The group last month announced that it had began supplying its Linearpak packaging for use with the Archer Farms cereal brand as an alternative to the current bag in the box system favoured by many manufacturers in the industry. Company spokesperson Ginny Jones told BakeryandSnacks.com that while Sonoco was not yet in the position to work with other manufacturers in extending the technology, it was considering the wider potential applications. "We are definitely open to using this application for cereal with other customers, and we're looking into such options, but we're not at this point willing or able to discuss any other customers," she stated. "We're also looking into ways to use the application for snack foods, to possibly replace other current bag-in-box packaging." Linearpak According to the manufacturer, the Linearpak offers processors a convenient new method of packaging goods over the long dominant bag-in-a-box system currently used for many cereals. The recycled paperboard-based packaging is designed with a plastic hinged overcap that the company says allows the product to be resealed after its initial opening. Sonoco says that the product is also sealed with a tabbed membrane instead of in a bag, which can simply be peeled off by the consumer following purchase. As part of the packaging's design, the manufacturer claims that the overcap hugs the rim of the paperboard container, ensuring freshness after the initial opening of the packaging, while also allowing for more convenient pouring. The paperboard used in the packaging is also gently rounded on the edges both to accentuate graphics on the packaging and for easier holding, Sonoco stated. Convenience issues Sonoco said that cereal packaging had proven to be a particular area of concern in terms of consumer convenience in recent years. The group cited a 2006 "Oyster Award" award that was given to bag-in-a-box cereal packaging, which it claimed was hard for consumers to open. Charles Sullivan, executive vice president of Sonoco's consumer packaging group, said that working directly with Archer Farms manufacturer Target has allowed the group to target specific consumer concerns such as these.
"Sonoco is a technology-driven company, with tremendous package design, materials science and testing resources," he stated. "Because we're vertically integrated, producing our own specialty paperboard, rigid containers, membrane closures, labels and opening systems, we felt certain we could meet Target's expectations."