Closing solutions company Kwik Lok has seen a significant spike in demand in the past year due to the pandemic. From retailers switching from bulk to grab-and-go formats to suppliers pivoting from foodservice to retail, packaging – and therefore closing solutions – became much more ubiquitous in 2020.
Demand patterns in 2020
Kwik Lok’s closing solutions range from closing machines to the actual ‘lok’ closures put onto the bags. Karen Reed, Kwik Lok’s Director of Marketing and Communications, explains: “We sell both the machine and the closures, and there are many varieties – of course, the closure needed for a 10-lb bag of potatoes will be quite different than that needed for a bunch of asparagus. Our products also work with a wide variety of materials, from mesh bags, to paper to plastic. Since our machines can last up to 30 or 40 years, depending on its application, we want to make sure that they are extremely flexible and that each of our new products that we introduce will work on the existing machines that customers already have.”
The flexibility of the machines became vital when the pandemic hit – when flexibility in all areas of operation became important for all businesses. Reed shares: “In the spring of 2020, we helped customers find stopgap packaging solutions for grab-and-go, as a lot of bulk items needed to be packaged when consumers were worried about getting infected while in stores, before we knew more about how the virus spread. Our existing customers suddenly had higher volumes to process. We also had to help customers move produce that is normally sold to the restaurant industry and package it for retail instead. Like others in the industry, we saw increases in sales as our customers worked to be sure that they had materials on hand for packaging. We also moved to more virtual formats for technology support our customers as they worked to keep their lines up and running for long periods of time to meet increased consumer demand.”
Kwik Lok recently introduced a sustainable closure solution: the Eco Lok. “This is the first sustainable closure that uses up to 20% less petroleum-based product and reduces carbon impacts by up to 20%. It is made from renewably sourced corn and potato starch and is currently available in North America,” Reed says.
Throughout this past year, Reed has noticed that sustainability’s importance has continued to grow. “Even in the spring, when there was so much chaos among consumers and grocery stores were very concerned about ensuring food safety, we still saw our customers maintain their focus on sustainability goals. They are looking for options that both keep food safe and minimize the impact on the environment. Eco Lok is a great solution to address this, because while it is a small change, it can have a big impact in overall carbon emissions and other sustainability goals,” Reed shares.
Reed expects that during this coming year, sustainability goals will continue to grow among companies. “People will continue to cook a lot at home and will continue to get the majority of their food from grocery stores. It is up to us to continue to make sure that we produce the necessary products for companies to continue to address this increased demand. Additionally, the sustainability aspect will remain on the forefront in the industry and it will likewise remain our focus,” Reed concludes.
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