A category-first application of the inverted pouch aims to have retail and ecommerce consumers abuzz about the no-mess convenience of Chico Honey’s new packaging.
Thriving packaging segments draw brand owners like blossoms draw bees.
For example, consider the inverted pouch. Starting in 2015 with Daisy brand sour cream, the topsy-turvy revision of the universally popular stand-up pouch continues to gain traction with brands across a widening swath of packaged foods from barbecue sauce to yogurt (see article links at the end).
The reason that the format has proven such a winner is that pouch inversion enhances convenience, reduces waste and can prolong the shelf life of sensitive products as the pack headspace is reduced in use. And it provides on-shelf distinction.
The latest category to embrace the functional benefits of this consumer-friendly format is honey, starting with the U.S. introduction of a 20-ounce inverted pouch from Chico Honey Co., Orland, CA, this summer.
This breakthrough in the category also marks the brand’s entry into flexible packaging.
“We wanted to bring a product design to market that was mess-free and user friendly,” explains Mike Watson, the company’s sales and brand manager. “Honey can be a sticky sweet treat, so having it mess-free makes life easier. We considered having the product packed in smaller sachet pouches until we fell in love with the idea of the StandCap pouch.”
StandCap premade inverted pouches are from supplier Glenroy.
Ken Brunnbauer, Glenroy marketing manager, informs Packaging Digest that “this pouch was engineered with a reverse-printed, clear high-oxygen-barrier lamination. That allows for a viewing window to the product while providing the necessary protection to extend shelf life and maintain product integrity. Additional components in the lamination boost puncture-resistance and aid in squeeze performance.”
The pouch features the Sierra Closure from the AptarGroup that was developed specifically for this market. The twist-on/off hinged polypropylene dispensing closure provides the pouch with an easy-to-open flip-top closure that doubles as a wide base for inverted stability. It’s threaded to a tamper-evident, polyethylene pull-ring fitment sealed to the pouch that boasts Aptar’s SimpliSqueeze proprietary valve technology for optimal, clean-cut-off dispensing.
Packaging with universal benefits
According to Watson, the key benefits of the inverted pouch are…
- There’s no need for utensils;
- Almost 100% of the honey can be enjoyed by the consumer without wasting product;
- The honey stays fresher longer.
The company also likes its universal appeal.
“The beauty of the StandCap Pouch design is that it allows us to market to every consumer age group and demographic,” he says. “It’s an easy-to-use application for children, parents and grandparents. Our honey container’s added convenience allows for quick grab-and-go access for a person on the move.”
The design of the 20-oz pouch mimics the company’s 30-oz and 25-oz glass jars that are printed with a floral pattern, Watson notes. The pouch graphics were created in-house by Chico Honey’s design and marketing team to showcase the floral design of the honeybees foraging source and call out the OHB “Olivarez Honey Bees Inc.” within the logo of Chico Honey Co.
Chico Honey chose a black cap that corresponds to the brand-specific color that matches the clover or wildflower illustration printed on the pouches.
As with numerous brands’ launches over the years, plans quickly solidified at a Pack Expo like chilled honey.
“After an earlier discussion with Glenroy, we were invited to the Pack Expo Chicago in October 2018,” recalls Watson. “Our relationship between the companies blossomed from there, and Glenroy has been an amazing company to work with.”
The time from initial idea to having packaged product in-hand took eight months, according to Watson.
The pouched honey retails for $14.99 in two “pure and raw” varieties, California wildflower blend honey and clover honey. For comparison, the company’s previous glass-packed stock-keeping units (SKU) sizes with retail pricing are: 12-oz ($9.99), 16-oz ($14.99), 25-oz whisky style jar ($22.99) and 30-oz jar ($17.99).
A sustainable mindset, naturally
As with most brands, sustainability was top-of-mind, though for Chico Honey earth-friendly mindfulness has long come naturally to the company: The third-generation beekeepers have been in business for more than 50 years and maintain operations in California, Montana and Hawaii.
“We are one of the largest queen bee producers and the only provider of the authorized Saskatraz Queen in the United States,” says Watson. “By providing healthy queens, we help beekeepers repopulate their hives and fight against the decline in honeybees.
“As third-generation beekeepers, we know that the best honey comes from happy, healthy bees. Because honeybees provide one-third of all the food we eat, we understand the importance of our environment and helping in any way we can. With the StandCap Pouch, we bring to market a more environmentally friendly package, with an easy-to-use application that provides such a beneficial product as pure raw honey.”
Watson cites those all-important sustainability benefits of the packaging that have been previously published elsewhere for a similar conversion (see Uncle Dougie’s squeeze pouches flex strong sustainability numbers, published May 2019 by PlasticsToday) in comparing the pouch to the glass bottle it replaces:
- 65% less fossil fuel consumption.
- 77.8% less greenhouse gas emissions.
- 80.6% less water usage.
Asked about the sticky challenge of the product’s viscosity at room temperature, Watson says that the Aptar closure has “worked well.” For packaging production, the honey is warmed prior to filling as a simple solution to make it flow better.
“Honey needs to be warmed to allow for filling of packaging,” Watson explains, “but we also insure that the temperature will not exceed the recommend heat to keep our honey from becoming processed and losing all that is good with the product.”
Watson originally viewed the pouch as a line extension that “could possibly take the place of a current SKU that is in a smaller-ounce container. This allows us to offer more honey to consumers in an amazing package at the same cost.”
A month later Chico Honey managers were convinced that the new format was a clear-cut winner.
“We have already decided to move forward to discontinuing that line and replace it with the pouch,” Watson tells Packaging Digest.
The pouches are available at Chicohoneyco.com and at the company headquarters’ “The Hive Kitchen + Bar” restaurant in Orland, CA. They can also be found in retail stores and boutiques in California including Save Mart/Lucky stores at this time.
Read the other features in the Inverted pouches upend food packaging series…
Sempac published April 2019;
Uncle Dougie’s and Glenroy published March 2019;
ProAmpac published January 2019;
Chobani published December 2018.
For more pouch packaging features, see PackagingDigest.com/pouches