Packages that effectively communicate product benefits to consumers have a better chance of getting in the cart. The Trident XtraCare with Recaldent example from 2010 shows how, through open innovation, Kraft was able to meld just the right graphics, structure and packaging line automation to create a win for gum chewers who are also concerned about dental care.
Telling the innovation story of Trident XtraCare with Recaldent is Doris Tancredi, director of nutrition research, RDQ.
"Trident XtraCare with Recaldent is a great example of open innovation at work. Our collaboration with outside partners began in the mid-to-late 1990s with the University of Melbourne. They were doing some great research on tooth strengthening and they had noticed a correlation between diets high in dairy products and a reduced prevalence of cavities. Their next step was to go about discovering what substances or compounds in dairy products could be involved in this phenomenon.
"We filed the first patent on Recaldent technology in late 2005, and we brought the first gum to market in Japan in 2000. We considered it a big achievement to bring a totally new product to market with health claims that were brand new to the gum category.
"The University of Melbourne has been instrumental in partnering with us as we licensed their technology for Recaldent. One of the biggest challenges in this journey has been explaining those product benefits. "What's unique about XtraCare's packaging is its double-sectioned package that opens like a book. And there's an additional benefit that you can make the package smaller after finishing the ‘bottom shelf' of the gum package.
"We developed our XtraCare packaging at our Research, Development & Quality site in close collaboration with our manufacturing facility, along with a number of suppliers we worked with to co-develop the cartoning solution. Over time, we worked through about 100 concepts from a number of potential suppliers. And our internal design team worked with an outside design firm.
"We narrowed the prospects down to about a dozen with input from our operations and manufacturing teams and then created some working prototypes for consumer testing. Not surprisingly, the design we're currently using tested very well and was even chosen as the flagship package for the new brand, Stride.
"Our design was a totally new package format for our manufacturing facility—where previously we'd only made folding cartons for display trays—so it was a big departure.
"Trident XtraCare was a success thanks to our collaboration with outside partners on design concepts and the work process. Today, XtraCare is available in four different flavors: Peppermint, Cool Mint, Spearmint and Cool Citrus. And while the project started before our current, more focused and sophisticated open innovation program, it was a proof of concept on how collaboration works."