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Innovation in nutritional supplement packaging

Rap International has produced a packaging design ‘’first’’ with a user-friendly and innovative container for the relaunch of a Muscle Science range.

Muscle Science, established in 1997, consistently delivers well-researched and scientifically-formulated sports nutrition products to give athletes peak performance; and reports that many of South Africa’s sporting champions have been powered by the Muscle Science range.

The company now forms part of the BioScience Brands consortium, which incorporates Bioharmony plus latest acquisitions, Phyto Nova (a range of natural medicines) and Nutrimax (a lifestyle sports nutrition brand).

“‘Our vision is to create a portfolio of leading brands in the health, wellness and sports nutrition markets, to meet the needs of people who desire healthy and active lifestyles,’” comments CEO, Mike Allan. ‘”Behind the brands, which lie at the heart of our business, are consumers’’ needs and desires. Understanding their needs and consistently exceeding their expectations will ensure our future success.’”

This constant drive to lead the South African sports nutrition market kick-started a search for an exciting yet functional packaging solution for its protein powder products. The range has previously been marketed in a container with a standard screw-lid and flat bottle base. For larger packs, a ‘’bucket’’ with a carry-handle was used, which was not aesthetically pleasing.

Rap International took on the brief from Muscle Science to improve the carry-handle design and produced an exclusive ‘’first’’ in the sports nutrition supplement market – a user-friendly pack that’’s ideal for both in-the-hand and at home.

The new stackable HDPE (high density polyethylene) container incorporates an innovative screw-top lid with in-mould carry handle. It’s blow-moulded with a cleverly-designed mould that allows extraction of the base before opening, which helps to achieve the tub’s strong stacking mechanism.

“‘The initial challenge during the design phase was to find a thread that could carry the weight of the container when full,”’ explains Andrea Protti, marketing director of Rap International. ‘As a result, a deeper, rounder thread was produced and ribs on the body and the solid base provide extra all-round strength.’

The PP (polypropylene) lid is injection moulded with a collapsible core.

Reflecting brand personality

‘”We were looking for something that reflected the personality of the brand, was visually appealing yet improved accessibility when using the product,”’ remarks Jackie Grant, marketing manager for Muscle Science. ‘”Rap International quickly grasped what we were looking for, and presented various exciting designs, one of which captured the strength and essence of the brand. It has now become known as the “Muscle Science tub”.’ The label for the new tub was devised by the in-house design team at Muscle Science to take the brand to a new level.”

One key element is consumer-friendly information with simple instructions on usage and nutritional content. Norman Jones of Positive Print, a Durban-based broking company, closely linked with First Impression Labels (FIL), was briefed on the desired outcome and asked to assist in finding a substrate to enhance the design and take it to the ‘next level’. It was agreed that a silver PP self-adhesive label would be used for the new container in the 600g to 4kg sizes. FIL then produced the finished product providing Muscle Science with an exemplary print finish.

The self-adhesive label is surface printed on FIL’’s Mark Andy 2200 eight-colour UV-flexo press with a gloss over-lamination to improve aesthetics. The silver PP gives a metallised appearance on certain areas of the label and also allows for easy repositioning during application. FIL also produces the PVC sleeve for the smaller containers in the protein powder range. These containers are designed by Full Impact. The sleeve is printed on FIL’’s Mark Andy XP 5000 nine-colour press, equipped with automatic register control to ensure pinpoint register. The sleeve is reverse printed using UV-inks from FujifilmSericol. The printed material is then slit on a Mark Andy VSR rewinding machine and seamed, using needle technology, on a Karlville machine.

“Consumer reaction to the innovative Muscle Science tub is already exceptionally positive,” confirms Jackie Grant. ‘”The affiliation with Rap International is paying off,’” she adds. ‘”Through our association with Rap, we’re not only a world leader in sports nutrition product formulations but we’re also a world leader in packaging and presentation to consumers.”

Muscle Science T +27 031 5817200

Rap International T +27 011 7976940

First Impression Labels T +27 031 7020404

First published in PACKAGiNG & Print Media, January 2010.

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