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Inverted pouches upend food packaging: Uncle Dougie’s and Glenroy

Inverted pouches upend food packaging: Uncle Dougie’s and Glenroy
The StandCap premade pouch has a first user: Uncle Dougie's organic BBQ sauces hit the market in 13.5 ounces packs.

The introduction of Uncle Dougie’s Organic BBQ sauces marks the debut of the StandCap premade pouch from Glenroy.

March 1 was a doubly innovative day of packaging firsts for cult favorite Uncle Dougie’s BBQ sauces and for flexible packaging supplier Glenroy.

The former was looking for packaging that could make a difference for its new line of sauces, which have a cult following in Canada and the United States for being 100% natural, gluten-free, preservative free, non-GMO and made only in small batches “before it was a thing,” Original Uncle Dougie’s LLC founder Doug “Uncle Dougie” Tomek often says.

Vendor Glenroy sought a brand-owner customer that would be the first to bring to market the StandCap inverted pouch in a turnkey, ready-to-use low-cost-to-entry premade format. In fall 2018 StandCap was officially and highly successfully unveiled during Pack Expo Intl. in Chicago where it was featured in several vendor booths.

Both goals merged with the introduction of the USDA-certified Organic BBQ sauces in StandCap packaging that’s claimed as the first sauce in a squeeze pouch.

How it came about turned out to be a sore point with consumers: the brand specifically selected the packaging to address a consumer pain point that was identified in a market study of more than 1,000 consumers.

“We talked to men and women across the country who are heavy BBQ Sauce users,” says Uncle Dougie’s CEO Rob Johnson. “They’re a confident bunch and had very straightforward feedback. They wanted an organic product to cut through the clutter of health claims. They wanted it to be different than ‘the standard, boring BBQ sauce flavors out there.’ And frankly, they were damn tired of dealing with the messy cap and spout and never being able to get the last 10 percent of the sauce out of the typical glass and plastic bottles.”

He feels the inverted pouch is a game-changing solution in form and function.

“The packaging is a real break from the category,” says Johnson. “The inverted squeeze pouches make it easier for cooks to use our sauces in recipes or for dipping. It also virtually eliminates the mess that typically collects around the lip of typical bottles. We think it’s going to change consumers’ expectations for BBQ Sauce.”

In addition to functionality, the pouches also have a winning form—Johnson feels that the inverted squeeze pouches’ looks makes them an easier canvas for communicating with consumers. “The shape alone is fun for shoppers and makes it easier for us to communicate both our brand and our ‘no crap’ approach to ingredients,” he says. “Each flavor has its own fun, friendly, bright color making the line incredibly visible on the retail shelf.”

To open, the convenient pull-ring seal is removed after unscrewing the hinged dispensing closure that is screwed back on precisely aligned with the pouch front.  

The products are available in five unique varieties including Organic Sweet Ginger Buzz (Way More Than) BBQ Sauce. The 13.5-oz inverted squeeze pouches are in rollout and will be sold $4.99 each starting at Lowe’s Foods in the Carolinas and Weis Markets in the Mid Atlantic with commitments from other retailers. The products can also be purchased online at Uncle Dougie's website.

Four years’ packaging development

The debut culminates four years of research, development and partnership-making by Glenroy, started around the same time as the worldwide debut of inverted pouch packaging through Daisy’s form-fill-seal version for sour cream. That was 2015, which was also when Glenroy brought premade pouch production capability in-house to widen the company’s overall portfolio in manufacturing film and rollstock packaging.

The vendor viewed the inverted pouch as an opportunity to reach numerous brands, a number of which could not commit to form-fill-seal-made pouches for financial reasons.

“The premade version costs substantially less than a FFS pouch—50% or more less,” says Glenroy president and CEO Rich Buss. “If a brand chooses to contract-package the pouch, it has zero capital equipment to purchase.”

In fact, there are as many differences as similarities.

“The inverted pouch is a challenging pouch to make and very different than your standard pouches,” explains Evan Arnold, product development director, noting that complexities with FFS pouching start with the fitment loading area and go from there. “I’ve found that brands are very good at filling their product in a bottle and then putting a cap on it. Similarly, with premade pouches, brands can focus on what they do best, and we as a supplier can focus on what we do best.”

“There were bumps along the road, but we saw the driving need in the market for this packaging,” Arnold continues, “and brands needed an integrated supply chain to help them bring this to market. That meant an understanding of the film requirements and how to make, fill and seal the pouches, all of which we have done. We think our premade version is the best inverted pouch option available.”

In 2016, Glenroy officially joined forces with R.A. Jones and Volpak to create a solution for offering the premade StandCap Pouch.  Glenroy uses innovative pouch converting machinery designed by Volpak to create premade StandCap Pouches.

The other stakeholders that collaborated with Glenroy on the premade StandCap pouch were:

  • Aptar developed a unique fitment, the Sierra Closure, that provides the pouch inverted stability with an easy-to-open flip-lid closure, built-in tamper evidence and uses proprietary SimpliSqueeze valve technology for optimal dispensing performance;
  • Viking Masek provides a qualified rotary filling-sealer as do several other suppliers;
  • Manufacturing Solutions Intl. (MSI) located near Chicago is qualified as the preferred contract packager.

Next: Packaging that does more


Much food for thought for packaging will be found at PackEx Toronto June 4-6, 2019, where innovative ideas in containers and design, the latest machinery and automation solutions and free education at Centre Stage will be available. For more information, visit PackEx Toronto. ___________________________________________________________________________________

From a marketing view and shortly after Daisy’s 2015 launch, it became apparent that the upside-down variation of the familiar stand-up pouch had tremendous upside potential.

“After Daisy Squeeze was launched, Daisy reported that this line extension resulted in a 69.7% increase in sales,” marketing manager Amanda Dahlby points out. “Notably, 18% of the total volume sold was incremental to the sour cream category, which means this pouch didn't cannibalize Daisy’s traditional sour cream tub sales. And they managed to achieve all this while charging approximately 25% more per ounce for Daisy Squeeze than sour cream sold in traditional packaging.”

Based on the many inquiries Glenroy has experienced over the past six months, there’s obviously pent-up demand for the premade inverted pouch.

Company's most successful launch

Arnold reports “we’ve had an incredible amount of interest; in fact, half our booth leads at Pack Expo 2018 were for this format, which post-show has had more interest than any product we've ever launched.”

Glenroy reports a common theme for interested brands across all product categories: most want the packaging to do more than just contain their product.

“The attraction for brands is not only the shelf impact, but improving the customer experience; the pouch provides clean, controlled dispensing, while eliminating the need for a utensil, and even extending the shelf life of products,” says Arnold.

Dahlby notes further benefits of the gravity-assisted dispensing that’s always at the ready. “There’s no dirty utensils to clean afterwards, no cross contamination, and dispensing is incredibly convenient. Products that were once shoved to the back of the refrigerator end up being stored prominently within the refrigerator door and used more frequently as toppings; this package widely expands the usage occasions for many products.”
She also feels the format is sustainably beneficial.

Sustainably beneficial

“Consumers can access and remove virtually 100% of the product from the StandCap pouch, which makes consumers feel like they’re not being cheated, and they’re getting their money’s worth. This also reduces food waste,” Dahlby explains.  “The easy, utensil-free dispensing also saves time for consumers; this package is essentially a lifehack, and consumers are willing to pay for convenience.

“And for brands attempting to capture more market share from millennials, this package is a no brainer. Mintel’s report Global Packaging Trends 2018 states that millennials are increasingly shopping the periphery of stores, turning their backs on the center aisles. The Global Packaging Director for Mintel points to flexible packaging as one way to attract millennials back to center store aisles.

“And according to research firm Freedonia Group, millennials—more so than any preceding generation—‘adore pouches’," Dahlby continues. “They aren’t bound to traditional packaging. Millennials are looking for new, exciting types of packaging that they can use in their everyday lives. A Freedonia analyst referred to the generation’s affinity for pouches as ‘millennial embrace’.”

Dahlby notes that squeezable products ideal for this package include condiments, sauces, honey, dessert toppings, greek yogurt, preserves, jellies, spreads, dips, salad dressings, and the list goes on.

“Even products with chunks are candidates,” Dahlby adds. “The list of products that are well-suited for this package is pretty exhaustive.”

In short, anything pumpable is in play.

Pouch materials and options

The pouch itself offers a range of options. Although Glenroy declines to share pouch film specifications, it indicates that the structures is similar to FFS options in offering product protection, barrier and options that prevent flavor scalping. The durable pouches can withstand the rigors of distribution whether traditional on-shelf at retail or for ecommerce, Arnold says. The premade pouches are available in clear, opaque white and metallized-look packaging in a current size range of 12 to 14 ounces. Processing options are either hot-fill or ambient filling.

The stock fitment from Aptar is available in a range of colors along with hundreds of valve choices that are engineered according to the product requirements.

“There are many different closure options that the brand can take advantage of for customizing its own unique packaging,” summarizes Arnold.

What began with Uncle Dougie’s BBQ sauces will soon spread to other brands and products.

“We have several other companies that are now placing commercial orders for this new package,” Dahlby discloses. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in the food category, especially within sauces and condiments, but we have active StandCap projects in personal care and household products as well. This promising format solves many annoyances consumers experience with current packaging, and in the age of life hacks and ecommerce, the premade StandCap Pouch really is the next generation of packaging.”

Glenroy posted an informative StandCap video at its website.

This is the third in a series of reports on inverted pouch packaging for foods and other products that began with Inverted pouch trend upends food packaging: Chobani, published December 2018, and Inverted pouch trend upends food packaging: ProAmpac, published January 2019.


Much food for thought for packaging will be found at PackEx Toronto June 4-6, 2019, where innovative ideas in containers and design, the latest machinery and automation solutions and free education at Centre Stage will be available. For more information, visit PackEx Toronto. ___________________________________________________________________________________

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