The firm told FoodProductionDaily.com it is seeing organic growth of 3-5% in the EU and 10-20% in the emerging markets.
It set up a zipper manufacturing plant in Brazil in 2011 where growth is around 10% and has a presence in Russia, China and Turkey.
“Which is why we are putting our sales and marketing efforts, infrastructure and money into the emerging markets,” a director of the firm, who requested his name not be published, told us at Emballage.
“I would say we’ve had someone [in India] every month breaking this market. We’ve just picked up two major customers over there, obviously I can’t go into who they are, but they are major CPG users and their usage alone could be the same usage as Belgium is.”
The division of Illinois Tool Works (ITW) makes resealable products for packaging and purchased Supreme Plastics in 2005 who were their largest competitor.
Tax and fresh food
Taking India as an example, there is one over-riding reason the Indian government want to use flexible packaging – so they can tax it, the director said.
“So they want to get all foodstuffs packaged so they can increase their tax revenue. The other thing is you are looking at keeping food fresher for longer,” he said.
“In the established marketplaces you are looking at the trend of going from glass or can into flexible with the advent of higher barrier technologies in flexible packaging.”
Zip-Pak said it can do ovenable zippers for chickens that are roasted in a bag, microwaveable and autoclavable zippers for things like prunes, which are packed and put through an autoclave.
“So it really does depend what is in the bag, the weight of the bag and what the consumer wants,” said the director.
“Our customer is the food companies so in the instance of cheese they want a moisture barrier to stop the cheese drying out so we produce a zipper for them that has a high moisture barrier.”
No demand for biodegradable zippers
The zippers are mostly polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) and while the firm has looked at biodegradable options, it said nobody has bought them because of cost.
“I’ve done three biodegradable projects and nobody has ever bought them because of the cost. We go all the way down, we can extrude biodegradable materials but we don’t get any call for them when people get the cost,” said the director.
“When the cost comes into a realistic amount then I am sure people will buy them.”
The firm has sensory zippers to give a tactile opening and closing, they also have noise with a proper ‘zzzip’ when they open and multi-line zippers for a better consumer experience.
“We are what’s called an outside-in company. While we do internal development most of our development is actually customer driven. So the major CPG’s or the major packaging houses like the Mondi’s of this world will come to us and say we need a solution for this and we will do it.”
The resealability trend has helped in some cases, said the director.
“When there is a recession we sell more products because people want their food to stay fresher for longer and when there is not a recession we sell more products because people want convenience so we are in a win-win situation.
“The food on the go is something that is increasing at the moment but they’re normally one or two shot packs which don’t have a zipper on them. When you are looking at candies that is when the zipper will come in.”