Bag-in-the-box packaging is now well known in most countries, but in many cases it has an image of being a bulk carrier and somewhat downmarket.
Now, a classier form of this kind of packaging – bag-in-the-tube/core – is being used for some liquid products in South Africa – for instance, for olive oil by Olives Go Wild and KWV Café wine (both companies are located in Stellenbosch, Western Cape).
Shaughn Preiss of Industri-Bag of Cape Town is convinced that this development has huge potential for the liquids market. He, and others, believe that bag-in-the-tube will put it in a new class of upmarket, artistic packaging for liquids – somewhere between bag-in-the-box and bottle packaging.
Industri-Bag supplies barrier bags for bag-in-the-box and larger bags (up to 210 litres) for the aseptic market.
But Preiss and his partners created a new company, Industri-Bott, to develop the I-Tube™ bag-in-the-tube concept.
The I-Tube closures and retractable handles developed by Industri-Bott have now been registered. And the primary concept of the closures – that they are simple and snap-on (with no glueing, but strong enough to contain liquids) – has been patented.
The I-Tube concept was first introduced at a wine and fruit farmers’ exhibition in the Western Cape, and launched in 2009, but it took another two years of intensive and complex development to create trouble-free characteristics for the closures, handle and inner bag, he says.
Liquids in core packaging have occasionally been seen in overseas markets – for instance, in the Californian wine market – but Preiss says there have always been problems with the closures (top and bottom) of the cores. The dominant method of closing core packaging throughout the world is with a metallised closure which is crimped.
But Industri-Bott has, over the past two years, evolved the snap-on injection-moulded tight-fit closure for the both top and bottom of the tube.
Preiss says the I-Tube’s characteristics are unique in the SA market for liquids – oils, wines, spirits, etc.
He believes that I-Tube’s new features and an intensified requirement among brandowners for more differentiated packaging mean that the concept’s time has come.
There are also other advantages over bag-in-the-box – for instance, bag-in-the-core is stronger (although bag-in-the-box packaging has been improved, there are still breakages and losses when they are stacked). The circular shape of bag-in-the-tube is naturally strong, and thick-ply cores are not needed.
Preiss says Industri-Bott is now evolving various new designs and sizes. He says it is currently working
on products for the wine, brandy, vodka and coffee liqueur industries. He says the concept is also suited to many products beyond the liquor sector, including vinaigrettes, oils, etc – but they must be
high-value. It is not suited to juices, for instance, which are too low-value.
The packaging is more expensive than bag-in-the-box because of the multiple components and processes involved.
“It is for products of high value, design and impact. We provide the basic product according to the client’s specifications and what design they have – for instance, embossing, an organic look, paper grades, labels etc – are up to them.”
Currently Industri-Bott has pack sizes from 1.25 litres to 4 litres and is working downwards. With really small pack sizes the proportions are not necessarily good for artistry, says Preiss.Dry goods in tube packaging
By contrast, packaging dry goods in tube/core packaging is not particularly new or differentiated. It is well known in the South African and international markets.
Pringles is but one well-known example of this type of food packaging – lengths (from tennis ball container length downward) and labelling are the main differentiators.
However, more dry foods (which do not require the inner bag, which liquids do) are being packed in cores. Cores are particularly being used for products which consumers dip into frequently – for instance teabags, sweeteners pencil packets, sugar sachets, etc.