July 2023 ICPG SM (6)Increasing consumer pressure and regulatory oversight is causing a transformation in the food packaging industry as companies seek to achieve a packaging development process that is effective, food-safe, and sustainable. However, the path to finding the right packaging material is not simple. Packaging solutions must fulfill a complex list of requirements, and manufacturers looking for a more sustainable solution don’t want to sacrifice other key requirements such as cost, equipment compatibility, and performance (among a range of other factors).

Optimizing the Packaging Development Process

Working with a partner who understands the intricate balance between sustainability and performance can make the packaging development process much easier. With the launch of our innovative XPP polypropylene solutions, ICPG has made it our mission to help food companies realize their ambitions and goals to improve the sustainability & recyclability of their rigid plastic food packaging solutions even in the most challenging applications. Drawing from our team’s decades of combined experience in the thermoformed & form fill seal packaging design, material science, and processing technology, we can help companies develop a customized solution that fulfills their nuanced list of needs and requirements.

Continue reading to learn more about the packaging development process and implementation with ICPG’s XPP polypropylene solutions.

The Advantages of XPP in the Packaging Development Process

When it comes to material replacement, not all food packaging applications are created equal. While certain applications, such as a non-barrier pre-formed cup for a foodservice application may present a simpler list of technical and process requirements, complex packaging applications or processes, such as high-barrier shelf-stable food applications or high-speed form-fill-seal processes, may come with a longer list of considerations.

Not only is XPP sustainable & recyclable, but it has also been developed to check all the boxes when it comes to the range of financial, operational, safety & performance concerns that go along with material replacement:

    • Sustainable: Produced from 100% polypropylene materials, our lightweight XPP solutions reduce material consumption, offer compatibility with the Polypropylene recycling stream (RIC #5), and result in a reduced carbon footprint.
    • Functional: Our XPP materials offer advanced product protection and are available in varying degrees of barrier protection. The advanced stiffness of our XPP materials mirrors PS to maintain the snap-ability and score-ability required of certain FFS applications.
    • Compatible: XPP is a high stiffness and low-shrink material solution - which means it behaves like PS during processing to offer process compatibility with existing thermoforming & FFS equipment and tooling with only minor setting adjustments and minimal equipment modifications.
    • Economical: The low density & lightweight nature of our 100% polypropylene solutions means reduced material consumption, increased yield, and an overall reduced cost compared to PS & PET alternatives.

The Packaging Development Process with ICPG

Collaboration_Team_Solution_ICPGSo, you’ve decided that XPP is the perfect solution to help you achieve your goals. What does the packaging development process look like with ICPG?

At ICPG, we start with the application needs and work backwards, which means that every solution is customized to some degree. Our patented XPP material solutions and processing capabilities can be optimized based on processing/sterilization needs, equipment capabilities and application requirements for a high-performance, sustainable, and functional package.

Explore the steps of our custom packaging development process that will take you concept to commercialization with XPP:

Discovery: The first step in our custom packaging development process is the discovery phase. Here, we work together to gain an initial understanding of material requirements from a performance perspective considering the food product, part design, barrier requirements, processing & sterilization method, and transportation/retail conditions. In this phase we will also refine your sustainability goals & targets including design for recyclability, material reduction & weight reduction.

Solution Proposal: After an initial discovery we take a deeper dive into the technical & processing requirements of your application to develop a proposed solution that is in-line with all of your goals. Here we will also conduct an evaluation of your processing & equipment capabilities to understand any nuances that exist that may influence our proposed solution. Once a rollstock solution is recommended, we can provide initial price guidance and an audit of equipment considerations. By the end stage, our goal is to have a clear understanding of the requirements for commercial qualification, and expectations and timeline for the trial phase.

Trial Phase: XPP is not like any other material - therefore, ICPG strongly encourages in-person support from our technical development team for all qualification trials to provide a clear picture of your path to success. After the initial proof-of-concept trial, we will provide recommendations for further material & equipment optimization where necessary and outline next steps on the path to commercialization.

Commercialization: Based on the results from the Trial Phase, we work in collaboration with your team to refine the solution to achieve commercial-ready status. Here we also solidify commercial supply requirements, quotations, and timing, and conduct all required supplier audits required to move to commercialization.

What Sets ICPG’s Packaging Development Process Apart:

The development of sustainable packaging solutions has become an industry-wide priority but it is not something that can be considered in a vacuum. Companies need a development partner that understands the variety of challenges & operational considerations that processors must solve for in addition to sustainability from process compatibility, to cost, to packaging performance.

Partnering with ICPG will allow you to achieve your sustainable packaging goals with highly knowledgeable experts by your side, giving you access to decades of combined technical & application knowledge, material science, packaging design, sustainability, processing expertise, and developmental support necessary to overcome your most challenging requirements. We are committed to fulfilling the role, not just as a material supplier, but as a development & innovation partner that you can rely on for scalable, sustainable growth.

To learn more about our custom packaging development process, download ICPG’s Guide to Commercialization:

Download The Guide Here


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