Scholle IPN returned to the annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, featuring our innovative flexible packaging solutions for wine and spirits. Industry professionals from around the globe gathered in Sacramento, CA, at the “largest wine and grape trade show of its kind in the Western Hemisphere” to hear about trends and issues shaping the industry.
Representing Scholle IPN, Randy Austin, Director, Product Line Management, observed that tremendous growth in the industry over the past decade has attracted more and more customers and suppliers of all types to this continually expanding event. “We definitely saw more bag-in-box competitors than we’ve ever seen,” says Austin. “We’ve seen tremendous market growth in the 3L category—which is 4 bottles of wine in a bag-in-box—as well as in the 1.5L, which is 2 bottles of wine in a bag-in-box.”
With more than 40 years’ experience working directly with wine customers, Austin describes Scholle IPN as “the go-to flexible packaging supplier” for the wine industry. With customers ranging from top-ten wineries to craft, boutique wineries, Austin explains, “this year, we exhibited packaging from of some of the largest wineries in North America, to whom we’ve now been trusted suppliers for decades.”
Austin observes a newer market trend, with introduction of spirits including whiskies, tequilas, and vodkas in bag-in-box, saying “that’s an area where we’re hoping for a lot of customer growth. This kind of event gives us a chance to connect with decision makers to explain the benefits of bag-in-box packaging, like how it can protect their product while providing extended shelf life and add value and convenience for the consumer.”
Observing this growth, along with a general acceptance of alternative packages in today’s market, Austin explains that the wine industry is keenly interested in alternative packaging as a way to attract younger adult customers. “While the wine industry has seen significant growth, wine consumption in general, especially in the value category, is growing at a much slower rate among millennials,” explains Austin. “Wine consumers are getting older, so the wine industry wants to attract younger drinking-age adults. We’ve learned that millennials gravitate toward beverages with a personalized quality that can say something about their personality. Craft beer and spirits consumption are growing quickly among this younger generation.”
“In looking at ways that we can attract millennials toward wine,” Austin continues, “one of the concepts we featured this year was single serve wine pouches. Customers responded very well to the idea, and we received a lot of questions about it.” explains Austin. “We’ve done some preliminary work and are able to show that it has both a better carbon footprint story as well as being an attractive package that people gravitate toward. They like that you can see the wine through the package, and that it’s convenient to take along for different occasions, like hiking, travel, camping, sports events and such—it’s very easy to take with you. Also, something like this will stand out on the shelf because it’s different.”
In addition to the single-serve pouches, we featured some of our key products that can help improve winemakers’ confidence in putting their highest quality wines into bag-in-box packaging. The biggest contributor to a shortened shelf life for wine is oxygen. It’s critical to control the filling process and maintain the integrity of the wine through distribution.
Austin explains two of Scholle IPN’s products designed to help achieve this goal. “Our SureFillⓇ 12 MAP bag-in-box filler features a modified atmosphere chamber. This limits the amount of oxygen able to enter the package during filling. And then we have our FlexiPlus™ film, which is an active barrier film that scavenges for oxygen molecules and keeps them from degrading the wine.
“Using these solutions together will help protect the quality and increase the shelf life of products. It preserves the taste of the wine, enabling you to put higher quality wines into flexible packaging with confidence knowing your wine tastes like it should. These types of well-designed, market-friendly products, along with our superior customer service, skilled packaging applications engineers, and field service personnel, are what set us apart in the industry.”
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