The Glue Talk Blog

Designer drawing sketches of fit for purpose packaging.

Packaging That Fits to Your Purpose

Posted 23 Oct 2019 by Elizabeth Staab, Marketing Manager, Packaging Solutions EIMEA

There is an increased demand for both attractive and fit-to-purpose packaging. It is about not only the design itself but also the level of its functionally.  

Market is changing and Packaging aims to fully adopt the “always fit-for-purpose” rule, balancing between paper options where possible and plastic when useful. At H.B. Fuller we are actively monitoring industry trends to better advise brand owners and OEMs to enhance potential adhesive solutions that can contribute to a more sustainable application and package.

With the digital world boosting and with more and more individuals shopping online, there is a growing need for more functional packaging solutions across the globe, with e-retailers supplying thousands of different brands and merchandise of different shapes and sizes, for which adhesive reliability is an important component.

Fit-to-Purpose Packaging Challenges

Historically, shipping boxes fulfilled product orders that were one-size-fits-all. Over a third (34%) of global retail business leaders admit in a recent study that the packages they ship worldwide are at least double the size of the actual product inside. This results in excessive material, air and cushioning being shipped along with the merchandise – increasing freight, material costs, and carbon footprint.

Small cardboard box representing fit for purpose packaging. The good news is that automated, cut-to-size packaging lines are now allowing for less material waste and optimized freight costs, supporting a more robust circular economy. With that and as consumerism grows, fit-to-purpose packaging sets unique challenges to adhesive suppliers:

  • Companies need to set up a different strategy for packing and shipping fresh and frozen products.
  • Temperature and bacterial control are critical, and regulations for food safety are much more complex.
  • How quickly deliveries can reach their destinations becomes even more important.

When we read those, it’s easy to understand that adhesives need a significant change that will be hand-in-hand with demand and with a fit-to-purpose packaging strategy to meet the industry strong needs.

Driving Collaboration and Meeting Industry Requirements

In this scenario, H.B. Fuller’s goal is to collaborate closely with customers at the testing and design stages, while developing adhesives solutions for fit-to-purpose packaging to meet their expectations. For instance, one that is an enticing market is e-commerce, which is driving significant change in packaging-making. Boxes and envelopes need to have a better fit in size and weight for goods mailed for home delivery. This new type of on-demand end-of-line packing equipment evaluates the exact dimension of each individual item, and then cuts and flaps the box to adjust its size accordingly.Supported by a close collaboration with H.B. Fuller and while using high performance end-of-line Advantra®adhesives, customers can now achieve a faster, optimized, clean and quality bond in their production lines, and being also more effective and responsive to any adhesive application they may face.

There are also other factors impacting the packaging-making segment, like the consolidation of multinational food companies. Today, there are more large-scale, food manufacturers and distributors that demand better process efficiencies, higher performance and supply assurance.

The Opportunity that Sets Innovation

The growing demand for sustainable manufacturing processes, products and packaging is driving our global R&D, technical service and commercial teams to collaborate on creating and delivering technology that supports improved production, less waste, and lower energy usage while seeking for greater adhesive performance reliability.

Increasing demand for easy-open and re-sealable packaging, and the development of better recyclable or lighter weight packaging materials, offer broad opportunities for adhesive application innovation. We have longstanding relationships with customers because we listen to them, as well as brand owners and OEM’s, then, we formulate innovative solutions that meet their challenges in an ever-changing industry, supporting challenging and modern substrates for packaging.

Our compromise with our customers in different parts of the world is wherever they may operate, we are part of their journey and we will continue to work together from farm to table, from factory to retail outlet, and from distribution center to consumers’ homes.

Discover more about how our adhesives experts can provide fit-to-purpose solutions for your business.

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