Food & Beverage

For packaging... turn the head

SOLUTIONS A brilliant answer to a packaging problem: using Schubert’s Trasmodul TLM a cardboard tray can be filled with two tiered layers of small bottles after rotating the same 180°.

The Sizilia company is a known producer of citrus juices located in Berlin, Germany. When it came time to modernize their machine park with consistent, fully-electronic equipment, Schubert was commissioned to create the packaging line. A packaging machine construction in this line uses a unique conveyor device, the TLM transmodule, a robotic vehicle which moves through the packaging line on a track and transports packages and items being packaged in this way.

Success step-by-step

AAn evermore extensive presence in the main wine producing countries around the world, with local production and service structures; empowerment of its Italian site, with a new ultra-modern, “green” works; the launch of an original concept screw cap, in occasion of Simei 2011…. Enoplastic reinforces its position at the top of the international closure market, with gradual and constant innovation at all levels of entrepreneurship.

Enoplastic inaugurates its new plant: an extensive, ultra-modern structure, equipped with a photovoltaic system for the production of energy from renewable sources and structured to serve a growing demand for closures, mainly for the beverage industry. It is the latest step in a path of constant innovation that, over the last ten years, has led the Bodio Lomnago (VA) based company to double its turnover, its production figures and its workforce (currently numbering around 300). A path characterized by an international vision and a few essential choices, that characterize the entire management of the company and can be summarized in three main points: a continuous investment in plant design, with machines conceived and built "in house" in order to ensure quality standards and delivery times; vertical integration, from raw material to finished product, this too enhancing flexibility and the qualitative level of the offer; basic care for the environment - in energy terms, with a lessening of the impact on the surrounding territory and the optimisation of waste, but also in terms of design engineering with the launch of new eco-compatible closures (imminent at Simei 2011, the presentation of a “low impact” screw cap under the name of Greenleaf).
The result? Enoplastic today is a globalised group with works in the major wine producing countries of the world, from New Zealand to the United States to Spain and with a full array of projects constantly in the pipeline.
Creativity and other resources
Key people, who play different roles at different stages of industrialization have always been the strength of this company. Enoplastic presents itself primarily as an enterprise of individuals: the same that enable the inhouse development of new products, the improvement of standard ones and the adaptation of the machinery, thus achieving satisfactory results in less time without having to depend on external consultants. The slogan "improve in order to grow", which the company has given itself, also implies the training of highly specialized personnel who though also have a human “depth”, without which - owner proudly declares - the company would not be what it is today.
This concept of entrepreneurship is also the result of a never-ending quest for new solutions in order to meet the needs of wine producers, and others besides. The strategy has led Enoplastic to enhance both the appearance as well as the technical and functional aspects of its closures, which have thus become a classic expression of the best of Made in Italy. To back this up the company offers a customer service where commitment vies with imagination.
Indeed, the ability to listen, together with the experience gained in the field in over 50 years of activity, enables the Varese based group to address issues and projects as challenges from which to draw new vigour to fuel its propositive approach.
Products: anticipate the future
Enoplastic can boast a complete production of PVC and PET heatshrink capsules as well as polylaminate capsules for still wine and special capsules for sparkling wines and Spumante; what is more, for several years now the capsule division has been accompanied by the primary closures division, where synthetic corks and screw caps constitute the core business.
Among the many, the Luna model represents the ultimate expression (in order of time) of innovatory power and industrial creativity. It is a synthetic cork, flawless in terms of technical and mechanical, which strengthens the confidence of consumers in alternative materials to cork. Luna is aesthetically pleasing, with a familiar air, nice to look at but also to touch, its surface is pleasantly harsh and strewn with tiny craters and conveys a feeling of extreme naturalness. The materials used are tested on the basis of skills that are derived from twenty years of experience with synthetic corks for still wines and ensure the reliability and safety of the same.

Enoplastic is today the largest Italian manufacturer of synthetic corks, the first to start up research and production in this field already back in the early '80s, well in advance of its competitors. But they are also the first to have designed and built the machines required “inhouse”, exploiting the company’s extensive internal skills and knowhow in the field of enology, from mechanical engineering to plastics as well as test phase cooperation with wine experts and cellars and researchers in the universities of Piacenza, Udine and Geisenheim in Germany.
A far-sighted entrepreneurial vision, hence, that has invested in the relationship with employees and suppliers to guide them towards a common goal of development, in support of the technical and strategic choices of its customers.

Enoplastic has also brought to bear the power of innovation and industrial creativity to the field of screw caps. An example? Doubleseal® comes with a special sheath, which guarantees the inviolability of the container and safety of the contents that all food products should have.
This without mentioning the ease of application and technical reliability: Doubleseal® is applied just like a normal 30x60 screw cap and ensures the same airtight parameters.                               

Experience and innovation
Immersed in the landscape of the Lombard Prealps, Enoplastic Spa is one of the best-known and appreciated concerns at national and international level in the production of guarantee closures for the winemaking and other industries. Their consolidated prestige position is guaranteed by a perfect match between experience, innovation, full respect of the surrounding environment. The company has in fact attained an extremely high technological level, both as far as their system of production (the concern owns print machines in up to 6 colors and over 120 production machines) both for the technical knowhow of its staff. Thanks to this structure, Enoplastic is today capable of satisfying demands from over 80 countries spread across the five continents. Each client is followed by the efficiency of an expert, motivated and customer oriented commercial structure, that follows him through from the initial product planning phases right up to the final creation and the delicate application phase.

Stepping up on Italian food

CONSIDERATIONS 2011-2012: stagnant domestic market, exports + 10% per annum. What is required is an intelligent approach to tackling an evermore extensive market (covering China, India and Latin America) to support the competitiveness of the sector. Here is a summary of the topics discussed at the 8th Forum of Young Entrepreneurs under Federalimentare (16th and 17th September, Fasano, AB).

The forecasts drawn up by the Centro Studi Federalimentare on the food sector covering next year speak of a slight increase in food production (+0.8% per year), a stable domestic consumption (+0.1%) an upswing in exports (10% per annum in value). But, as Filippo Ferrua, president of Confindustria pointed out in her introduction to the works of the Forum, «exports may not be enough to compensate for the stagnation of domestic markets. And the increase in VAT will threaten the recovery of consumption in the short term».
Annalisa Sassi, president of Federalimentare’s Young Entrepreneurs, also notes that «to win the challenge of competitivity, we have to tackle evermore extensive new markets, primarily China, India and Latin America. The presence of more mature and aware consumers will also call for a reformulation of organizational structure and a rethink of the Italian food industry’s leading products».

Actual facts and reflections - Exports are up (+10% the annual rate expected between 2011 and 2012), but slightly down on the +11% registered in the first half of 2011, though countered by growth close to zero (+0.1%) in terms of domestic consumption. The outlook for next year for Italy’s food industry delineates a recovery too sluggish to meet the needs of an industry trying to reassert its classic role of controlling inflation.
This is the picture that emerges scrolling through the estimates for 2011-2012 drawn up by the Federalimentare Study Centre, where the new challenges for the competitiveness of the Italian food industry stand out, called as it is to face up to new emerging markets and models of consumption very different from the past.

«This year - according to President Ferrua - the Italian food industry will not be able to reinforce the modest recovery it experienced in 2010. Rather, it risks a further weakening. The increase of VAT to 21% on food will hit Italian families, forcing them to a further outlay of over 600 million, and threatens to undermine any prospect of recovery in consumption, with a strong impact on the activities of the agrifood chain, from agriculture to industry up to distribution. It is likely that the trend in food production for 2011 will not exceed the rate of +1% as a final balance. Exports, that put in a +11% in value in the first half of the year, will continue to flourish, but this will not suffice to compensate for the drop on the domestic market».

To avoid pessimism and victimizations - adds Annalisa Sassi - we questioned the organizational models, about where we went wrong and where we could do better. There is only one answer: at this point in time, all we can do is export our product(s), our company, our food model. But to remain competitive in emerging markets the Italian food industry must rethink the characteristics of the product and make it more consistent with the expectations of the global consumer. The disappearance of ICE - the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade - brings additional uncertainties at an extremely delicate moment, where promotional efforts on distant markets that offer the best prospects for expansion would need to be reinforced, markets though that Italian companies, especially the medium-to-small ones, find hard to reach and to tackle».
Production weak and consumption stuck on the starting blocks: new impetus needed from exports - Going into the details of the Federalimentare Study Centre’s estimates, in the light of a strong and continuing stagnation of the domestic market, only partially offset by growth in foreign markets, Italian food industry production in 2011-2012 should show a very slight average growth rate of +0.8% per year, a rate lower than that for the decade 2000-2010, where growth stood at +1.2% a year.
On the subject of turnover: if the pressure on commodity prices and the long-standing stagnation of domestic consumption continues to prevail in the coming years, the balance of trade will once again hinge on our ability to export our products. Federalimentare expects that, at the end of 2012, there will be an increase in the total turnover of 1.2% per annum, corresponding to a final value for 2012 of around 130 billion euro. As for domestic consumption, at best one can hope for a marginal growth of 0.1% per annum, which would lead, over the next year, to an overall growth prospect of 0.3%.
But it is from the estimates on exports that one has the most important considerations: in the decade 2000-2010, seen against gradual slowdown in growth in domestic consumption, exports did much to boost the growth of the industry.
According to the forecasts of the Federalimentare Study Centre, next year the pace of the trend in exports will slow down, though it will still stay positive, showing an annual average increase in volumes of +8%; exports seen in terms of value will put in an average annual rate of +10%.
105 billion euro (+0.3% over 4 years): this is what Italian food&beverage is estimated to be worth in 2011 - as revealed by a Accenture study for 2011, drawn up on Euromonitor data, the recession has reduced the expected growth in global food market by more than one third, with Western Europe and the United States registering the most limited growth rates. In the period 2006-08, in fact, the food companies in the world witnessed a combined annual growth rate of 10.9%, for a total value in 2008 that touched on 2.840 billion dollars. The estimates for 2011 in turn fix the value of the global food&beverage industry at 3,064 billion U.S. dollars, at the end of a difficult four years that have seen the industry grow by only 2.6% a year.
In this context, Italy finds itself in a critical position, slightly below the average growth in Western Europe. In 2006-08 the value of the Italian food industry grew by +2.8%, going from 99 to 104 billion euro, and in the subsequent four years in turn growth was +3%, for a final value of 127 billion euro in 2011.
Significant, in particular, the slowdown in packaged food, where the pre-crisis growth rate registered (figures for 2006-2008) an encouraging +4.1%. For this sector, forecasts for the market up to 2012 indicate that the current growthrates of around +1.1% will be kept up, to an estimated value a little above 80 billion euro. In detail, for the dairy sector will experience recovery at a slower pace (+0.5%), due to consumers switching to lower priced food products, while chocolate is the only segment in the confectionary and icecream sector withstanding the crisis.
The markets to be targeted - The question of growth abroad will be, in the coming years, one of the hot topics for the Italian food&beverage industry. And the question becomes central in this moment in history where the rules of the game are changing: The main market will transcend national boundaries and become "European". A macro-economic trend is already underway that by 2020 will see China as the largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power, with India in third-, the U.S. in second and Japan in fourth place. A study made by NCAER on the evolution of the middle class in India between 2005 and 2025 shows the potential of this new outlet to be presided over: in 20 years the families of the Indian middle class will have increased by 84%, while families earning more than 10 thousand dollars will grow by as much as 1,290%. Average consumption in this emerging market is estimated to grow by 424%.
The global consumer: fragmented, aware and "single portion" -
The macro-economic trends are re-profiling the typical consumer that the Italian food industry will have to win over says Saatchi & Saatchi; and it will have to do so aboveall shifting its gaze East and towards South America, markets that will require a new flow of goods. Italian food and beverage will have to deal with a global but also a "fragmented" consumer, looking for a product as “tailored” as possible, aware and demanding in their choices, seeking quality, health aspects, sustainability, safety and traceability. But also seeking practicality, as evidenced by the boom in single portions: a sign of changing times and an individual consumption that is increasingly present alongside the traditional "kitchen and pantry" model, something which the food industry will have to track carefully if it is not to succumb.

The tools and skills & knowhow - Global Challenges of this kind can only be addressed by appropriate means, which the Italian food industry as a whole has for a long time possessed, as states Annalisa Sassi: «We have developed manufacturing facilities and diagnostics so advanced as to allow our industry to ensure safety and quality to the Italians in as many as 66 billion meals a year, whose ingredients feature in more than 20 thousand references, all available at reasonable prices. It is not only the democratic nature and accessibility to food a particularly significant factor in favor of the action of the food industry over the centuries, but also the information, expertise, diversity and the uniqueness of our wealth of knowledge that makes Italian food so great and so precious the world over».                              

Beverages in Italy

Below is a summary of the characteristics and changes of the two areas “alcoholic beverages” and “non-alcoholic beverages”, from a packaging perspective.
Plinio Iascone
Packaging has proven to be a strategic factor for the beverage sector: in addition to protecting the product and making its handling possible, it also represents an important marketing tool.
The makeup of packaging for all beverages (alcoholic + non-alcoholic) consists in the following:
- glass bottles (returnable + disposable) 30.4%;
- PET bottles 57.9%;
- polylaminate cellulosic containers 4%;
- cans 2.7%;
- other (bag in box, draught, cheerpack, etc...) 5%.
Alcoholic beverages
In the area of alcoholic beverages, the glass bottle dominates all sectors, although it coexists with other packaging types, particularly polylaminate cellulosic containers and cans, which are characterized by promising market shares. Moreover, glass proves to be the only solution for spirits and vermouth.
For beer there are diverse solutions: in addition to the glass bottle, which also predominates this beverage type, there are aluminium cans and kegs for serving from the draught. In recent years, imported beers have also been distributed in 5 liter steel mini-kegs and 50 cl aluminium bottles. In the wine sector, the glass bottle and the polylaminate cellulosic container have shares of 72% and 10%, respectively: the former thanks to its place among high end wines, the second holds promising shares in cooking wine.
In recent years, the bag in box has progressively increased its presence in ranges with capacity of 5 to 15 liters.

Non-alcoholic beverages
In terms of packaging, the non-alcoholic beverage area is highly varied.
The PET bottle is prevalent in absolute terms and tends toward growth in the mineral water and carbonated drinks sectors.
The glass bottle continues to play an important role for mineral water, particularly in the “returnable” area, in which the use of bottles tailored to the necessities of the filling customers is spreading.
In the carbonated drinks sector, the most widely used packaging type after the PET bottle is the aluminium or tin plate can (the former predominates).
In fruit juices, the most used solution is the polylaminate cellulosic container, followed by the PET bottle, which shows tendential growth.
The PET bottle predominates in the area of non-carbonated drinks (tea, fruit-based mixes and energy drinks), although the aluminium can and plastic cups with aluminium easy peel top hold promising positions; followed by containers made from flexible polylaminate.    

Data and facts of the sector
According to Prometeia's projections, the growth prospects for production in 2011 in the beverage area as a whole (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages) is for about 2%. Particularly for alcoholic beverages, this growth should be driven mainly by exports.
But let's look at the history of this market area.
After the shrinkage in production during the two-year period of 2008-2009, alcoholic beverages ended 2010 with a production (products put on the market packaged) of approximately 4%; the growth was driven mainly be foreign demand.
In particular, 2010 saw exports grow by 16.4% and substantial stability for domestic demand, which in any case remains 6% lower than the period before the crisis, 2007.
In 2010, domestic demand showed the following trends in terms of production in the various supply chains: wine +0.4%; beer -1%; spirits +1.9%; vermouth +5%.
The growth dynamic of exports can be broken down thusly: wine +9%; beer +78%; spirits +14%; vermouth +3%.
Non-alcoholic beverages closed 2010 with a total production of 16.8 billion liters, a decrease from 2009. Production remains inferior by about 2% to the period before the crisis, 2007.
The biggest sector in terms of shares is that of mineral water, which represents 71.4% of total production, followed by carbonated soft drinks with a share of 17.5%; next come fruit juices, non-carbonated beverages (tea, energy  and sports drinks), mixes and syrups.
Production continues to be conditioned essentially by domestic demand, which, overall, covers approximately 90% of production.
In quantitative terms, the only significant export volumes are those for mineral water.
The biggest drop in production concerns that of mineral water: -1.2% in 2010 and -3.2% compared with 2007, the last year of sustained growth.
The drops in mineral water were caused essentially by a negative growth trend in domestic consumption, but also by a more widespread use of water from reservoirs and the growth of water treatment devices at home and also in some restaurants.

Plinio Iascone
Istituto Italiano Imballaggio

R&D for fresh prepared produce

From a project financed by the Region of Lombardy, a new line of controlled permeability materials has been created for packaging fresh prepared vegetable produce. They were presented by Industria Termoplastica Pavese at Interpack 2011, alongside the concern’s new permanent seal easy peel films.

An acronym for MODulated & IMproved PACKaging, the Mod-Im-Pack research project was initiated to respond to the need for increasingly sophisticated food packaging that is at the same time attractive and capable of guaranteeing freshness and a concrete aid in the reduction of food waste.

… more dialogue in the supply chain

Safe and easy to dispose of, optimized, economical and printed just in time. That’s what good packaging for food products means, according to Barilla’s packaging manager, who explains the group’s packaging design policies to the machinery manufacturers represented by Acimga and requests…

From 2007 to 2010, changes to Barilla product packaging increased by 13%, but in some countries they reached peaks of +30-40%. «In absolute terms - estimates Michele Amigoni, the concern’s Group Supply Chain, Packaging Design & Standards Director - there are approximately 2,000 redesigns or reprintings per year, including 1,000 in Italy alone, while in France during the last three years the number of changes grew from 80 to 300, and the phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down.

The spirit of tradition

Aidepi supports Ipack-Ima 2012: the reasons behind the choice, in favour of a super high value business segment.

December last Paolo Barilla - vicepresident of the industrial group of the same name - was elected president of AIDEPI (Italian Confectionery and Pasta Industry Association). This is a body that, under Confindustria, unites the two pre-existing sector associations, or that is the Italian Confectionery Industry Association and the Italian Industrial Pastamakers’ Union, that represent some 130 companies with 36 thousand employed.

How to pack… fresh produce

Sector figures and packaging used in the Italian fresh produce sector. Plinio Iascone

It is estimated that the Italian fresh produce sector is made up of approximately 460 thousand vegetable-, 340 thousand in fruit and 150 thousand in citrus fruit producing enterprises, spanning more than one and a half million hectares and employing about 2 million.
Since 1990, the amount of farmland has decreased at an average annual rate of about 10%, but, at the same time, yields per hectare have increased.
The sector is most clearly affected by significant production peaks and troughs due to weather conditions.

Mineral Oils and food pack: the current situation

This column usually attempts to clarify issues specifically relating to food contact. In this case, unfortunately, we can only highlight a fairly confused situation, mainly due to the not very clear definition of mineral oils (MOs). The MOs can come from socalled “traditional” offset inks and from inks for printing newspapers and graphic material, hence in particular involving the recovered fibre paper and board packaging sector.

More essential than that…..

At Interpack Krones launched a multi-packaging system, comprising the LitePac and the machine EvoLite, that has economisation as its strongpoint. All to the advantage of the user, the environment and, last but not least, the end consumer of beverages in PET. S.L.

At Interpack they were queuing up at the Krones stand to take a close look at this brilliant but straightforward bundle solution called LitePac and its packaging machine EvoLite. For our part, we gave a short preview of the system in ItaliaImballaggio, and indeed as could be expected, this “extreme” interpretation of multiple packaging has been much talked about.
Aboveall due to its originality: LitePac demonstrates, for the first time for PET bottles, the idea that no object exists, never mind how simple or traditional - in this case the strap - that cannot still be modified, improved on or modernised.

LitePac + Evolite

A new strapping system developed by Krones AG has revolutionized the secondary packaging of PET containers: machines and materials look
to a sustainable future.

Suitability under the plastics positive lists and in regard to specific restrictions

In addition to arrangements for assessing suitability, the principle of legislation for food contact materials is based on so-called "positive lists" of substances authorised (with restrictions) for the production of such materials. The fact that a compound is present in these lists means that it has been assessed  from the toxicological point of view. It is therefore essential to check that the compounds used (monomers or additives in the case of plastics) are included in these lists and that the restrictions, if any, are met.

From the idea to the bottle

FORM AND FUNCTION They’re required to look great, feel good, to be light and nonetheless stable, and also possess a high recognition value into the bargain. We’re talking about PET beverage bottles. A successful design for a beer, water or soft-drinks bottle is always proceeded by a process of exciting complexity. Alexander Schau

The challenge involved here is to create a product that functions properly and looks appealing. The creative part and the technical part have to complement each other, and maintain an equilibrium; form and function have to match. The container shapes have to satisfy the requirements of a high-speed line in all respects, a stipulation that is met (always in close consultation with the client) by the team at Krones Container Design.

A flowpack reduces waste

PASTRY REVOLUTION The new flowpack Martini for packaging long format pastas takes advantage of a unified control for packaging and dosing operations through PLC-based Omron architecture, Trajexia motion controllers and brushless motors.

In recent years, the pasta packaging market has been updated by leaps and bounds, especially through investments in electromechanical components. In this context, long pasta packaging stands out because it requires an elaborate engineering process, due primarily to the complexity of dosing different pasta formats.
Martini Packaging (which since 1973 has made machinery for weighing and packaging) wished to face this challenge with the support of Omron, a key partner in the creation of a new flowpack system (M08LV), which represents the top of the sector in terms of operational speed and dosing precision.

Sector questions

IDEAS AND PRODUCTS BASF gathered together converters and users to talk about the safety and sustainability of flexible packaging, aboveall for foodstuffs. And to reiterate that, today more than ever, while quality is a prime sector objective, technological progress should also take pride of place. Elena Piccinelli

BASF is as ever BASF. And it is comforting to state that when the German multinational takes action, it continues to do so with the measure and style befitting its history and values. At the congress organized March 31st at Assago (MI), rather than trying to amaze with special effects, the company chose to draw up a panel of speakers from companies the calibre of Nestlè, Barilla and Goglio, with the result of mobilising many fine names of the converting sector and much more on top of that.

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