Sample Packaging: Mini Boom
Dual-chambers, pouches, upscale looks, and green materials draw growing customer interest.By John Conroy
Dual-chambers, pouches, upscale looks, and green materials draw growing customer interest.
Whether it’s the cyclical nature of the cosmetics and personal care business, demand for samples is on the upswing, several suppliers report.
Two-in-one samples, multipacks, sachets, and sustainable packaging are among the sample types finding favor with customers. Upscale samples that mimic a retail product’s shelf appearance are also gaining in popularity.
The growing interest was evident at the HBA Global Expo trade show in September, according to some suppliers who attended. “A lot of the larger customers are even more interested in samples this year than previously,” says Tom Martin, vice president of sales, Klocke of America (Ft. Myers, FL). These clients include “the Beiersdorfs, Shiseidos, Unilevers, and Estée Lauders,” Martin says. Bottle- and tube-shaped blisters, sachets, and pouches are drawing interest because they cost less compared with mini bottles and mini tubes, he notes.
Double Your Pleasure
Martin sees one possible reason for the increased business. One possibility is that cosmetics companies had taken “a little time off and are coming back” to making greater use of samples in their marketing efforts.
“On the blister side, we had a lot of customers coming to us to go a little more upscale by going from a pouch to a blister,” says Martin. “There’s a lot more blister activity now, and particularly interest in dual-chamber technology.” One example is a mouthwash sampler with distilled water in one chamber and fluoride rinse in the other, he says. The two liquids are kept separated because fluoride dissipates over time.
Multichamber sachets are a new way to promote cobranded products, such as a shampoo and a conditioner, or to sample a product composed of two components that need to be mixed together, says Teri Meadow, director of sales and marketing, personal care and pharmaceutical packaging, North America, Amcor Flexibles (Mundelein, IL).
Dual-chamber sachets with a frangible seal between the two compartments offer the opportunity for convenient, mess-free mixing of two ingredients just prior to use, adds Meadow. The concept “opens a whole new stream of products you can sample, such as skin treatments containing an ingredient that needs to be activated just before application,” she says. The consumer simply pushes on one chamber in order to burst the frangible seal between the chambers, allowing the two compounds to mix, she explains.
Two-in-one products are also popular with clients of travel-friendly-cosmetics brand Cargo Cosmetics (Toronto), says Hana Zalzal, president. “A lot of what we do is two-in-one products. You get ultimate versatility,” she says. “We’ve got one that’s a base, a concealer, and a foundation in one.” As far as samples go, the brand’s recently launched eye shadow products are being promoted on a large, 5-×-6¾-in. marketing card in all the colors needed for both day and evening makeup. Sephora.com is using the concept for its Web-based sampling program.
World Wide Packaging (Florham Park, NJ) is “heavily involved in dual-chamber tubes” at both the sample and retail levels, says Jeffrey Hayet, executive vice president of global sales. “We have been developing unique closures, some with dials offering multiple dispensing scenarios.” Hayet claims that complex engineering technology is required so that the cap and the tube head complement each other in order to work properly.
The introduction of new ingredients in both cosmetics and personal care products raises challenges for sample packagers, says Tom Thompson, product development engineer, Glenroy (Menomonee Falls, WI), which is developing a line of peelable materials for cosmetic use. In cosmetics, the trend is toward the use of active ingredients that demand more of the package’s structure, he points out.
Exfoliating cosmetic ingredients, such as alpha hydroxy acid, have a tendency to “scalp” or absorb other ingredients within the sample package. In addition, the cosmetics themselves “tend to cause delamination within the structure,” he says. Salicylic acid, which is used often in acne treatments, is a particularly challenging ingredient. Fragrances and makeup that incorporate sunscreen agents also pose problems.
Glenroy uses Barex film as a sealant layer in order to counteract the scalping effect and to protect packages containing high-SPF products, Thompson says. Barex resists scalping for the most part and acts as a strong barrier to a range of different chemicals.
Due to its high-performance characteristics, Barex may raise the cost of a package slightly, Thompson notes. However, for companies faced with the challenge of packaging an active-ingredient formula, the cost may well be worth it.
Glenroy has also had some success marketing its advanced Great White flexible packaging film to cosmetics clients. The company has used Great White flexible packaging film, which has a brightness level of 91, in sample campaigns with some high-end cosmetics clients, Thompson says, adding that their samples need “more flash than our standard package.” Standard white films tend to allow the grayness of the foil layer to show through, Thompson points out.
Meanwhile, Dominick Montano, co-owner and vice president of marketing for SD Int’l (Wayne, NJ), says that samples with a higher perceived value are also on the minds of his company’s customers. Sephora and small retailers are the prime movers behind the current growth in sample packaging sales, he says. Many have sampling programs on their Web sites, for instance, and want to create deluxe samplers for loyal customers. These clients don’t want “normal samples, but deluxe versions,” which are slightly more expensive on average.
Montano says that product variables include reusable containers such as mini bottles and sampling sticks for mascara and lip gloss for companies such as Mary Kay and Avon. The packages replicate the brand image. Customers have also been asking for sample fragrance sprayers, which are more upscale than a vial on a card, he says. “We’re also seeing packettes as still the mainstream in cost-effective sampling, and we’ve been doing a lot more of those,” Montano notes, adding that SD Int’l just added a new Bartelt packette machine just to keep up with demand.
Demand for sustainable sample packages is on the upswing as well, says Meadow of Amcor Flexibles. One of the few flexible packaging suppliers at the HBA Global Expo trade show in September, according to Meadow, the company “reported tremendous interest in our soft-touch recyclable wipes package.” Meadow says attendees showed particular interest in flexible packaging “in terms of sustainability.”
Amcor’s packaging materials include a laminate made almost entirely from polypropylene, which is targeted for recycling with other polypropylene packages, such as yogurt pots, under recycling code 5, Meadow says. The material is available commercially. In addition to its recycling potential, Meadow says that flexible polypropylene laminate packages offer a 60% reduction in plastics use compared with a rigid plastic container.
Xela Pack (Saline, MI) is another samples supplier benefiting from growing interest in environmentally friendly packaging, which has been a long-time company selling point, according to Anthony Gentile, director of art and marketing. “Xela Pack has seen a significant rise in demand for primary packaging constructed with either of our two different 100%-postconsumer-recycled (PCR) paper-constructed laminates,” he says. The laminates combine 100%-PCR paper, foil, and poly. One [option] is 100%-PCR Kraft paper, and the other is 100%-PCR white paper to enhance printing capabilities.
The company’s latest product gives customers the option of choosing 100%-PCR paper for most styles of secondary packaging, Gentile says. The material is also recyclable, he notes. The Muse Spa-in-a-Box is the only product at the moment using the new material.
A Dual-Chambered Blister
Sonic Packaging Industries' (Westwood, NJ) codispense blister seeks to make an impact at retail. It also addresses the needs of product formulations with two parts that must be kept separate until the moment the product is dispensed. The blisterís two cavities can contain different liquids.Sonicís codispense blister accommodates fluids of varying viscosities and can be modified depending on a customerís mixing needs. Howard Thau, Sonicís chief education officer, says that the blisterís innovative structure has attracted enough attention for Sonic to manufacture it in a retail format. "We realized that this was a great travel pack," says Thau. "It also makes a convenient package for hair care and skin treatment products."
Sample-Sized Fragrance Vial
One of the latest trends is fragrance samplers that can be attached to items such as cell phones and purses, providing the ultimate portable package for the customer on the go.
Rexam Personal Care (Purchase, NY) recently launched Sof'cell, Rexam's popular spray vial now available with a cord attached. This cord can be used to string the vial to a phone, a handbag, a belt loop, or a keychain.