It is estimated that by '04, Americans will spend nearly $230 million on herbal extracts marketed for their health benefits. "Sales of ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort and echinacea, used to enhance cognitive abilities, treat mild depression, and strengthen immune systems, respectively, will lead this 10-percent annual growth," the study, prepared by The Freedonia Group, reports.
Yet, herbal supplements can still be a tough sell, given some consumers' fear of the un-FDA-regulated products and their confusion over the myriad of nutraceutical options available. Says Steven Yannicelli, R.D., Ph.D., director of continuing education at Pharmavite, makers of Nature's Resource herbal supplements, "Herbal supplements are increasing in popularity, but many people are still confused about how to select the right one."
To meet this challenge, Northridge, CA-based Pharmavite LLC has updated packaging for its bottled supplements to include an extended-content label that provides consumers with detailed herbal monographs. Developed specifically for Nature's Resource by Tape & Label Engineering, a division of Weber Marking Systems, the label uses a new booklet format that protects the package's appearance, as well as allows consumers to easily peruse its pages.
Herbal ABCs require larger label format
Established in '71, Pharmavite offers a full line of premium-quality, value-priced herbal supplements, including time-release-formula herbs, whole herbs and standardized herbal extracts. The company's 44-product Nature's Resource line includes not only those herbs slated by Freedonia to drive future growth, but also such soothing- and exotic-sounding varieties as bilberry fruit, evening primrose oil, ginger root, horse chestnut and milk thistle, among others.
Recently, Pharmavite initiated an herb safety program, called Herbal ABCs, under the direction of senior product manager for Nature's Resource Herbals John Metz. "We want to inform and educate consumers regarding the effects and importance of herbs," says Metz. "This information is essential for safety and is also a motivator behind brand purchase."
As part of this program, Pharmavite sought a label supplier that could offer an alternative to the single-ply, pressure-sensitive label used on the Nature's Resource bottles, so that packaging could be enhanced with full herb descriptions. While Pharmavite liked a multipanel-label concept presented to them by Tape & Label Engineering, they were leery of using an accordion-style format.
"The major drawback of an accordion-style label is that if consumers open it at the shelf, without purchasing the product, and then attempt to close the label back up, it is very likely that it can become entangled and jumbled up prior to being placed back on the shelf," says Metz. In addition, with the cascading insert, it is sometimes difficult for consumers to determine the proper reading order of the label.
Within a month of being approached by Pharmavite, Tape & Label had designed for the Nature's Resource line a booklet-style label. Attached to a base label, the booklet uses a pressure-sensitive overlaminate to allow the label to be resealed after viewing. Not only did the label meet Pharmavite's design expectations, but packaging-line tests also revealed that the label could be applied using standard labeling equipment. However, Metz reveals, since Pharmavite's existing equipment was set up to feed on the right side of the label, two lines had to be retrofitted with new equipment from NJM/CLI to achieve the "right-to-left" opening.
Writing the book on extended-content labels
Now granted patent-pending status, Tape & Label's ReseaLabel™ booklet label is unique, says Bill Teefey, president of Tape & Label, "because it reads like a conventional book and can be resealed, and because of the multiphase converting process used to prepare it." While Teefey cannot reveal the proprietary way in which the label is manufactured, he does say that it is converted on a conventional 10-color flexo press from Mark Andy.
For the Nature's Resource application, a white p-s base label, made of 60# C1S gloss stock from Avery Dennison, is printed in four-color process. The label's four-panel booklet, plus front and back covers, is constructed of a 60# non-pressure-sensitive C2S stock, also from Avery, and is printed front and back in four-color process, as well. Both components are then joined together with a clear gloss film overlaminate, sourced from proprietary suppliers, that fastens the booklet pages to the base. Assembled labels are supplied to Pharmavite's Valencia, CA, plant as 12-in.-wide rollstock.
The new packaging, which will be used for 40 of Pharmavite's 44 skus, hit store shelves nationwide in April in 11 varieties; the balance will be released with the new label on a staggered basis, says Metz. Currently, only one size label is being used, designed to fit the 150-cc white high-density polyethylene bottle from Paradigm Packaging, used for all of the supplements.
As for the label's contents, Pharmavite uses copy from the American Botanical Council's ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs to educate consumers on each product. Sections include a description of the herb contained within the bottle, contraindications, adverse effects, drug interactions and more, as well as information on other Nature's Resource varieties.
Pharmavite is so satisfied with Tape & Label, which Metz describes as "creative, responsive and customer-oriented," and is so pleased with the booklet label it custom-designed for the Nature's Resource line, that the company may also use the ReseaLabel for its extensive line of Nature Made® vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements.
While it's too soon to tell what impact the extended-content label will have on Pharmavite's herbal supplement sales, there's no doubt that the abundance of information contained within the new booklets will educate more than a few customers on the ever-expanding herbal market.
More information is available:
Label converting: Tape & Label Engineering, a div. of Weber Marking Systems, Inc., 888/853-7253. Circle No. 225.
Label applicators: NJM/CLI Packaging Systems Intl., 800/432-2990. Circle No. 226.
Flexo press: Mark Andy, Inc., 800/700-6275. Circle No. 227.
Label stock: Avery Dennison-Fasson Roll North America, 800/944-8511. Circle No. 228.
Bottles: Paradigm Packaging, 201/507-0900. Circle No. 229.