This is an excerpt from the session "Meet the Press: CPG Perspective on Packaging Trends" that Packaging Digest directed at Pack Expo 2010.
PD: How is packaging helping you drive brand value?
Perfecto Perales, director, packaging R&D, Kraft Foods: We'll start with the consumer first. What are they willing to pay for packaging material, the decoration, the advertisement that they get with it over that price? That's the simplest equation you can have. The bottom line of it all? You see it every day in our stock price. Because if our consumers are actually buying it, and our equation that we're putting forth is successful, then you'll see our stock price elevate over time.
Rob Weick, vp packaging, ConAgra: The package is a vehicle to deliver to the consumer. The consumer has a behavior of how they want that package to perform. Packaging alone doesn't drive the total consumer experience. Graphics help with that, brand positioning. There are a number of things that go into it. It's not just that the package can solve every consumer behavior issue. But it has to deliver against consumer behaviors, how they want it to perform, how they want to use that. That's one of the legs of the total picture for what package delivery and what's the best of the brand experience to the consumer is.
Michael Okoroafor, vp packaging, H.J. Heinz: I have a simple example of where packaging really solves the functionality issue. Take the Heinz Dip & Squeeze ... Consumers told us for almost 42 years one sachet doesn't allow them to eat our French fries. They told us they can't use it in their car because when they are driving, they want to be able to put it in a cup holder or something and dip either their French fries or chicken nugget. We've solved it. It's a functionality thing. We delivered it to them. But it's not because we were smart. It's because we listened to the consumer. That's where all of our development, as I said earlier, starts.
We have what we call at Heinz within the technical organization, it's called the product and package research and guidance. That takes what the consumer is saying and synthesizes it into a proposition that we can now go and address with packaging. That's what happened with the Dip & Squeeze.
Sarah Grare, director, packaging innovation, Stryker Orthopaedics: I have to say this... It's kind of like stating the obvious, but I haven't heard it said quite this way... You can have the best product in the world. But if you don't have a package, you don't have a product. You all need to be viewing your packaging as your product. Understand that your customers are interacting with it. Listen to their complaints. If you don't have a direct line to talk to your customers, work with your marketing team. Develop some customer satisfaction surveys. Get out there and find out how they're using it, how they're interacting with it, what they don't like, what they like. You usually learn more from what they don't like. I'm not sure about your customers, but ours are usually very vocal about what they don't like. I love to hear complaints. That's a great source for improvements. Get out there and talk to your customers.
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