One of the dozen sessions at last week’s TLMI printTHINK Summit 2019 in Chicago offered plenty of “food for thought” for narrow-web printers and converters for expanding their businesses beyond the label, particularly flexible packaging. A great overview was presented by the Avery Dennison tag team of Leslie Kozar, commercial leader for the Rapid Roll® business, and Guy Coons, business development manager.
Here are some Converting Curmudgeon
bullet “points of interest:”
- “Functional packaging” is a new, fast-growing trend, helping brand owners add value to existing products. Such packaging offers on-the-go convenience, resealability, portability, fresh foods as snacks, senior-friendliness, sustainability, and differentiation on the retail shelf.
- Avery Dennison consumer research shows functional packaging delivers practical benefits that people would likely pay more for. It drives powerful emotional responses; consumers said they were sometimes confused, uninformed, or simply unaware of functional features on the product packaging they buy. So, brand owners and package designers should carefully consider their package design and messaging.
- Flexible packaging can be a growth driver for narrow-web converters, as the market demand is projected to climb in almost every end-use segment. The $32-billion US flex-pack industry was up 3% last year over 2017.
- The US printed-packaging field will rise 9.7% a year to 2022 for narrow-web flexibles, compared to 3.4% for wide-web flexibles and 3.1% for labels. One out of four label makers are growing more than 15% a year in the flexibles space, and 48% of operations are printing flex packs on 10- to 13-in.-wide presses.
- The narrow-web value proposition is four-fold:
1) Fewer packs/width meets demand for short runs. 2) Shorter lead-times vs. wide web increases speed to market. 3) NW has reduced setup costs (plates, ink, etc.) vs. wide web. 4) Opportunities for forward/backward integration on packaging consultation.
- New NW growth opportunities include food, pharmaceuticals/nutraceuticals, personal-care, and industrial/automotive/home-care products. End-use formats range from four-side-seal pouches for hard-to-hold products; stickpacks for powders, liquids and gels, standup pouches; and PCR-content sustainable/recyclable/compostable pouches or bags.
- Production technicalities for getting started: In-house your press must be capable of handling thin, unsupported films, UV- and water-based inks, corona treaters, and have the ability to laminate using self-wound PET film or press-applied adhesives. Razor-slitting of laminations is often best, with rewind inspection for precise finished widths. Customers will demand you follow and document Good Manufacturing Practices.