Does your packaging have what it takes to engage consumers’ senses and create an emotional connection?
The majority of secondary packaging solutions for premium consumer goods are made of paperboard. But do you think all paperboards are pretty much the same?
Well, that is not entirely correct. Paperboards might appear similar at first glance, but there’s a world of difference in look and feel. Making the right choice can go a long way to enhancing the premium character of your brand on the shelf and when unboxing. The “wow” experience involves sensuality, mystery, authenticity and quality. The ability to support special effects and techniques such as embossing and foiling, is key to creating this appeal. So, beware of letting a third party make this decision for you. Touch, feel, compare and decide for yourself.
AVOID TEARING AND CRACKING
As a premium brand owner, do you want to safeguard your packaging from the risk of tearing and cracking?
Strength, stiffness and folding endurance are extremely important characteristics for wines and spirits packaging. Many consumers open and close premium boxes again and again. Some can’t resist opening it while it’s still on the shelf. So, it’s important to use a forgiving material with strength in all directions; a material that resists cracking along creased folds, both with and against the grain. Otherwise, there is a risk that the premium feel of the box will vanish quickly.
Remember, some paperboard products can crack immediately and break after 20 or even fewer folds. So be sure to ask for a multilayer solid bleached board (SBB) that can be bent, creased and folded several thousand times without breaking. Using a multilayer SBB gives the consumer a great experience and enables your box to withstand the toughest printing, converting and finishing processes.
PROTECT MORE WITH LESS
Tired of hearing that you’ll need to increase grammage or thickness to get sufficient stiffness and the protection your product needs?
Beware! You do not always have to use a higher grammage board for your product. Real strength is determined by your packaging construction and choice of material. It’s about using an outer packaging material that balances stiffness with versatility for a superior combination of elasticity, stiffness and compression strength.
In other words, a multilayer board with lower grammage may actually let you achieve the same or even better strength and durability than some other higher grammage board. Not only does this represent a cost saving in terms of materials, it also helps to reduce transport costs and related emissions, while ensuring the safe and protective handling of your bottles.
AVOID THE FADE FACTOR
Are you confident that your packaging material has a lasting whiteness? That it resists yellowing, fading and damaging shade variations?
Exposure to light can cause your packaging to fade. Naturally, this can have an adverse impact on the premium image of your brand. One reason this occurs is a trend favoring a more “bluish white” that may have a superficially fresher look. The problem is that this shade is often achieved by adding higher levels of optical brightening agents (OBAs), which deteriorate over time. So, make sure the paperboard you are using contains moderate amounts of OBAs for a consistent level of whiteness. Using fresh fibre paperboard also helps ensure good light stability to avoid fading. Your paperboard will be cleaner and your colour reproduction will look better too.
TEASE WITH TEXTURE
Do you want to create high embossing effects, elegant finishes or sophisticated printing – not just on the outside of the box, but also the inside?
Nothing says premium quality like a heightened tactile experience. Deep, intricate and well-defined embossing or debossing can add an extra touch of class that sets your products apart. But achieving these effects requires a paperboard with a smooth surface and excellent structural properties.
One key advantage of using a multilayer solid bleached board is that you can create fine details without worrying about unpredictable cracks in the board surface. Some SBB products also have a light coating on the reverse side to facilitate good ink distribution, making it possible to print on both the inside and outside of the box.
DAZZLE WITH FOIL EFFECTS
Interested in adding special foil effects but unsure whether your board can take the punishment in the press or converting operation?
Add hot foil stamping in shimmering metallic or a holographic pattern. Try varnish, which not only acts as a barrier to avoid scuffing, but is also a good way to catch the consumer’s eye. Such effects make consumers stop, take notice and run their fingers over the glossy surface. It signals a premium brand. There are many ways to achieve this, but remember that you may need a board that can withstand up to 20 press-passes or more, depending on your desired finishing effects.
When adding such dazzling effects, it is important to consider board flatness and dimensional stability. It takes a stable sheet (with no curl or twist) to avoid misregisters in the press runs. Forget that and you may end up spending a lot of time and resources on printing and finishing effects and then have to throw away parts or all of your production and start all over again. So, make sure you are using a board with an excellent dimensional stability and let your design imagination go wild.
REFLECT HIGH VALUE
Have you considered using a high-shine mirror effect to increase your brand’s shelf impact?
Shiny metal finishes on outer packaging help create a sophisticated look. Traditionally, this has been achieved by gluing gold or silver foil material onto the paperboard, which tends to highlight any irregularities or surface defects on the packaging material.
One way to avoid this problem is to use a high quality paperboard with metalized PET laminated on the print side – if it’s done with a light polyethylene (PE) thermoplastic polymer in the coating process. This polymer smooths out any irregularities in board surface – much like spackling a rough wall before applying paint. Properly done, this high-shine approach also has the ability to faithfully reproduce the most sophisticated printing images with digital or traditional techniques. As a result, you get an enhanced mirror-like effect that is simply stunning.
CONSISTENT QUALITY = VALUE
Does your printer or converter worry about quality variations in the paperboard they get from batch to batch, pallet to pallet?
Actually, they should worry, and so should you. Not all paperboard manufacturers have integrated production facilities where they can maintain control over the pulp-making and board-manufacturing processes, as well as the sourcing and supply of the main raw materials. As a result, the paperboard quality may differ slightly, leading to varying results in printing, conversion and thus the end result of your packaging.
These quality inconsistencies can also have a big impact on your bottom line. If your printer or converter needs to start and stop the process or do reprints, you can find that a discount paperboard ends up costing you much more in the long run.
MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE
Is your packaging material really as sustainable as you want it to be?
With climate change and environmental concerns on everyone’s agenda, both consumers and brands are on the lookout for more sustainable choices. When it comes to packaging, paperboard has an obvious advantage over fossil-based packaging: it’s a renewable material made from wood, a continuously growing biomaterial. Paperboard is easily recyclable too and, if it does end up in nature, it will quickly decompose. But here’s the catch: you need to check that your paperboard provider is using sustainable methods to reduce environmental impact throughout the entire value chain – from raw material sourcing through production all the way to final delivery of the products. Responsible paperboard manufacturers make a positive contribution to the forests by planting more than they harvest. However, only 9 percent of the world’s forests are independently certified as sustainably managed. So, make sure you choose a supplier with sustainable practices from start to finish.
Another thing: did you know that there’s a constant need to feed the recycling process with paper products made from ‘fresh’ fibers? The use of fresh fibers also ensures that the paperboard is stronger, cleaner, and can retain vibrant colours in print.
GET THE RIGHT CERTIFICATES
Can your paperboard supplier provide you with all the quality and environmental certificates you need?
Certificates and standards are a positive way to set common benchmarks, and they can also be helpful in marketing your products. While these can vary widely, look for the key international standards:
Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC™)
ISO certificates 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 (OHSAS 18001 has been replaced by ISO 45001) and ISO 50001 are international standards for quality management, environmental management, occupational health and safety management and energy management.
In addition to the above, check how your supplier is rated on some of the global indexes that take a more holistic look at sustainability across the company:
Carbon Disclosure Project
EcoVadis – Business Sustainability Rating
Achilles – assessing sustainability sourcing
DEMAND DEEPER KNOWLEDGE
In addition to superb product quality and reliable delivery solutions, can your paperboard partner provide knowledge and training to boost your business?
Specialist knowledge matters. Whether you’re dealing with an issue before, during or after the packaging production, look for a partner who can support you all the way to ensure secure and trouble-free packaging. Select a team of experts who embrace innovative product and process development and can help make your products stand out on the shelf or enable a better total cost of ownership.
The best partners understand your unique local conditions and can provide your team with additional training regarding paperboard selection, printing challenges, sustainability and other issues. They go beyond standard service requirements and can support you on a higher level. So, look into the additional services your supplier can provide and how you can benefit from their know-how.
ASK TO SEE REFERENCES
Ever get the feeling that your paperboard supplier doesn’t fully understand the high demands of your industry and your product development team?
There are many different types of paperboard suppliers out there. Some are mainly product focused and will try to sell whatever happens to be in stock that day. Others may be keen to focus on wines and spirits packaging but lack a deeper understanding of the extreme demands of the industry.
Be sure to ask for a reference list and check before making commitments. Do they have a long and successful track record? Have they worked with wines and spirits brands? You’ve worked hard to establish your brand for the long term. Make sure you pick a partner who can support you into the future.
All advice in one place
Download the full version of the guide on how to optimize your wines & spirits box.