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Cereal swings in canisters

Breakfast is becoming a battleground. The traditional bag-in-box is no longer a safe haven for dry cereal. As supermarket shelves become burgeoned with oversized bags and stand-up pouches of mass through premium brands, Minneapolis-based Target Corp. seeks a bigger place at the table with a paperboard canister.



Or, as a spokesperson says, “Target created the new Archer Farms® cereal canister to reinvent the breakfast experience by providing a package that is both easy and convenient for guests.” That's Target-talk for consumers shopping its stores.

The canister is actually the Linearpak® from Sonoco Consumer Products Co. (www.sonoco.com), used in the past for pet products through cough drops. What especially excites Target and, of course, Sonoco is the Linearpak's ability to satisfy what they perceive as consumer dislike for the traditional bag-in-box structure.

A Sonoco spokesperson cites the conventional package's difficulty of opening, potential for spillage and poor pantry life because the inner bag can't be resealed as several reasons why Linearpak is so suitable for cereal.



The round-edged Linearpak, lauded for numerous virtues, reportedly was adopted in April for 18 varieties of Archer Farms cereals ranging in price from $3.49 to $3.99. Of these, eight are new flavor varieties.

All varieties use a single canister measuring 10x2½ in. The fill range varies with product weight and density. Sonoco says that the canister holds up to 25 oz; one supplied by Target, multigrain with yogurt cranberries, contains 12¾-oz of product.

Along with convenience, advantages claimed for the canister design include less waste through spillage, good shelf life and environmental implications, because the body is made with two plies of paperboard containing 55-percent recycled material with 50-percent post-consumer content and a high-barrier liner as the cereal-contact surface. The outer full-wrap paper label stock is flexo-printed in eight colors.

Sonoco doesn't provide exact specs. It does assert the polyethylene-coated, foil membrane sealed across the flange assures freshness. It is removed by an integrated pull-tab. Providing reclosure, a friction-fit overcap molded of clarified polypropylene, features a transparent circular blister, about 1½-in.-dia, for post-purchase viewing of contents. A similarly sized, concave circle is debossed with the Archer Farms logotype components, including a silhouetted rooster.

The Linearpak, being conveyed for filling, above, is able to satisfy consumer dislikes for traditional cereal structures.

Target doesn't make accessible packaging staff to discuss the canister's production-line characteristics, comparative material savings or other possible pluses. But the canister's rear display area does offer copy noting, “We've revolutionized the cereal box with a streamlined, bag-free container, an easy-flow spout, and a snap-shut lid that's recloseable for freshness. Breakfast will never be the same again.”



Sonoco hopes the revolution carries over to other cereal brands. It says the annual bag-in-box cereal turnover is three billion units, valued at a total of $6.12 billion, for more than 250 stockkeeping units. That's a lot of crunch.





More information is available:
Sonoco Consumer Packaging, 800/576-6626. www.sonoco.com.



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