Improved packaging that better locks in freshness has helped candy company Ferrero U.S.A. earn the coveted 2020 Product of the Year winner within the Candy Bar category for Baby Ruth — voted so by more than 40,000 American shoppers.
“With so much product innovation happening across the industry, we’re excited to be recognized as 2020 Product of the Year, and hear the overwhelmingly positive reaction from our fans,” said Silvia Borla, vice president of marketing, Ferrero Chocolate Brands, Ferrero North America, in a press release. “The overall refresh perfectly exemplifies how we are creating exceptional quality products that answer consumer demand.”
Damon Manak, Baby Ruth brand manager, dives into the packaging details in this exclusive Q&A.
What specific changes did you make to the packaging for Baby Ruth?
Manak: Primary film packaging (Mini/Fun Size/Single/Share) went from an extrusion lamination (which used hot polyethylene to seal the two layers of film) to an adhesive lamination (which uses glue to join the two layers of film). So the package is not as stiff — it’s softer — but has the same barrier properties and shelf life. We find that a softer packaging creates an easier opening, which is preferred by our customers.
The primary film has always used pattern cold seal instead of heat seal to close the packaging on the packaging lines; the two end seals and the back fin seal.
Additionally, the secondary packaging folding carton for Single/Share has more silver printing. The 6-pack/8-pack overwrap always used pattern cold seal to seal the packaging. The overwrap film lamination changed from 1-layer polypropylene to 2-layer polypropylene, with the inside film having metalized polypropylene.
The bags (fun-sized bags) always used heat-seal to seal the packaging with added metalized film to give a metallic look. The bag film changed from polypropylene/adhesive/polyethylene combination to polypropylene/extrusion/metalized polypropylene combination, again to get that metalized look.
What is different about the seals for the newer packaging? Is the film cold sealed?
Manak: Yes, we have always used cold seals on the primary film and are still using a metalized film. However, we’ve improved the integrity of our seals to be hermetic seals.
Does the wrap have any easy-open features?
Manak: The softer packaging does allow for customers to open the chocolate bar more easily.
Who is your film supplier?
Manak: We prefer not to disclose the name of our supplier.
Were there any changes on the packaging line because of the updated packaging? If so, what were they?
Manak: The only change to the packaging lines were in the bagging operation where the heat seal temperature had to be changed to adjust for the differences in film combination to get proper seals.
Click here to see all the winning products of the 2020 Product of the Year Award.