specialty markets, or convenience stores, you’ve more than likely come into contact with flexible packaging.  Also known as plastic packaging (or plastic bags), flexible packaging is the material that touches the food we eat on a daily basis.  This type of packaging is critical for food safety, food preservation, and longer shelf life.

What Makes the Film So Special?

Most flexible packaging is a combination of different types of plastic that contain properties to protect many kinds of foods.

This includes moisture barrier films for items like potato chips and crackers. There are also films that are coated to prevent fog and condensation for products like lettuce and salad greens.  Flexible packaging for frozen foods is thicker in order to stand up to freezing cold storage conditions.  Microwavable and self-venting packaging means that the product is conveniently ready for us to cook inside the packaging without extra preparation.

Shrink Film for Fresh Food

Films for flexible packaging encompass a variety of forms, including poly bags, coextruded barrier films, printed specialty films, shrink films, and industrial films and bags.

Films in the form of bin liners are widely used in food production facilities to maintain a safe environment while our fresh food is being prepared and packaged. These films are so important for protecting our food and also for protecting the people working with the food in the facilities.

The materials used in all of these applications are essential to delivering a product that is safe to eat, fresh tasting, and that will last long enough for us to purchase, store, prepare, and eat.

Packaging Automation

How our fresh food products are packaged for mass distribution is a feat of modern technology.

Food can be packaged in bags, tray packs, pouches, reclosable bags, or in shrink films.  In each case, the packaging process is most likely automated using equipment specific to the type of packaging being used.

For example, Vertical Form, Fill, and Seal (VFFS) machines use roll stock to create the desired form for the bag, to fill the bag with product, and to seal it closed with a zipper, heat seal, or cold seal.  Shrink tunnels heat the shrink film, allowing it to form to the product.  Vertical bagging equipment is used for bagging cups, plates and other stacked product.

Vertical Bagging Equipment

How We Do It

Atlantic has been working with flexible packaging for the food processing industry for over 40 years.  We have excellent and long standing relationships with our vendors and we have true partnerships with our customers.

Our knowledge and experience with these materials and equipment means that our customers can rely on us to get them exactly what they need.  We are also keenly aware of the need for rapid response in the fresh food industry.  Our people are dedicated and responsible and our network of resources means that we can deliver the materials or fix the equipment quickly and efficiently.

We’re proud of our reputation as a supplier and a packaging consultant in the food industry and we look forward to many more decades of service.

Related Posts:
Fresh Ideas for Packaging Fruits and Veggies
How Product Packaging Can Help You Reach More Customers

Furniture Industry Suppliers for Over 40 Years

North Carolina has earned the title of Furniture Capital of the World through a solid and expanding presence of furniture makers dedicated to quality, craftsmanship, and design.

We are honored to have served the furniture industry for over 40 years.  We keep in-stock inventory of the unique supplies used in this trade, including spring twine for 8 way hand tied furniture, bandsaws, cardboard panels, tacking strips, sewing thread, bobbins, and welt cord.  Our inventory management program and local, dedicated deliveries for these customers allows them to maximize their floor space for production rather than for inventory.

Atlantic is invested in the success of our furniture making customers, using our vast network to locate any new supplies they need and offering fast turnaround with competitive pricing.

Contact Atlantic Packaging today to learn more about our successful partnerships with furniture makers.

Employment Opportunity – Web Developer, Programmer

We’re seeking a web developer to work in-house on web design, site integration, and collaboration with a creative marketing team for an established company of over 1,000 employees.

Our company consists of dedicated sales, support, and manufacturing positions around the US, primarily in the southeast. The marketing team serves the greater needs of the organization in creative, unique ways and the developer is a key part of this process in terms of strategy, planning, and implementation.

This position is ideal for fast learners interested in working for a well-established company with opportunities for creativity and gaining new skills.

For the complete job description and contact details for this position, please visit:

Web Developer / Programmer at Atlantic Packaging – Employment Opportunity

 

How Product Packaging Can Help You Reach More Customers

Retail Label Inspection

Retail packaging for consumer goods is a critical part of your overall marketing campaign.  Studies have determined that consumers’ buying decisions are heavily influenced by product packaging. Research has even dissected which aspects of the packaging has the greatest influence on buyers, including colors, images, innovation, and brand values.

Consider Your Overall Marketing Strategy

In order to make the most of your product packaging, it’s important to consider your overall marketing strategy and incorporate your messaging into your product package.  Use your logo, brand colors, tagline, and consistent fonts as well as any images or messages that correspond to all of these.

For instance, if your brand is more fun and playful, consider using fun facts, trivia, or “did you know” type of elements in your packaging.  If your brand is more elegant and upscale, think about simplifying the package with sleek colors and patterns that match your branding.

Trust and Professionalism

Excellent packaging using labels, sleeves, or cartons will make an impact on the buyer who may have dozens of options competing with your product on the shelves.

Modern, professional packaging conveys a level of trustworthiness in your brand.  Consistency in colors and branding across substrates and across other advertising platforms where consumers may have seen your product such as print ads, Facebook ads, twitter posts, and your website communicates professionalism that buyers can trust.

Colors, Fonts and Graphics

The famous and early pioneer of abstract painting, Wassily Kandinsky, is credited with matching colors to moods with his Color Theory.  His ideas are used widely in branding and marketing strategies to communicate the right tone for the product.

Yellow can be warm as in earth tones but also exciting as in loud brass instruments.  Yellow is used in packaging to convey energy and positivity.  Blue connotes peacefulness, calm, and focus.  This can be very good for reinforcing trust and dependability for your brand.  Red transmits strength, joy, and passion which can be used to make consumers feel excitement about your product.

In general, brighter colors are more playful while white or light colors are more clean and simple and black or dark colors are serious and powerful.  Green is often associated with products that are environmentally friendly and brands that are natural and earth conscious.

Sharing

In a world largely driven by online social sharing, your packaging efforts can provide ripple effects for your overall marketing.  If the package is special enough and is an excellent showcase of your brand, it can inspire consumers to share photos of it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  These social shares are powerful testimonials for your brand and can harness the power of your loyal customers to build trust and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Packaging Worth Sharing

Where Do I Find Such Excellent Packaging?

Finding a printing and packaging company that you can trust with your brand is key to launching a successful product marketing campaign.  Atlantic Packaging was established in 1946 and we are trusted by major consumer manufacturers with their retail packaging including labels, sleeves, cartons.  We also handle equipment, materials, design and automation of full packaging lines including stretch wrapping, shrink packaging, flexible packaging and more.

Contact Atlantic today to find out how our people, our processes, our experience, and our expertise can help your product packaging align with your overall marketing efforts to give you an edge over the competition.

Related Posts: Fresh Ideas for Packaging Fruits and VeggiesLabels and Packaging

Sources: Decisions, Decisions… How Does Product Packaging Affect What You Buy?, How Colour Communicates Meaning, Color Theory according to Wassily Kandinsky, The Science of Colors in Marketing

Fresh Ideas for Packaging Fruits and Veggies

folding-cartons-and-labels-food-packaging

Looking for new ideas in packaging that will get your product moving off the shelves?  We’ve found some research on new trends that are helping to get fresh fruits and veggies into the hands of more consumers.

Go for Quantity

The use of films and flexible packaging in bagging and shrink wrapping your product lets you group more items together in multi-packs and encourages buyers to get more with every purchase.  It also increases the shelf life of the product compared to mesh bags.

Make It Easy

The easier you make it for people to use your fresh product, whether it’s for cooking or on-the-go snacking, the more likely it is that a buyer will choose it.

Some growers are packaging their product along with complementary ingredients and recipes for an all-in-one fresh food kit.  This can make it easier for shoppers to choose fresh over canned or frozen.  Packaging your product in single serving containers for quick and easy snacks is another way to make buying fresh easier on consumers.

Sometimes Flashier is Better

Packaging fresh food, including berries, apples, kale, sweet potatoes or seafood, can be made more appealing with a colorful, attractive carton or printed bag.  Package your product with images of fun characters or delicious food, depending on your audience and what they will like. This attention to detail can make fresh food more appealing, fun, or appetizing.

If you’re interested in exploring any of these ideas further, please contact Atlantic today to see how we can help you make great strides with your fresh food packaging: (800) 722-5841

Learn more:

Food Packaging
Serving the Produce Industry
Serving the Agriculture Industry

Source: Top trends in fresh food packaging – FoodProductionDaily.com