'Go Green' in More Ways Than One

July 7, 2009
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Here’s how being more environmentally friendly can save money as well.

Here’s how being more environmentally friendly can save money as well.

In response to consumer trends and requests from retailers, bakers are searching for more environmentally friendly packaging as part of broader sustainability efforts. In addition to improving their perception with consumers, many companies are discovering that several of these initiatives can save them money as well.

In our upcoming production technology report in the July issue of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery magazine, we’ll discuss how it pays to “go green.” In a sneak preview for Operations Weekly readers, here is one of our interviews for the report.

In this installment, we talk with Hal Miller, vice president of sales at Kwik Lok Corp., Yakima, Wash. Before our interview, Miller talked with Rich Zaremba, eastern division sales manager, and Bill Klancke, western division sales manager, to come up with the company’s view.

Here’s our Q&A with the company.

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery: What are some of the consumer or new product trends impacting packaging departments in wholesale bakeries?

Hal Miller: The trends seem to lean toward smaller portion packages, increased visibility to stand out in the marketplace, sustainability and traceability. Bakers are faced with consumer trends to eat local, support local charities, show community awareness, show when the product was produced, on what date, where, etc.

Consumers are more price and quality conscience as they are looking for coupons, cents off and cross promotions with other products. More consumers are looking for and demanding that bakers make a switch to more environmentally friendly packaging and looking at “local" as a sense of civic pride/patronage.

The ability of the Kwik Lok 893 Ultra with 894 Squid Ink Turbo printer addresses the market's need and baker's desire for meeting consumer demands. [We offer] a means to close a package with an easy-on, easy-off closure to offering a machine that can close as well as coupon or cross-product promotion. [We also offer] a 100% guarantee of product information such as bake date and time and best before date -- all located in the same place -- on the easy-to-open Kwik Lok recyclable and degradable closure, [which helps] the bakers to meet their desire for social responsible packaging.
SF&WB:  What challenges do bakers face in their packaging departments?

Miller: The economy is factoring into every aspect of every business. It is important to watch all costs, as well as eliminate as much waste as possible. Kwik Lok's overall cost of running helps bakers to keep cost down. The reliability of Kwik Lok's 893 Ultra and the 872XLS bag closing machines help keep internal waste and cripples down and can quickly help with any repackaging that needs to be done.

The biggest trend seems to be the expansion of technology and automation of the packaging lines. Vision systems, robotics and networking of the whole line are changing the way quality control and line changes are done. More and more, wholesale bakers are considering robotics because the cost of automation throughout the line has had a positive ROI (return on investment). Robotics offer a labor reduction and flexibility, as well as an adaptability to multiple products further reducing changeover downtime.

On the end of the line, the Kwik Lok 893 Ultra with the 894 Squid Ink Turbo Printer facilitates the ability to network with remotely controlled line changes and bagger speeds and helps monitor quality control and package integrity with robotic systems in bakeries today. The Ultra and Squid Ink system can further adapt to advanced technology and future changes being developed for tomorrow’s demands.

The 893 Ultra's lok-management system, combined with the out-of-lok sensor and alarm box, complement existing vision/robotic systems to help eliminate cost and increase product line efficiency. Further, Kwik Lok units, such as the 872 XLS, are compliant with noise reduction and simpler to run and maintain, complementing the simplification concept new high tech lines promote.
SF&WB: How is your company addressing the sustainability issue?

Miller: Kwik Lok has produced a video presentation for our industry explaining and showing Kwik Lok's effort to lower carbon emissions and to provide and maintain our closure as a truly environmentally friendly, degradable and recyclable product.
SF&WB: How does your latest technology differ from what is already out in the marketplace?

Miller: The newest Kwik Lok machines such as the 893 Ultra with the 894 Squid Ink Turbo Printer offers ease of use and maintenance simplification combined with superior performance incorporating the latest in stepper motor advancement and electronic control to compliment other automatic systems incorporated in [a] packaging line. Kwik Lok is an 'all in one' concept providing bag closing technology advancement while also providing the consumer with a convenient, environmentally 'green' closure with all the traceability information printed on the closure where it is easy to find and easy to read.

Editor’s Note: Check out our upcoming July issue of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery magazine with interviews from various companies that supply packaging and bagging equipment. You also can view Kwik Lok’s video on the company’s sustainability efforts on SF&WB TV located on the home page of www.snackandbakery.com.

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