Trends in Nutritional Packaging Benefit Manufacturers

August 26, 2002

3 Min Read
Trends in Nutritional Packaging Benefit Manufacturers

by Dave Spence

Nutritional supplement manufacturers are taking advantage of newdevelopments in packaging to obtain higher quality bottles and jars for productlines. Manufacturers of packaging for the nutritional industry are noticing anumber of trends that appear to give supplement manufacturers more choices andgreater confidence in their packaging purchases.

Three of the most noteworthy trends in nutritional packaginginclude the demand for better quality packaging, the desire for greateravailability of colors and an increase in the availability of affordable custompackaging.

As nutritional supplement companies work hard to earn andmaintain the trust of consumers, they rely on their packaging partners todeliver the highest quality packaging possible. Because the Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) monitors many manufacturers' products, it is important forpackagers to use only FDA-approved raw materials and apply stringent qualitycontrol to all aspects of the manufacturing process.

The emphasis on quality has evolved into a "zerotolerance" for defects. The old accepted standards for quality may nolonger be sufficient--and the increased emphasis on quality requires a modifiedapproach to manufacturing.

As companies strive to achieve the "perfect package,"packaging companies must improve quality processes, programs and training toeliminate judgement calls from the quality process. For example, St. Louis-basedAlpha Packaging has standard operating procedure (SOP) training programs andhourly quality assurance (QA) checks that have been in place for many years.Other improvements--including conversion to more precise molding processes (suchas injection stretch blow molding) and a formal Preventive MaintenanceProgram--have evolved in response to the demands of the market.

From first-piece approval, through hourly checks and the finalquality control (QC) system, supplement manufacturers benefit greatly from therecent improvements in bottle quality. Generally, the best bottle-manufacturingenvironment consists of new machinery and molding processes, clean facilities,trained personnel, and a company-wide commitment to learning from mistakes sothey're not made twice.

Building Brands Faster

Traditionally, consumer product brands were built over decadesas people tried new products, developed a preference for those products andbecame loyal to a particular brand. Nutritional supplements, however, are oftenviewed as a commodity by the consumers who purchase them. Many manufacturers areconcerned that even an educated consumer may not know the subtle differencesbetween products, and pharmacists are often uncomfortable recommending one brandof supplement over another if they have not had personal experience with them.

In an environment where new products emerge quickly and do nothave the ability to clearly differentiate themselves through ingredients alone,custom packaging can give products immediate brand recognition on store shelves.In combination with custom colors, custom bottles and jars are earning companiessales in an industry where products have traditionally had trouble getting the"mindshare" needed for repeat sales.

Some of the most significant trends in custom packaging includeimaginative bottle designs that "merge" the look of pharmaceuticalbottles with personal care packaging; building new molds that utilizepre-existing components for an economical yet unique solution; and an emphasison color used creatively to tie in with raw materials--or to overcome theincreasing imposition of larger label requirements.

Custom color is a fairly new innovation that has been met withquestions from some manufacturers. Only a few years ago, Alpha Packaging's salesteam encountered curious looks when the company introduced Limitless ColorMatching for PET packaging. Because most nutritional packaging resembledpharmaceutical packaging, manufacturers had a tough time buying in to thebenefits of colorful bottles and jars.

Now, however, our customers directly attribute the sales of someproducts to the colorful packaging they utilize. Led by the creative use ofcolor among international distributors, the domestic market is also seeing moreopportunities for color. Custom color affords manufacturers the ability to havevirtually any color in both opaque and translucent materials, as well asmetallic and pearlescent finishes.

As trends continue to evolve, manufacturers are benefiting frommore packaging choices, greatly improved quality and a packaging environmentthat offers more flexibility at affordable prices.

Dave Spence is the president of Alpha Packaging, afull-service packaging company based in St. Louis. The company can be contactedat (800) 421-4772 or

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like