Packaging innovation aimed at low scale confectionery makers

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycling Packaging

A new digital press can provide cost effective customised decoration of metal containers for eco-conscious confectionery makers involved in small volume applications, claims a US speciality packaging firm.

JL Clark said its new service can be availed of by any confectionery maker in the North American market looking for a short run of decorative metal tins - special promotions, holiday give-aways, product launches or samplings.

Prior to the introduction of the press, the company maintains that it was not economical for customers to package confectionery in metal containers when the quantities were particularly small. And when they did, the only viable decorating method would be the use of labels or stock lithography, since custom metal lithography would be cost-prohibitive.

“The beauty of digital is that now a highly decorative metal tin can be produced quickly, and in low, affordable quantities.

Our press allows fast, economical production of a full array of metal containers – round, rectangular, square – with a variety of features, and with full colour decoration like that of conventional metal lithography.”

The packaging manufacturer said that it can provide full colour decoration in quantities as low as 500 and in over 30 structure types.

Tin resurgence

A spokesperson for JL Clark told that it is seeing a resurgence of tins in candy, chocolate, mint and gum packaging in the US and the company is basing this on the fact that metal is highly decorative, both for printing and embossing, and, as a material type, conveys a sense of value not achievable with other packaging formats.

Furthermore, the spokesperson said the growing sensitivity around environmental factors is favouring metal containers for packaging confectionery, among other products.

“It's 100 per cent recyclable and metal containers are the most recycled material on earth, more than plastic, glass or paper.”


JL Clark said the ‘one-stop shopping’ service of container design, injection moulding, filling, shrink banding, date coding and drop shipping it offers confectionery makers also has an environmental component, as it results in manufacturers being able to cut their fuel costs through the elimination of shipping to multiple locations.

“Companies can source a number of different operations with just one supplier, rather than having to incur the time and cost of using multiple sources,”​ stressed the spokesperson, who said that single-sourcing is fast becoming an industry trend.

Cardboard swap

Meanwhile, in a surprise move, UK confectionery giant Cadbury recently swapped the metal tin it has used for 70 years for its seasonal Roses brand of chocolates for a lighter cardboard box version, citing environmental concerns.

The new boxes, which will be trialled only in Tesco stores, also replace Cadbury Heroes tins, and according to the company, will save 200 tonnes of steel and reduce packaging weight by 45 per cent compared to the tin version.

Industry has raised questions over the new format with the UK based Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association suggesting that the environmental benefits of the swap were not clear cut as metal is known to be one of the easiest and most commonly recycled packaging materials and any reference to material being wasted did not hold water.

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