Cosmopack – Designed for protection & sustainability

Published: 19-May-2011

Product protection, design and sustainability were the order of the day at this year Cosmopack in Bologna (18-21 March). Nadia Di Martino reports on the event and the trends

From 18-21 March in Bologna this year Cosmopack showcased the latest innovations in the art of enclosing and protecting cosmetics. Design was also at the core of the show, which also focused on the need for Cosmopack ran concurrently with Cosmoprof Bologna, occupying two halls (19 and 20) and spread over two floors. Organiser SoGeCos this year decided to open the two exhibitions on the same day so that visitors could make the best of both events over the four days.

According to SoGeCos commercial director Roberto Valente: “Halls 19 and 20 combined hosted 330 exhibitors this year, of which 55% were non-Italian.”

On the afternoon of the opening day, Italian trade body Unipro organised a conference dedicated to packaging in the cosmetics industry. Plinio Iascone from the Istituto Italiano Imballaggio (Italian Institute of Packaging) opened the conference discussing the evolution of packaging in the beauty sector. This was followed by a conference organised by the Airless Packaging Association (APA) to promote airless dispensing systems.

Iascone has conducted research for Unipro into how packaging for the cosmetics industry has evolved over the last ten years. According to this, from 1999 to 2010 the use of glass has diminished by 11.6% while plastic has become a favourite in the industry; its use growing by a staggering 19.5%. “The use of single-dose formats has also become widely popular. The most noticeable change has been in the way aerosols are produced today as the industry has progressively dropped steel in favour of aluminium,” said Iascone. “The advantage with aluminium is that the packaging is made out of just one piece while with steel the welding is visible on at least three points of the packaging, which aesthetically is not ideal. Moreover rust originates immediately with humidity.”

Among the latest trends to watch in the packaging sector for cosmetics are the need to protect the actual product from the packaging, which can be addressed creatively, and airless packaging.

Airless options

While Iascone provided an overview of the latest trends in packaging, the Airless Pack Association used Cosmopack as a platform to promote airless packaging and launch its new ‘Airless certified by APA’ logo.

APA is a global group set up by packaging companies Lablabo, Lumson, Megaplast, Quadpack/

Yonwoo and Rexam. The theme of the association’s conference at Cosmopack was Protect your beauty - Airless: when packaging really makes a difference.

Lucyna Silberstein, president of the APA, stated the mission of the association: “APA wants to merge forces in promoting, explaining and informing clients and end consumers about all the technical and functional advantages of airless packaging.”

As Silberstein illustrated, APA has developed a logo to identify airless packs manufactured by the associated companies, which guarantees the quality of the packaging. The logo can be found engraved at the bottom of the packaging or printed on it.

Jean-Philippe Taberlet, co-founder & technical team leader for APA, went on to explain the minimum requirements needed for a product to be APA certified. The main tests the products have to undergo refer to tightness, accuracy, restitution and robustness.

Stefano Focolari, chief marketing officer for Lumson and marketing team leader for APA, talked the audience through an overview of the airless sector. “Airless packaging is the fastest growing product category in the cosmetics industry,” he said. “The growth rate of the segment currently stands at 15-20% per year and the European market is estimated to be worth around 600 million pieces. This rate is expected to be steady for the next five years.” Focolari highlighted three main reasons why the use of airless packaging has become so widespread. Firstly changing formulations including dual-purpose formulas often need to be kept separated until use; secondly protection is required against oxidation; and thirdly there is a need to maintain the purity of the product.

Muriel Lesbros, marketing consultant for Quadpack added: “It’s in the last five years that airless packaging has become ‘the big thing’. It’s great because with airless you don’t touch the product at all with your fingers; you have a clean and soft application and you don’t waste your product. It’s ideal for organic products.”

While airless initially became popular in the 80s, with the cosmetics industry adopting the idea and rapidly developing it, the present generation of airless packaging has evolved to become much more accurate and sophisticated in design. Fewer components are used and packaging comes at a lower price due to competition and improved solutions. Today’s market also offers more choice.

Exhibitor experience

Private label company Ancorotti Cosmetics was exhibiting at Cosmopack.“As an Italian company where 70% of business consists of export, for us it’s important to have a presence at Cosmopack. The cosmetics industry in Italy is worth around €9m which is the same value as the wine industry and 60% of make-up worldwide is made in Italy. This sector should be recognised more and Cosmoprof is a good start,” said ceo Renato Ancorotti.

For some exhibitors Cosmopack really is the place to be because the entire cosmetic world converges at Cosmoprof Bologna, from manufacturers of machinery to those who make the finished product.

Marco Paggetti, technical director for Coven, specialised in machinery for the perfume industry, explained: “Cosmopack is the ideal setting to meet clients who exhibit in other pavilions and we even meet them for maintenance so that we can sort out problems in person. We have tried other exhibitions including Emballage in Paris but it didn’t work for us as it was filled with only French companies while we are international. We have been exhibiting in Cosmopack since 1993 and here we get to meet a lot of clients from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, South America, Russia and eastern Europe.”

Despite a general appreciation of the exhibition, some complained about the fact that this year lacked a day exclusively dedicated to packaging, since Cosmoprof Bologna opened its doors on the same day as Cosmopack.

Dominic Bakic, ceo at DieterBakicDesign commented: “The first two days of Cosmopack have been really productive but then it’s become very quiet. I don’t believe it was a good move to change the dates of Cosmoprof Bologna and in my opinion the fact that the exhibition spread over the weekend including a Monday is not ideal. However at Cosmopack we do receive a lot of feedback from our customers so it’s still worth us coming here. Cosmopack is still the best trade exhibition to attend for its heritage and history and it’s packed with a wide range of companies.”

According to Bakic the Cosmopack audience has changed and while there are not so many American visitors, the number of visitors from eastern Europe and Russia has increased.

Exhibitors had travelled from all over the world to exhibit their novelties and make business contacts. Amit Kumar, director of Indian company Printotech, was very positive about his experience at the show. “We are having a great response at Cosmopack, much better than at HBA in New York, which I think has been shrinking as an exhibition. We will be back at Cosmopack next year for sure.”

Some exhibitors felt that they were making fewer business contacts than in previous years. “I remember Cosmopack 30 years ago was just a pavilion – Hall 30 – and it was so small but now it’s become very expensive to be here. Last year the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland harmed some of our business here. This year there isn’t a natural catastrophe to take into account but we’ve still had fewer contacts from professionals,” commented one exhibitor. “Perhaps the follow up will prove me wrong and the quality of the contacts will be higher after all. We are still planning to be part of Cosmopack next year, but we need to devise the right tools for us. It could be by choosing a better position for our stand or by investing in advertising.”

A bespoke service

Many exhibitors were using Cosmopack as a platform to launch new products on the international scene.

Quadpack, which recently acquired promotional company Spirit Ltd in order to complement its offer to the health and beauty industry, launched a range of dual-walled jars, which according to Lesbros “are in plastic but keep the luxury feel of glass and therefore have the advantages of both materials”. The dual-walled jars are also innovative because they allow a lot of options for decoration since there are two layers to play with – the wall and the cap.

Quadpack has also made a foray into the growing market for nail products, offering a new range of glass nail polish bottles. “Our clients will be very surprised to find out how competitive we can be in nail polish bottles,” said glass product specialist Marta Albanell. The range includes square, conical, spherical, cylindrical and elliptical bottles. “Our range of shapes and sizes will rival any existing European provider,” claimed Albanell.

Sergio Ricci, senior account manager for Aptar, focused on accessories for packaging and in particular on delivery systems. “We created new closures with a bag-on valve that protects the formulation,” he said. “It compares to an airless system but we use a bag-on valve instead. The product is untouched and is air-free which means there’s no oxidation and we don’t need to use any parabens. Plus the gas doesn’t touch the skin when the product is dispensed.” One new product launched by Aptar was presented at Cosmopack with the slogan ‘Feather Tube Tops - that don’t cost the earth!’ The new tube tops are said to be environmentally friendly and according to the company are a ‘true eco-innovation for the tube market’.

American company MWV has exhibited at Cosmopack for many years and remained happy about the exhibition this year. “It’s been a very good show with the number of visitors up compared to last year,” said Aline Archambaudiere, product manager. “We’ve done very well on business contacts, as we do every year. The Cosmopack area is still very strong. The only issue was about the chosen dates for the exhibition because Monday was a very quiet day. “

In terms of new products, MWV launched Adagio all plastic, a cosmetic pump suitable particularly for body care creams. In this version, which is an upgrade from last year’s Adagio, the pump’s metal spring has been substituted by a softer, plastic membrane. According to Archambaudiere, this helps consumers use the entire product even if the formulation is thick as there’s no need to shake the product to get it out. “Furthermore you can activate the product holding it from any angle and because it’s airless fewer preservatives are needed,” she added.

MWV also launched 11 new decorative techniques for perfume packaging to customise its fragrance pump Melodie. Archambaudiere explained: “We did market research based on consumer insights and looking at what they need and their habits. We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s very important to have products that stand out as there’s a huge array of fragrances available.” As She pointed out, the packaging is the first visible image of the product that consumers come into contact with, therefore it has to stand out and move consumers to pick up the product. “The packaging needs to be in line with the brand image. It must move consumers to aspire, dream and evoke emotions. This is why the service we provide to brands is not just about providing functional packaging.”

The kind of tailor-made service that MWV is offering is what most packaging companies are looking at implementing so that they can develop projects according to specific client requirements.

Celebrations all round for Faber-Castell
Faber-Castell Cosmetics celebrated its 250th anniversary at Cosmopack. Founded in 1761, the German company remains a family owned business run by the 8th generation. Executive director marketing Sabine Stadlbauer commented: “Faber-Castell had its foray in cosmetics 30 years ago while it was back in 1761 that we invented the first writing pencil. It was our current chairman and ceo, Anton von Faber-Castell, who first decided to enter the cosmetics market.
Cosmopack has been really amazing for us this year, especially the first two days of the exhibition. We have had a lot of affluence at our stand and we noticed a 30% increase in visitors. I believe the international level has noticeably increased this year. I have met a lot of visitors from Brazil, including Natura and O Boticario.”
Under the slogan Beauty and Soul, Faber-Castell Cosmetics presented new products including the woodcased Earthbound pencils for eyes and lips. These are formulated with organic oils certified by Ecocert including baobab virgin oil. The texture is based on vegetable waxes and oils of 100% organic origin and the packaging features wood-clenched pencils. The Earthbound concept won this year’s Packaging Design Beauty Award at Cosmopack.
The concept draws on the values of indigenous populations promoting a natural way of living.
The company also launched Digital Transfer at the show, a printing method for decorating cosmetic pencils with multicoloured designs. This is claimed to produce almost photographic reproduction quality. The customised design, which is available in up to four colours, is released on a film and then applied to the pencil.

Design Recognition
Cosmopack featured the second edition of the Packaging Design Beauty Award, set up by So.Ge.COs in collaboration with AD Architectural Digest. The award recognised design, creativity and communication of products showcased at Cosmopack 2011.
This year’s winner was Faber-Castell for its Earthbound pencil concept. Meanwhile the 22nd edition of the Accademia del Profumo awards included a fragrance packaging category. Gucci Guilty (P&G Prestige) picked up the award for best female packaging while Voyage d’Hermés (Clarins) won the award for best male packaging.

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