Archive for November, 2009

A Week in the life of a Packaging Professional!

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Events, Exhibitions, Healthcare & Pharma, Marketing, Opinion, Uncategorized on November 30th, 2009 by Chris Penfold – 5 Comments

You may recall that we recently went on a UKTI Trade mission trip to Los Angeles to better understand the potential of the US market. Hardly a ‘normal’ week for us, but we managed to capture events as we went along and here is our summary of a fantastic adventure that worked out really well for us and certainly raised our profile! Anyone that would like a job – ‘please apply within’ ;-) Chris

My Week: Chris Penfold, of Design Cognition

Published – Tuesday, November 24, 2009, from

Friday: Our company, Design Cognition, provides packing development and consultancy services to the pharmaceutical industry.

We have been thinking about exporting our skills and services to the US, which represents 40% of the global healthcare market, so a trade mission to the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists convention in Los Angeles seems an ideal route in.

Through UKTI, we manage to secure a free Club Class flight with BA – sadly only one. I fly ‘cattle class’ whilst our chief technical officer Annie Dallison enjoys the Club lounge, Champagne reception and a top-of-the-range bed. I sit with my bag of crisps, a bottle of water and a good book.

Arriving at Los Angeles airport we are greeted by a friendly character who directs us to the hotel shuttle bus and then announces that he is a volunteer collecting for the destitute and homeless of LA. We give him a small donation.

As we enter LA, the problem facing President Obama becomes ever more apparent as we see a number of homeless sleeping rough by the roadside. It’s obvious why donations for the destitute are needed. We certainly take our NHS service for granted. Despite its many faults, we can expect a certain level of care from a system which is the envy of the world.

Saturday: Our hotel is actually a ‘motel’ with a few extras such as a pond for a swimming pool. I get the Jacuzzi in my room and Annie doesn’t, so I feel slightly vindicated after the flight arrangements.

Sunday: After breakfast we catch up with George Canty of the East Midlands Healthcare and Bioscience iNet, who is representing UKTI. He will be helping us to meet potential customers, suppliers and partners and to discuss funding with investors.

We decide to spend today on the Pacific coast at Santa Monica and Venice Beach where tea and cake at the Tudor tea rooms includes a choice of any tea from around the world, including Typhoo and PG Tips.

The afternoon is spent at the LA Convention Centre where we set up the stand for the show.

The trade mission has involved a number of our BioCity Nottingham sister companies including Pharmaceutical Development Services and Food & Drink Analytical Services. We will be sharing stand facilities for the next few days.

This evening UKTI holds a networking meeting at the ‘Scottish Pub’ so we get to know the UKTI representatives in the US.

The team get to meet The British Consul General, Dame Barbara Hay

The team get to meet The British Consul General, Dame Barbara Hay

Monday: Still ‘Sleepless in LA’ with a 4.30am awakening. I’m finding difficulty adjusting to the eight hour time difference, so I use my time productively to catch up on emails and to press my crumpled suit.

The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ exhibition doesn’t start until 12.30. It is momentarily disrupted by animal rights protestors so security levels are high. The event gets off to a good start and we have a steady stream of visitors to our stand.

The purpose for our being here is to learn as much as possible about the US market and to assess how we might help US pharmaceutical companies to better understand European pharmaceutical packaging requirements and regulations.

Tuesday: A full day at the show is followed by an evening reception hosted by UKTI and the British Consul General, Dame Barbara Hay.

We are on the 54th floor of the Wells Fargo building with fabulous panoramic views of illuminated LA. Today is my 50th birthday so it is great to celebrate in style.

In a quieter moment we get to meet Samuel L Jackson

In a quieter moment we get to meet Samuel L Jackson


I manage to sleep in until 5am as my body continues to adjust. The third day and climax of the show is slower but we attract some potential leads.


We leave for England today and everything seems to be going according to plan.

Annie makes the most of being amongst the privileged in the Club Class environment whilst I have another sandwich. Our expectations for this trip had been modest and we hadn’t expected to come back with a ‘shed full’ of orders, but we both agree that the trip has been invaluable.

You can read the ‘This is Business’ article here: LA Article

Mintel report confirms rise of private label toiletries brands

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries on November 24th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 3 Comments

Latest Mintel report confirms the rise in private label toiletries brands.

A rise in the status of private label brands, ‘fitter’ products with fewer ingredients, and colour coding for convenience are set to be important product trends for 2010.

via Fitter products with fewer ingredients set to be big in 2010, Mintel.

Unilever joins P&G in rejecting BRC logo scheme

Posted in Associations, Design, Environmental Issues, Recycling on November 20th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 8 Comments

That’s another of the ‘big boys’ out.  I really hope that it might prompt a re-think of the BRC scheme.  I believe there is a lot of value to the scheme it’s self, but it needs a bit of fine tuning if it’s to gain credibility with the larger multi-national brands (Jane)

Unilever has told Packaging News that it will not be signing up to the British Retail Consortium’s on-pack recycling logo, following the news that its FMCG rival Procter & Gamble ruled out joining the scheme.

via Unilever joins P&G in rejecting BRC logo scheme |

Personal care market set for strong recovery in 2010

Posted in Business News, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Marketing on November 20th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

I was amazed to hear that the ‘Max Factor‘ brand has been ‘pulled’ from the US market by Proctor & Gamble. How can that be for such a prominent brand? Are US females cutting back and going around without their ’slap’ on? or is it just that the market is so competitive in the US?….at least the brand is still available in other markets! However, there are some encouraging  ‘green shoot’ signs showing in the US (moreso than the UK in many respects) – so let’s hope that the trend continues and migrtaes across the ‘pond’! Chris

Via 19 Nov 2009

An upturn in the US consumer products industry is likely to benefit the personal care sector as 2009 draws to an end, indicating a much stronger year ahead. Latest US GDP figures show a growth rate of 3.5 percent for the third quarter, a figure that is likely to translate into the creation of more jobs and ultimately improved consumer confidence.

The year 2009 has been make or break for many players in the industry, spelling the end of the road in the US for players such as Crabtree & Evelyn and brands such as Max Factor and Prescriptives (owned by Estee Lauder) .

However, Kline & Company industry analyst Carrie Mellage, believes that the worst could now be over for the personal care industry and that looking ahead some of the key growth areas for potential are about to get even more interesting.

You can read the full article here: Personal care market set for strong recovery in 2010.

Rumours fly over sale or merger of Reckitt Benckiser

Posted in Business News, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Healthcare & Pharma, Opinion on November 19th, 2009 by Chris Penfold – 8 Comments

The internet is ‘afrenzy’ at the moment with stories relating to a possible sale or merger of Reckitt Benckiser. We’ve picked it up here from a couple of sources which contradict each other slightly, but this is not surprising and is normal in any takeover/merger rumour situatuion. SSL International and Colgate-Palmolive are both ‘in the frame’ (allegedly), but it’s not clear who’s buying whom or what (guess that they could also be considering buying & selling business divisons or brands). We will let you read them and make up your own mind. Chris

Rumours fly over sale or merger of Reckitt Benckiser

Simon Pitman, Cosmetics 19 Nov 2009

Talk of a multi-billion euro transaction involving Reckitt Benckiser, a global brand owner of personal care and household products, has sent share prices rocketing.

The UK company has been linked to big names such as SSL International, owner of the Durex brand, but according to well-placed sources used by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, the most obvious candidate is US consumer giant Colgate-Palmolive.

The report stated that Reckitt Benckiser was close to making a cross-border transaction that would probably be structured as a merger if it were to take place with a business such as Colgate-Palmolive.

Such a deal would also tie in with the company’s desire to no longer be headquartered in the UK, due to the unfavourable tax situation and economy.

You can read the full Cosmetics Design-Europe article here:

The story has also been covered in the  British press (amongst other places). In yesterday’s UK  Daily Telegraph, they carried the following:

Talk of Reckitt doing a big deal

Ben Harrington,, 18 Nov 2009

The latest tale is that Reckitt Benckiser is close to announcing multi-billion pound cross-border transaction.

It is not clear which company Reckitt is targeting. SSL International, the maker of Scholl footwear products and Durex condoms, has always been tipped as a target for Reckitt. However, well-placed sources think the most obvious candidate is US giant Colgate-Palmolive.

The theory is that any deal between Reckitt and Colgate-Palmolive would have to be structured as a merger as they are roughly the same size.

Earlier this year, David Hayes and Alex Smith – the Nomura analysts who first raised the prospect of a Kraft bid for Cadbury – argued that Colgate-Palmolive could merge with a British company. However, they thought it more likely that Unilever would be the US company’s obvious merger partner.

You can read more of the Daily Telegraph report here:

This has been reported previously in the press. See related article ‘Reckitt Benckiser considers quitting Britain over tax‘ published in the UK Daily Telegraph 13th Aug 2009.

Whatever, your thoughts, it’s an interesting story that has wide ramifications and we’ll keep you posted as and when updates are available. Chris

Coca-Cola begins global launch of plant-based PET bottle

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Materials, Recycling on November 17th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

Coca-Cola Co seem to have very clear goals on where they want to go and how they are going to get there.  Glad to see that their long term plan isn’t to stay with food based materials but to ultimately move onto plant waste materials. (Jane) 

Coca-Cola Co yesterday announced the selective global roll-out of its new PET bottle made from up to 30 per cent plant materials such as sugar and molasses.

The drinks giant said its PlantBottle containers were beginning to hit retail shelves across the world, with a planned production target of two billion by the end of next year.

via Coca-Cola begins global launch of plant-based PET bottle.

P&G rules out BRC recycling logo after 50 brands sign up

Posted in Design, Environmental Issues, Recycling on November 17th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 10 Comments

I fully understand P&Gs reluctance to update their mainly multilingual packs with a set of UK specific logos when they legally don’t have to - maybe this is showing one of the flaws of the BRCs scheme.  They are the British Retail Consortium and this scheme (understandably) is focused solely on the British market.  With the economic climate as it is, many multinationals will be or should be looking at ways to cut costs and multilingual packs can certainly help this cause – but the BRCs logos don’t help with creating multilingual packs.  If it was simply a case of saying what the packaging material was and whether it was possible to recycle it then I believe it wouldn’t be too much of an issue.  I believe the problem arises when you have to state whether the material IS widely recycled by the local councils or not, that statement limits it’s area of use significantly and also discourages even UK residents from looking for ways to recycle the more odd ball material.  I also don’t believe it encourages the local councils to increase the range of materials they recycle – after all if the BRC states that a material isn’t widely recycled why should they bother? (Jane)

Procter & Gamble has ruled out signing up to the British Retail Consortiums on-pack recycling logo after the BRC revealed it was currently being introduced to about 50,000 product lines.

via P&G rules out BRC recycling logo after 50 brands sign up |

Branded barcodes cheer Japanese shoppers

Posted in Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Innovation, Marketing on November 12th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 20 Comments

I think this is a fantastic idea – the barcode needs to be there anyway, so why not make a feature of it.  Obviously it’s more suited to certain areas of the market than others – I’m not sure a patient would appreciate finding one of these on a medicine, but then again on a more everyday or fun item I think it could be a great area to add some individuality and extra branding. (Jane)

While most Western manufacturers focus their marketing on the front of a product, a growing number of Japanese firms are branding the barcodes on the reverse as well. The black and white etchings contain sufficient detail to be recognised by scanners, while also incorporating the firms logo or an image associated with the product.

via Branded barcodes cheer Japanese shoppers – Telegraph.

Nestle may move Fairtrade with Kit Kat

Posted in Branding, Food Packaging, Marketing on November 10th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

So is this going to be the next must have claim for chocolate? (Jane)

Media reports have suggested that Nestlés leading chocolate brand Kit Kat is set to become Fairtrade certified, in a move that would mirror Cadbury’s recent move to Fairtrade for its Dairy Milk chocolate. KitKat is the biggest selling chocolate bar in the UK and it sales in that country have risen 8.6 per cent since the start of the year. Certification of the brand would certainly catapult the notion of Fairtrade into the minds of chocolate consumers.

via Nestle may move Fairtrade with Kit Kat.

Cadbury replaces Roses tin with cardboard box

Posted in Design, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Recycling on November 5th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 2 Comments

Looks a lovely pack and will be much easier to wrap at Christmas -  just goes to show that becoming more environmently friendly doesn’t have to mean loss of style or shelf presence.  It will be interesting to see how the packs withstand possible transit damage.  The tins always seemed very prone to picking up ‘dints’ on shelf.  I hope the pack does really well and look forward to seeing more of the ‘bought to share’ chocolate brands move this way.  (Jane)

Cadbury is trialling a cardboard replacement for its traditional Roses chocolates tin in a bid to reach its packaging weight reduction targets for seasonal and gift packaging.

via Cadbury replaces Roses tin with cardboard box |