Selecting paperboard for packaging:
- Chocolate bars
- Boiled sweets
- Chocolate novelties
- Jellies, toffees, chewing gums
- Easter eggs
Variations of a sweet theme
Confectionery covers a very broad variety of products, such as novelty products, moulded bars and sugar confectionery. These products are sold singly or in multipacks from printed display cartons or special retail counter displays. The role of the packaging differs widely for different types of products, depending on how and by whom they are bought. Novelty products, often bought as presents, require more complex packages than sweets, such as pastilles and candies that are bought for regular consumption; products positioned for children need a more playful appeal than those aimed for adults. What can be said in general about packages for confectionery is that they need to be, over all other features, hygienic and attractive. They also need to preserve aroma and flavour. Characteristics relating to physical protection need to be in accordance with the contents. Moulded bars and chocolate countlines, for example, require a higher degree of physical protection than hard fruit-drops.
Choice of paperboard
Confectionery products are mainly purchased from self-service displays. The product identity and the appearance of the package at the point of sale are crucial for the customer's choice. The eye-catching graphical design is usually topical, informative and creative, characterised by playfulness or life-style depending on the target group. Display cartons, counter displays and packages for novelty products offer scope for highly creative shapes, but in most other cases shape is a consequence of function and the graphical presentation provides the mouth-watering appeal.
Important promotional characteristics of paperboard for confectionery packaging are whiteness, smoothness and surface finish. A high print quality is required, with good contrast between the surface and the print, to achieve good presentation of sharp half-tone illustrations or bold, strong colours in large solid areas. The graphical presentation calls for pure virgin fibres. The creative and functional shape of the package calls for a strong and tough paper board.
Protection of the delicious contents is the basic purpose of the package. A strong paperboard is required to keep the products safe from physical hazards in distribution, storage and handling. Primary packages are most often disposed of immediately after consumption - which seldom takes very long. Display cartons, though, used in counter displays, require a higher degree of durability in use. They need to withstand handling at the point of sale without failing in terms of function and eye catching appearance.
Important protective characteristics of the paperboard are stiffness, compression strength and folding endurance. Good creasing and gluing properties ensure a strong carton. A smooth surface provides for ease of handling. It also provides for good rub and abrasion resistance, thereby preserving the graphical presentation. Virgin fibres with approved coatings ensure the product safety as well as the aroma and flavour consistency. Direct contact applications require barrier coating (PE). Aroma and flavour are of the utmost importance for confectionery where chocolate is an ingredient, since chocolate is sensitive to changes in flavour caused by the packaging material.
Printing and conversion
To obtain efficiency in printing and conversion a flat, stable paperboard with clean edges and surface is required. Good absorption and drying properties, as well as good cutting, creasing and gluing properties are important. Thus a high print quality is ensured, whilst process stoppages and material waste are minimised.
The packages are usually rectangular in cross section with tuck-in-flaps. Novelty packages and gift packages may have display windows and supporting fitments. Exclusive confectionery is often hand packed, whereas high volume products are packed mechanically, sometimes at high speed. End loaded cartons are provided with the side seam glued for erection, filling and closing. The packaging machines require low creasing resistance and low carton opening force. For small boxes the low opening force is very important. Top loaded cartons may be either corner glued or have crash lock bases. Small sized cartons require accuracy and consistency in cutting and creasing for the packaging operation.