Film and foil: making waves in the packaging sector


Film and foil: making waves in the packaging sector

The importance of film and foil in creating quality packaging cannot be overstated. It must be reliable, effective and effective in order to protect the contents from light, heat and moisture, thus preserving the product’s intended state. Converting Today's Emma-Jane Batey speaks with brand-owners who have used the capabilities of these materials to their best advantage.

Leading luxury hand-cooked potato chip company Kettle Foods has long appreciated the important role that packaging plays in brand development. The firm recently relaunched its packaging to “combine our premium positioning with a lighter and more contemporary feel” by harnessing foil. Manufactured by SIT Italia, Kettle Foods' new packaging includes a variety of pack sizes, all using foil, from 40g handy packs to its new 250g Big Bags.


 Attractive and affordable

Converting Today spoke to Kettle Foods' marketing director Andrew Slamin to understand more about how the use of foil has helped with the relaunch. “The design brief was to help broaden the brand's appeal to a wider audience, with the aim of creating more vibrancy and impact on shelf,” he says. “It's an evolution rather than a revolution. The new packaging retains the distinctive colours that help consumers quickly find their favourite flavour, along with the woodcut logo that represents the authentic nature of our brand. ‘Kettle’ has now been made more prominent, moving to a central position on the front of the pack, which really enhances the visibility on the shelf.

“We use a two-ply metallised OPP that is gravure printed. This keeps the chips fresh in the bag, and retains the crunchy texture that consumers expect from Kettle. The look and feel of our packaging communicates quality, taste and distinctiveness,” he continues.

The new Big Bag from Kettle highlights another advantage of using foil; it offers a premium quality product at a lower price point, which, Slamin says, “is especially attractive at a time when many other brands are having to increase prices or reduce pack sizes”. Its smaller bags are defying the rather flat, single-serve savoury snack sector, which has seen just a 1.8% growth overall, with impressive year on year growth of 16.2%.

“We are encouraging people to treat themselves, and Kettle Chips remain a little lunch upgrade that is affordable, even in tougher economic conditions,” he explains. “Our small bag success has been particularly pleasing, and retailers are well placed to benefit by stocking these lines. Also, sharing is a key growth trend in the snacking category, up by 3% year on year, driven by the popularity of the ‘Big Night In’ occasion. Brexit concerns and economic instability are encouraging more consumers to swap expensive restaurants for nights in with friends and family.”


 Fit for purpose

The packaging choices of ethical brand Roots & Wings Organic are a clear indication of its careful approach to sourcing across its business. As a company that makes personal care, and snacks and confectionery using only the very best ingredients, its vision for packaging is that it “needs to be fit for purpose, eye-catching and sustainable”.

Roots & Wings Organic founder Belinda Gooding tells Converting Today, “We use a variety of materials for packaging our products, both in the ambient and refrigerated sectors. Film enables us to have see-through packaging on our Free Range Sausages and Chipolatas, for example. We use the least packaging possible and work with recycled and recyclable materials wherever possible as sustainability is vital for us. There are always new products in development here at Roots & Wings, and we always have a vision for the end result on the packaging. It needs to be practical, simple and eye-catching, and needs to carry our brand identity well, as well as being sustainable and with a price point that keeps the product affordable. We constantly look to see how we can reduce the amount of packaging that we use on our products, and seek out more sustainable substrates. The packaging works hard for us, not only to protect the products but, for some of our products, such as the new Power Pod Soups, it has to be freezable and microwavable too!”

Choosing film for packaging is an effective way for brands like Roots & Wings to allow customers to see exactly what they're buying and, as more and more products are keen to highlight their freshness and provenance, seeing the actual product – rather than simply a visual image on the packaging – is a practical and effective way to do so. “We're about to launch bone broths too, which will be in handy pouch packs with a clear film base, allowing customers to see the actual product within,” Gooding adds. “It's a very personal type of packaging that perfectly suits our organic, ethical approach.”


 A fresh approach

Product preservation is just as important in the skincare sector too, with film and foil very often being used to keep products fresh without the unnecessary use of preservatives or other unnatural ingredients. Australian premium skincare brand Alpha-H is fast becoming a global phenomenon, and is now stocked in over 25 countries with regular features in the influential beauty press. Available in prestige clinics and spas, as well as beauty retail giants like Sephora and Marks & Spencer, Alpha-H is considered a “global leader in corrective and preventative skincare, creating revolutionary cosmeceutical formulations which help bridge the gap between the beauty counter and invasive treatments”.

How does Alpha-H use the capabilities of film and foil to support its growing brand? “Our packaging is clean, minimal and functional,” says Tom Ogden, Alpha-H's European business manager. “We let the product speak for itself. Environmental ethics are very important when it comes to packaging, and we are always looking for ways to reduce our footprint on the planet. As well as pioneering refillable vitamin serums, our multi-tasking products eliminate the need for other products, significantly reducing material waste and contributing to a more sustainable ecosystem.

“The simplicity, understated elegance and sustainability of our packaging echoes our company ethos of being socially responsible without being over-packaged or over-hyped,” he adds. “Foil is used to seal the tube head of all our 30, 100 and 200ml tubes. It acts as a tamper-evident seal, but as it's inert, it also assists in product preservation. In order to be able to deliver powerful bio-available vitamins into the skin, Alpha-H has a keen understanding of factors such as pH, polarity and molecular size, hydrophilic and lipophilic natures. In 2015, we designed UV and temperature-controlled packaging to ensure potency from the first drop to the last, an initiative which earned us a Pure Beauty UK Award for Best New Design & Packaging.”

With the Alpha-H resurfacing treatment Liquid Gold quickly achieving cult status (one bottle of it is sold every minute of every hour), its 5ml foil sample sachets are in great demand. “Foil samples sachets are ideal for both testing new products and for holidays, with our Liquid Gold and our masks from the professional range being especially suited to this fresh, portable format.”

Whether used to package crisps, creams or chipolatas, foil and film allow companies to protect their products in a cost-effective, eco-friendly manner, while also encouraging brand development.