More than ever, people care about their health and are willing to pay a premium when purchasing natural products. That has become evident across nearly all consumer packaged goods, from food items and household cleaners to personal care products and cosmetics.
At the core of this consumer trend are vitamins and supplements (also known as nutraceuticals), which include everything from protein powders and probiotics to vitamin C gummies and omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
According to a 2016 report from Grand View Research, in the U.S. alone, the nutraceutical industry is expected to become a $37-billion industry by 2024. Plus, estimates indicate it could rise to a $278 billion global market size by that same time thanks to escalating sales in Asia.
With increased growth comes increased competition, and that means manufacturers of natural health products need to look for ways to stand out in the eyes of consumers and become preferred by retailers.
Here’s a look at how implementing resealable flexible packaging can add value and provide a competitive advantage.
1. Resealable Pouches are Perfect for Powders
One of the larger segments in natural health products is powdered supplements, including protein powders as well as many other dietary supplements.
Typically, these products have been packaged in rigid containers like large plastic jugs with screw-on caps. However, the growth of flexible packaging and stand-up pouches has resulted in many manufacturers switching package formats.
Resealable pouches are ideal for powdered merchandise for an important reason – freshness.
Unlike a rigid container, flexible packaging can be compressed as product is used up. When there is extra space in the package, consumers can reduce the amount of air inside that contributes to oxidation. Zippers and sliders make it convenient to keep a package closed.
The films used to create flexible packaging are also effective at maintaining freshness, protecting the product from exposure to light and moisture while preventing dehydration
One potential problem with adding a closure to flexible packages containing things like protein powder or meal replacements is that product can get lodged in the zipper, preventing it from sealing properly.
Fresh-Lock® Slider Zipper has developed an innovative solution to this problem with the Particle Plow Slider. This closure system is patented technology that is designed to push granules out of the way as the slider moves across the zipper portion, which means customers get a tight seal every time.
People want to be certain their products are properly sealed. Another way to make consumers feel confident in the closure is to choose Fresh-Lock’s patented Click ‘N Lock™ Sensory Zipper. This option provides sensory feedback as it closes with a noticeable texture and audible noises letting consumers know the package is tightly sealed.
2. Small Format Flexible Packaging is Getting More Versatile
Many vitamins and supplements come in smaller containers. This can make it challenging to apply certain closures to a flexible package.
For example, it may be difficult for a user to operate a slider inside a small format stand-up pouch because the hood and overall design requirements of the closure impede the ability to get a good grip.
That’s why we developed a reduced scale option known as the mini Slider. As the name suggests, it is designed for smaller, lightweight packages. Because less material is needed to manufacture this slider system, it can also be a more cost-effective solution.
Use the mini Slider on small-format pouches containing things like foods found in natural health stores, such as nuts, goji berries, natural sweeteners, and even natural pet treats. If consumers are willing to spend extra on premium natural products for their pets, they are likely to appreciate packaging that adds value and keeps the treats fresh.
It should be noted that certain natural health products may require child-resistant packaging, and other items, which may not be regulated, should still consider child-resistant features.
3. Improves Transportation, Stocking, and Labeling
CPG companies are discovering the many ways using flexibles can boost efficiency in the supply chain.
Flexible packages make it easy to stack merchandise on a pallet. Because it is lighter than rigid packaging, flexibles reduce transportation costs, including fuel consumption.
Anyone who has ever had to pack or unpack boxes of supplements stored in mass quantities of little bottles knows how cumbersome it can be. In a retail environment, keeping those products organized and facing the right direction is another challenge. On the other hand, when nutraceuticals are packaged in flexible stand-up pouches, they are easier to stack, store, and place on the shelf.
That’s a benefit retailers will notice, which means your products will get out of the backroom and in front of consumers faster than the competition.
When shoppers do see natural health products in flexible packaging, it will be easy to communicate with them thanks to the “billboarding effect” this format provides, which means it increases the visual impact across a large area of shelf space. Packaging designers can make their brand’s logo take center stage on the package, communicate important product benefits, and also make sure to meet labeling requirements from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Flexible packaging can also be more sustainable, which is a quality many natural health consumers will appreciate in a brand. It provides improved source reduction compared to rigid packaging. Since there is less material used with flexible options compared to rigid packaging, there is less to dispose of when the product is gone.
4. Meet Child-Resistant Standards
While manufacturers of dietary supplements do not need to meet the same FDA requirements as pharmaceuticals before marketing to consumers, the natural healthy industry is still monitored and regulated. That includes laws regarding certain supplements that must be in child-resistant packaging.
For example, the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) requires all supplements containing iron use child-resistant packaging. Failing to do so can have major consequences for natural health brands.
In 2015, a brand of chewable supplements for seniors that were packaged in pouches faced a recall connected to the packaging. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notes the supplements contained iron, but the packaging was not child-resistant or senior friendly.
At Fresh-Lock®, we’ve developed a unique solution to this issue, which allows nutraceutical makers to take advantage of the benefits of pouches while also providing safety and protection to consumers.
The Child-Guard® slider is exclusive, innovative child-resistant packaging technology designed for use with flexible packaging. It has been tested with both children as well as older adults to make sure it can keep kids out while being easy enough for seniors to open.
When the Child-Guard® slider is properly closed, it locks in place. The closure requires an additional step in order to open it, (see the video below). If combined with a flexible package using a film structure that also meets regulations, Child-Guard® can help brands achieve child-resistant packaging requirements.
While only certain supplements must meet child-resistant packaging standards, many responsible natural health brands take extra steps to protect children using a standard child-safety cap. Child-resistant packaging is especially important when selling vitamins and supplements that are marketed for children or may be tempting for kids to take when they shouldn’t.
Child-Guard® allows for the responsible use of flexible packaging in the nutraceutical industry. Adding an innovative closure like this to stand-up pouches shows brands care about safety, and consumers will notice the added value.
If you have questions about Child-Guard® or any other of our closures for flexible packaging, contact us by email today or call 800-265-0750.