ColorMatrix, which specialises in liquid colour and additive technology for thermoplastic applications, said the biggest trend over the next five years will be the reduction in packaging weight and improving the recyclability of used bottles.
As part of PolyOne Corporation, the firm has a significant market in beverage packaging as it develops colorants and product protection additives for drink manufacturers.
Gary Fielding, global marketing director, PolyOne ColorMatrix, told FoodProductionDaily, it launched a rapid colour development and supply service in April that gives brands, designers and market managers control of their colour development process to accelerate speed to market.
The service uses colour design software and automated dispensing technology to deliver rapid turnarounds and consistent colour formulations.
“There are a couple of prominent trends in food packaging that will continue to grow in importance overt the next five years and beyond,” said Fielding.
“The first is the reduction of packaging weight and this continues to provide a great opportunity for ColorMatrix because we specialise in various barrier technologies that enable brands to switch to lighter weight plastic packaging with improved product protection characteristics.
“Whether this involves switching from alternative materials or simply reducing the size or thickness of current plastic packaging systems, weight reduction can have a significant environmental impact by reducing things like raw material consumption and transport costs.”
Specific to plastics, he added improving the recyclability of used bottles and food packaging is growing in importance.
Degradation of polymer
“One of the major issues with recycling plastics is degradation of the polymer and the associated discoloration, which limits the potential to recycle, especially back into food packaging,” said Fielding.
“A number of customers are exploring closed loop systems where all or most of the polymer used in new bottle production is recycled.
“This creates significant challenges in terms of maintaining polymer clarity and quality through multiple heat processes. ColorMatrix is already tackling this with infra-red absorption technologies and barrier solutions with reduced haze that improve the container clarity and quality.”
Speaking about the firms colour development and supply service, Fielding said it is an evolution of a previous colour development platform.
“Improvements were implemented to provide greater flexibility, control and overall more value to the customer, whether they are the brand owner, product designer or bottle manufacturers,” he added.
“It redefines the way our customers can develop and order their colorant materials. In addition to the speed and consistent formulations, there are no minimum order quantities, which means inventory levels can be closely managed and colorant waste can be eliminated from the production process.”
Fielding said the next stage in the company’s development was to explore opportunities in other markets and to expand the business further afield.
“While we have footholds in China, South America and the Middle East, the goal is to increase market share and explore new areas and applications,” he said.