Luxe Pack Monaco - Damage limitation

Exhibitors and organisers at Luxe Pack Monaco (21-23 October, 2009) braced themselves for a tough show but for most the event turned out to be better than expected, as Emma Reinhold reports

-

Exhibitors and organisers at Luxe Pack Monaco (21-23 October, 2009) braced themselves for a tough show but for most the event turned out to be better than expected, as Emma Reinhold reports

As with other industry events in 2009 Luxe Pack Monaco was a show dominated by numbers. Fears of falling visitor and exhibitor numbers were partly allayed as organiser Idice reported an unexpected rise in exhibitor numbers, totalling 330, up from 310 in 2008. However a number of major packaging companies and long-term exhibitors were conspicuous by their absence, although representatives from these companies were seen walking the floor.

The decision by these companies not to exhibit offered many smaller companies the opportunity to take exhibition space and Idice reported that the number of new exhibitors was particularly strong, with 78 new companies or 25% of the total number of exhibitors present at the show for the first time.

“It’s true that the big names are not here but it is an opportunity to have new exhibitors and we have noticed that booths are being shared by several companies, more than in previous years,” said Natalie Grosdidier, deputy managing director, Idice. “Packaging for luxury goods has been affected later than elsewhere. The luxury cosmetics industry has not been so resilient, when it began to get better for other industries, it’s got worse for C&T.”

She described pre-registration numbers as “not better, not worse”. However visitor numbers reflected the current economic downturn, falling over 8% on the previous year’s figures to 5,921. Idice puts this figure at -5% when adjusted to the number of companies present. There was also a strong international presence among vistors with almost 55% of visitors registered as international.

“We knew it would be a tough year but have made big efforts to promote the show,” continued Grosdidier. “ My main hope specifically for this year is to bring more business to the show. I would like visitors to discover new projects and organise real business.”

Generally response to the show was positive.

“It’s been a good show,” Nathalie Jarry, communication manager, Ileos told SPC. “There are fewer people here but they are good people and we have had some good concrete orders. I am surprised though that people are only coming for one day.”

“The feeling we have is that in general the market is beginning to recover,” echoed Eva Martín Fernández, marketing manager, PCP Europe, MWV. “The show started slowly this morning but this afternoon has been amazing.”

GREEN DOMINANCE

Once again green packaging solutions proved a dominant theme at the show with Luxe Pack dedicating a specific area to the trend. The new installation, Luxe Pack in Green, showcased exhibitors’ sustainable innovations, which ranged from new materials to packaging solutions.

“New solutions to the green wave have become a real motivation for packaging executives,” explained Grosdidier. “Product quality and sustainability are particularly important right now. Four years ago it would not have been so sophisticated but today there are many solutions and it’s possible to be both green and luxurious.”

DuPont for example presented a new standard mascara line derived from a renewably sourced polymer. The Biomax PTT1100 is a polyester-type resin said to provide excellent surface gloss and high scratch resistance, which means there is no need to apply solvent-based coating to the packaging, further enhancing its green attributes.

And Socoplan showcased a new range of inks that are claimed to be created using green processes. “The green theme is a trend but we have to be part of that. Being green is a long-term task and you need to adopt processes to achieve this. We are not saying we are green from A to Z but we are trying,” said Ileos president, Nöel Ancian.

Seidel meanwhile promoted the environmental credentials of aluminium.

“The big advantage of using aluminium is that it can be recycled without downgrading on the quality,” explained Frank Beinborn, marketing manager, Seidel. “Customers are still asking for environmentally friendly solutions but it will be interesting to see how the crisis influences this trend.”

He told SPC that Seidel was working particularly closely on research into surface technology, using nanotechnology to create a luxurious smooth, cold feeling to packaging.

While the green trend has been a strong topic in recent years it has not been immune from the knock on effects of the recession and like other areas of the packaging industry has been affected by the tough economic conditions.

“A year ago everyone was talking about sustainability but since the crisis people have been asking about it less and less,” explained MWV’s Martín Fernández. “But slowly we are finding that people are beginning to talk about it again.”

“People are cutting their budgets right now so all areas including green are being affected,” added Sophie Thiolas, group communication director, Maesa. “I think things will change in 2010 though.”

And with this change, a clearer definition of what is green is predicted. The use of green washing has been rife throughout all areas of the cosmetics industry and many industry insiders are keen to preserve the integrity of the packaging industry, not just using green initiatives for the sake of it.

“It’s about finding the balance,” says Ulrike Toth, marketing manager, MWV speciality & general packaging. “Metalised wood for instance is not sustainable but recycled paperboard is not as strong as virgin fibre paperboard and therefore more layers are needed – so you have to ask which is more sustainable?”

AIRLESS ALTERNATIVES

While much of the cosmetics industry has suffered at the hands of the economic downturn, sales of skin care products, and in particular cosmeceuticals appear to be outperforming predictions. The mass market has been a real driver for innovation in the skin care stakes and airless pumps have found particular favour with manufacturers.

“I think currently our segment (upgraded mass) is in good shape,” said Lucyna Silberstein, general director, Megaplast. “Luxury is suffering as consumers are trading down to the segment below. But these consumers are still looking for quality and airless pumps can provide that added value. It is also possible to reduce the preservatives in a product with an airless pump.”

The company introduced new sizes to its top-fill lines including new 20ml and 40ml sizes to its Micro line and a new 100ml container to its Mezzo line, which the company says will help skin care customers looking to bottle body care products.

Airless Systems also focused on mass market, promoting its first airless dispenser for the sector. “Normally Airless Systems operates in the premium market so our dispenser for the mass market is a significant move. There is a very strong market for mass market right now,” said Carole Exner, account manager, Airless Systems.

MWV meanwhile promoted its Aria airless pump, which launched in 2009 and now features a snap-on closure to complement the existing screw-on cap.

“We find that European customers want a 100% airless concept so we developed a snap-on feature for the Aria pump,” explained Martín Fernández.

Toly also focused on airless packaging, showcasing Dual Airless, a new twin airless pack containing two 15ml airless tubes which dispense through a nozzle, mixing the product at the point of use. Also new is a low cost airless dispenser line. The PP Airless range is available in 30ml, 40ml and 50ml sizes.

SAMPLING OPTIONS

Creating consumer interest in a product at the earliest opportunity has never been so important and to reflect this a number of exhibitors unveiled new sampling concepts. Sophistication and quality were key themes with companies pushing the boundaries of sampling.

Valois launched Cosm’in, a new flat sampling pack, described as a first for sampling. The ‘flat jar’ features a resealable lid and is said to bridge the gap between sachets and tubes.

“We have found that there is a big gap in the market between small promotional sachets and full size tubes. End users are often not happy with sachets as they are difficult to open and the user is obliged to use all the bulk inside once opened,” explained Valois’ Jean Jacques. “The product is easily customisable and can hold up to 20ml of bulk.”

Geka meanwhile unveiled the Lollipop Sampler, the result of a new project with Dieter Bakic and Socoplan. The sampling concept is said to be suitable for mascara and lip products and provides a low cost sampling solution to manufacturers. The lollipop shaped sampler is fully customisable and is housed in a one-use disposable blister pack. The company also used the show as an opportunity to present its new look image after a complete rebranding exercise.

“This is the first time we have exhibited at the show on our own and we have had a lot of interest in our new marketing project,” said Pilar Gonzalez, head of marketing at Geka.

Upgrading the quality of make-up applicators was also a theme with many exhibitors. Alcan Beauty Packaging for instance promoted the work of its creative director Michel Limongi, whose roller brush has been used by L’Oréal Paris in its latest foundation.

“Brands have been spending on the formulas but the problem is not the formula, it’s the lack of knowledge from the end user, and by not spending money on the brush you kill the potential of the product,” explained Limongi. “Functionality and service should come before design, now more than ever.”

DRIVING INNOVATION THROUGH CREATIVITY

Fragrance packaging and bottle design has traditionally been awarded greater attention than that of luxury skin care products but a new project between designer Marc Rosen and the Eastman Chemical Company hopes to change this.

Using The Glass Polymer, a copolyester resin claimed by Eastman to possess all the attributes of glass, with very few restrictions, Rosen worked with four packaging manufacturers to create five new jars. The project, which involved Alcan Packaging Beauty, CPP Global, C+N Packaging and Leidel Corporation was described as unprecedented by Rosen and represents the first time that these companies have worked together.

“We can no longer just talk about innovation – we have to do it,” said Rosen. “Premium skin care no longer perfoms on performance, it competes with designer fragrance packaging. The future of skin care continues to be about efficacy but also about packaging

Featured Companies

Albea (more information, website)

See also