Cosmetic packaging is very unique. Not only does it house things from eyeshadow pallets to lipstick tubes, it also protects the products from spoilage and from being contaminated by the elements. And what is more, it has to be aesthetically pleasing. Albéa, KDC/One, SGB Packaging and WWP Beauty are key US companies dedicated to beauty packaging. What are their latest innovations in the field of sustainability? And how did they cope with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020? An update on these leading companies in the US was made possible thanks to a series of virtual press conferences organised by JYB Conseils.
Albéa has been in business in the United States for about 50 years. Seven out of Albéa’s total of 31 factories are located in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the last two years, the company invested $40 million dollars to upgrade their facilities and equipment to remain competitive in the US market. The company’s major activities include the production of both laminate and extruded tubes in four factories, the manufacture of skin care and make-up packaging in the Matamoros factory in Mexico, and finally turnkey solutions for personal care private label brands from its Canadian entity Orchard Custom Beauty. Tube manufacturing is one of the cornerstones of the Albéa group’s presence in the United States. In 2020, they produced 1.7 billion tubes in the US. In 2020, the year of the pandemic, Albéa produced 120+ million hand sanitiser tubes. With five factories in North America the group is by far the largest producer of responsible tubes in the region. While extruded tubes are produced in Washington, NJ and in Reynosa, Mexico, laminate tubes are produced in three plants; Shelbyville is one of the largest laminate plants in the world, the one in Washington, NJ fully focuses on oral care and the third one is situated in Queretaro, Mexico. In addition, Albéa has centers of excellence as well as R&D teams in North America.
Albéa’s Mexican Matamoros plant: a powerhouse
The Matamoros plant close to the Mexican border was established 35 years ago and is one of Albéa’s flagships for the manufacture of make-up and skin care packaging as it has all the technologies under one roof. “Our offer of jars, bottles, closures as well as decoration technology is now the widest solutions portfolio available on the market,” explains Carlos Rubio, general manager of the Matamoros plant. “We have almost doubled our internal metallising capacity so that it is now one of the best metallising lines in the market.
Orchard: an Albéa powered white label producer in Canada
Orchard, founded almost 30 years ago, is a pioneer in the field of turnkey solutions for white label cosmetics, beauty, toiletries, and accessories. One of the company’s USP’s included realizing projects at an incredible speed such as delivering a mascara within 13 weeks. 70% of the company’s projects without formula are developed within three months, while projects with formula require between six and nine months. Orchard is comparable to a start-up but powered by resources of Albéa and the access to innovations, raw materials, R&D, and long-standing customer relationships. The one-stop-shop meets clients requirements from mass to masstige and prestige.
2. KDC/One: grown organically and through strategic acquisitions
In just eight years, the Canadian group KDC (Knowlton Development Corporation), which has become KDC/one and employs approximately 15,000 people worldwide, has continuously acquired companies in all areas of beauty subcontracting. KDC/one is a custom formulator, package designer and manufacturer with a unique network of capabilities designed to offer bespoke beauty, personal care and home care solutions. The company currently operates 24 manufacturing facilities, 26 R&D labs and innovation centers with more than 15,000 employees around the world.
Originally the group formed in 2002 from the company Les Emballages Knowlton, which then employed three hundred people for a turnover of 80 million dollars. In 2003, the Novacap investment fund took control of the company. In 2007, the companies Tri Tech Laboratories and Body Blue were acquired. Recent key acquisitions in the cosmetics sector include Benchmark Cosmetics Laboratories in California, the Alkos group in France, the manufacturing activities of Swallowfield in the United Kingdom, Paristy in China and the HCT Group. Most recently, Zobele Group, an Italian manufacturer of household cleaning and personal hygiene products was acquired.
Benchmark is a formulation development powerhouse, specifically focused on Indie and emerging brands. HCT is the prestige cosmetic industry’s leading packaging design and production firm. Paristy, with manufacturing based in Shanghai and R&D in Taiwan, provides a base for expansion into the high growth Chinese Beauty market.
3. SGB Packaging: a full service packaging provider
Shoshana Gibli founded SGB Packaging Group, a full-service packaging provider with an extensive and diversified portfolio in beauty packaging, some 25 years ago. The company represents eight European and international suppliers in North America with packaging components such as droppers, glass bottles, jars, plastic bottles, plastic accessories, tubes, and jars, wood, mascara, Bakelite, sampling-blisters on cards, caps, secondary packaging and PR Boxes. Over the past three years, they have constantly invested in expanding their product portfolio and brought innovation to their customers. In 2021, they added one of the leading brush manufacturer to their portfolio.
4. WWP Beauty: a full-service provider with future-focused solutions
With their two state-of-the-art, wholly owned in-house manufacturing facilities, WWP Beauty provides full-service of formula, packaging and accessories for the global beauty industry. They acquired Cosmetic Design Group in 2019, and fully integrated them to form WWP Beauty by the end of 2020. They also opened their EMEA office in Paris, France and their APAC office in Shanghai, China.