Brand owner scrambled for ideal packaging solution

Rick Lingle in Retail Packaging on May 17, 2016

Packaging can influence a product’s shelf impact as well as the location of where the product is retailed. Thanks to adapting a familiar package, the unique VeganEgg stands out on-shelf whether in the shelf-stable bakery aisle or in a dairy cooler.


Sometimes a product is so unique it creates a category by itself, which presents a challenge for retailers to figure out where to shelve it. That presents a challenge for brand owners, too, including the development of packaging with that in mind.

One such example comes courtesy of my former coworker and food techie friend Claudia O’Donnell, a principal of Global Food Forums. She keeps an eye out for interesting packaging while traveling, this latest of which she uncovered during a visit to Natural Products West Expo, held in Anaheim, CA, in March. Her find meets my criteria perfectly: VeganEgg is a 100% plant-based egg replacer that’s packed in a molded fiber egg carton, which is atypical of other egg replacers that are packaged in bags.

“There’s nothing else like it in the market,” says Sara Steinbeck, brand owner Earth Island’s central U.S. sales manager. She points out that VeganEgg is an egg replacer than can do everything a chicken egg can do—except that it’s powdered, vegan and shelf stable.  And unlike other egg replacers, which are primarily used for baking and where the product may be shelved, a VeganEgg can be scrambled.

The product’s first packaging iteration was a bag, but the format lacked shelf impact and recognition by consumers. “We needed packaging that could better communicate the product’s proposition to consumers,” Steinbeck says, which led to the use of an actual egg carton. Because the carton is biodegradable, recyclable or compostable, it aligns with the company’s environmental stance, she adds.

It turns out that the products location with cartoned eggs is its “default positioning” by retailers, according to Steinbeck, which include Fruitful Yield. “Every retailer makes its own decision where a product is placed.”

But even that positioning has another drawback. “The dairy case isn’t where vegans look for products, which is the product’s main audience,” Steinbeck points out. “We don’t really compete against chicken eggs."

Steinbeck tries to lead retailers to position it in the cooler, ideally grouped with other refrigerated vegan products like alternate cheese.

The cartoned egg replacer stands out anywhere it’s positioned—even in the dairy case with cartoned eggs where the bright, full-perimeter-wrapped, pressure-sensitive label provides visual differentiation. The label is printed with a yellowish-egg-look color scheme complete with sunray illustrations to reinforce an eggs-for-breakfast vibe.


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