Kite Packaging launches new custom-size box tool

Kite Packaging, a leading name in the UK packaging industry, has launched its advanced custom-size box tool. By streamlining the buying process for bespoke-sized boxes, it aims to improve customer experience through increased efficiency. Available on the company’s website, this new feature gives customers the freedom to select their chosen board grade, colour and dimensions for a box based on their specific requirements. Customers can pick from four FEFCO styles, 0201, 0203, 0426 and 0427, covering 80% of most requirements with further guidance provided on the strength and construction of these. The tool then generates an instant quote based on this, with delivery of standard custom boxes and die-cut boxes shortly after samples have been approved. Features and benefits of the custom-size box tool include: – Instant quotations provided without the need for registration, simplifying the packaging procurement process. – Intuitive user interface and a one-page layout for easy navigation and input. – Flexible pricing tiers based on quantity. – Access to available stock options closely matching required dimensions. – Ability to request quotes on smaller quantities. – Convenient contact form for enquiries and requests. “We are really proud of our website and this latest feature,” says Gavin Ashe, Managing Director at Kite Packaging. “This is a fantastic tool for customers to use to get an instant quote on the most common box styles. For larger quantities and more complicated solutions, Kite’s award-winning design team are always available to help. “Our new custom-size box tool is all about saving customers time and money by giving them instant pricing and order capability, live on our web site for simple and straight forward designs.” To learn more, please visit

Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses acquires artisan cheesemaker

Fourth-generation family cheesemakers, Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses in rural Lancashire, has acquired Hampshire Cheese Company, home of much-loved soft cheeses Tunworth and Winslade, for an undisclosed sum. Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses has invested significantly in its soft cheese capacity in the last two years, with own-label and branded soft cheeses like Button Mill and Kidderton Ash driving Butlers’ mission to be a powerhouse in British farmhouse soft cheese. Butlers is now the largest independent soft cheesemaker in the UK. Hampshire Cheese Company, a multi award-winning artisan cheesemaker, was founded in 2005 by Stacey Hedges and has amassed a legion of fans for Tunworth and Winslade; two expertly handcrafted, continental-style soft cheeses that are revered among some of the UK’s leading chefs, Michelin restaurants and premium independent retailers. Matthew Hall, fourth-generation owner at Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, says: “Bringing two incredible cheeses like Tunworth and Winslade into our family is super exciting and consistent with our soft cheese strategy. “The quality and reputation that Stacey, Charlotte and the team have established for Tunworth and Winslade is something we will be proud to nurture with their loyal customers. “Over the years, Stacey has shared our mission to drive the British cheese renaissance in the UK and we are privileged to bring Tunworth and Winslade into our family, continue on that journey and get more of the amazing cheeses being made in Britain, to more people.” Butlers has maintained momentum in its soft cheese strategy as it moves on from a serious fire at its office and packing site in November 2023. The fourth-generation family cheesemakers were turning milk to cheese at the dairy within hours of the fire and ensured its range of farmhouse soft cheeses were delivered to customers in time for Christmas. Butlers’ range of blue cheeses including flagship brand, Blacksticks, were back in supply in early February. Butlers’ ownership of Hampshire Cheese Company is effective immediately.

Nestlé Smithtown factory to receive $32m investment for Milo production

Nestlé Australia has announced a $32 million investment to its Smithtown factory, which manufactures Milo – bringing investment in the site to approximately $80 million in the last decade. The investment will upgrade the Milo manufacturing line introducing state-of-the-art manufacturing technology to the factory and supporting an increased production capacity. Factory Manager James Garley said the investment in the site reflects Nestlé’s commitment to support local manufacturing. “We’re committed to investing in continuous improvements and upgrades to our Smithtown factory so we can continue to proudly make iconic brands like Milo right here. “Over the next 12 months, the project will inject an estimated $20 million into the local economy and support almost 200 jobs as we construct a new building to house Milo production. “It’s a complex project, but the team will work to ensure the facilities continue to deliver the choc-malt crunch of Milo Australians have loved for generations,” Mr Garley said. The upgrade is due to be completed by the end of 2024. The Nestlé Smithtown factory, which has been operating for over 100 years, today employs more than 200 people and produces more than 200,000 cans of Milo, as well as Nesquik, Nescafé mixes and Malted Milk.

Export insights in the spotlight at IFE 2024

IFE, part of Food, Drink & Hospitality Week, has launched the programme for its Exporters Hub, in partnership with UK Export Academy, which will see leading figures in the world of food & drink export and international trade take to the stage to discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in the sector. Taking place on 25-27 March at ExCeL London, IFE welcomes suppliers from more than 50 countries in addition to hundreds of UK suppliers from startups to major global brands in food & drink. The show’s Exporters Hub is set to welcome speakers from the Department for Business & Trade, the Food & Drink Exporters Association, the British Business Council, the Food & Drink Export Council, Scotland Food & Drink and more to dive deep into a wide range of talking points and trends in the world of food & drink export. The session ‘The Government’s Export Strategy Explained’ will see Food, Drink & Council Co-Chair Ian Wright, Iain Baxter, CEO of Scotland Food & Drink and Karen Morgan, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Food and Drink at the UK Department for Business and Trade, discussing how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of government and provide an insight into export strategies. Other topics up for discussion in the Exporters Hub include the art of sustainable exporting, opening up export opportunities through certification, and successful overseas marketing strategies. Rowena Tolley, Trademark & Branding Partner at Kilburn & Strode LLP and panellist for the session ‘Export can be a risky business’, says: “I’m looking forward to joining the Exporters Hub at IFE this year and discussing how to protect your brand, navigate distributor agreements and avoid common pitfalls and risks in export.” Visitors to the Exporters Hub will also have the opportunity to learn how to meet the expectations of distributors in a panel featuring Sandra Sullivan MBE, Director of the Food, Drink & Exporters Association, Mark Field, CEO of Prof Consulting, Antoaneta Becker, Director Consumer Economy – China at Britain Business Council, and Katie Birrell, Head of International Sales at Nairn’s Oatcakes Ltd. Sullivan comments: “As a vibrant community of exporters and dedicated expert service providers, FDEA are thrilled to partner with the IFE team again for 2024. We’ll be curating insightful drop-in sessions on all things export in the Exporters Hub during the show. “IFE is a key trade show for UK food and drink companies, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge and making valuable new connections at the event.” IFE takes place alongside IFE Manufacturing, The Pub Show, HRC and International Salon Culinaire as part of Food, Drink & Hospitality Week. Find out more about everything happening at IFE 2024, and register for your complimentary trade ticket, at

Inaugural Future Trailblazers honoured at Packaging Innovations

A trio of Future Trailblazers were celebrated at the UK’s flagship packaging exhibition for their unique contribution to the future of packaging. The announcement of a trio of Future Trailblazers capped a remarkable two days at the record-breaking Packaging Innovations & Empack 2024. The inaugural award winners were joined on the Circular Economy Stage on the final day of the UK’s flagship packaging exhibition by Dani Novick and Ian Roe, Directors at Mercury Search and Selection, and Packaging Group at IOM3’s Chair, Jude Allan. Lucy Boston, Head of Marketing & Communication at Carlton Packaging, Chris Yapp, Director at TRI-LOCKER, and Abigail Sawyer-Parker, Packaging Technologist at ProAmpac, were each considered enthusiastic champions for packaging and walked away with a coveted award, having driven innovation from a consumer perspective in their respective roles. “What we were looking for with Future Trailblazers is the relatively new people in the industry,” said Allan. “We were looking for people who are making a difference; people at different points in the business that don’t necessarily get those moments of recognition. And part of why we wanted to do this is because we must showcase how brilliant packaging is as a career.” “Nobody grows up wanting to go into packaging,” said Novick. “I’ve recruited into packaging for 28 years, and hand on heart, I can tell you that most people couldn’t think of working elsewhere. Yet we have the largest number of people moving around the same industry. We have a very high staff turnover and a very low rate of newcomers. So, to see a panel of three people early on in their career in packaging is so exciting because it’s bringing fresh ideas.” Yapp, who worked in catering and training has his own business and teaching people about innovation, was recognised for his role in creating the plastic-free sealed food tray system TRI-LOCKER. This new, unique, non-plastic sealed tray is easy to open and tamper-proof. “TRI-LOCKER, in a nutshell, is a patented system of sealing trays without the heat seal, using cold-seal adhesive,” said Yapp. “My background is in hospitality, and within that sector, you get immediate feedback from your customers, whether you like the food, drink or service. As an experienced consumer and somebody who unwraps packaging materials in one of my businesses, I’ve always been very frustrated that you can’t get into some of this packaging easily, and a certain amount goes into the black bin bag that’s incinerated or goes to landfill. “I wanted to investigate whether we could get to mono-material or even 100% recyclable, and the possibility of having 99% plastic free. And that’s not looking at it as someone who has spent four decades in the packaging industry; I’m looking at it the way customers do and how it works.” Lucy Boston, Head of Marketing & Communication at Carlton Packaging, shared her belief that ideas are all around us and everywhere we look. Boston’s award capped a successful couple of days for the Bedford-based business after Rapilock Pro’s inclusion in the Innovation Gallery. “I saw an opening in the market that a lot of customers weren’t listening to the consumer,” she said. “But we are the consumers. We are the people who buy the packaging as well as sell it, and we should know what we want. “I said to my team that there was a piece missing. We’re supplying all these pretty boxes, but does the consumer want all this packaging or need all this? We always listen to the consumer first, even though we don’t supply directly. We then frame that to our customers and say, ‘This is what consumers want, now let’s build your packaging around that’.” Packaging Technologist Abigail Sawyer-Parker, who has spent the last two years developing flexible paper packaging solutions that merge form and function while minimising environmental impact, was awarded for her project work on the ProActive Recyclable®️ high barrier paper sachet. “I couldn’t have done it without the support and opportunities given to me as part of team ProAmpac,” said Sawyer-Parker, whose diverse entry into a technical packaging role saw her move from laboratories to publishing and then back again. She added: “I joined the business with very little idea of the role and was quickly allowed to work on a project with complete freedom. “When I first joined, flexible paper packaging was quite a new thing for the company, and at the time, I was a technical coordinator, and this project was getting traction. I was lucky enough to get given that project, and in a way, because I was so new to the industry, we had a chance to grow together.”

Smirnoff launches seven new flavour innovations

Smirnoff is rolling out seven new flavours as the brand continues to deliver unique taste experiences for drinkers around the world.
Smirnoff draws on inspiration from popular culture to formulate bold new creations. From Spicy Tamarind or Electric Guava to Lavender Lemonade and Watermelon Lime Smash, the new lines feature flavoured spirits, perfect for crafting cocktails, and ready-to-drink mixers.
Stephanie Jacoby, Smirnoff Global Brand Director, said:  “Smirnoff is a brand that has been innovating since 1864 and, as the world’s #1 vodka, we think it’s important that our portfolio feels fresh and inclusive. “We innovate and develop exciting new flavours to appeal to as many different people as possible, making our drinks as diverse as the people who drink them. These new flavours draw inspiration from cultures around the world to create unique taste experiences that we hope everyone will enjoy.”
SPICY TAMARIND – Made with the flavour of juicy tamarind and tasting notes of zingy lime and spicy chillies, this vodka infusion works brilliantly in spicy cocktails. Unlike other vodkas, Spicy Tamarind makes a great alternative to tequila to create a delicious spicy margarita. Following a hugely successful launch in Mexico, Spicy Tamarind is available in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Great Britain and Ireland with more than dozen countries planning to launch throughout 2024.
SMIRNOFF ELECTRIC GUAVA – Debuting in Mexico this week, Smirnoff Electric Guava blends Smirnoff’s triple distilled vodka with the flavour of juicy guava and a hint of ginger to create an electrifying experience for the senses. Poured over ice and topped up with soda water, Smirnoff Electric Guava creates the perfect spritz to be enjoyed on a warm summer day.
SMIRNOFF ICE LAVENDER LEMONADE – Lavender has been making waves in culture over the past year, inspiring everything from lavender couture to festival glamour. Initially launching in Australia, Smirnoff Ice Lavender Lemonade comes together to create a crisp lemonade taste layered with a lightly flavoured fragrant lavender finish – perfect for festival season.
SMIRNOFF SMASH VODKA SODA – In the US, Smirnoff is launching its first ever ready-to-drink vodka soda in four deliciously daring flavours that smash together unexpected flavour combinations to create something truly unique. Destined to be a smash hit, flavours include Watermelon Lime, Pineapple Orange, Raspberry Peach and Strawberry Dragon fruit.

Baileys reveals new limited edition flavour ‘Mint Choc Shake’

Baileys is back with a new flavour and colour: Mint Choc Shake. The new limited edition flavour blends the Irish spirit of Baileys Original Irish Cream (17% ABV) with fresh mint, dark chocolate and creamy vanilla flavours. Baileys Mint Choc Shake is launching in participating bars and restaurants from w/c 11th March and in stores from w/c 1st April. To celebrate its new flavour, Baileys has also released two new serves to enjoy: the Mint Choc Milkshake and the Mint Choc Sipper. The latest launch brings a St Patrick’s Day twist to the signature branding of its Baileys Original Irish Cream, complete with splash designs and a mint green colourway. Charlotte Gibbon, Director of Gins, Pimms, Baileys and Non-alc at Diageo, said: “At Baileys, we’re sticking to our Irish roots by launching Mint Choc Shake around St Patrick’s Day. “Treating should be an everyday occasion, but our latest limited edition flavour offers a completely unique experience to shake things up this year. Delicious on its own or enjoyed as the Mint Choc Shake and Mint Choc Sipper, our new flavour is perfect for mint lovers.” Baileys Mint Choc Shake is available to purchase on from the 1st March and in participating bars and restaurants from w/c 11th March. Baileys fans will also be able to purchase Mint Choc Shake at all Sainsbury’s, COOP, Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and on Amazon from 1st April. RRP £17. 17% ABV.

Croxsons marks another year at IFE Manufacturing

Leading glass packaging company, Croxsons, has announced its participation in this year’s IFE Manufacturing, marking yet another milestone in its longstanding association with the event since its inception. As part of the Food, Drink & Hospitality Week, Croxsons is set to showcase its innovative packaging solutions and connect with both new and existing customers from across the food and beverage industry. The event takes place on 25 – 27 March 2024, at ExCeL London, with the company exhibiting on stand 139. This year, Croxsons will unveil a new stand design, inspired by their Sutton headquarters. The stand will feature bar shelving to replicate the centrepiece of the office and offer visitors a tangible experience of Croxsons’ innovative approach to packaging. This design reflects the company’s commitment to staying at the forefront of industry trends and offering customers a firsthand look at its comprehensive range of products and services. The highlight of Croxsons’ participation this year is the introduction of new and exciting improved offering in closures, ranging from standard twist-offs and beer crowns to bespoke printed options. With the recent addition of business development manager, Lindsay Martin, to the team, Croxsons is eager to discuss opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves on the shelf through unique, storytelling designs on closures. This expansion underscores Croxsons’ dedication to providing a full packaging service that meets the evolving needs of the market. The decision to exhibit at IFE year after year stems from the opportunity it presents for networking within the food industry. Being part of the broader Food, Drink & Hospitality Week allows Croxsons to connect with a diverse industry base, focusing on food and spirits. It’s the perfect platform for meeting current and potential customers and showcasing its commitment to innovation and excellence in packaging solutions. Commenting on their attendance, Croxsons CEO, Tim Croxson, said: “We invite all attendees to visit our stand at the IFE event to discover the latest in packaging innovations and to discuss how we can help elevate your brand with our comprehensive packaging solutions. Experience the blend of tradition and innovation that defines Croxsons and take your brand’s storytelling to the next level.” For more information on Croxsons, visit here.

Innovative bubble paper lands top award at Packaging Innovations & Empack

LEIPA UK Ltd and Papair’s sustainable void-fill solution, PapairWrap, has been named the most innovative packaging project at the UK’s leading packaging exhibition. LEIPA UK Ltd and Papair’s PapairWrap, the first bubble wrap made from 100% paper, scooped the coveted Innovation Gallery Award at Packaging Innovations & Empack 2024. PapairWrap, which commenced production at Papair’s Rethem an der Aller facility, is a synthetic- and adhesive-free bubble wrap made entirely of paper and promises to protect both products and the environment. Sarah Lesting, Managing Director at LEIPA UK, said: “We’re thrilled that the Papair product was given the recognition it deserves at this year’s Packaging Innovations & Empack show. Whilst I have followed this fantastic start-up for some time, it has only been available in the UK since December, so it’s exciting to have so much interest here in the UK market.” Christopher Feist, CEO & Co-Founder, Papair, said: “Our vision is a world without unnecessary plastic waste. We are convinced that our paper bubble wrap can significantly contribute to this. We started production in August 2023, and thanks to Leipa’s support, we are already available in the UK market. That alone was an incredible success for us. The fact that PapairWrap has become Innovations Gallery winner in Birmingham is incredible and confirms that we are on the right track.” The UK’s flagship packaging exhibition, Packaging Innovations & Empack, which promises to craft tomorrow’s packaging today, is widely regarded as the home of packaging innovation. Its annual celebration of the most innovative packaging projects of the past 12 months, culminating in the Innovation Gallery’s curation, has quickly become one of the show’s most popular features. Paul Jenkins from ThePackHub, Jude Allan, Chair of the IOM3 Packaging Group, and Margaret Bates, Executive Director of OPRL, assessed dozens of entries before the final ten were selected, and over 6,900 visitors were allowed to cast their vote at a dedicated area of the exhibition. “It was a privilege to once again be a member of the judging panel for the Innovation Gallery at this year’s Packaging Innovations show,” said Jenkins. “I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand all the new developments and it was a difficult task to cut our final choice down to just 10 stand-out initiatives. It was an exhibition brimming with creativity, sustainability, and some great technological advancements, reflecting the packaging industry’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. “Among the standout innovations in the Gallery, Papair’s paper-based bubble wrap was a worthy winner. As a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic bubble wrap, Papair is cleverly exploiting the growing paperisation packaging trend. I’m already looking forward to seeing what entries we might get for next year!” Whether it’s safer shipping through individual protection during the internal material flow or saving volume and simplifying the packaging process, the innovative bubble paper satisfies customer demand for a sustainable shipping option and a positive unboxing experience. Papair was founded in 2022 to avoid plastic waste and combine safety, cost efficiency, and sustainability in a single packaging solution.

MoistTech Corp announces IR3000-F series moisture sensors

MoistTech Corp., the global leader in moisture measurement and control, is excited to announce the IR3000-F series moisture sensors featuring cutting-edge NIR (Near Infrared) technology for exceptionally accurate and reliable moisture analysis of virtually any product or raw material. The instant, continuous moisture measurement significantly enhances quality, productivity, and energy efficiency in the food industry.
The MoistTech state-of-the-art near-infrared technology achieves unparalleled accuracy, delivering true, repeatable results year after year with little or no maintenance. Pre-calibrated in the factory with customer samples, the IR3000-F is guaranteed to never drift over time or need recalibration. Other technologies necessitate monthly or yearly calibrations that incur costs and result in downtime. Calibrations for up to 50 different products or product variations can be stored in each IR3000-F sensor.
Moreover, the accuracy of the IR3000-F is unaffected by most material variations such as height and color and by ambient temperature and lights, unlike competing technology. To ensure the most accurate moisture reading, MoistTech software automatically compensates for small gaps, inert material, foreign objects, and conveyor surfaces. The IR3000-F utilizes cast aluminum enclosures to effectively disperse heat and ensure more accurate readings, in contrast to competing sensors that use polished steel which holds and creates heat.
The IR3000-F generates an instant return on investment by enhancing product quality and consistency, while simultaneously boosting productivity through decreased downtime and waste. Dependable moisture measurement and control ensures that products contain the exact amount of moisture for ideal taste, appearance, and shelf life.
Real-time, continuous moisture measurement enables operational personnel to make crucial, immediate adjustments to the production process. Furthermore, continuous NIR online moisture testing enables precise control of ovens, dryers, roasters, and fryers to optimize the production process, resulting in substantial energy savings.
The IR3000-F sensor is a complete solution that is easy to install and integrate into existing production lines and does not require the purchase of any additional hardware or software. Its non-contact design minimizes contamination and maintenance, allowing for continuous operation without interfering with manufacturing processes.
A very wide variety of food products benefit from IR3000-F technology, including baked goods, cereals, dried fruits, snacks, meats and cheeses, spices, gelatin, grains, nuts, chocolate, sugar, tea, and coffee.
For more information about the IR3000-F and how it can enhance the quality, productivity, and energy efficiency of your production line, visit