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Wipak wins Innovation Prize Commendation for Arla product

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Wipak wins Innovation Prize Commendation for Arla product

January 18
15:55 2016

wipak1401Packaging has to stand out on the shelf if it is to capture the customer’s interest. Packaging company Wipak has developed a brand new surface effect for Arla cheeses, which looks and feels completely different and has just won an ERA Innovation Prize Commendation.

It takes just 15 seconds for a customer in a store to decide which cheese to buy. Consequently, the packaging itself is a crucial factor in convincing the customer to choose a particular brand. This means that many companies put a lot of resources into developing new packaging solutions, both in terms of design and material.

One of these companies is dairy producer Arla, which has been working with Wipak since 2012.
“The collaboration has worked very well, and we feel our packaging has been given a real boost since we started working together,” says Jenny Klingberg of Arla.

She goes on to say that the new packaging design was developed alongside the company’s design agency, Identity Works, based on a Wipak plastic laminate. Arla used to use a plastic and paper laminate on the top of the cheese packs to distinguish them from other brands’ packaging, which was plastic only. Since it was time to renew the design, Arla also wanted to do something new with the material.

The new surface developed by Wipak not only looks different, it feels different too.
“We recognized that customers wanted a matt surface on packaging. We therefore wanted customers not only to see the difference but also to feel it, so we developed the new surface laminate, which is entirely plastic but still feels like paper,” says Sara Lina Jungnickel, who works in packaging design at Wipak in Germany.

Wipak is unique in having a large department that focuses on packaging design. The department has developed a skill in quickly producing a ‘dummy’, which is essentially an initial prototype for a new product which customers can see and touch to gauge whether it’s what they’re looking for. Normally this entails producing a small amount of the product to test it in the actual work flow. This takes a lot more time and costs more as the material first has to be printed, and day-to-day work on the packaging lines has to be disrupted. And after that, there’s no guarantee that the customer will want the newly developed product. The people in Wipak’s packaging design department act somewhat like project coordinators in major development projects.

Since Arla had been working with Wipak since 2012, Arla turned to the packaging company to discuss the cheese packaging. The focus was initially on the paper laminate, but then Wipak presented the new printing effect as an alternative, and both Arla and the design agency were immediately interested as it appealed to two senses simultaneously – sight and touch. It is also far better suited to color printing as the colors are clear and bright.

The plastic laminate that Arla now uses for its cheese packaging, giving the surface a matt look and feel, is comprised of an OPA/PE laminate. The outer layer is coated with a special haptic lacquer, which is the secret ingredient in the surface film.

“The lacquer creates a soft, structured surface that both we and our customers appreciate,” says Jenny Klingberg. She adds that Arla is now starting to use the new printing effect on more products in the range, since customer response to the cheese packaging was so positive.

Entering the cheese packaging for the ERA Packaging Gravure Award 2015 was a joint decision at Wipak.
“We were so proud of the new packaging material we had developed, and wanted to enter it in a competition. We were pretty sure of winning as well,” says Sara Lina Jungnickel with a smile.

The panel commented: “The entry from Wipak was not just an improvement of an existing packaging solution, but really something new, and it therefore perfectly met the criteria of the ERA competition for an innovation. Furthermore, it is something which could only be achieved by using gravure, with the special cylinder engraving developed by Wipak.” (James Siever, ERA Secretary General)

Wipak was also at Scanpack in October, attracting a lot of attention for packaging that features the innovative new printing effect.

“It was interesting to watch visitors’ reactions. First of all they looked at the product and became interested, but when they picked a sample up and touched it their interest took on another dimension. It’s very clear that this haptic lacquer stimulates several senses,” says Lars-Ove Tönning, Managing Director of Wipak Sweden.

Arla is proud of the design prize, which is firm evidence of a good collaboration with design agency Identity Works and supplier Wipak.

Wipak are no strangers to winning awards.

“But we’re particularly proud of this ERA Innovation Prize Commendation. We’re not members of the ERA (European Rotogravure Association), so this is a commendation won in full competition with other packaging manufacturers,” says Rafael Kraft, New Business Development Director for Wipak Group.

Wipak certainly appreciates customers like Arla, who have the courage to take risks and test brand new ideas. It is thanks to collaborations like this that progress is constantly moving forward.

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