Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

March 13, 2017

5 Min Read
February flaunts 5 fabulous packaging design developments

The month of February wasn’t short on new packaging designs and sustainability issues that captured the attention of our global audience—from Frito-Lay’s smart packaging and water in bulk, to rejected potato chips, ecommerce optimization and artsy craft beer.

From around two dozen articles published on PackagingDigest.com during February 2017, these five rose to the top, based on page views. We present them in reserve order, counting up to the top.

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5. Uglies makes rejected potatoes stylishly sustainable

How can Americans waste less food? Here’s one way. Instead of throwing out slightly imperfect products, the folks at Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips Inc. are marketing these off-spec rejects as “value” chips with a packaging design that flaunts their flaws. In doing so, the company guesstimates it might save more than one million pounds of potatoes from the landfill.

Mike Marlowe, chief operating officer, says, “We’ve seen a broad appeal for this product. Some are buying for the savings, while others are drawn to it for the environmentally-conscious side. In the end, they buy it because it is a ‘truly enjoyable snack.’”

NEXT: 1 beer, 4 playful sleeve-label designs

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Learn what it takes to innovate in the packaging space at the new Advanced Design & Manufacturing Cleveland event (Mar. 29-30; Cleveland, OH). Register today!

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4. 1 beer, 4 playful sleeve-label designs

Craft beer marketers discovered shrink labels years ago as a way to afford smaller volumes of unprinted aluminum cans. But the secondary benefit of label design freedom and flexibility might be the real market advantage.

Manic Pixie Dream Beer #1, a Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout that is aged for 11 months in bourbon-maple-syrup barrels, debuted in four designs of sleeve-labels for its 16-oz cans. Each of the four subtly sexy packaging designs by neo pin-up artist Keith Rein highlight a key ingredient in the unconventional beer: Bourbon, maple, coffee and oats. The graphics are the artist’s interpretation of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl using or personifying those ingredients.

NEXT: The sustainability of ecommerce packaging is in question

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Learn what it takes to innovate in the packaging space at the new Advanced Design & Manufacturing Cleveland event (Mar. 29-30; Cleveland, OH). Register today!

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3. The sustainability of ecommerce packaging is in question

Is packaging for ecommerce optimized or wasteful? A new whitepaper by environmental and policy packaging group Ameripen brings clarity to the murky topic of sustainability for ecommerce packaging and identifies five opportunities for improvements.

The authors muse on how designers might optimize packaging for the ecommerce distribution environment. The question needs more study, though, because “it could have a significant impact on future packaging and waste policy and strategies,” says author Kyla Fisher, who is the founder of Three Peaks Sustainability.

Author Bob Lilienfeld, Ameripen senior communications director, advises, “We can’t look at the concept of sustainability in a vacuum. We must look at the entire system of product containment, protection, storage, delivery and end-of-life…look at the economic, environmental and social impact of both the product and the packaging.”

NEXT: Frito-Lay taps smart packaging for MADD Super Bowl promo

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Learn what it takes to innovate in the packaging space at the new Advanced Design & Manufacturing Cleveland event (Mar. 29-30; Cleveland, OH). Register today!

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2. Frito-Lay taps smart packaging for MADD Super Bowl promo

It’s usually Super Bowl TV ads that get all the marketing attention. But this year, Frito-Lay’s Tostitos Party Safe Bag stole much of the spotlight.

Done in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the promotional package wasn’t sold in stores; it appeared only at select Super Bowl parties to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.

The bag pretty much looks the same, but is enhanced with three “smart packaging” technologies:

1. The Party Safe Bag incorporates a sensor that, when blown into, identifies the presence of alcohol on someone’s breath.

2. LED lights on the bag turn red or green depending on if alcohol was sensed (red/don’t drive) or not (green/okay to drive).

3. A near-field communication (NFC) tag incorporated into the bag connects the user’s smartphone to Uber to order a ride.

Sam Luchini, partner with bag designer Goodby Silverstein & Partners, says, “We wanted to make sure that the bag looked like an ordinary bag of chips that turns into a somewhat magical experience when it’s on.”

NEXT: Bag-in-box bulk water debuts in U.S.

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Learn what it takes to innovate in the packaging space at the new Advanced Design & Manufacturing Cleveland event (Mar. 29-30; Cleveland, OH). Register today!

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1. Bag-in-box bulk water debuts in U.S.

Health-conscious Americans continue to drink water by the gallons. And, with an eye on the environmental impact of all those single-serve bottles or pouches, it was only time before consumers were enticed by an attractive and convenient bulk package: the AquaViBox from Water Event.

Water Event is now selling water in bag-in-box packages for residential and business customers. And, with an adaptor, the new package can even replace the typical refillable 5-gal bottles by sitting on top of office water coolers.

According to Dave Clark, Water Event’s business development manager, the AquaViBox has ecological advantages that overcome the drawback of it being a single-use package, including more efficient transportation due to lighter weight and cube efficiency; no need for water or energy to transport and rinse empty bottles; and materials that are easier to recycle than worn-out bottles.

Are you as surprised as I was that the water bag-in-box package beat out the Frito-Lay smart bag? Perhaps functional health and sustainability features trump trivial qualities, no matter how whiz-bang they are.

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Learn what it takes to innovate in the packaging space at the new Advanced Design & Manufacturing Cleveland event (Mar. 29-30; Cleveland, OH). Register today!

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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