Dispense with the rest

6 July 2015

Dispense with the rest

Dispense with the rest

Technical innovation, unique form factors and a desire to connect with consumers with advanced dispensing technologies are converging to deliver new consumer experiences across myriad market sectors. Dave Howell reports.

The development of the dispenser market is a reaction to the expansion and evolution of the supply chain these form factors are a part of. The food, beverage, homecare and pharmaceutical sectors have all rapidly expanded, with brand-owners and their converter partners looking for innovation in dispensing technology.
According to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, the global caps and closure market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4% by 2018. The vast majority of this will be seen in polypropylene and polyethylene manufacture. However, metal closures are gaining pace, and more diversification is expected with other materials such as rubber, cork and elastomers also making inroads into the cap and closure markets. Innovation is the key to a magnifying and diversifying dispensing marketplace.

Perfectly formed
Form and function have always been the central foundations that world-class packaging has been built upon. For every stakeholder in the supply chain, it is important to gain the maximum brand awareness from the packaging in use - none more so than when dispensers are considered, as they must function as a customer-facing appliance.
The dispenser being used by The Fudge Kitchen is a good example. Developed by Rieke, the Maxi Dispenser is specially designed to pump viscous fluids such as drinking fudge. The Fudge Kitchen's managing director Siân Holt says: "We did a lot of research into a suitable way of dispensing our drinking fudge. A squeezy bottle did not provide the required portion control, but it was difficult to find a pump dispenser that was able to cope with such a thick product. The Maxi has proved the ideal solution and indeed stands alone in terms of its capabilities for handling our drinking fudge. It is easy to use and reliable, delivers an accurate amount each time and, thanks to its sturdy construction, can be transferred between jars."
Rieke has also been instrumental in the development of dispensers for leading hair-care specialist Philip Kingsley. The 100ml Slimline Airless dispenser was ideal for the company's needs. The bottle's form factor is stylish and has great shelf appeal, yet also includes required technology such as precise dispending and a suck-back feature that pull excess product back into the dispenser.
"We offer premium products, so it is essential that the dispenser is easy to use and able to evacuate all the product, and these are the key reasons why we selected the Rieke dispenser," explains Clare Edgecombe, Philip Kingsley UK's managing director.
Often overlooked, dispensing technology is a vital component of any brand packaging, as Pierre Ducastin, innovation packaging groupe at L'Oréal, outlined at the ADF and PCD 2016 conference: "Perfume packaging, with a bottle, pump and dip tube, a collar, plunger, stopper or cap, may be a masterpiece of elegance, a genuine sculpture. TTS and bottle-finishing techniques are constantly evolving. The design and development of the spray can be a marvel of intelligence and technologies."
Ease of function and precise dose delivery have become the core drivers behind many innovations in the dispensing sector. A great example here is from Hellmann's. Discovering that American's wasted vast quantities of their mayonnaise simply because they couldn't get the product out of the bottle, the company reinvented the dispensing technology being used.
"The Hellmann's consumer loves mayonnaise, and they depend on us to deliver delicious taste, so we want to make sure they're able to enjoy every last drop," says Russel Lilly, marketing director at Hellmann's.

Dispensing futures
What is clear is that the development of next-generation dispensers will require the cooperation of many stakeholders.
Amber Ellis, beauty vice-president at MWV, says: "The dispensing market at the moment is built around delivering specific dosage amounts, which is vital for the beauty sector where consumers like to know they are dispensing a precise amount of the products they are using. This is why MiniMod is such a step forward, as it enables us to deliver an airless pump-on-pouch system with no leaks, and no overcap or screw cap required."
Innovation in dispensing continues apace. As Clare Norman, Waitrose technical manager for household, baby and pets told a recent BAMA forum: "Our customers expect us to offer something different, so our suppliers need to think of the bigger picture. One way for suppliers to succeed is by offering us something exclusive in the UK - perhaps selling the same concept in Europe but allowing us to offer that point of difference here."
The dispensing sector is being defined by novel form factors that are delivering to brand-owners a wealth of design possibilities supported with new closure and dispensing technology. From specialist dispensers to everyday brands, the future looks increasingly diverse as form factors continue to push design right across the sector.

Travel spray for millennials

As gold winners at this year's DuPont Packaging Innovation awards, HotPot Design's MiiSTS reinvents the bottle for today's always-on-the-move generation. At just 5mm thick, the travel bottle has a built-in pump that enables the contents to be delivered without leaks.
A spokesperson for DuPont explains: "The sleek and modern MiiSTS discreetly fits in tight pockets and bags with virtually no bulge. Each MiiSTS contains approximately 11ml [about 150 sprays] of the MiiSTS product, including natural hand sanitiser, natural insect repellent, sunscreen spray, lens cleaner, stain remover, burn and bite relief, and more."
What is clear is that in the dispensing market, more innovative and unusual form factors will increasingly become the norm. More tactile-design-driven dispensers are already appearing as brand-owners seek to differentiate their products in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
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Gillian Garside-Wight, packaging technology director - sun branding solutions, Pack Science

Garside-Wight joined Sun Branding Solutions in June 2000 and has grown the print and packaging technology services significantly, strategically developing them across all accounts, and has grown the Pack Science business brand, offering global packaging development consultancy to a number of high-profile FMCG companies including Delice de France, Twinings, Findus and Aldi. She spoke exclusively to Packaging Today about innovation in dispensing.

Packaging Today: Are unusual form factors speaking to a particular customer base, such as millennials, when the food sector in particular is considered?
Gillian Garside-Wight: It's all about convenience. We are seeing a lot of refillable pouches, which make it easy for parents to refill and dispense into a bowl, or even feed directly to the child. Some of these dispensers even have attachable spoons you can put on the end of the nozzle.

How important is it to match the brand and product with the right dispenser?
Matching the brand, product and consumer is really important. If it's a low-cost product, you're not going to put a dispenser on it. It's highly unlikely, as it adds cost. It's about understanding the brand, product and consumer. Baby products are perfect because of convenience, cost and that it makes it easier for parents, which is their number-one priority.

What's next in this sector?
At the moment, there are limited products available that replace aerosols with pump action for hair sprays, for example. It disperses a fine mist rather than a blob of liquid. As for the future, I think we will see a lot more single-material one-piece dispenser packaging to aid recycling.

How important is collaboration?
It's vital. A collaborative approach working with all stakeholders to develop new solutions is always best. Concepts formed in isolation tend to be less successful, and the converter is a key stakeholder.


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