Patent-pending pouch packaging from E-hydrate LLC, Culver City, CA, delivers a unique kind of nutritional drink: Consumers “just add water” to the powder at the time of use, shake and drink. The preportioned format eliminates the water in ready-to-drink products and the mixer bottle associated with dry powder mixes. The result is light-weighted, on-the-go convenience and portability unlike any other nutritional drink.
The branded Premium On-the-Go food supplements, a blend of premium whey and electrolytes, launched nationwide last fall at Target Stores in two flavors. Other large retailers, including GNC, began to carry the products in April 2016. The portfolio expanded in April with the introduction of Active, containing glucosamine and omega 3 ingredients, and Kids Protein On-The-Go, the first natural, healthy on-the-go protein powder for children. Kids’ protein powders contain more electrolytes than the leading sports drinks, according to E-hydrate.
"With the release of our new Kids Protein On-the-Go, E-hydrate fills the gap in healthy and natural on-the-go nutrition products for kids," says Jim Kayser, E-hydrate's CSO. "E-hydrate's popular and sweet flavors finally make it easy for parents to get their kids the nutrition they need. We couldn't be happier to be rolling this out nationally at Target stores—thus ensuring that everyone can find it, close to where they live."
One benefit of the packaging is that the pouches can be reused. “They are great to use as a water bottle after the initial use,” he tells Packaging Digest in responding to additional questions about the lines of innovative, conveniently packaged powders.
How many stock-keeping units (SKUs) are offered and what’s the suggested pricing?
Kayser: There are 5 SKUs of three pouches packed in stand-up cartons:
Protein On-the-Go Premium chocolate or vanilla for $3.49;
Protein On-the-Go Active milk chocolate for $3.49;
Kids Protein On-the-Go cinnamon roll or milk chocolate for $2.49.
Why was the ready-to-mix-in-a-pouch format selected?
Kayser: There’s nothing like it on the market. The portable pouch eliminates the inconvenience of a shaker bottle.
What were the requirements for the pouch?
Kayser: The structure had to keep a product dry and compacted for easy transport. Must also be durable and safely store a product so that it may be mixed with liquid and consumed at a later time.
The pouch is designed to be extremely portable, durable and easy to use. The goal was to develop a convenient vehicle to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The pouch is patent pending, and we are considering upgrades and modifications to the pouch.
How was the pouch size determined?
Kayser: Premium and Active pouches had to hold 10 fluid ounces and Kids had to hold 8 fluid ounces.
[Ed. Note: Premium and Active pouches stand 10-inches high resting on their caps while the Kids pouch is 9-inches high with net weights of 1.34 oz, 0.95 oz and 0.81 oz respectively; all cartons measure 4 x 3 x 8 inches]
Is there anything special about the pouch that may not be apparent?
Kayser: The pouch was originally designed for the U.S. Special Forces Elite Teams. The pouches are durable, lightweight and battled-tested. Flexible plastic allows users to fold the pouches, making it easy to stock and store. When you see and examine the pouch for the first time, it becomes an obvious and needed invention.
What can be said about the packaging operations? How are the pouches filled?
Kayser: Initially the pouch needed to be filled one by one due to the unique structure of the packaging—it’s not an off-the-shelf product like a can or bottle. We are now able to automate filling since we have achieved a certain production volume.
Can you relay any feedback from Target or from consumers?
Kayser: Target, GNC and other retailers absolutely love the portability and convenience of the product. Pouches are easy to use whenever, wherever you are. There’s no need for a shaker bottle and the pouch fits easily in a purse, backpack or gym bag. The packaging is simple for kids to use and understand—a huge plus for busy parents.