Like many other FMCG markets, the home care market felt the pressure of South Africa’s dwindling economic performance in 2015. Innovative packaging strategies have helped smart brand owners stay competitive and outlast market challenges.
Manufacturers and retailers of FMCG products focused heavily on driving volume sales in the last year. This is according to Euromonitor’s most recent Home Care in South Africa report.
Brand owners also had to respond to the local market’s renewed focus on price, especially among lower-income consumers. The spending power of these consumers has been affected by increased grocery expenses and escalating energy costs.
The global research firm indicates these households remain cautious regarding non-essential spending. They continue to seek value offerings in the form of private label, and promotional and multipurpose products.
Private label players are also intensifying their efforts and expanded their portfolios across home care segments. These players responded proactively to consumer demand for value-for-money offerings.
Economical pack sizes, promotional packs and price promotions were key to their response. Laundry care was among the categories that reflected such activity.
Leading brands invested in personalised initiatives, which speak more closely and intimately to their target audience. In turn, these trends are impacting the packaging industry with an increase in the demand for smaller packs, which can be produced and filled in shorter runs.
Perfect powdered product solution
Bosch Packaging Technology (Bosch) launched its SVI 2600 vertical bagger into the southern African market at Propak Africa 2016, held in March in Johannesburg. With the ability to produce standard bag styles such as pillow, gusseted and block-bottom bags, the machine closes the gap in Bosch’s equipment portfolio for a medium-speed form-fill-seal unit.
It is ideal for powdered detergent manufacturers in need of a filling solution with a compact footprint. Running at speeds of 60 to 80 bags per minute for a standard bag, the SVI 2600 is suitable for small and mid-sized manufacturers seeking to automate their processes.
It’s also considered an attractive option for larger producers in search of equipment for smaller volumes or for testing new products in the market. ‘With product life cycles becoming shorter, large manufacturers are seeking ways to cost-effectively test the market,’ notes Steffen Manke, GM of Bosch Packaging Technology South Africa.
The company has incorporated proven technology employed on higher-end baggers into the new machine. These technologies include servo-driven cross-sealing units, vacuum belts and Bosch/Beckhoff controls.
The servo-driven sealing jaws and vacuum belts facilitate high seal precision with accurate sealing time. This ensures package integrity regardless of film thickness, which is especially advantageous for manufacturers working with a wide range of films. A large film reel diameter of 650mm reduces the number of film changes required, which increases uptime.
In addition, minimal operator training is required because of the unit’s large human machine interface with intuitive icon based navigation.
The SVI 2600 was launched last year, and will be introduced into southern Africa throughout 2016. Manke describes the machine as well-suited to markets in the region as it is easy to operate and maintain. It also has a low total cost of ownership, and features efficient energy use and cost-effective spare parts.
Bosch is bolstering both its global equipment portfolio and its local service, as Manke notes: ‘We are constantly growing our local sales and service team and local spare-parts to support our range of solutions available to the southern African market. With Bosch, our customers talk directly to their equipment manufacturer, instead of working through an agent.’