Private View: Two packaging technologists review six retail packs

Sukhdev Saini of Genral Mills and Soma Roy of Marico discuss the technical nitty-gritties, functional aspects and performance of packaging on the shelf.

28 Sep 2017 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Sukhdev Saini
Packaging manager - AMEA,
General Mills
Soma Roy
Associate manager - packaging quality,
A. Apis Himalaya Honey

The striking feature of this package is the symmetrical design of the bottle and cap. The unique shape of the paper label and gold foil stamping complement the high value of the product. The PET bottle and dispenser spout make the experience of consuming honey extremely smooth. The induction sealing was intact; assuring the user that the product was not tampered with. 

Scope for improvement: Label graphics can be improved and some space can be reserved for marking and coding on the label.

The tapering neck profile ensures 95-98% product usage. The PP cap is made of two components with an effective locking mechanism, which can be operated with a mild twist to dispense honey. A transparent poly-coated foil ensures tamper evidence. The profile label covers three sides of the bottle, however, a significant area at the back remains empty. This space could have been used for branding. The three-side profile label can pose production complexities due to air entrapment and shifts, which can affect the overall aesthetics of the pack.

Scope for improvement: Adulteration can be eliminated if the bottle is shrink-wrapped. Label graphics could have been better.  


B. Engage Pocket Perfume
The name Pocket Perfume suits the size perception of this pack. It is handy with smart design features. The front label has a drip-off UV effect produced by lacquer screen printing. The back label goes right up to the cap, adding a tamper evidence feature to the pack. Overall, the moulding, colour and finish of the pack are engaging. 
Scope for improvement: The team can experiment with neon metallic colours. The pack doesn’t mention the type of plastic used.
The design of Engage Pocket Perfume pack is difficult to counterfeit. The rectangular-shaped bottle is a two-piece injection moulded container with a welded bottom. The PP transparent cap boasts sand finish. There are five packaging material components that form one unit pack; it requires four moulds to assemble the unit. The back-of-package label is deployed as a tamper-evident feature. It has fine perforations that ensure easy-tear while pulling the cap. The label is decorated with a special varnish for the embossed effect. 
C. Cadbury Dairy Milk Lickables

This is one of the best examples of a “Mystery Pack”. The unique UFO design coupled with Cadbury’s purple colour make an effective packaging on the shelf. The combination of IML and high-end printing works well. The moulded tamper-evident tab is visible on the pack. The inner foil tab sealing has a good message for consumers. The fitment of the two plastic halves is perfect. The toy and the spoon are of good quality and hygienically packed in a poly bag. 

Scope for improvement: There’s no information about the toy. The outer tamper evident feature can make it difficult for kids to open the pack.

The concept design appears to be that of a spaceship or a UFO. It’s an excellent concept but a form of deceptive packaging. The pack is a container with a modified cup-cap arrangement. The top and bottom PP cups are IML containers. A tamper-evident seal locks the two cups together.  In order to protect the product inside a tagger foil is heat-sealed, which can be easily peeled with minimal force. The spoon and the gift are contained inside the bigger container. 

Scope for improvement: The label size can be reduced to avoid scuffing concerns and the graphics can be made more effective for better communication.
D. Chef's Basket Hakka Noodles Box

The trapezoidal shape of the box is an intuitive design for a meal box. The high quality of virgin paperboard enhances printing and appeal. There are a QR code and clear preparation instructions on the pack which act as an engagement tool for consumers. The tear-open message with serrations was very clear on the top flap. The pack has five different pouches inside. Each product component was packed in the different laminate as per the product’s requirement. The manufacturing and best before dates were clearly printed on all the pouches. The quality of sealing was very good which connotes use of good filling and packing process.

Scope for improvement: Glue application pattern on the top flap could be better. While opening, the inner message was destroyed.

The noodle-in-a-box is a novel concept. There’s a snap-fit lock bottom monocarton which contains PET-poly laminate for noodle and onion sachets and PET-foil-poly laminate for seasoning sachets and the schezwan sauce is retort packed.  

This pack scores full marks on carton graphics. 
Scope for improvement: The inner sachets could have had more graphics, as a single-colour cylinder is anyway required for the photocell marks.


E. Nature’s Treat Bambaiya Bhel

The packaging resembles the traditional newsprint paper cones used by roadside vendors for serving bhel. The pouch formation, filling and sealing using metallised laminate is a novel concept. The shape and the background graphics combination is eye-catching. The paper sticker is used on the top to form the shape of the cone. The tear-notch adds to consumer convenience. 

Scope for improvement: For higher productivity and volumes, a shape for automation on form-fill-seal equipment can be explored.

A profile pre-formed conical-shaped pouch with two-sides sealed appears just like conventional bhel packs. After the product is filled at the factory, the top-end is sealed and then manually tucked followed by pasting a paper label. The graphics on the paper label match the graphics on the PET-MetPET-poly laminate, and the colour of the graphics is similar to the colour of the product inside.

Scope for improvement: There are marginal sealing concerns.
F. Colonel & Co Chip 'N' Dip

The large size of the pack with two distinct compartments puts the pack in the value-for-money range. This is a unique product offering which enables the consumers to eat on the go. The brand name is embossed on both sides of the polystyrene tray. The matte finish of the top film makes it look premium. The sealing quality of the film to the tray is good which is required for food products. 

Scope for improvement: The side panels of the tray can be used for branding. Perhaps a printed paper sleeve can be used as secondary packaging.

This pack deploys the concept of single-serve portion pack. It is a white thermoformed tray with two cavities and a cup that fits in the smaller cavity for the dip. This cup is heat-sealed with MetPET poly-laminate. The height of the inner cup is less than the outer cavity to snugly fit inside the tray. The peel strength of the dip laminate is an easy-peel type. The entire tray is then sealed with a laminate structure of white opaque poly-MetPET-printed matt PET. The graphics can be improved. There’s a variation in wall thickness and laminate slip resulting in seal shift on the left panel.