Packaging Protects Products from the Inside-Out

Melbourne-based Swisse Wellness employs a desiccant and a scannable label to protect and authenticate its growing portfolio of products worldwide.

Swisse Wellness refers to itself as an “Australian success story,” growing from a humble warehouse in Australia to become a leading global wellness brand, with market presence in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, the U.S., the Netherlands, Italy, Hong Kong and China. Plans call for product launches in as many as 30 countries in the next few years.

Acquired by Health & Happiness International Holdings of Hong Kong for $1.7 billion in late 2015, Swisse Wellness’s product portfolio includes more than 200 products, including vitamins, sports nutrition, skin-care and functional foods, manufactured in GMP-certified facilities.

The company reports that in China Swisse is a top online vitamin brand, with consumers willing to pay a premium for these products that deliver purity and authenticity in a market where low-quality or counterfeit goods remain common. But as demand, distribution, and retail exposure of these products have grown, the Swisse brand has faced challenges from counterfeits. In response, Swisse adopted a series of packaging innovations to protect the authenticity of its products worldwide.

The first brand protection innovation was new product package labeling, first seen in 2016 and continuing to roll out on hundreds of Swisse products worldwide—more than 150 to date. Among other features, the company in 2017 unveiled next-generation, scannable labels in 2017 that employ the Swisse Product Authentication Mobile App. The company says the scanning technology allows consumers to easily recognize and verify authentic Swisse labels by scanning these icons using their cell phones. The icon associated with the App cannot be replicated and uses what the company refers to as the most advanced surface scan identification technology available.

Managing Director Oliver Horn reinforced the company’s commitment to brand protection and consumer trust as an important responsibility. “Consumer trust in our brand is a key priority. Swisse has seen great success globally through our commitment to producing high-quality products, using premium formulas, but we know with premium, in-demand products, there are always likely to be individuals wanting to exploit.

“We have had a very considered approach to our strategy around anti-counterfeiting, and have been working on developing our Product Authentication App for a number of years. This has been a large investment for our brand and something we wanted to make sure was spot on and easy for our consumers to navigate before we introduced to the market,” says Horn. Specific details on the label and app were not revealed.

Printed desiccant sachet

Swisse customers in Australia now see another distinctive brand identification feature inside product containers: a new desiccant sachet with a printed Swisse logo, produced by Clariant Healthcare Packaging. When inserted into product bottles during the filling process, these desiccant sachets help preserve the stability and shelf life of active ingredients in drugs, nutraceuticals, and supplements by adsorbing moisture that can make its way into packages and degrade their contents. The branded desiccant sachets are now available in Swisse products sold in Australia and are expected to roll out to Swisse product globally in the near future.

The new Swisse-branded desiccant sachets complement the new packaging strategy, explains Harry Brooks, Managing Director of Alchemy Performance Packaging, the Clariant distributor that suggested the branded desiccant concept.

“Swisse sought solutions that reflected the brand’s high standards for premium, high-quality ingredients,” said Brooks. “So, instead of a typical desiccant sachet to protect the contents from moisture, Alchemy Performance Packaging proposed a Clariant desiccant sachet made with DuPont™ medical-grade Tyvek®, filled with Clariant Sorb-It® silica gel and a printed Swisse logo.”

Mark Florez, Product Manager, Development & Marketing, Clariant Healthcare Packaging, explains, “The desiccant packet serves its normal function to adsorb the moisture that causes product degradation, thereby preserving the product and extending shelf life. The desiccant is normally printed with standard ‘do not eat’ indications, but in this case, the desiccant is also printed with the brand’s logo. This adds another layer of brand identification and an obstacle to attempted counterfeiting.”

Beyond protecting container contents, the desiccant also meets the demands of Swisse’s production and supply chain—a vital consideration in that all Swisse products are manufactured and packaged in facilities approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The desiccant sachets comply with global food and drug regulatory requirements, as well as USP <670> requirements for packaging that has primary contact with solid-dose tablets.

The desiccants are produced in one of Clariant’s four worldwide ISO 15378 (GMP)-certified desiccant production facilities in the form of Continu-Strip® packets, which are wound onto a reel for continuous, automatic feeding, cutting, and insertion into containers by automated insertion equipment.

“We were particularly happy to collaborate with Clariant to produce a unique Swisse-branded desiccant, as we were able to solve multiple challenges simultaneously,” says Jane van Haandel, Manager-Existing Product Development for Swisse Wellness. “This desiccant solution assists with the stability of our products, supports our brand protection measures, and contributes to the strength of the Swisse global brand.”

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