Kwik Lok speaks with International Bakery to highlight its solutions to protect food without the negative impact of using excessive single-use plastic and understanding its community’s needs.
Give me a background on Kwik Lok and its mission statement.
Founded in 1954, Floyd Paxton invented Kwik Lok and it quickly became a preferred method for keeping food safe and fresh. Kwik Lok closures have been used by billions of people, we have six factories throughout the world, and our products are sold in almost 100 countries. Our mission is to create an inclusive culture that fosters innovation to increase the success of our customers and health of the planet. This mission statement reflects our co-owners’ values around collaboration and their focus on doing well by doing good in the world. Kwik Lok’s mission and purpose has always been to provide our customers with the best solutions. We focus on how we are good citizens – that we are taking care of our employees and community. As a third-generation family-owned company, our vision has evolved to beyond making a good product, but to include taking care of this planet so the next generation is able to thrive.
How did the global pandemic influence the way you see the business going in the future?
The pandemic underscored for us that we are on the right course. Kwik Lok has been working to innovate products that are more sustainable. We are also working, as a member of the packaging industry, to help get food where it is needed. During the pandemic we saw the divide between people who have and those that do not. Kwik Lok is committed to working in collaboration with others and supporting organisations that are trying to solve big problems like hunger and climate change.
Could you explain your corporate social responsibility strategies/commitments for 2025 and give us an understanding as to why these strategies are instrumental to the company’s growth?
Our customers want to have solutions that minimise carbon impacts and use less plastic. Plastic has been an important solution for keeping their products fresh and safe and has worked very well to protect food until it gets to the place it needs to go. We believe in the power of collaboration and know that it will take companies, universities, governments, and nonprofits all over the world focusing together to find solutions that have the same food freshness and safety properties that plastic does. That is why Kwik Lok has joined other like-minded organisations around the world to find solutions that meet our customer’s needs around the globe and have aligned our CSR strategies with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, building the core principles around:
- Opportunity: Continued education, biannual employee surveys in all plants/offices to grow and improve employee and customer experiences
- Well-Being: Responsible product sourcing, Certification of supply chain is free from human trafficking by April, 2021, Ensure that our suppliers share our values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- Protection: Zero waste and 20% carbon footprint reduction; decrease water use and minimise negative impacts on water habitats worldwide
- Innovation: Continue to develop new products to meet customer sustainability needs – minimise waste and maximise efficiency
- Philanthropy: Continue to support organisations world-wide that are doing great work in sustainability with grants, in-kind donations, and volunteerism
Why are sustainable efforts important for Kwik Lok and for the future of its business?
We know that finding sustainable solutions are imperative to our customer’s businesses and as the global packaging leader for closing systems we know that we must continue to take the lead in the innovation of sustainable products, whether that be a lower carbon product like our Eco-Lok closure or a non-plastic solution like Fibre-Lok. Kwik Lok offers the most effective solutions on the market to achieve sustainability goals, whether it is plastic elimination, greenhouse gas reduction or composability.
What challenges have you overcome when meeting specific customer sustainability needs, and how are you helping to implement manufacturing improvements to minimise waste and maximise efficiency?
Our customers have unique needs that are driven by their specific product line, shipping practices and geographic regulations. They also have CSR goals they are trying to meet. We work with each customer independently to determine which regulations, goals and values are their top priorities and help find the solution that aligns best with those needs. One example would be for a customer in Africa that needed a solution that helped cut down on wasted food due to tampering. We developed a machine specific to the customers need that laser stitches the bag opening, preventing people from opening the bag and taking the product. Using Laser Stitch Technology, this packaging solution not only eliminated food waste, which is a major contributor to carbon impacts, but also theft. Our 909A machine provides a uniform “laser stitch” that indicates whether a bag has been opened. Once home, the customer can open the bag without tearing the package and easily reclose with a Kwik Lok closure.
How does building on a community ethos help to build a better business? Tell us about what opportunities you offer through education and economic success.
By understanding our community’s needs and listening to their issues, we are better positioned to find innovative solutions that may work for many customers around the world. As a global company we are always learning what the customer needs and working as one company to find the best solutions.
Kwik Lok is interested in developing our people and creating opportunity for families and the community. We give approximately 1% of our worldwide revenues to organisations that support these values. Each of our plants also has autonomous funds to distribute within their own communities. In addition to giving donations, we recently rolled out a programme where we allow each employee eight hours of paid time to volunteer in their community. This can be done via a company-sponsored event or employees may choose an organisation of their own to volunteer their time.
Can you tell us more about Fibre-Lok, and how it is an important step in your mission of transitioning the industry toward a sustainable future through innovation?
The European Union has directed businesses to lower their use of plastic. Fibre-Lok was designed to meet these goals without sacrificing quality, functionality, durability that bakers demand. Fibre-Lok is the next important step in the company’s mission of moving the industry toward a sustainable future through innovation and is our latest sustainable product in our portfolio. Made of natural cotton fibres and cellulose wood, it guarantees the same reliability as the traditional Kwik Lok, and at the same time, complies with European sustainability standards for plastic reduction and home compostability.
Fibre-Lok is 0.70 mm thick but has the strength of other Kwik Lok closures. Its wood pulp supply comes from certified suppliers and renewable sources and meets or exceeds all known environmental and health regulations, such as REACH, RoHS, and CA Prop 65.
How does the Kwik Fresh semi-automatic machine work and what benefits does it give?
Kwik Fresh 093A is our latest semi-automatic bag closing machine that is versatile and easily adaptable. Closing up to 30 bags per minute. Kwik Fresh helps customers get their baked goods closed more quickly than a hand applied solution and has the flexibility of being portable or permanently mounted. It is ideal for tight bakery spaces, across retail and in-store bakeries. We are partners with our customers and are intentional in creating solutions that address their needs and requests.
What challenges do the European market specifically face when it comes to producing sustainable packaging and reducing their impact to the planet?
The European market has the similar challenges that occur worldwide. How to keep food fresh and safe while minimising impact to our environment? Europe is an important market for Kwik Lok and we want to help our customers align their packaging decisions with their company values as well as regulations. That is why we have developed several sustainable products that offer our customers choices. If they need to reduce carbon and cut back on plastic, our Eco-Lok is a good choice. If they need to reduce plastic more substantially, the Fibre-Lok can help them meet their goals.
What do you see for the future of package closures in bakery and the development of Kwik Lok as a whole?
We all need to innovate for a new tomorrow. Kwik Lok will continue working to address the needs of its’ customers, focused on finding sustainable solutions for the future and innovating products that solve industry problems. We invite partnerships. We’re ready to collaborate and step forward with those ready to take that journey with us.
Image credit: Kwik Lok
To stay up to date on the latest, trends, innovations, people news and company updates within the global bakery market please register to receive our newsletter here.
Editor, International Bakery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922