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Packaging Design Trends

Recently described as the "Willy Wonka of dieting," celebrity chef and restaurateur David Burke is putting the solution to dull diets in the palm of consumers' hands with the new Flavor Spray(TM) line of zero-calorie, zero-carbohydrate and zero-fat sprayable flavorings. The concentrated liquid, launched last summer by Flavor Spray Gourmet, LLC, Cliffside Park, NJ, comes packed in a totable, 2-oz spray bottle that delivers up to 222 servings, in 18 flavors classified as Classic, Exotic or Sweet & Sinful.

Among the varieties now available are Parmesan Cheese, Smoked Bacon, Hot and Sour, Memphis BBQ, Banana Split and Root Beer Float, among others. By January, the company plans to launch 13 more flavors, including three butter sprays. Says Flavor Spray director of operations Sean Pomper, future line extensions may even include sprays that incorporate a whole meal's worth of flavors, such as a pot roast with vegetables, or pizza—a' la Willie Wonka's savory gumballs.

Says Burke, "I created this unique line of flavor sprays so that people can enjoy the tastes of all their favorite foods without experiencing the guilt. In all my years of cooking and experimenting with spices, condiments and flavors, I have never come across anything that can enhance the flavor of food this easily."

Designed to replace toppings, gravies and dressings on foods such as poultry, seafood, beef, salads, vegetables and more, the flavorings are applied to the foods using a proprietary trigger sprayer that was selected for its ability to evenly coat foods with a fine mist. Says Pomper, "Having a good atomizer was a top priority. There are spray bottles out there that don't provide an even spray. We went through hundreds of dispensers before we found the right one."

Packaging, designed by The Halpern Group (www.halpern-group.com), comprises a petite, white polyethylene terephthalate bottle with a distinct, triangular shape that is easily stored in a purse or a desk drawer. As Pomper explains, it was important to the brand that the packaging was consistent from flavor-to-flavor. "First of all, we wanted the bottles to be sexy, second, we wanted them to be fun and third—and most importantly—we wanted a consistent look for the labels so that one variety wouldn't stand out from another," he says.

Label graphics, found on front and back pressure-sensitive labels, include a headshot of David Burke, a stylized logo, usage instructions, a list of ingredients and the flavor name. The only distinction between the bottles is in their color coding. Classic flavor varieties, which are recommended for use with vegetables, are designated with a green dispensing cap and use green lettering for the flavor name. Exotic flavors, for use with meat, carry a white cap and red lettering and Sweet & Sinful sprays, for snacks, use brown for the cap and flavor name. By January, Flavor Spray hopes to launch a two- to four-week Flavor Spray Diet, which will coordinate meal plans with the color-coded flavorings.

The sprays are presently available in Le Gourmet Chef retail stores nationwide, in pharmacies served by Kinray and on Flavor Spray's website at www.flavorspraydiet.com for $5.95 per bottle.


Water-soluble tabs make a Quantum leap for dishwashing detergent

Like no automatic dishwasher detergent before it, Reckett Benckiser's (RB) new Finish Quantum(R) three-in-one dishwashing tablets incorporate three separate compartments that combine active and otherwise incompatible cleaning agents in a single tablet. Packaged for distribution in the U.K. in a water-soluble, injection-molded container, the product culminates an extensive development program and jointly patented technology between RB and Aquasol (www.aquasol-ltd.com-).

Aquasol, which is known for its development in materials, including polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) and thermoplastically processable starch, says it was contracted by RB to help to develop the technology behind the new Finish product, from prototype design of the unit-dose tablets to a pilot-scale manufacturing process.

Each of the dishwashing detergent's three main ingredients are said to perform different cleaning functions. The MicroPowder ensures that tough residue like baked-on foods disappears with ease. The package also uses what RB calls Powerball(R) technology, with a unique formulation that performs on bleachable stains, while ultra-concentrated ShineGel removes spots and smears. The tablet container completely dissolves during the dishwashing cycle, and the ingredients release separately when needed. Molded of a starch-based alternative to hard-shell gelatin capsules, the tablet package may be placed in the dishwasher without having to remove and dispose of any additional packaging.


Fresh, new look pulls into the Shipyard

For the first time since it began brewing beer 13 years ago, the Shipyard Brewing Co. has updated the packaging for its Shipyard Export beer, thanks to a clean new packaging design by CD&M (www.cdmcomm.com) and illustration work by Bruce Hutchinson, both located in Portland, ME. The beer itself remains the same, says Alan Pugsley, master brewer and cofounder of The Shipyard Brewing Co. "We've simply updated the look and feel of the package."

The brewery says the changes made were subtle. The trademark Shipyard schooner illustration features cleaner lines, bolder lettering and brighter colors. The more contemporary look has already spurred sales, according to Shipyard, which reports that the updated Export 6-pack hit the shelves this spring and posted year-to-date sales for this package, up by 2.8 percent. The 12-packs began appearing on store shelves in July. CD&M has also designed labels and other packaging for Shipyard IPA, Winter and Summer Ale. Hutchinson's illustrations can also be found on other Shipyard packages, including those for Brewer's Choice, which was released in February.

Why the change? Shipyard president and cofounder Fred Forsley says it was the perfect time. "We've expanded distribution to twenty-seven states and have just gone statewide in California. People drink Shipyard Export because they appreciate what's in the bottle. But what if they haven't tried it? The package is their first impression, and a crisp, clean, bold look really makes Export stand out on the shelf."

Cooler packs get a pick-me-up

The Seagram's Coolers Escapes line, managed and marketed by United States Beverage and owned by Pernod-Ricard, now has new flavors and a more modern, new look, following the beverage's 20-year celebration in the market. Unveiled nationally last year, the appealing flavors appear in a beer-bottle-shaped, 12-oz container from O-I (www.o-i.com), bedecked with colorful body and neck labels featuring beachy, tropical-style graphics designed in-house. Cameo Crafts (www.cameocrafts.com) gravure-prints the bottle labels in six colors. Consumers researched said they wanted a change and a more premium-shaped bottle, according to United States Beverage, which replaced the brand's former, cone-shaped bottle.

United States Beverage says it expects the redesigned packs, which also include paperboard four- and 12-bottle carriers made by Smurfit Stone (www.smurfit-stone.com), to open up a new era of excitement and competition in the vast market for fruit-flavored, light alcohol refreshers sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. "Seagram's new, contemporary image has led to strong growth over the summer, vastly outperforming its competition and the cooler category overall," explains Justin Fisch, senior brand manager of United States Beverage. The new flavors, Calypso Colada and Strawberry Margarita, are part of the line's 10-flavor collection that varies by market. The new look is also helping to fuel a turnaround in sales, the company reports. So far, the market response has been excellent, it says.


Limited-edition bottle 'flags' Miller Lite

Miller Brewing Company is bringing its "Taste Referees" advertising campaign to limited-edition bottles of Miller Lite using full-body shrink-sleeve labels from Multi-Color Corp. (www.multicolorcorp.com). The series of eight, 12-oz bottles features black-and-white-striped label graphics of a referee's jersey, which helps tie the brand's advertising to individual consumer beer-drinking experiences. The labels also illustrate eight "Beer Penalties," such as "Ineligible Beer in the Cooler" and "Unbeermanlike Conduct." In distribution since Oct. 1, the sporty and fun packaging will be available while supplies last, Miller reports. The specially decorated bottles are available in sports bars and other venues nationwide. Miller says the bottles have become popular enough to be collectible, as "they're being traded, and some people are trying to collect the entire series." Multi-Color's Scottsburg, IN, plant reverse-gravure-prints the "Taste Referee" shrink-sleeve labels in eight colors. The converter's Graphics Services facility in Erlanger, KY, did the prepress work and cylinder engraving.


Smoothies savor shrink labels

Mooove over, smoothie competitors. Now, Brown Cow Farm is launching a low-fat yogurt smoothie of its own in two flavors. Brown Cow Smoothies in Original and Strawberry in 32-oz contoured bottles are handsomely decorated with colorful, heat-shrinkable labels from Seal-It (www.sealitinc.com) in a blue and white or pink/red and white color scheme, depending on the flavor. The distinctive graphics for this dairy product are reverse-printed in 10 colors by gravure on heat-shrinkable polyethylene glycol film. Crisp, clear photographs of cows are pictured on the bottom half of the labels, along with splashy elements in blue and strawberry-covered red. Brown Cow's bovine mascot, "Lily," is featured in the eye-catching farm scene. The impactful shrink labels offer many graphic opportunities, enabling Brown Cow to reinforce its farm image. In addition, there's room for company and product descriptions, nutrition facts and a UPC code. The PETG label material shrinks to the contours of the curvy bottle and makes the most of vivid colors to ensure shelf appeal in stores.


Jones Soda brings Meal in a Bottle in time for the holidays

For those who can't get enough holiday spirit, Jones Soda Co., Seattle, is serving it up by the bottle. This year, Jones is launching limited-edition Holiday Packs, both nationally and regionally. Target carries the Holiday Pack to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The fun-loving, five-bottle packs come in a paperboard carrier that holds the bottles snugly in a windowed framework. A serving spoon and a moistened towelette are included. Flavors comprise Turkey & Gravy Soda and four "side dishes," such as Wild Herb Stuffing Soda, Brussels Sprout Soda, Cranberry Soda and Pumpkin Pie Soda, as well as a recommended wine list for each course. The national pack is sold at both Target stores and on Target.com while supplies last. Benefiting Toys for Tots, the regional pack, available through local distributors in all regions of the country, includes similar taste treats, such as Broccoli

Casserole, Smoked Salmon Paté, Turkey & Gravy, Corn on the Cob and Pecan Pie. Both packs hit store shelves the week of Nov. 7. Festive graphics were designed by Jones and Toronto's Felegance (www.felegance.com) and Seattle's Dragstrip Design (www.dragstripdesign.com). Each pack displays a violator proclaiming, "Just like Mom Used to Make."


Glass jar shines for Olé

In late 2004, when steel prices were on the rise, Olé, a leading food packaging company in Brazil, needed an affordable way to package its green beans and corn to revive its brand. It did so with an affordable, 200-g glass package developed by O-I (www.o-i.com) that's equivalent in size and shape to the steel version Olé had used previously, as well as a specialized closure. Olé introduced the glass jar, which O-I calls the "Pote Conserva 330," in January, and in three months, it doubled market share of the corn and green beans, to 8 percent. According to Olé, sales continue to grow at such a brisk pace that the company says it's building a new filling line to handle the increased demand.

According to Alexandre Marchezini, O-I's sales and marketing director for glass containers in Brazil, consumers prefer glass containers because they can see what's inside. Olé says it certainly agrees, adding that it plans to introduce additional products, such as olives, in the same glass jar, including the traditional Brazilian dish seleta (a mix of carrots and potatoes). There are no plans to introduce an alternative jar size at this point. The jar uses an easy-open metallic lid made in Brazil by Metalgrafica Rojek SA (www.rojek.combr).


New frozen fruit packs from Dole look 'as good as fresh'

Dole Food Company, Inc. is rolling out DOLE(R) Frozen Fruit—a new, branded line of fresh frozen fruit with the "locked-in" natural goodness and nutrition benefits of fresh fruit. Dole will offer an extensive selection of more than a dozen fruits from colorful, antioxidant-rich berries to Dole's signature tropical fruits, including Tropical Gold(TM) pineapple. All DOLE Frozen Fruit products are 100-percent natural fruit, frozen at the peak of ripeness, washed and ready to eat. "Many people are unfamiliar with how versatile and easy-to-use frozen fruit can be, so one of our communication goals will be to show consumers creative ways to incorporate frozen fruit into their diet every day. Frozen fruit is ideal for smoothies, baking, toppings or simply enjoying as a healthy snack," says Paul Panza, Dole Packaged Foods senior business manager for Frozen Fruit.

The frozen fruit is available in sizes ranging from 12 oz to four lb for retail, club, foodservice and industrial channels. Retail sizes cost $2.99 for 12 oz and $2.79 for 16 oz. The 12-oz sizes are primarily berries, which accounts for the cost disparity. The product is being run on an existing vertical form/fill/seal machine at Dole's plant in Atwater, CA. The bag material is supplied by Western Concord Manufacturing, and the zipper is supplied by Zip-Pak (www.zippak.com). Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2004 revenues of $5.3 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers.


First microwavable aseptic product wedges into the U.S. market

Chef Creations, the wholesale and retail food division of Culinary Concepts, Orlando, FL, has introduced the first sauces in the U.S. to be packaged in a microwavable, aseptic Tetra Wedge package from Tetra Pak (www.tetrapak.com). The three new products, Alfredo Sauce, Hollandaise Sauce and a Classic Brown Sauce, were unveiled at the World Wide Food Expo in Chicago in October 2005.

"We've had an excellent response to our other aseptic products, and this is even better because it's microwavable," says Chef Creations president Hal Valdez. "We introduced an aseptic product in a 250-mL Tetra Brik package in Canada, and it went over very well. This one is very easy to use. Just cut off the top of the package and you can pour it."

Tetra Pak expects that consumer demand for such conveniences will drive growth within this newly created category.

The major difference between the Tetra Wedge Aseptic Microwavable and other aseptic packaging is the ability to microwave the product right in the package. To accomplish this, Tetra Pak changed the packaging material structure by replacing the aluminum layer with a layer of polyethylene terephthalate silicon oxide film.

"The protective nature of our barrier package, coupled with the convenience of microwavability, makes this package ideal for a number of consumer products," says Jeff Kellar, vp of strategic business development for Tetra Pak. "We have qualified this package for use not only with complex sauces like the Chef Creations product, but also with soups, cheese sauces, pasta sauces, dessert toppings and gravies."

Test quantities of the product in the Tetra Wedge were produced at Tetra Pak's pilot plant in Denton, TX. Launched in select markets in November 2005, the product retails at $2.29 and $2.49 for a 6.75-oz package, depending on the sauce variety.


Oval tissue dispenser glitters for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Kimberly-Clark aims to brighten every room with a stylish new shape of the season for its Kleenex(R) tissues. Its festive holiday collection of oval canisters is made by Smurfit-Stone Container (www.smurfit-stone.com) of a multilayer paperboard/film lamination and could be a first of its kind in terms of structure. Offset-printed in-register in six colors plus a glossy UV varnish, the canisters are bedazzled with brilliant, 3D holographic sidewalls that feature mirror-like Christmas ornaments with authentic-looking, silvery hangers, suspended on gold ribbons. All of this is set against a glitter-patterned background. The holography is produced by Wavefront. The dispensers come in seven color choices. They're topped with a friction-fitting ring molded by Double H Plastics, Inc. (www.doublehplastics.com), fitted with a paper/film window insert. The packs sell for just under $3.

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