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Articles from 2019 In March


How to plan for your package’s funeral

How to plan for your package’s funeral

Burial, cremation or reincarnation? What choice will you make for your package? How you design your packaging at its birth often determines its fate at the end of its life.

Brent Lindberg, founder of design agency Fuseneo Inc., will share his tips next week with attendees of SPC Impact 2019 (Apr. 1-4, Seattle, WA), the leading sustainable packaging conference organized by the professionals at the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Taking place on Tues., Apr. 2, his three-hour hands-on Idea Lab will explore packaging designs for recyclability or responsible disposal.

Lindberg explains a few things here, including why it’s important to take time up front to consider end of life.

What do you mean by responsible disposal?

Lindberg: We’re referring to everything but recycling. Whether something is designed to be recycled, composted or get thrown in the trash, we need to be intentional. We need to understand what happens within each system and the implications on our packaging

What’s different about designing a package for the end of its life today that wasn’t a concern, say, five years ago and why does that matter now?

Lindberg: With the strain and changes in the recycling infrastructure, combined with the pledges many brands are making, we need to understand how packaging is used, discarded, sorted and recycled. The design of packaging will play an important role in the future viability of recycling. The recycling system may need regulation, technology and investment, but it also needs clean supply—that’s where we come in. We also need to understand the implications of decoration, assembly and the current state of composting.

When it comes to a package’s funeral, the consumer is likely the one to be responsible for disposal, not the product manufacturer. How can these two parties best work together for the most beneficial environmental outcome overall?

Lindberg: Just because the consumer may be responsible doesn’t mean we can’t do everything within our power to educate them, make it easier for them to make the right choice and give a better chance of success once the choice has been made.

Speed-to-market is a top concern for most companies. How long does it typically take during the packaging design ideation phase to consider different end-of-life scenarios and why is this time well spent?

Lindberg: It doesn’t necessarily add time, it just adds inputs and considerations—unless major issues are identified and things need to be re-worked. This is more than just time well spent; this is our responsibility as stewards of packaging.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

Rare spirit released in enlightening packaging

When releasing its limited-edition Double Eagle Very Rare 20-year-old bourbon, brand owner Buffalo Trace Distillery decided upon high-end, standout packaging.

The aged bourbon whiskey comes in a luxurious crystal decanter and silver presentation box. The decanter features two sculpted crystal glass eagles—one inside the bottle, another perched atop the stopper. It also bears a black screened logo.

The high-gloss, black lacquered MDL presentation box consists of two sliding aluminum doors, engraved and inlaid with a design intended to evoke eagle feathers. The box’s interior is lined with tactile gray fabric, with black felt padding the bottom. When the consumer slides open the doors on custom-made rails, the action activates LED spotlights above and below the bottles to showcase the hand-blown decanter and the liquid inside.

Buffalo Trace Distillery released its 20-year-old Double Eagle Very Rare bourbon in a custom crystal decanter, encased in an aluminum box with sliding doors and LED spotlights. Photo: Buffalo Trace Distillery.

The brand contacted IPL Packaging to create the specialty packaging.

“We understood that the packaging for Double Eagle Very Rare would be the consumer’s first tangible experience with this super-premium brand,” says LB Odendaal, packaging design and innovations manager at IPL. It therefore needed to convey a message as unique as the product within it. “We ultimately looked to produce something that would glorify the brand, convey an image of sophistication and value, and also tell a ‘luxury story.’”

The distillery is offering only 299 of the special bottles, each accompanied by an individually numbered letter of authenticity. According to Kris Comstock, senior marketing director for Eagle Rare, the packaging was the end result of long, deliberate collaboration.

“We worked on the packaging for more than two years, and finally settled on what we think is a beautiful decanter inside an eye catching, yet tastefully decorated box,” says Comstock. “It’s something that anyone would be proud to display on their bar.”

The suggested retail pricing for the Double Eagle Very Rare bourbon and its specialized packaging is $1,999.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

The power of recycled content in packaging

The power of recycled content in packaging
Annie's uses the back of cereal boxes to educate its consumers about recycling and recycled-content packaging.

The circular economy is on a roll—and using recycled-content material in packages is one way to ensure U.S. recycling businesses will succeed. But reliable sourcing and quality can be a challenge. Here are tips from sustainably driven brands Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics and Annie’s on how they are not just coping but excelling.

Karen Moll, print and gift packaging buyer with Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, and Patrick Keenan, packaging engineer at General Mills (who leads packaging R&D for the Annie’s brand), will be among expert panelists discussing recycled content at SPC Impact 2019 (Apr. 1-4, Seattle, WA), the leading sustainable packaging conference organized by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Taking place on Tues., Apr. 2, the “Knowledge Café: Scaling Recycled Content Adoption in Packaging” panel discussion will help demystify the world of recycled content.

Here, Moll and Keenan talk about lessons learned, ocean plastic, consumer education and more.

What was your biggest challenge to using recycled-content material in product packaging and how did you solve or overcome it?

Keenan: As a brand, there were two key areas that were a challenge to implementing recycled content:

1. Educating brand marketers on the value to a ‘’closed-loop system” so they could see the value in it; and

2. Finding a cost-effective, reliable and abundant supply of recycled materials. 

Moll: The biggest challenge for me was just how resistant many of our print partners were to running 100% recycled paper. I heard a lot in my early days at Lush at how hard it was to get 100% recycled paper—how it would be too expensive, and when there were problems printing, it always came back to the properties of recycled material and we wouldn’t have these problems if it was virgin fiber paper.

I’ve just had to be relentless in our requirements. It’s the line in the sand to do business with Lush and the suppliers who want to work with us find a way to get the 100% recycled paper and run it to our high standards.

What lesson did you learn about incorporating recycled content in your packaging that you wish you had known before you started and why?

Moll: It was a bit of a black hole in terms of finding out who was producing 100% recycled paper and what grades existed. Different projects would come up out of the blue that had new paper requirements and then it was scrambling to find paper that worked.

I learned over time to partner with printers that understood our needs and were willing and open to including the mill in our paper discussions so both understood our vision and what we were trying to achieve. Over time I’ve been connecting more and more directly with the mills or reps to have these discussions but could have probably solved some heartache had I started those conversations earlier in my Lush career.

Keenan: Recycled-content packaging is like any new packaging material a brand is attempting to qualify.

There are many daunting hurdles that a brand needs to overcome to ensure that the packaging is safe for the consumer and does not impact the quality of the product. Tackling each concern one chunk at a time and qualifying it like any other packaging material makes it flow seamlessly through the process. 

I have often heard companies in the packaging industry say that the brands aren’t willing to adopt recycled-content materials because of misconceptions around consumer beliefs with regards to appearance or concerns about the supply source. For our brand and consumers, this was/is non-existent, and I really want raw material suppliers and converters to understand that these minor visual defects or perceptions are actually not realized by consumers.

How important is it to explain to consumers how recycled-content packaging contributes to the business value of recycling? And how do you explain it to them?

Keenan: Did you know the back of a cereal box is the one of the most read packages? Annie’s Friends Cereal used the back of the box to highlight the benefit of recycled content [see photo at the top of this page]. We used a graphic of Bunny’s sorting their recycling and a game to pick out the types of materials. We used this to illustrate that by recycling these materials, they get reused into things like our cereal liner!

I also believe that there may be an industry-wide benefit to standardizing how we communicate recycled content using a similar approach as the How2Recycle Label to provide consistency to the consumer.

What do you most look for when sourcing packages with recycled content?

Keenan: Three things:

1. Lowering our overall “bunny footprint” while maintaining safe product. Bunny Footprint is how our brand communicates our overall carbon footprint, as our brand mascot Bernie is a bunny.

2. Being a leader in the industry and having a competitive advantage with differential packaging. 

3. Educating consumers! 

What characteristic about recycled-content packaging would you most like to improve and why?

Keenan: Four things:

1. Consumer understanding.

2. Access to materials.

3. A standard protocol for PCR verification.

4. Price and performance parity with virgin are key to driving acceptance. 

Creating the ability to swap in and out of recycled content versus virgin seamlessly should be the end goal. 

Moll: In terms of paper, I have no major complaints on any of the characteristics. There are going to be some inherent issues using recycled paper that we will probably never move away from. I’ve accepted that sometimes when we add certain finishes to the paper that there could be registration issues. But our suppliers have really exceeded expectations by working on running recycled paper to minimize any issues.

It can be challenging to bring on new suppliers that aren’t used to working with recycled paper. I wish it was more widely used so we can bring on new suppliers quicker with minimal problems.

When it comes to recycled content for plastic packaging, when does it make sense for brands to consider recycled ocean plastic and when does it not? 

Keenan: This is a hot topic with our consumers. I think using any chance to educate consumer that a brand cares is a great way to build trust. Driving value for recycled content by including it in packaging drives up the price of recycled plastics and gives an incentive for people to collect plastic waste—thus helping to reduce ocean plastic. 

So, either including actual ocean plastic or recycled content both are on the path to eliminating the problem.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

5 packaging trends emerging in 2019

5 packaging trends emerging in 2019
This year, packaging is moving in five main directions. Photo credit: By vworks – adobe.stock.com

In the ever-changing packaging industry, new styles come and go; consumers’ needs and desires shift and evolve; and brands are always on the lookout for a way to get ahead in their respective markets.

This will prove no less true in 2019, as evidenced by the various trends on the horizon for the packaging industry. Take a look at five predictable packaging movements and their drivers…

1. Flexibility

Flexible packaging has definitely come into its own in recent years. According to the Flexible Packaging Assn.’s report on the industry, flexibles accounted for 19% of the packaging materials market in the U.S. Much of this growth is due to material and production advancements. Today, environmentally-friendly plastics like compatibilized polyethylene and new end-of-life recycling initiatives have allowed flexible packaging’s popularity to multiply.

There are other reasons why flexible packaging is set to become more popular in 2019. Many are structurally designed to be easy for the customer to use, like being resealable. A pouch’s adaptable shape often makes it easy to carry and store. It also uses less material than rigid packaging, and its lighter weight helps reduce transportation and ecommerce costs. This source reduction lessens the overall impact on the environment.

2. Changes in ecommerce

It may come as no surprise that ecommerce will grow faster than ever in 2019. Many physical stores are failing (in November 2018, Sears announced its intention to close 40 more stores in February 2019), showing the extent to which ecommerce is dominating the marketplace.

As ecommerce becomes more popular, brands will have to try harder to stand out, and this is going to affect their packaging designs. In 2019, packaging will become far more personalized. We’ll begin to see more unusual packaging designs, whether they have an innovative gimmick added or are simply more eye-appealing.

Another factor in ecommerce packaging that will grow in importance this year is the amount of packaging that brands use. The total packaging material involved in a product will need to be carefully considered. Too much packaging will give the brand a reputation for being environmentally unfriendly, while too little packaging will make the brand seem generic or even cheap—and potentially allow too many products to get damaged during shipping.

3. Environmental awareness

Sustainable packaging has steadily become more important to consumers over the years—people are becoming overly conscious about their effect on our planet. Many brands have taken this into account and have changed their packaging accordingly, to great success. Examples of this include Seed Phytonutrients’ shower-friendly paper bottles.

Many brands are replacing non-recyclable plastics in their packaging with biodegradable alternatives like paper and hemp. Other materials that are becoming increasingly popular include more unusual ones, like fungi and algae.

Reducing or replacing materials in packaging can have a range of positive effects. For instance, using less materials will lower a product’s weight, which means it will require less energy to be transported and by extension will have a smaller carbon footprint. Using less materials also often results in lower production costs. Finally, using more commonly non-toxic biodegradable materials is likely safer for people and the environment. This is positive for both ecosystem and brand reputation.

4. Less is more

Stripping a package design down to its bare essentials has been a popular choice for a long time, particularly when minimalism was at the height of its popularity in the second half of the 20th century. Even now, the style is maintaining its relevance, and will continue to do so throughout 2019. This is partly due to minimalist styles being definitively linked with the reduction of materials. Not only does this cut production costs, but it also makes the brand image popular with environmentally aware consumers.

However, minimalism’s greatest strength in the modern age is its clarity. Consumers are more skeptical of what brands are trying to sell them than they once were; being bombarded with information will make them feel like brands are trying to distract them from a hidden catch.

On the other hand, if a product uses only a small amount of text to explain exactly what it contains, the resulting simplicity will imply transparency. This will reward the brand with increased consumer trust and, eventually, loyalty.

Of course, this does mean that more pressure will be placed on the remaining design elements to stand out from the competition. Therefore, effective use of color, empty space and original fonts will be paramount.

5. The power of nostalgia

Another style that many brands have used (and will continue to use) is that of vintage packaging.

To keep packaging innovative and modern, brands must be constantly aware of the changing styles in the industry and always looking out for up-and-coming trends. Failure to keep up with the competition will lead to packaging that comes across as dated and dreary.

Another option is to go to the other extreme: create packaging with a deliberately retro feel. This move has proven popular in recent years, particularly with food and drink products. Consumer approval of the style is rooted in nostalgia. It reminds consumers of their past, giving them a rose-tinted emotional response. Vintage packaging also has an air of authenticity—increased familiarity means the consumer will instinctively trust the product more than modern, unfamiliar designs.

It’s true that genuine innovation comes from creating something unique and novel. However, the risks associated with going down this route are often unnecessary. For many brands, vintage packaging will be a viable and potentially lucrative option.           

Charles Haverfield

Charles Haverfield is CEO of U.S. Packaging & Wrapping LLC, an experienced packaging supplier with a focus on industrial packaging and food packaging. The company’s extensive online packaging library contains a plethora of in-depth packaging information and advice.

 

3 ways packaging aids brand marketing

3 ways packaging aids brand marketing
Packaging plays a critical role in a brand's marketing mix in several ways.

“You eat with your eyes first!” It is true, and it is hardwired into our brain. Anything that looks beautiful is appealing to our eyes, as well as other senses. This also applies to product packaging.

Packaging and labeling are essential for product identification and awareness, of course. They provide customers product information, such as ingredients, nutritional facts, volume and best-before dates. But they also play an ultra-important role in marketing by enhancing the products’ appearance for promoting them to the prospective customers. After all, a memorable presentation can make customers return to the brand again and again.

In fact, it helps to create a customer’s relationship with a brand with some functional and emotional content, such as information related to preserving its contents or something that makes the product celebratory, aspirational or proud to own or gift. Think of a Starbucks signature cup or the unique bottle of your favorite liquor or perfume.

Packaging success = marketing impact

The innovation and execution excellence of packaging and labeling has always been an integral part of any famous and successful marketing program. Don’t believe us? Consider some of these examples:

• Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign used packaging to build a relationship between the brand’s identity and consumers’ personal identity by emblazoning first names on their cans and bottles.

• Casper put its mattresses in a box “the size of a dorm refrigerator” not just to cut their shipping costs, but also to “disrupt the mattress industry” by allowing people to test the mattress in their homes with a “free” 100 days return policy.

• The packaging of “five,” a subline by Häagen-Dazs is again a smart marketing move where the  brand prominently listed five core ingredients on the front of the package to showcase its premium-ness and pure goodness.

Apart from these three examples, many others prove that packaging plays a great role in the supply chain—it has to perform selling functions and earn a product consideration to drive revenue. It is a core business driver that enhances the consumer experience by building a personal connection between the product and buyers.

Let’s look at the role packaging and labeling plays in the marketing of a product.

1. To provide information to customers.

Giving the right information to the right people at the right time lies at the core of every marketing campaign. And that’s exactly the role packaging plays. This is especially true for new products launches, where product information plays a crucial role in market penetration. With the help of packaging and labeling, marketers can give essential information—such as how to use a technology device; how to cook or store food; procedures and precautions to take during product usage; and so on. In short, it gives the detailed information that you can’t cover in 20-second-long ads.

In today’s world where people are more comfortable shopping at supermarkets, it is next to impossible to have a salesman for each customer. Your packaging is one of your most powerful tools to convey the information to the customer. Consider how Maggi or any other ready-to-cook food uses packaging not only to give information about how to cook them but also additional information about the beneficial nutrition found in them. Besides, giving some extra information never hurts you; in fact, it does quite the opposite.

You can use your packaging information to safeguard your company. While it is true that you can’t give all the information about your product in a 20-second-long ad, what if someone sues you for information not provided? You are safe as long as the information is printed on the packet. This means, you can raise your hands, simply stating that the information was already provided and it isn’t your fault if the consumer failed to read it.

2. To showcase your sustainability.

Marketing sustainability is the “in thing.” In simple words, it refers to businesses that use environmentally friendly production, sourcing and distribution practices. And it’s no fad, as there are marketing advantages. According to a global survey by Nielsen, “66% of all consumers will pay more for sustainable brands.” The survey also found that Millennials are more willing to pay more for products that have a minimal or positive impact on the environment.

There is a reason why more and more businesses are opting for sustainable packaging across the world. A survey by Goldstein Research found that, in 2016, the global green packaging market reached (US)$139.09 billion. Moreover, it is expected to cross $230.19 billion in 2024, showing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% between 2016 and 2024.

Thus, biodegradable molded fiber is gaining rapid commercial importance in the packaging industry and is one good way to show your customers you care.

What more? Consumers are not just ready to buy something that’s environmentally friendly but are also willing to pay more for it.

3. To extend your brand image.

What comes to your mind when someone mentions Tiffany’s? Of course, its beautiful robin’s egg blue boxes. The same goes for Absolut Vodka, known for its round bottle since its launch in 1979. Although the new bottle has been updated with a new script, two-line logo, a redesigned medallion, a new brand signifier and reduced glass weight, the company has never changed the shape of the original bottle, which has become synonymous to the brand.

The packaging is responsible for the product’s brand image and brand recognition. This, in turn, also reflects the image of the company. Think Ferrero Rocher. The moment you see these brown and gold covered packages, you think about the mouth-watering chocolates inside, you think of Ferrero Rocher.

The role of packaging in marketing is best described as the marriage between form and functionality, whose sole purpose is to entice customers not only to buy the products but also to come back for more. It can even become synonymous to your brand’s image, as it helps to grab the attention of your target audience, apart from functioning as a tool for convenience and information transmission.

It is therefore essential to consider every aspect of your product packaging so that it creates the most profitable impact.

Rachel Oliver is a content writer at PulpBiz.com and a blogger, who is known to play with words. A versatile writer, her expertise lies in the genres of marketing, packaging and sustainability.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

3 benefits of banding for food packaging

3 benefits of banding for food packaging
Ultrasonic-sealed bands provide adhesive-free graphics for food packages and separate easily for recycling.

Food has to look appetizing! Whether it’s on a plate, in a package or on a store shelf, the food industry is strongly driven by product appearance and branding. Combined with consumer demands for clean ingredient labels and simple packaging, presenting a product that fairs well in the marketplace can be difficult.

Often considered an “elite” form of packaging, ultrasonic banding is a relatively new alternative that offers brand owners and copackers the ability to improve the appearance of their food products while minimizing waste and improving production efficiency without compromising product integrity.

Of the many benefits of banding, three directly apply to the food industry:

1. Adhesive-free decorating

Whether you’re labeling directly on products, multi-packing or using sleeves as secondary packaging, all labels need to comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations. While some adhesives are food-safe, they can accumulate dust, dirt and debris, making label adhesion weaker than desired and unattractive to consumers.

With ultrasonic banding, a label or sleeve can be applied to products without using any adhesives. Not only does this keep a strong hold on products, it can also lower the cost of each label and reduce the amount of packaging waste generated while still being easily separated for recycling.

Depending on branding needs, a variety of banding materials can be used:

Paper is one of the most economical materials available. The most popular is a thicker paper that replaces chipboard or paperboard sleeves.

Opaque white plastic is silky smooth and provides high-impact branding through vibrant graphics.

Transparent film is used for maximum product visibility. This film lets products speak for themselves with minimal light refraction. Pre-printing on transparent film can supplement the product with branding and also replace expensive die-cut labels.

Each of these materials are available in a variety of thicknesses as well as widths ranging from 15 millimeters to 100 millimeters (0.5 inches to 4 inches). For applications requiring variable data to be printed live on the band, there are inline printing options for customizing products with barcodes, expiration dates, recipes and nutritional information.

2. Transparent food packaging

Clean food is taking the food industry by storm. Not only are consumers more interested in what’s in their food than ever before, they want to see it more than ever before too. Brands are responding to these demands with transparent packaging that keeps products visible on store shelves.

But, when secondary and tertiary packaging come into play, accommodating transparent packaging can become more of a hassle—materials are too opaque and require secondary branding or the packaging quality is low and non-recyclable.

With banding, consumers can have the best of both worlds—informative packaging with nutritional information while maximizing product visibility. For brands, banding provides the opportunity to improve customer loyalty since they can read the product information and see the high-quality products they’re going to consume.

3. Sustainability

According to Pew Research and projections from the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials are projected to “overtake [Baby] Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million.” Of these 73 million Millennials, almost 75 percent are willing to pay more for products that promote sustainability. Since Millennials are a key target demographic for the food industry, this data is critical and brands are responding quickly.

With banding, brands and copackers can improve and promote sustainability in several ways:

Products: Clean, sustainable branding and packaging can help convey a dedication to sustainable food practices that often result in consumer loyalty.

Business: Maintaining sustainable processes keeps business effective and efficient, especially with a low unemployment rate making labor-intensive positions increasingly difficult to fill. From cutting costs and eliminating worker injury to reducing downtime and increasing throughput, banding is a sustainable packaging solution that combines several packaging steps (counting, stacking, bundling, labeling) into one to improve overall efficiency without breaking the bank.

Environment: With nearly 45% of landfilled materials coming from food and packaging/containers, using recycled and recyclable materials that generate minimal waste is crucial. Not only are banding materials FDA-approved and water resistant, they’re fully recyclable. With only one small band needed on most applications, reducing waste is easier than ever.

Lisa Barrieau is the food banding sales manager at Felins, a leading niche packaging company in Milwaukee, WI. Passionate about sustainable food packaging, Barrieau helps companies in the fast-paced food industry to increase throughput, decrease packaging waste, reduce labor costs and develop sustainable and innovative packaging processes. Contact her at [email protected].

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

Diet Coke stands tall with sleek new packaging

Diet Coke stands tall with sleek new packaging
Diet Coke’s taller 12-oz. cans (launched in 2018 and expanded in early 2019) are intended to attract younger consumers.

The Coca-Cola Co. has released new flavors of Diet Coke in taller, narrower 12-ounce aluminum cans.

Launched in 2018, the line of sleeker sodas has been expanded with two flavors: strawberry guava and blueberry acai. According to Rafael Acevedo, group director for Diet Coke, Coca-Cola North America, the reconfigured aluminum cans (provided by Ball and Ardagh) were designed to connect with younger consumers.

“We wanted to be bold, think differently and be innovative in our approach,” says Acevedo. “We wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation. We’re contemporizing the brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new flavors that are appealing to new audiences.”

Coca-Cola debuted the taller cans in the United States after two years of consumer research and testing. The company checked in with more than 10,000 people across the country on possible flavors, packaging formats and design, and more. James Sommerville, vp, Coca-Cola Global Design, says the end result merges the brand’s history with a current feel.

“This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognizable core brand visual assets,” he says.

Sommerville points out the cans are tied to each other and Coca-Cola’s heritage with a vertical red band on all the packaging, called the “High Line.”

“The High Line is a Coca-Cola red disc that has gone for a walk,” he says.

According to Kerri Kopp, group director, Diet Coke, consumers have responded well to the updated cans, which appear to have boosted sales.

“Diet Coke has been trending well since its relaunch,” says Kopp. “After several years of volume declines, the brand was even on a year-to-date basis, a five-point improvement versus the historical trend. More importantly, we are growing revenue within the brand.”

The 12-oz. tall cans are sold individually and in 8-pack cartons.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

Beer Packaging

Updated Bud Light labeling toasts product transparency

Updated Bud Light labeling toasts product transparency
Citing an increase in consumer demand for product transparency, Bud Light has introduced ingredients lists and nutrition information labeling on its beer secondary packaging.

Bud Light has added ingredients and nutrition information to the outer cartons of its beers.

The updated secondary packaging—introduced in February—reportedly targets increasingly nutrition- and ingredient-conscious consumers. While ingredients and Nutrition Facts are standard on food and non-alcoholic beverage shelves, this voluntary addition to Bud Light’s cartons marks an apparent first for this category.

“When people walk through a store, they are used to seeing ingredient labels on products in every aisle, except for the beer, wine and spirits aisle,” says Andy Goeler, vp of marketing, Bud Light. “We believe increasing on-pack transparency will benefit the entire beer category and provide our consumers with the information they expect to see.”

While many beer brands list ingredient and serving information on corporate websites, they require consumers to hunt the data down. Goeler adds he believes food and beverage brands have led the way in product transparency—and other categories have some catching up to do.

“Beer, wine and spirits are a little bit behind when it comes to displaying ingredients on their packaging versus other food and beverage products,” he says. “Because transparency is so important to consumers these days, we wanted to try to push things forward.”

Shoppers now will know at a glance that Bud Light contains hops, barley, water and rice. Additional icons and messaging highlight the absence of preservatives, corn syrup and artificial flavoring in the brews. The new labeling (which required no significant change to packaging lines) appears on the cartons’ bottom panel. In addition, the ingredient and nutrition information will be displayed on store shelves to inform shoppers.

Goeler says brand owner Anheuser-Busch is considering adding the labeling to primary packaging (such as cans and bottles) in the near future.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

 

New PowerShelf lets consumers give on-shelf packaging feedback

New PowerShelf lets consumers give on-shelf packaging feedback
PowerShelf enables quick feedback from consumers as to how packaging designs perform on-shelf.

Used by companies like Kerry Foods, Tetra Pak and Just Eat, PowerShelf enables quick feedback from consumers as to how packaging designs perform on-shelf.

Consumers represent the court of public opinion when it comes to judging product, packaging and design success. Wouldn’t companies have a powerful intelligence tool if they knew how well—or not—certain packaging and designs perform on-shelf before decisions were made? And do that by conveniently soliciting the opinions of hundreds of consumers with fast, timely results whenever that intelligence was needed?

They can, using PowerShelf, a fully automated, do-it-yourself real-time shelf testing solution that provides brands and retailers with actionable feedback on the impact that shelf placement has on consumer attention to in-store products for various packaging designs.

Introduced last summer, PowerShelf is accessible within TolunaInsights, through which audiences, surveys, communities and analytics are completely integrated and powered by on-demand insights and behavioral data from Toluna's community of 21+ million influencers worldwide.

"Toluna's focus on automation, coupled with unrivaled expertise that's incorporated into all aspects of our platform, and powered by our global community of influencers, is completely transforming the way companies obtain insight today," said Phil Ahad, EVP, head of products and strategy, Toluna. "PowerShelf is another example of how we empower clients to access consumer insights faster than ever and use those insights to make critical business decisions."

Ahad answers Packaging Digest’s questions in this interview.

Tell us about more about PowerShelf.

Ahad: PowerShelf is one of Toluna’s many automated methodologies, a do-it-yourself ("DIY") real-time shelf testing solution that provides brands and retailers with actionable feedback on the impact that shelf placement has on consumer attention to products in store. Launched in July 2018, PowerShelf was developed with the goal of expediting the time from ideation to understanding, with fully automated solutions that enable users to test branding, product, package design, concepts, media and advertising concepts; gather insights on consumer attitudes and purchase behavior; and understand how consumers view their brands compared to competitors, all in real-time.

PowerShelf is designed to ensure package standout, and can be used in combination with PowerConcept which is designed to understand appeal and PowerPack and how well people understand what the product does based on its packaging.

How does it work?

Ahad: Within Toluna’s automated consumer insights platform, TolunaInsights, brands can access PowerShelf by clicking on “Create Survey,” choosing “AskToluna” then clicking on “PowerSuite” and then “PowerShelf.” After this, they can select the packaging category, target a precise audience, and add up to 8 packaging concepts and their shelf display to test and set timed exposures. Surveys can be customized with the help of Toluna’s intuitive wizard that guides the way. Lastly, PowerShelf takes it from there by building the survey in real-time with reporting available as soon as the first response comes in. Results are presented through a C-suite infoboard dashboard.

What kind of information does it yield? What insights will or can be revealed?

Ahad: As PowerShelf enables brands and retailers to test products in a simulated in-store environment, it yields insights about how best to position products on a shelf, evaluate shelf design overall—strengths and weaknesses of packaging strategy, concept ranking, stand out, clarity of design, quality, color and expectations, i.e., what will this product do for me.

What are the options? What can be used for?

Ahad: When testing products, it's important to consider shelf as an integral part of go to market. It can provide insights into how well a product will be perceived, etc.

What does it do that alternative methods don’t do and why is it “better”…what is the advantage of PowerShelf?

Ahad: PowerShelf allows the user to easily replicate the retail environment to understand the impact of packaging and shelf placement on product visibility and “stand-out”. The benefits of PowerShelf include the ability to test the impact of shelf layout changes in real-time without any implication to ROI in terms of not having to do this in a live retail environment.

The advanced design of PowerShelf enables users to conduct monadic testing to understand true packaging insight (as opposed to a comparison of all packages), and “timed exposure” which tests stand out.  As the study is standardized, output and data is delivered in the form of a dashboard and recommendations are easily understood.

What’s required from brands to participate? What are the costs?

Ahad: When creating PowerPack, clients must have images for the concepts that they wish to compare. Up to eight can be used. Costs vary, and depend on the number of respondents desired/respondent parameters.

Lastly, what size companies does this target?

Ahad: In our goal of democratizing on-demand insights, Toluna offers the PowerShelf solution to companies of all sizes across verticals and industries that provide products in a retail environment. We work with clients that span all industries specifically consumer packaged goods, and names that come to mind include Kerry Foods, Tetra Pak, Just Eat, Sodastream and others.  

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There’s a world of packaging options awaiting at PackEx Toronto June 4-6, 2019, where you can find innovative ideas in containers and design, check the latest machinery and automation solutions and attend free education at Centre Stage. For more information, visit PackEx Toronto. ___________________________________________________________________________________

Snack packaging feeds support for women entrepreneurs

Snack packaging feeds support for women entrepreneurs
Launched for Women’s History month in March, Stacy’s Chips has launched six women-designed, limited-edition bags benefiting woman-run businesses. Each design reflects a stage in the entrepreneur’s process; shown here is Amrita Marina’s Courage design.

Stacy’s Pita Chips has launched women-designed packaging for its snacks, just in time for Women’s History Month.

The limited-edition film bags bear designs created by female artists. Sales of the special snack sacks (returning for their third year in March 2019) will support United Way micro-grants to reduce the funding gap for women-founded businesses. New in 2019, the brand’s Stacy’s Rise Program provides funding to support female food entrepreneurs. The two programs aim to funnel $400,000 in funds to woman-run businesses.

Ciara Dilley, vp of marketing, Stacy’s Snacks, says women entrepreneurs own 38% of U.S. businesses yet secure only about 2% of all venture funding.

“As a female-founded brand, Stacy’s Pita Chips is determined to reduce that disparity. We are proud that the Stacy’s Rise Program will continue building upon a legacy focused on giving female entrepreneurs the nourishment they need to accomplish their dreams,” she says.

The 2019 collection of snack bags depict the six key stages of a female entrepreneur’s journey: Inspiration, Courage, Grit, Nourishment, Success and Community.

“The six bags were all designed by female artists who were deeply moved by the women’s movement,” says Dilley.

The artists include: Nomoco for the Inspiration bag, Amrita Marino for the Courage bag, Alexandra Bowman for the Grit bag, Jane Beaird for the Nourishment bag, Jade Purple Brown for the Success bag and Eleni Kolorkati for the Community bag.

The bags are offered online at www.StacysSnacks.com. Consumers who donate $10 will receive one of the six limited-edition bag designs, with an 8x10 print of the package’s artwork.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!