Is this a packaging revolution?

Something new is rolling out in FMCG packaging and soon you will scarcely remember when it didn’t exist. It’s called the Standcap Inverted Pouch.

In the US, the Daisy brand of sour cream led the charge, debuting its Daisy Squeeze in 2015 in this soft-sided, inverted wedge shape pouch with a flat, flip-top dispensing closure on which it sits jauntily.

It rolls down like a toothpaste tube, uses gravity as an assist and minimises the introduction of oxygen, thus slowing spoilage.

And now these pouches are coming fast and furious: Chobani whole-milk plain yogurt, Original Uncle Dougie’s organic barbecue sauces. A major player in the guacamole business will debut its version August 1.

What’s behind the uptake?

Money is a motivator, but so are minimising mess, cutting down on waste and conferring a halo effect via sustainability claims.

In the first year of its pouch, Daisy reported a 69.7% increase in sales (despite charging about 25% more per ounce than for the traditional tubs). Other companies took notice. 

Some of the drive for innovative packaging is a turn away from the transport cost and safety issues of glass, and in the US there are sustainability issues in the supply chain.

For instance, Walmart has its Project Gigaton goal to avoid 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030; and Amazon aims to make half of its shipments carbon neutral by 2030.

The race is on to replace heavy, bulky cans and jars with flexible packaging that can be stored flat for shipment before being filled.

That flexible standup pouch requires significantly less water, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other waste, says Evan Arnold, a director at flexible packaging firm, Glenroy, one of three companies that collaborated on the pouch.

For now the body of the Standcap pouch cannot be recycled (they’re working on that), although the cap can be screwed off and recycled.

But let’s talk about flips, drips, lips and other common woes...

There’s the jerking motion required to coax a viscous liquid down the neck of an upright glass or hard plastic bottle (and the anguish of an unexpected deluge), then the wrist-flick flip back upright so gravity halts the flow.

There’s the goo that accumulates around the lip and cap of a regular bottle. And there’s the vexing last 10 percent of a product that clings stubbornly to the container’s innards, taunting you and wasting your money.

Aptar is the company responsible for the Standcap’s silicone dispensing-valve technology. Regular inverted bottles with dispensing valves have a re-intake of air after you squeeze (like a shampoo bottle). Aptar’s invention dispenses and cuts off the product without introducing air, a feature that dramatically extends shelf life.

But there are other reasons companies might be shifting to this kind of package. It’s about a cultural shift, taking a product like sour cream from an ingredient to a condiment.

Cultural shift at play

“All of the research going on would validate this,” Johnson says. “More and more people are using dipping sauces as a way for people to add flavour to food. A lot of restaurants are doing that.”

“There is a compelling sustainability story,” says Rob Johnson, chief executive of Original Uncle Dougie’s, on the new Standcap Inverted Pouch recently adopted for the company’s barbecue sauces.

The New York Times took some heat several years back for suggesting that millennials were killing breakfast cereal because there was too much cleanup. There is validity to this: younger generations don’t want to dirty cutlery if they don’t have to. Thus, the condimentisation of foods.

Look for the Standcap soon for nut butters, salsas and jams, that Aptar valve adjustable for different thickness and chunkiness levels.

For now, the Standcap Inverted Pouch is a novelty that stands out, and up, in the condiment aisle. (The more elongated the package, by the way, the more consumers perceive they contain, so the Standcap may trounce squattier tubs for eye appeal.)

But companies may also be playing to consumer psychology. Products that reside in the door of the refrigerator see more action. A tub gets pushed to the back of the fridge and into Siberia, green fuzz and solitude its inevitable fate. This new technology’s upright design makes it door-appropriate, living cheek to jowl with heavy-rotation items.

The Standcap Inverted Pouch may, in a sense, give companies a foot in the door – just as it presses several business and consumer buttons, too. Let’s watch this space with interest!

Source: Washington Post