Shaving Time Off The Plastic Bottle Packaging Development Cycle

In today's competitive environment, time to market is critical to your success.

When a company develops a new product or finds a way to improve an existing one, it’s a pretty safe bet that a competitor is developing something similar.  The first product on the scene, however, has a tremendous advantage over later entries, which is why reducing time to market is so critical.

As a result, package development, specifically products that are contained in plastic bottles, which marketers previously viewed as the last step in the product introduction cycle, needs to occur much earlier in the process.  To make sure this happens, here are some of the factors that marketers need to consider when choosing plastic bottles packaging.

Product Compatibility

One of the first considerations is the compatibility of the product and the plastic bottle it goes in and their interaction with each other.  Does the product, for example, need to be protected from exposure to oxygen or water vapor?  Does it contain solvents or other ingredients that could react with the type of resin the plastic bottle is made of?

Some pharmaceutical products can suffer reduced efficacy if exposed to light, oxygen or moisture vapor. Others, such as cough syrups or over-the-counter liquid cold remedies, can interact with certain plastics.

Selecting the proper packaging material is a critical decision that needs to be made as early as possible in the development process.  For example resin such as Polypropylene (PP) can withstand higher temperatures while Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) somtimes absorb orders and flavors from products stored within.

Package Design

Once the material (or materials) of construction have been determined, the next consideration is the design of the plastic bottle.  This, of course, depends on a number of factors.  Will it contain a number of small discrete items like pills or capsules, a powder such as cornstarch, a viscous fluid like shampoo, or a liquid like fruit juice or other beverages?

This will determine the optimum size and shape of the package. Cosmetic creams, for example, usually require a rigid plastic or glass bottle with a wide mouth for optimum consumer use, while shampoos are normally packaged in a more flexible material such as High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bottles for squeeze-ability and complete product evacuation.”

Will the product be consumed quickly like aftershave or deodorant, or will it be stored in its package for an extended period of time like sunscreen intended for seasonal use?  Will the package be discarded or recycled once the product has been consumed, or is it likely to be reused to store other products?  Where is it likely to be stored in the home?  Will it be behind closed doors in a pantry like peanut butter, or displayed on a countertop like spices in a spice rack?  Is the package an integral part of the overall use of the product?

All of these factors must be considered early in the development cycle. They influence not only the choice of materials for the package, but also its size and shape. If the product is stored out of sight, for example, a simple round or square shape with a stackable flat top may be more appropriate than a more attractive shape with a larger footprint.  If it is to be displayed on a countertop, however, like olive oils and specialty vinegars, aesthetic considerations may be more important.

Stay tuned for part II of "Shaving Time Off the Plastic Bottles Packaging Development Cycle".

In the mean time, visit our plastic bottles catalog and explore the different kinds of materials and options.


Posted by Jonathan
on Thu, December 15, 2011

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