At Pack Expo 2013 (Sept. 23-25; Las Vegas), Melissa Jacobson, marketing and communications manager at Placon (Booth #S 6409), said the company anticipates announcing at least three complete new product lines in 2014.
"It will be some exciting new products for thermoforming," she told PlasticsToday. "We really listen to the companies and the consumers and as a result will bring new products to the market."
While the company was mum on what the new products will entail, Jacobson hinted that the communication of recyclability will be a focus. There are numerous complexities in the PET thermoform recycling process and there are still some municipalities that do not accept the material. Those are just some of the recycling barriers the company hopes to help overcome.
"Many consumers do not know that they can recycle thermoform containers," she said. "We really want to help the consumer understand how to recycle and help increase the recycling rate. We're working on figuring out different ways to communicate that with the consumer and that is some things we are trying next year."
Recycling is a focus for the company. After all, it operates EcoStar Plastics, a recycler and manufacturer of post-consumer recycled PET bottles and thermoforms. EcoStar reclaims and purchases plastic bottles and mixed bales of post-consumer thermoforms, diverting them from landfill waste streams and converting them into EcoStar materials with up to 100% post-consumer recycled content.
The company operates a 70,000-sq-ft facility dedicated to recycling PET by reclaiming both plastic bottles and thermoforms and turning them into premium food and non-food grade flake and sheet.
All about tamper evident
Jeffrey Lucash, director sales for Placon Products, said for the past four years, a continued trend has been the usage of tamper-evident containers in packaging.
"People want it, processors like it," he said. "I think a key feature is for the grab-and-go category. With tamper-evident, consumers know that the food inside is safe."
This past May, the company launched its new Crystal Seal tamper-evident PET thermoformed food containers that are 100% recyclable with a patent-pending feature that helps minimize the potential of food tampering. The tamper-evident containers are available now in seven grab-and-go sizes from 8-64 oz.
The food containers feature no removable byproducts or tear-away pieces, which the company said not only minimizes potential choking hazards; but the double-hinged tamper-evident design also eliminates the necessity for shrink bands or tamper-evident labels, the company said.
One key feature is the minimal ribbing found in the container on the sidewalls to provide maximum product visibility.
Jacobson said that visibility is a big selling point when it comes to food packaging. According to a new paper from Professors Xiaoyan Deng of Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business and Raji Srinivasan of McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin, transparent packaging does impact the eating process.
"People want to see the food before they buy it," Lucash said. "This is why it's important our recycled PET has excellent clarity."