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Plastic Packaging Trends for 2014: Make Yourself Stand Out in More Ways Than One

It’s an exciting time for plastic packaging. Technological advances and design innovations have made plastic more cost-effective for manufacturers, more appealing for consumers and more sustainable for the environment. As plastic keeps booming, though, its popularity is going to increase the pressure on packaging companies to create designs that stand out. In our experience at PI, creating product packaging that stands out is a twofold challenge, and you can only maximize your potential when you respond to two distinct needs. Product Packaging That Stands Out Visually Store shelves are more crowded than ever, and with online shopping growing more popular every year, packaging companies need to find ways to capture the attention of consumers. This means creating product packaging that’s visually distinct, whether that be in its shape, size, color or other factors. Many everyday products come in similarly-shaped plastic packaging no matter who manufactures them—toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste, for example, typically come in predictable packaging. This year, you can expect to see more and more packaging companies experiment with unconventional designs that stand out on store shelves by...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | 1 comments

Plastic Packaging Trends for 2014: What to Do About Food Residue

Plastic food packaging has come a long way, especially when it comes to sustainability. Now, a recent study has taken the first major step in increasing the acceptance of foodservice packaging in curbside recycling pickups—but there’s still more work to be done. The Food Residue Study Packaging World reports that a study completed by the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) has made a potential breakthrough in its advocacy for curbside pickup of recyclable plastic food packaging. The study has found that despite the commonplace anxiety over food residue on foodservice packaging, foodservice packaging demonstrates no significant increase in residue over any other type of plastic food packaging. It determined this by taking a random sampling of about 2,000 pounds of curbside recyclables, which it sorted by type before measuring the food residue content. Though this is only one study that was performed in one city, the results could indicate a future increase in the acceptance of curbside recycling pickup that includes foodservice packaging. But what does that mean for packaging companies? Prioritizing Thoughtful Design At PI, we regularly manufacture foodservice packaging...


Posted in Food Packaging | Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 | 0 comments

Plastic Packaging Trends for 2014: How Important is Easy-to-open Packaging?

We’ve talked on this blog before about the potential dangers of wrap rage—the phenomenon of becoming so frustrated by hard-to-open plastic packaging that you develop a negative association with the brand, or worse, hurt yourself in the effort to open the package. We go to great lengths to create plastic packaging that is secure without inducing wrap rage, and any packaging company that doesn’t make this a priority already is facing some serious challenges in 2014. When consumers rely on cutting open plastic packaging with scissors, box cutters, knives or other sharp implements, they risk hurting themselves and causing significant damage to the products inside. Statistics show that 70 percent of cuts and abrasions are to the fingers and hands—do you have a plan for protecting your customers from injuring themselves on your plastic packaging? Can You Make Secure Plastic Packaging Easy to Open? In the packaging world, some conventional wisdom suggests that your product packaging can be either secure or easy to open, but not both. Small, high-value consumer goods like smartphones, designer headphones and accessories for electronics are...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 | 0 comments

How Much Can You Do with Plastic Packaging?

Creating effective plastic packaging isn’t just a question of looks, or even of the package simply doing its job. As plastic thermoforming technology evolves and consumers become increasingly discriminating, packaging design has to do more in order to stand out. While the traditional priorities like visibility, security, durability and aesthetics are still a primary focus, the question more and more packaging manufacturers have to ask themselves is: what is plastic packaging really capable of? Enhancing Product Usability Plastic thermoforming technology is continually growing more advanced, and it gives a creative, skilled packaging manufacturer the means to develop truly innovative packaging designs. One major trend is the package itself enhancing the product and how consumers interact with it. For example, plastic food packaging—even stock packaging used by restaurants for takeout—is frequently microwave-safe, saving consumers a step in the kitchen. Rigid substrates can be used to replace flexible plastics for foods like chips, cookies and vegetables, making them easier to share and preventing damage in transit. Plastic food packaging is just one example of how packaging design can enhance the consumer experience....


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 | 0 comments

How to Avoid a Packaging Design Failure

Not all packaging designs are hits with consumers—especially redesigns. After all, no matter how talented the packaging manufacturer or how elegant the design, if you don’t create something that resonates with your audience, you could alienate them. At PI, our packaging design process includes asking certain questions about the audience and the product. Only when you honestly examine your existing packaging and branding can you determine what kind of redesign is best—or if you really need one at all. How Do People Identify Your Brand? Before you jump into a redesign project with your packaging manufacturer, you should identify just what it is about your brand that people recognize. How do they know who you are? What qualities in your branding and packaging do they appreciate? How do they differentiate you from the competition on a store shelf? There is perhaps no better example of this than the Tropicana packaging design change from 2009. Tropicana didn’t even change their entire design—just the image printed on it—and were met with a consumer uproar. By eliminating the iconic straw-in-an-orange image from the...


Posted in Uncategorized | Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 | 0 comments

Plastic Packaging Priorities: Millennials Vs. Baby Boomers

Two of the biggest and most influential consumer demographics in the country have some drastic differences between them, which can present a challenge for plastic packaging manufacturers. Together, millennials and baby boomers represent almost 70 percent of the U.S. population. While the former are entering the workforce in rapidly increasing numbers, the latter are retiring just as quickly. Whether you want to create packaging designs that speak to the younger demographic, the older one, or both, what do you have to keep in mind? Millennial Priorities for Packaging Designs There are now more than 80 million millennials in the U.S. today, and having come of age during a time of huge technological innovation, they are well-connected and influential consumers. How do you target them with your packaging designs? First of all, millennials prefer a combination of practicality and style—packaging designs that are creative, but not frivolous. They are eco-conscious, which means that plastic packaging should be sustainable and minimize waste. Finally, millennials are busy, and heavily invested in time-saving opportunities. This means that packaging manufacturers should maintain a focus on...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 | 1 comments

Is Your Packaging Design Guy-Friendly?

We’ve written before about knowing your audience here on the PI blog, especially as demographics and consumer behaviors change. The people you think are shopping for your product may not be the ones you think, and targeting the wrong demographic with your packaging design—even one that used to be your biggest audience—can send you down the wrong path. Case in point? The grocery store. Studies show that more and more, men are taking charge when it comes to shopping for groceries and preparing meals. This means that brands and packaging manufacturers are looking for ways to market food products specifically toward consumers with Y chromosomes. The question is, how do you create plastic food packaging that attracts men?   Go Big or Go Home When it comes to packaging designs geared toward men, remember that sometimes, more is more. The current trend for packaging that targets men is to go big, which can mean everything from including bigger portions of the product to ample space on the package for branding that uses big, bold fonts and striking imagery. Plastic food...


Posted in Design | Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 | 0 comments

Design Considerations: Pharmaceutical Packaging

Pharmaceuticals are some of the most sensitive products on store shelves today. Between delicate chemical compositions, risk of theft and potential for accidental misuse, products like medications have to be thoughtfully packaged before they’re ready to be sold. At PI, we specialize in a wide variety of pharmaceutical packaging types, and we’ve learned the most critical design considerations from firsthand experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind. Sanitation Maintaining the integrity of products like medications is arguably the most important aspect of designing pharmaceutical packaging. If plastic packaging isn’t designed with care, it can contaminate the product and make it unfit for use. At PI, we respond to that need by manufacturing in a special clean room environment. This means that everything from the tooling to the plastic packaging itself stays safe and contaminant-free from start to finish. And don’t forget, of course, that the product has to remain safe long after it leaves the facility—if the packaging has any defects that allow contaminants in, it can compromise the product. Unit Dose Packaging Unit dose plastic packaging...


Posted in Medical packaging | Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 | 0 comments

Thermoforming 101: A Plastic Packaging Manufacturing Infographic

When you work in the plastic packaging industry, it can be easy to take your years of experience for granted. Here at PI, we’ve been thermoforming plastic long enough to know the process inside and out, from the varying properties of different materials to the best ways to work with them. If you aren’t yet familiar with the thermoforming process, though, where do you start? Right here. The PI team is proud to share this new infographic explaining the history of thermoforming plastic, and how plastic packaging manufacturers like us manage the process using modern technology. If you want to see how the process has changed over the years, or you just want to understand a little more about how plastic packaging manufacturers create the products you see on store shelves every day, check out the infographic below. Embed this infographic on your site


Posted in Plastics | Monday, December 2nd, 2013 | 0 comments

Domestic PET Packaging Recycling Rates Break Records

Once again, plastic is demonstrating its high level of sustainability. According to a new report issued by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the gross recycling rate for PET bottles in the U.S. is now at an all-time high. More consumers in the U.S. are recycling PET packaging than ever, and it doesn’t stop there—more plastic packaging companies are making the most of the trend with their own sustainable production practices. PET Packaging Recycling Rates According to NAPCOR, the recycling rate for PET jumped from 29.3 percent to 30.8 percent between 2011 and 2012—a difference of about 100 million pounds. That brings the total collected volume of PET bottles up to 1.718 billion pounds, the largest volume ever. And what’s happening to all of that reclaimed PET packaging? It’s being put to good use. The NAPCOR report reveals that in 2012, U.S. reclaimers/plastic packaging companies also produced a higher volume of RPET than ever, coming in at 930 million pounds. (RPET, of course, is the reprocessed PET that it used to turn postconsumer plastic packaging like bottles into...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 | 0 comments