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High-graphic bags for horse-feed are winners

Changing the bags it uses for selected horse-feed products from paper to oriented polypropylene with spectacular graphics has paid big dividends for Intermountain Farmers Association, Salt Lake City. IFA switched the 40-lb paper bags for its Horse Treats to 20-lb OPP bags in October 2004 and followed in February 2005 with new 50-lb OPP bags for two of its premium sweet horse feeds. Gold Horse Conditioner contains 14 percent protein and is aimed at working and athletic horses, while Silver Horse Conditioner, a new product introduced when IFA switched to the OPP bags, contains 12 percent protein and is aimed at pleasure horses. The former bags for Horse Treats and Gold Horse Conditioner were made from red paper with a horse image on the side along with the product name.

Since making the switch to OPP, sales of the 50-lb bags of Gold Horse Conditioner have increased 5 percent, but sales for horse treats have increased an incredible six times. "Monthly sales of horse treats have increased from 50 of the former 40-lb paper bags to more than 600 of the new 20-lb oriented polypropylene bags since we switched to the new bags," says feed products manager Alan Johnson. Sales of the new Silver Horse Conditioner are also doing well at more than 600 bags/month.

IFA is using 7.5-mil woven OPP bags from Osio International, Inc. (www.osiopack.com) . The three-layer coextruded bags have an 80-gauge outer layer of OPP coextruded with an additive that provides a 0.5 coefficient of friction so they don't need an anti-skid coating. The inner layer is 1.6-mil PP containing eight-by-eight strands/in of woven PP for additional strength. The gusseted bag is reverse-gravure printed in seven colors. Osio supplies the bag with the top preclosed by a chain stitch with a reinforcing strip across the top. IFA bottom-fills the bag and then sews the bottom closed. The bag has a pull-tab on the bottom for easy dispensing of its contents. Because the horse-feed products are filled warm, the walls of the bag are perforated with 1/32-in. holes on a three-in. grid to allow the hot air to dissipate.

"We decided we needed to upgrade our bags in mid-2004, and I saw some Osio bags at a dogfood plant. They looked so good, that I decided to contact them, and we've been very satisfied," says Johnson. "The graphics are great, and the oriented polypropylene bags are very tough. Between the plant, the warehouse and the store, we used to have a lot of torn paper bags. The woven polypropylene bags have reduced losses due to tears by 70 percent. The film bags only cost five cents more than paper, so we've more than recovered the higher bag cost."

Another advantage of the OPP bags is that they can be filled on the same equipment as the paper bags. At IFA, a worker places the empty bag on a scale and triggers an auger that dispenses product until the weight reaches the set point, and the auger stops.

"We have 40 more bags to change from paper to oriented polypropylene," says Johnson. "Next will be new bags for poultry and rabbit feed, and we are also getting those from Osio. After all, why change a winner?"


More information is available:
Osio International, Inc., 714/808-9562. www.osiopack.com.
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