Injection Moulding Breathes Life into Australia’s Specialist Food Market!
Since the turn of the century, food packaging has undergone a quiet transformation. Partly driven by the response to tamper-proofing requirements, and partly by marketing aesthetics, a new generation of thin-walled, injection moulded container- ware with slick, visually appealing in-mould labelling came into use for high-volume staples such as butter, margarine and yoghurt, displacing earlier thermo- forming technology.
The Problem of Scalability
For smaller- volume items, however, and for niche manufacturers, the setup costs of making these containers put them beyond economical reach. This problem is particularly acute for Australian manufacturers, who serve a population of modest size, meaning that many products fall below this scalability barrier. And the increasing appetite of Australians for artisanal produce was being thwarted by the unavailability of sophisticated packaging in small runs. Purchasing packaging overseas is not an option, given the industry’s hygiene and product safety requirements. Yet no local manufacturer was able to economically supply containers both for the high-volume staples and for the low-volume, high value niche products the market was demanding.
While all this was going on, SK Plastics was earning a well-deserved reputation for excellence in the field of automotive interior trim, and in 2010 we decided we could use some of what we’d learned about precision injection moulding to make a difference to the food packaging industry.
It was clear to us that the secret to meeting the unique needs of the Australian food industry lay in solving the scalability problem by reducing the setup costs for each product. In particular, the ability to distinguish brands with in-mould labelling could be used, we believed, to bring the size of minimum economic orders down. Our experience in automotive interiors had brought our mastery of robotics to an advanced stage, and this, combined with our expertise in in-mould labelling, enabled us to enter a market previously dominated by legacy technology.
The results have been impressive. We now support manufacturers of all sizes. Small, artisan producers can now market their products profitably with sophisticated, tamper-evident packaging, while larger manufacturers can package both their staple items and their smaller-volume niche products from the same supplier.
We are able to provide thin-walled, tamper-evident containers in a full range of sizes, with vivid in-mould labelling, and to meet orders from “pallet” size to “box” size at prices that really work for our customers.