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IML Trend in The Biscuit Market


The biscuit market remains one of the most crowded and competitive and crucial to a product’s ability to fend off rivals is the packaging. In-mold labeling allows manufacturers not just to produce visually striking containers, but also ones that are highly functional in terms of preserving the flavor and freshness of biscuits.

Weidenhammer Packaging Group has been providing United Biscuits with IML packaging for its Family Circle biscuits in the UK since 2012. The box containing the biscuits is closed by a plastic lid which both protects the product, ensuring a good taste experience, but also allows attractive images of the biscuits to be placed on the lid, maximizing the likelihood of attracting consumers.

A further advantage is that the decorated lid means that the biscuits do not need to be removed from the container before consumption, while those left over don’t need to be moved because the cover is completely resealable. The product can sit on the dining table or the home shelf in its packaging, maximizing brand exposure to consumers. IML can therefore be seen as a crucial element in marketing and brand awareness of biscuits.

The Family Circle container was the first IML package produced by Weidenhammer Packaging Group in Britain, and it is expected to lead to considerable expansion. IML is increasingly a packaging method of choice, and Sumitomo explains that this is in part because costs have come down sharply, by as much as 12-15 percent over the last few years, making it a more competitive product for the biscuit makers. Advances in IML robotics are largely the reason for this.

Technological advances also make IML more attractive than before for the biscuit market, as problems such as label distortion in deeper containers have been solved. Perhaps even more crucially, label substrates have become thinner, allowing packaging to reduce in weight. It also means the substrates can be applied over the whole package, reducing oxygen access and thus increasing the lifespan of the biscuits and reducing wastage.

Treofan of Germany unveiled its new IML production line at Neunkirchen late last year, inviting food groups including Danone, Mars and Nestle to view it. Treofan said that the biscuit and confectionary industries were repeatedly demanding cheaper packaging costs and improved results. The company noted that Mondelez is massively expanding its biscuit brands, particularly Oreos, across Europe, and that its factories there are exporting worldwide. It said that the BOPP film packaging was produced by Treofan, which was consequently able to increase investment in the ever advancing technology of its plant.

The trend for IML was also emphasized earlier this year when Hershey Brazil chose the technology for its newly-launched premium Chocotubs with crunchy cookies. The attraction was the functionality as well as the price. The labels were produced by Verstraete.

Industry analysts believe IML volume worldwide will be 1.01bn sq m in 2017, a rise of almost 18 percent on the figure in 2012. And while biscuit producers may be concerned about having to deal with new suppliers who can provide this technology, the fact that it has been around for some time means that there are networks and established reputations in place that make it easier for newcomers to fit in.

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