Streeter made the comments during The Future of Confectionery Packaging panel session at ISM & ProSweets 2016, in Cologne, Germany, with Andreas Leitze, sales director, Bosch, last month.
A trend for smaller pack sizes
ConfectioneryNews hosted the live session, chaired by Jenny Eagle, senior editor, processing and packaging, WRBM (William Reed Business Media), in partnership with trade fair organisers Koelnmesse.
“The flexible industry will continue to grow in the confectionery market because it offers three major benefits:protection in a low unique way, you have got offline printing onto a substrate that doesn’t absorb the ink so there is a good high quality branding opportunity and it also facilities high speed machinery,” said Streeter.
“What I am not seeing at the fair (ISM & ProSweets 2016) is the application of flexible packaging with the dynamism you would see say in Japan or North America, who are good at taking an idea and getting it to market in a short period of time.
“Confectionery still has to go through that hoop to get there.”
Leitze agreed with Streeter and said the flexible packaging industry will continue to grow because of the trend for smaller pack sizes.
“One big global trend is of course health, this is a hurdle for the confectionery industry and a danger being perceived as unhealthy so smaller pack sizes will focus more on the indulgence side rather than health aspect,” he said.
“We will see a big trend towards urbanisation, older people and smaller households.”
'It has facilitated a reduction in weight but it is not sustainable'
Streeter added flexibles are very versatile in that respect, or for multipacks, they can facilitate that but one red flag regarding small packs is that it has facilitated a reduction in weight but it is not sustainable.
“It has three-layers, an inside the heat-sealing medium, a carrier, a barrier element and an exterior layer, which has quite sophisticated print on it but it is all oil-based,” he said.
“Now oil prices have come down the possibility of renewable substitutes is much less.
“We talk about tonnage in recycling packaging but with confectionery we ought to be talking about pieces, each individual piece eg a twist wrap for a sweet in a pouch.
“Flexible packaging is unique within the industry because when you recycle aluminium cans, tin cans, glass bottles - it’s a solid object you can physically pick up and throw away but flexible packaging is light which makes it difficult to mechanically handle and we are producing an awful lot of it.
“It is time for the industry to confront this and say there is an issue out there. A lot of flexible packaging isn’t renewable, and what are we going to do about it. Tonnage terms are a bit misleading.”
Leitz added according to the United Nations, 30% of food is wasted worldwide.
“If you open a big bad of confectionery products after a few days or weeks without protection the product is not consumable anymore, smaller packaging has an important role to play to ensure food is not wasted,” he said.
“There has to be a change in production of packaging material. I am seeing a trend in biodegradable plastics, we (Bosch) has invested a lot into ultrasonic sealing technology which doesn’t necessarily require a three-layer of packaging material but double layer films.
“It is a difficult situation between packaging material and food wastage, you cannot have both.”