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Beauty Packaging 2: Global and Green

By Alissa Marrapodi Comments

Beauty and personal care packaging can be just as important as the product inside. Earlier this month, Inside Cosmeceuticals discussed how the aging population and economy are both determining factors in the changing face of beauty and personal care packaging (check out Pretty in Pink: Beauty Packaging for more). But having a global view of the market can help manufacturers make more educated and effective decisions. Additionally, having a “greener" view can also help a company’s bottom line by meeting consumers’ sustainable demands and saving Mother Earth from one more footprint.

World View

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, HBA Global hosted its first virtual tradeshow event; Benjamin Punchard, head of global packaging research, Euromonitor International, presented on "Beauty And Personal Care Packaging: The Global Flexible Packaging Market." Punchard said there are two major category players that account for 50 percent of the personal care packaging units used globally: bath and shower, and hair care. The next two big categories are oral care (22 percent) and skin care (10 percent). Fragrances and baby care only account for 2 percent each, and sun care, 1 percent. The largest unit growth from 2009 to 2010 was seen in the hair care category, with a 5-percent increase.

Out of the 119.4 billion units used globally, Euromonitor stated the top five packaging types in 2010 were: folding cartons (19 percent), HDPE bottles (15 percent), plastic tubes (14 percent), flexible plastic (13 percent) and flexible paper (11 percent). Flexible plastic saw the largest unit growth from 2009 to 2010, reporting a total of 50.2 billion units, a 7-percent increase.

Flex It

With flexible packaging accounting for a large portion of the global units used, and flexible plastics experiencing the largest unit increase, Euromonitor named four key trends driving this category: economy, environment, emerging markets and technology.

Flexible plastic is slated to see the largest growth in India, accounting for 60 percent of the absolute unit growth by 2014, Euromonitor said. Shampoo is its biggest fan, as it accounts for a little less than two-thirds (59 percent) of the global flexible plastic market, followed by bar soap and conditioners. A newer, “on-the-go" packaging solution is single-serving sachets made out of flexible plastic. They allow consumers to only purchase what they need at that moment; plus, they are small and can be easily tucked into a bag. India and the Philippines are taking two different approaches to single-serve sachets: India is targeting rural and semi-rural consumers, using the economy as a driver; and the Philippines are increasing sophistication with support from social media.

Many packaging and label companies support the use of sample pouches, sachets and packettes. They can serve as a great marketing and promotional tool, as packettes are small enough to fit in cards, slip into envelopes or magazines, or can easily be handed out at tradeshows.

Flexible paper is mainly used for bar soap; it accounts for 97 percent of the global flexible paper market. India and Brazil are the dominant countries in this category of packaging, accounting for 3.7 billion units and 3 billion units, respectively.

Stand Up: Pouches and Tubes

Bar soap’s competition is liquid soap, which accounts for more than a quarter of the stand-up pouch market. Punchard noted the top three global stand-up pouch categories are liquid soap, shower gels and shampoos. The benefit of stand-up pouches is they fulfill economic and environmental concerns: economy pouches are offered at a lower price point; and eco refill pouches boast using 73-percent less plastic and they are refillable,.

Plastic tubes are another large piece of the packaging pie. In 2010, 16.3 billion units were used globally in beauty and personal care, with toothpaste accounting for 62 percent of the plastic tube market. Countries such as Japan and Germany have developed strategies for up-ing their toothpaste sales: Japan is focusing on the cosmetic side of toothpaste, e.g., whitening, anti-aging; and Germany is using age (e.g., children’s toothpaste) as a driver.


So where does sustainability fit in? Everywhere. Suzanne Fenton, director of marketing at TricorBraun, said, “Consumers associate packaging innovation with product innovation. Sustainable options are viewed as innovation." In her HBA Global presentation, she outlined areas where companies can reduce their carbon footprint, and gave a few examples of sustainable efforts being made by companies in other industries.

First things first: According to Fenton, packaging serves to protect and effectively deliver a product. So with that in mind, manufacturers need to evaluate how they can protect and deliver, sustainably. Here are nine areas that, once evaluated, may help shave off some eco-unfriendliness, making less of an environmental footprint: material selection (beginning and end of life), manufacturing location, shipping methods, cube utilization, light weighting, labeling versus printing, colored versus natural, secondary packaging and overall design.

Materials: Last year, Starbucks wanted to reduce its carbon footprint, so it reevaluated the materials used in its cold drink cups. What did they change? After a debate over using PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or PP (polypropylene), Starbucks chose PP because it uses 15 percent less plastic than PET cups and gives off 45 percent fewer greenhouses gases during production. Fenton did note, when conducting a materials evaluation, stay away from end-of-life claims (what happens to the package after the customer utilizes the product) and focus more on beginning of life (how a product is made and handled before it goes to the customer).

Shipping: A company was shipping wine bottles to Napa, CA, and had two vendor options: one in Shanghai, and the other in Monterey, Mexico. Surprisingly, China was 60 percent more efficient because using a container ship to travel 6,000 miles over water was 27 times more efficient than a truck traveling 1,000 miles on land. The key here is to explore your options, and never judge a book by its cover.

As these examples demonstrated, the better, greener route isn’t always obvious. Fenton said it is important companies evaluate their products on an individual basis, and then align that with the company’s budget and goals.

What about additives for biodegradability? They are apparently safe and some, if not all, are FDA approved; but, their efficacy varies, as they are showing different results, Fenton said.

Shadowing other manufacturers, not only in the beauty and personal care industry, but in other industries as well, can help generate new ways to innovate, to choose the right packaging for the right product, and to do it all with a little less impact on the environment.


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