Rights: The University of Waikato Published 10 December 2008 Download

Developing the products requires a lot of research and trialling to produce successful products. How does Potatopak do this?


Richard Williams (Potatopak - now re-branded as earthpac)

We did 2 years’ research and development and sort of looking at products that were required here in New Zealand. We did a lot of work with Griffin’s, and so we still have a narrow tray – that was going to become the gingernut tray for Griffin’s biscuits.

They did a lot of trials, which were beneficial to us because they had biscuits in them for 9 months in a dark room, and there was no migration of taste and the tray wasn’t affected at all, so they were very pleased with the results. Unfortunately, the cost was too much.

The path of going from a prototype to a production model is… especially if we’ve never created that product before, we’ll do a one off. We’ll make a small mould to make the primary test piece, and if that works, we’ll make a mould which will then do 2 or 3 or 4 of them. Because, otherwise, if you do a whole mould to start with, you might be wasting a lot of money.

Each product got its own sort of footprint where, because of its shape, it will react differently or cook differently. So when we first started, we would have a mould and we’d go back to a mould-maker 2 or 3 times, take another 0.2 mm off here, or weld it back up and we’ll start machining again. And it’s through experience and research and development that we know how thick we can make a product to within 0.1–0.2 mm straight away, and then we might only have to go back to the mould-maker once or twice.