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June 4, 2018updated 07 Jun 2018 12:32pm

Packaging innovation spotlight: over-packaged or perfect for stylish up-cycling?

Premium tea products are often beautifully packaged to attract the consumer's eye and somehow justify the high price demanded, but it is all too common for said upmarket packaging to serve no real purpose beyond containing the tea.

By GlobalData Consumer

Premium tea products are often beautifully packaged to attract the consumer’s eye and somehow justify the high price demanded, but it is all too common for said upmarket packaging to serve no real purpose beyond containing the tea. So it is refreshing to discover The Hillcart Tales range of teas from India, where one part of the pack converts to a set of coasters and another can be upcycled as a storage container or decorative item.

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Each muslin teabag (there are seven in the pack) is contained in a mini-carton, formed from a circular piece of board that is creased and folded into a hexagonal shape with a flower-like spiral push-in closure. The cartons are individually wrapped in six-sided metalised film sachets and placed in a board tray that is then inserted into a hexagonal outer carton, also with spiral push-in closures.

Sketches on the outer carton suggest that it could be repurposed as a pencil pot, money box, light shade, or jewellery box, while the teabag cartons can be opened out flat to form useful coasters for a cup or mug. They are printed on both sides with the same watercolour imagery as other elements of the pack, and each coaster carries an inspirational message in the form of a quotation from a notable historical figure. The mini-cartons can also be used for the clean and hygienic disposal of the used tea bags.

The hexagonal outer carton is rather distinctive in the Indian tea category and conveys a premium image that is enhanced by the attractive 360-degree watercolour design with silver foil blocked and embossed branding detail. The hexagonal theme is carried across all elements of the pack and gives the impression of a very well-coordinated presentation that generates a feeling of specialness. Packaging is often reused or repurposed in India and presenting what, on the face of it, looks like over-packaging as something that can have a useful and stylish afterlife adds value for the consumer and gives food for thought in today’s world, where packaging is increasingly becoming demonised.

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For the packaging industry to achieve a sustainable future, it needs to dramatically increase circularity and the reuse of materials. While shifting from a linear economy to a circular model will take time, there are already actions that brands, manufacturers, and converters can already take to help make a difference. This document by Siegwerk – a global leader in inks and coatings for packaging – delves into solving the plastic paradox, looks at the relevance of bioplastics, and sets out ways to not only achieve circularity in packaging but also make it economically viable. Furthermore, the document goes into detail on how printing inks and coatings are vital for enabling circularity in packaging. Ultimately, the packaging system needs to be reconfigured for a circular future. And consumers are expecting the packaging industry to play its part in progress. To take the first step towards circularity, download this document.
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