A Mobile America Keeps Demand Growing for Stick Pack Convenience
Marlton, N.J., (November 30, 2011) The senior management at T.H.E.M. (Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing) has pointed to several major trends indicating that the consumer demand for products available in single-serve stick packs will continue to grow.The prediction comes fifteen years into the stick pack’s “run” in North America, during which time dozens of American marketers have revitalized mature brands and successfully launched new products using stick pack technology.
“The more mobile we become as a society, the more popular single serve stick packs will continue to become,” said T.H.E.M. president Neil Kozarsky. “Single-serve packaging allows an individual portion of powder, liquid, paste or gel to fit right into the life style of a consumer on the go. And with improvements in film and filler technologies, virtually anything that can be contained in a rigid package can now be offered in a stick pack.”
Pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals have recently been added to the long list of product categories enjoying increased usage based on stick pack convenience and portability, including OTC medications, sweeteners, soluble tea, coffee, cocoa, spices, drink mixes, creamers, condiments, and yogurts.
According to Kozarsky, some of the same drivers that support use in food and beverage applications, including tamper evidence and pre-measured dosing, are advancing the use of stick packs for health and personal care products. Kozarsky clarified the FDA position with respect to stick packs. “They are receptive to single-serve packaging because the technology offers consistent dosing accuracy, and it avoids certain sanitary and compliance issues that are inherent in dispensing from bottles or bulk containers.”
In addition to health and beauty care products, the next major area of expansion for stick packaging looks to be in dissolve-in-the-mouth (DITM) applications - with a number of new energy products having already entered the market in DITM sticks.
T.H.E.M. introduced single-serve packaging to North America in 1996. “Our company is all about identifying global trends in their infancy, ”said Kozarsky. "It was on a trip to Japan in the early ‘90s that we saw how well employed and how well accepted stick pack technology was becoming over there. We began the process of adapting the technology for American use by partnering with Sanko Machinery, the inventors of stick packaging back in the ‘70’s.
The early history of stick-pack technology gave no indication of what was to come. At first only established products and brands took advantage of the innovation, giving their brands new life by offering their products in a new form of packaging. Within a few years, however, new products were introduced using the benefits of single-serve mobility as their competitive edge.
With the popularity explosion of bottled water, stick pack technology took its place in packaging history. For a few years, products that could be mixed in water drove the industry. It was the success of these powdered beverage mixes that opened up the floodgates for single-serve products across all categories.
Portability, convenience, dosing accuracy and safety aren’t the only reasons for stick pack growth. Stick packs use 10-40% less film per impression than rectangular pouches, which translates into significant per-unit savings. “’Why not consider stick packaging for virtually any single-serve application?’ that’s what many of our major customers are asking us today”, states Kozarsky.
T.H.E.M. personnel also point out that stick packaging machinery and totally integrated systems continue to grow faster and more efficient to meet growing demand. Film technology advances, including downgauging and new non-foil barriers, are a significant part of this increase in capacity. Overall efficiency will also increase as new film roll splicing techniques are employed.
In addition to the steady evolution of stick pack technology, another certainty in the packaging industry is the fact that T.H.E.M. will continue to monitor consumer trends and emerging technologies around the world, and adapt them to the needs of American marketers and consumers whenever possible.
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T.H.E.M. (Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing) was founded in 1973 as one of the first providers of innovative packaging solutions in North America. The company is best known for commercializing Sanko Stick Packaging in the U.S. Working in conjunction with select packaging and equipment manufacturers, T.H.E.M. offers a comprehensive array of packaging solutions designed to take brands from initial concept to full-scale national or global production. T.H.E.M. has a fully operational, on-site R&D center located at its Marlton, New Jersey headquarters, with pilot production to scale-up capabilities. For more information, please visit: www.them.net.
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