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The forthcoming Hispack fair is warming up with a major focus on innovation. Proof of the above is the large number of activities that have been scheduled to showcase innovative packaging solutions. The perfumery and cosmetics sector, one of the most competitive markets with the largest investment in innovation, will attend as a result of the agreement that the fair has signed with Stanpa, the National Perfumery and Cosmetics Association. Susana Arranz, its head of innovation, previews some of the topics of the panel discussion she’ll take part in on the challenges, opportunities and innovative initiatives in cosmetic packaging.

Spain is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of perfumes and cosmetics. What role does Stanpa play in bringing together the entities in the sector?

With more than 300 member companies and a total of 400 entities, Stanpa represents more than 95% of the national cosmetics and perfumery sector, 84% of which comprises SMEs. Its mission involves representing them and promoting a competitive, dynamic, innovative and sustainable perfume and cosmetics industry that’s committed to the care and well-being of people in a diverse and global society.

Why do you think packaging is so important for the cosmetics industry?

Packaging performs a dual function. Visually, it’s the gateway to a product and, at the same time, it provides it with protection. This is why the major challenges and trends in packaging have to bear both factors in mind, in addition to other important aspects such as sustainability. Making products more environment-friendly is an extremely important goal for perfumery and cosmetics manufacturers, one which isn’t limited to the product itself, but also to everything that surrounds it, including the packaging.

What trends would you highlight in cosmetic packaging?

The industry’s efforts to increase its sustainability aren’t restricted to cosmetics alone, as they cover the whole product life cycle. We can observe this in different initiatives to reduce the impact of packaging, such as the one led by Procter & Gamble, which has developed water-soluble pouches for hair care as an alternative to other formats like bottled solids and liquids.

In a similar vein, Nivea (part of the Beiersdorf group) has created a new range called Naturally Good, based on a formulation that includes more than 95% ingredients of natural origin and packaging that abides by the 4R approach (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and Replace). In this respect, the face creams use recycled cardboard in the folding cartons and the packaging is made entirely of polypropylene (PP) to facilitate recycling. Besides, recycled materials have been incorporated into the shower gel and body lotion packaging.

Bella Aurora has also reduced the jar sizes of nineteen of its products, saving 2.4 tonnes of glass per year. Cantabria Labs is another company that’s committed to more sustainable solutions in its packaging and it’s chosen Drimpak to develop them. We should also mention Mixer & Pack, which has taken significant measures to ensure energy savings and efficiency, reduce its atmospheric emissions and improve environmental care at its plant, winning the CEPYME award for energy efficiency and sustainability in 2019.

These examples are good indications of where the industry is heading in terms of sustainability.

Continuing in the cosmetics industry, what are the main demands that they receive from manufacturers?

The cosmetics and perfumery sector faces the challenge of improving the recyclability of household packaging by means of eco-design. This can be achieved by implementing the new technologies that are available in terms of design, new materials, recycled material and new forms of application, as well as working together with the whole value chain to improve recyclability.

Which innovations in cosmetic packaging would you highlight?

Companies are committed to and implementing sustainability measures. One of the aspects that companies are working the hardest on in terms of innovation in sustainability is eco-design, particularly with a view to achieving the goals set by the European Commission for 2025 and 2030. As a result, two out of three companies are taking action to minimise their impact on the environment by means of the eco-design of packaging. In fact, more and more cosmetic companies are developing products with a better environmental profile and biodegradable and compostable packaging with recycled and bio-based plastic materials, to give you just a few examples.

Is the sector sensitive to thinking in terms of sustainability?

As a representative of the sector, Stanpa has been working intensively for some time now with several associations to analyse and develop measures for the new circular economy model. As a result of this joint work, several important initiatives have been launched to guarantee a sustainable future for the industry. For example, in 2019, Stanpa and Ecoembes developed the Guide on Improving Recyclability to help companies to design more sustainable products, as well as a Packaging Declaration Guide for perfumery and cosmetics products with the aim of identifying and classifying the different elements that make up packaging when it comes to making the Annual Packaging Declaration.

Have you noticed any changes in the profile of today’s consumers?

In the wake of the pandemic, the sector has undergone a transformation based on digitisation, sustainability and innovation, which are positioning themselves as the key levers for the revival and future of beauty. We’ve identified a new consumer profile, known as CSS: Conscious, Supportive and Sustainable, which shifts their purchasing preferences towards responsibility and sustainability.

Holistic concern for health is a major factor for new consumers, who are more attentive and careful with regard to their own well-being and that of the planet. An eco-technological consumer who places increasing value on the consumption of local products is thus becoming more established. In this regard, 46% of consumers are furthering their commitment to sustainability in line with an upward trend in local consumption, while 56% are prioritising purchases of made in Spain brands.

E-commerce has grown significantly in recent years. Can packaging add value to other areas such as the detection of fake products?

Very much so, packaging can help us to distinguish between a genuine perfume and a fake one. What’s most important is to purchase the product from a legal and authorised establishment. You’ll never find an original perfume outside the official sales channels. All original perfumes are wrapped in plastic-coated cellophane to ensure the airtightness of the inner carton. This cellophane also has its own features in original products. In original ones the folds of the plastic are symmetrical, while, in the counterfeit ones, they’re uneven and the cellophane isn’t perfectly glued to the carton. In addition, if you rub them, the fake one gives off a sound. The outer carton of a counterfeit perfume is soft and of poor quality and it bends very easily. The inner carton in an original one is really robust, as its function is to protect the perfume. In a fake one it’s extremely thin and shapeless.

The rise of e-commerce is also playing a decisive role in this respect. Therefore, Stanpa recently conducted a webinar in partnership with Deloitte, focusing on the early detection of counterfeiting in the digital environment, as well as its impact and the potential solutions.

What do the entities from the sector expect to find at Hispack?

Hispack will be the meeting point for companies in the perfumery and cosmetics sector and packaging suppliers, knowledge centres and entities that represent the entire value chain. The main innovations in the field of packaging that are set to overcome the challenges facing our companies will be on display there. In addition, I’ll have the pleasure of taking part, together with Lucía Jiménez, Head of Sustainability and Standardisation at Stanpa, and AIMPLAS in the panel discussion due to take place on 24 May in the Hispack Unboxing space on Challenges, opportunities and innovative initiatives in cosmetic packaging, during which we’ll present the Ecosmartpack 4.0 Project.

Cristina Benavides, Hispack partner