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Articles from 2015 In June

Visually distinctive hybrid packages surface in Canada

Visually distinctive hybrid packages surface in Canada
Pilot Pen’s G2 Metallics line uses a new inline Cold Foil technique for the carded blister packaging..

The PackEx tradeshow held in Toronto in mid-June included two packaging formats introduced by vendors that offer on-shelf distinction for enhanced branding.

These were from two booths with two different packaging formats with a common theme of making brand owners’ packs pop at retail.

The first was Rohrer Corp., which promoted its Cold Foil Blister Card Combo Program technology, and had on display one of the first users of the packaging, Pilot Pen's G2 pens. It is used, appropriately, for the brand’s Metallic line of writing instruments in carded blister packaging.

The breakthrough with the technology is that the eye-catching, reflective foil silver color is applied inline on-press, “like a fifth color on the four-color press,” offers John Hagarty, Rohrer’s manufacturer rep, and is done at about half the cost of the more complicated and conventional hot-stamped foil method.  The blister flange can be heat-sealed directly to the printed foil; the blister card is 0.020 SBS paperboard.

In development for about a year, the packaging was introduced about six months ago, Hagarty says.

Rohrer offers cost-cutting ganging of production runs for customers, and in fact offers cost-effective orders of the Cold Foil Blister Cards in quantities starting at just more than 6,000.

Click here for more about Rohrer.

Next is a hybrid of paper and plastic that also provides instant shelf impact…

Impactful cartons combine plastic with paperboard with several material options.

What about packaging that provides the printability of paperboard and the product-revealing clarity of plastic? That’s the proposition from new company formed by Transparent Packaging‘s recent acquisition of Printex Packaging to form a combined company: Printex Transparent Packaging. The hybrid company also offers packaging that’s a combined hybrid carton packaging that’s distinctively half plastic, half paperboard.

It’s a development that extends the ability to add clear plastic windows to paperboard cartons to the next level, says the company’s Dan Belliveau, who also notes the company is uniquely positioned with production machinery that can marry these materials together.

The plastic portion is APET or rPET combined with SBS or 100% recycled paperboard; they have also had one customer that has used polylactic acid (PLA) for the clear portion, Belliveau adds. The plastic can be printed in up to four colors.

The hybrid cartons are suitable for retail branded liquor, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and many other product categories, he says.

The next iteration of the annual PackEx tradeshow will be in Montreal in late 2016.

Consumer feedback defines beverage packaging design

Consumer feedback defines beverage packaging design
Corby learned consumers like to freeze their vodka and acted upon it with a color-changing ink label.

Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. mines AskingCanadians’ research program for actionable insights about packaging for its alcohol beverages from 25,000 consumers, using methods including “heat maps” and shelf mockups

Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd., a Canadian marketer of spirits and imported wines, and AskingCanadians, a Canadian online data collection company, were jointly awarded a 2015 Confirmit ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) as an outstanding achievement in Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs. The awards recognize companies that have established outstanding initiatives to measure customer feedback and to act upon those insights to increase satisfaction, improve operational efficiencies, and to enhance revenue growth.

The award was for The Corby Panel, a customer feedback survey tool within the AskingCanadians platform. Corby has used the panel to pretest new products, packaging changes, campaigns, taglines and more for a portfolio that includes J.P. Wiser's Canadian whisky, Lamb's rum, Polar Ice vodka and McGuinness liqueurs. Corby also represents leading international brands such as Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal through its affiliation with Pernod Ricard S.A.

Packaging Digest reached out to Corby’s Keeshan Selvakumar, manager, consumer research, about the company’s involvement in this program and how it relates to packaging.

What’s the background to Corby’s involvement?

Selvakumar: We’ve partnered with AskingCanadians since January 2013 after identifying a gap in the way we talk to our consumers. Frankly, we needed a platform that allowed us to vet ideas with real people very quickly and cost efficiently. While we addressed some of the larger business issues through traditional market research (and still do), there were too many smaller “one-off” decisions made in the boardroom because of time and budgetary constraints.

What can you tell us about the makeup of the panel?

Selvakumar: We have about 25,000 panelists across Canada that enjoy spirits and wine on at least a monthly basis. For each person recruited, we ask them a few questions about where they live, what specifically they drink, and which bars and restaurants they go to. We also have a proprietary segmentation model based on answers to lifestyle and values questions which every panelist is “tagged” for.

Depending on the needs of the organization, we will select a small portion of these people based on location, drink preferences, bar and restaurant preferences, or which consumer segment they fall under. All of the panel studies are run through the Corby research team based on requests from a wide variety of teams, including product innovation, brand management, trade marketing, sales and public relations.

What are the costs for participation?

Selvakumar: It’s about 10% to 15% of our annual research budget. In terms of value, our panel has played a part in at least 50 different product launches and marketing campaigns, and has even helped our partners, including liquor boards and restaurant chains, better understand consumers. All of this information is invaluable.

How often is packaging part of these panels?

Selvakumar: In terms of packaging research, we do quite a bit. This can either be an evolution of an existing product label, a new bottle for a brand extension or a completely new brand that we want to bring to the market.

We use a mix of traditional methods like scale question items to assess items such as purchase intent and uniqueness, but we also leverage AskingCanadians’ technology capabilities to get even richer feedback.

For example, we usually use a “heat-map” exercise where participants can point and click on areas of the package that they like and dislike, and then tell us why. This gives us really great commentary to take back to our design agencies, and is fun for the panelists as well.

We’ve also done mock-up shelves to simulate a purchasing scenario where the product would have to be evaluated in the context of others.

What kinds of packaging aspects are discussed?

Selvakumar:  We look at a lot of different things but it all comes back to the business question at hand. Sometimes there may be questions about the optimal copy so we’ll probe more on that, other times we’ll want to see the impact of color so we’ll test a few different options. I think what’s great about our panel is that it’s fairly dynamic in the sense that we can pivot as needed.

What’s the nature of the feedback and how do you decide which is actionable?

Selvakumar: The feedback will always depend which modules we choose to use in the survey, but almost always includes a data file and an online reporting tool for things like heat maps.

In terms of action, we listen to the consumer. Since we’ve done a lot of studies now, we have internal norms to provide direction on whether a package is strong as is, needs a bit more work or needs to be completely discarded.

What’s an exemplary example from the panel?

Selvakumar: Polar Ice 90 Degrees North premium vodka is a great example of a packaging innovation led through our consumer panel. We learned that our target consumer tends to freeze their vodka before enjoying it, so we created a few different concepts featuring a label with thermochromic ink. Our panelists then showed us which concepts were the best to move forward with, and also gave us optimization feedback to make the top performers even better.

This premium expression of the Polar Ice vodka brand is available across the country and is posting strong early growth rates.

What’s next?

Selvakumar: We’re continuously looking at innovation when it comes to market research, partnering with AskingCanadians to find new ways to get people’s opinions and use those insights to deliver products that they’ll really enjoy. When it comes to packaging research, we want to keep it engaging for our panelists; we will continue to leverage new technologies in survey development to deliver on this front.

Meeting consumers’ needs and desires through packaging is a major topic at next week’s Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit in Chicago. You can view the conference lineup here.

Walmart reveals new packaging for Great Value and more

Walmart reveals new packaging for Great Value and more
Walmart's results for redesigned Great Value v2.0 packaging versus GV v1.0.

Walmart’s repackaging and branding highlights are disclosed for Great Value version 2.0 and 2.1 along with information on Blackweb electronics and Pure Balance Premium Pet Food.

When Walmart talks, people listen, as was the case for this editor and dozens of other attentive audience members last week in Toronto, Canada, when Sandra Farwell, vp, Brand Management & Product Design, Walmart Canada, spoke during the PAC “Winning By Design” Conference. The day-long conference was co-located with the PackEx tradeshow managed by Packaging Digest’s parent company, UBM.

What Farwell had to say was, in my experience, very un-Walmart-like in that she was amazingly open about the retailer’s plans in retooling the Great Value brands along with other branding initiatives that I didn’t even know the company had. It was so refreshing.

Some key background points worth knowing:

  • Great Value (GV) brand is the center tier of the retailer’s three platforms of Good, Better and Best products and comprises 85% of those sales;
  • GV is an NBE—National Brand Equivalent—that’s 20% lower in price;
  • Every single GV product is randomly tested for quality at least once yearly by a third-party lab;
  • GV Organics is launching August 2015 in ambient, frozen and dairy sections.

Farwell (shown above) said what has worked for the GV brand is strong brand identity that makes it easily identifiable on shelf along with appealing product photography. She says what hasn’t worked are outdated typefaces, too much white space on larger packs, inconsistent product photography and a “rainbow” effect of so many color cues.

All of which set up her revelation of the rollout of the retailer’s GV 2.0 redesign that features a wave-style design scheme and a look that replaces much of the white space with more color. Some 50% of Great Value food stock-keeping units (SKUs) were expected to have migrated to version 2.0 by April.

As measured by sales volumes, the redesign is a resounding success with redesigned categories seeing a double-digit lift in sales. In one example, a redesigned jar of salsa saw a 21% sales increase versus v1.0.

Because the package graphics design was the only thing changed, this case study provides solid evidence for the power of packaging.

Next is a look at Great Value version 2.1…

With the ink barely dry on the v2.0 rollout, Farwell introduced what she called GV v2.1 (above) that includes a U.S.-driven change to the logo that will migrate from the states onto Canadian products.

Great Value 2.1 will offer a more modern typography and introduce what Walmart calls “banner and tombstone”—top and bottom graphic callouts—along with “depth and richness” in the background treatment.

Farwell frankly admitted that Costco’s Kirkland brand wins on quality and value, but implied that these changes in the works should close that gap that include the next step beyond the GV graphics designs: To put these products that promote quality and value into “new and different packaging,” she said, adding “and for that we have lots of ideas.”

Farwell also referenced Walmart’s Blackweb brand of premium electronics products that is now in Canada, the U.S. and 14 other countries. The brand encompasses headphones, speakers and tablet and laptop accessories. “We worked back and forth between many trade names, but ‘Blackweb’ scored best (90%) with the targeted ‘tweens market,” she said. One option that was subsequently dropped was to call the line “firefly.”

Marketed especially toward 'tweens, teens and young adults, Blackweb relies on innovative products and packaging as crucial “silent sellers” for the brand.

She prefaced her remarks at this point about how complicated of a process is brand development, which involves category managers and OPP—opening price-point—analysis. OPP was the Sam Walton-created mantra to lure consumers in with a good value surrounded by higher-priced goods.

Walmart’s Pure Balance Premium Dog and Cat Food is next…


The company also launched Pure Balance Pet foods two months ago in Canada that has been “highly successful,” according to Farwell.

Some highlights:

  • It is positioned as specialty store quality at a fraction of the price;
  • In its first year in the market (including in the U.S.) it has became a $10,000,000 brand;
  • It was launched as a dry dog food (shown) in bags as well as wet dog and cat food in cans;
  • A dry cat food is planned next;
  • The packaging relies on high-quality bags and printing.

If you would like to hear more from Thought Leaders talking about packaging that’s a little closer to home for most of you, I suggest that you check out the Packaging Digest Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit set for July 7-8 in Chicago. Featured speakers include those from the J.M. Smucker Co., Mondelēz Intl., ConAgra Foods and Heinz North America. For more information, click here.

And now for yet another Great Value redesign…


Farwell also served as one of three judges for a students’ competition sponsored by Walmart Canada to recast the Great Value branding. The product and category: A toilet bowl cleaner, Great Value Eco Toilet Bowl Cleaner Bottle. Along with audience members, I was impressed at how creative, thorough and polished the students' redesigns and presentations were.

In fact, I would say that they were downright flush with superb concepts.

The students, from six schools, were already first-place winners in their respective school’s competitions. Each of them reworked the logo, offered a freshened design color palette, changed the bottle polymers and structural design and detailed the label materials.

After all six presentations, audience members (including yours truly) voted via hand-held devices to determine the top three choices. The suspense was palpable while we awaited the verdict. It was a difficult to choose one as they all were excellent.

In the end, I did pretty well: My pick (shown above) was runner-up to the eventual winning design from the Ontario College of Art and Design’s team of Dora Poon and Zhi Gao seen at bottom along with PAC's James Downham and Walmart's Sandra Farwell. 

This effort, from Dilek Duman of Mohawk, caught my attention with its bold colors and clear design elements that quickly addressed the three-pronged hierarchy of: What is this? What is it for? and What is in it?

She also scored bonus points with me for providing a die-cut promotional handout given to attendees that mimics the bottle front and back and folds out to explain the design.

Other programs involved included George Brown, Durham, Seneca and Humber.

All in all, it was an enlightening and fulfilling design-driven day for me as for everyone in attendance to hear a number of industry Thought Leaders that included an impressive lineup of those from the retail and brand sectors.

AmeriStar Packaging Award winners unveiled

AmeriStar Packaging Award winners unveiled
The winner in the Food, Refrigerated category is Schreiber Foods’ use of the Delkor Cabrio Case

The Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) announced the winners of the 2015 AmeriStar Package Awards Competition from across 14 product categories.

As was done last year, the judging for the 2015 AmeriStar Awards managed by Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) was conducted virtually. Judging was based on package innovation, sustainability, protection, economics, performance, and marketing.

We present the 14 category winners and will follow with the three major awards tomorrow. Here are the winners alphabetically by category:

CATEGORY: Beverages, Non-Alcoholic


PepsiCo/Selig Group

Drinkfinity is an innovative personal and portable hydration system that lets you create and enjoy your own beverage experience. DRINKFINITY has a reusable Vessel and consumable Pods that work together to fulfill a variety of occasion and hydration needs. The Vessel is a reusable bottle that is totally portable, sleek and stylish. The Pods are powerful capsules utilizing Duoseal induction seal technology to separate active liquid and powder ingredients until they are mixed together with tap water just prior to consumption.

CATEGORY:  Beverages, Non-Alcoholic

Gatorade Hydration Tracking Bottle

PepsiCo – Gatorade

The Gatorade Hydration Tracking Bottle is part of the Hydration Tracking System developed to better meet the needs of professional and competitive athletes during training and match sessions. The objective was to develop an enhanced sideline bottle that added fueling customization and tracked hydration. The new bottle combines the functional aspects of the existing iconic green/orange sideline squeeze bottle, a new customizable Gatorade pod concentrate system and a new wireless metering cap.

CATEGORY:  Beverages, Non-Alcoholic

Lipton Ultra

Lipton & Amcor LATAM

Lipton and Amcor collaborated to create a new ultra lightweight hot-fill container for the Lipton Tea brand in Latin America. This package weighs only 22 grams and utilizes a 33mm finish that features a 50% reduction in material over a traditional 38mm finish. The sleek leaf body panels aid in the vacuum while providing visual movement and a comfortable gripping surface for the consumer. Additional benefits of this package are substantial ecological savings, lower operational costs, and a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

CATEGORY: Cosmetics

Modular Refillable Compact

International Cosmetics Suppliers Ltd

A modular, refillable compact design offering easy and intuitive use.  A hinged base frame secures the refillable pans and presents a clean appearance. The simple design allows for various pan sizes and the simple design means the user to confidently refill the compact without damaging the makeup.

CATEGORY: Cosmetics

Direct Effect Curved Tip Airless Applicator

Fusion Packaging

The Direct Effect Curved Tip Airless Applicator features a first-of-its-kind curved design that contours to the most delicate areas of the face with a feather-light touch. The package features an innovative pairing of the ergonomically curved polypropylene (PP) applicator and velvety soft overmolded TPE for an elevated sensory application experience, as well as a single-walled, airless bottle to further protect and preserve brand formulas.

CATEGORY: Cosmetics

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Transformative Energy Creme

The Estee Lauder Companies

From the first touch, this velvety, intensely invigorating creme transports consumers to a new realm of luxury. And then the transformation begins.

Energy surges. Vitality radiates. Natural collagen is fortified as next-generation sculpting technologies power profoundly younger-looking contours. Skin looks radiant, more even-toned, its clarity and inner light restored.

Infused with Black Diamond Truffle, one of nature’s rarest treasures. Transformed through a secret process into a pure, precious extract. 10,000 hours in the making, it is a potent energy infusion for your skin.

CATEGORY: Drug & Pharmaceutical

Flonase OTC launch - Secondary Pack

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

Flonase Allergy Relief over-the-counter pack is innovative clamshell pack with a sinusoidal flow design. The pack has clutter breaking structure differentiating it on shelf and brilliant graphics that provides visibility. The information bundle in the pack engages the patient through colorful mnemonics and text. The pack is put together utilizing a custom made fully automatic, robot assisted, turret type assembly line that 100% QC-capable ensuring quality and compliance.

CATEGORY: Drug & Pharmaceutical

Microdermis Provodine


Microdermis has developed Provodine, the next-generation professional antiseptic that meets or exceeds FDA requirements for use as a Surgical Scrub, Pre-Operative Skin Preparation, Healthcare Personnel Hand Wash and First Aid Antiseptic. Ampac designed and developed a seven-layer highly chemical resistant, hard-to-hold, high barrier laminate with built-in directional tear properties for ease of opening the package and dispensing the product. The U.S. Army has begun using the product in the fight against Ebola in West Africa.


CATEGORY: Drug & Pharmaceutical (above)

Factor Hard Pack (Eloctate and Alprolix)


The Factor Hard Pack is an injection molded case used to transport lyophilized drug product, diluent syringe and components to aid in the reconstitution of the product. Hemophiliacs and care givers are able to easily infuse at home or on the go with the convenient Hard Pack. The design embodies input from the patient community through extensive market research and diligent packaging engineering. The case conveniently folds down allowing access to the drug and components in a stable and functional presentation.

CATEGORY: Electronics

Enigma Encryption & Decryption Device - Klearfold Keeper

HLP Klearfold

BlackSquare Technologies chose the new Klearfold Keeper visual packaging system to launch their Enigma USB Hardware Encryption & Decryption Device. BlackSquare believed that the Klearfold Keeper effectively showcases the Enigma, revealing the thumb-sized product in its entirety, which helps to demonstrate its simplicity and ease of use. The patented Klearfold Keeper combines a printed rigid plastic sleeve and a uniquely designed vacuum-formed tray that lock securely together to produce a distinctive, efficient and secure visual package.

CATEGORY: Electronics

Polaroid Cube HD Action Camera

HLP Klearfold

The Polaroid Cube HD Action Camera was designed as a prefect 35mm cube, and to appeal to a younger, broader audience than the masculine GoPro camera. To demonstrate the Cube’s small size and its simplicity, Polaroid licensee, C&A Marketing, and design studio, Ammunition, chose a sturdy .020”Klearfold APET plastic carton. Inside are white, pyramid-shaped thermoformed trays to showcase the Cube and to reveal its ease-of-use. Soft Crease scoring provides sleek, clean lines and allows the cube-shaped carton to keep its crisp shape.

CATEGORY: Food, Frozen

Self-Contained Master Shipper and Partitions

Whole Foods

The Self-Contained Master Shipper and Partitions design is an impressive and innovative solution in many ways. It saves money for the manufacturer and the end user. There is less material used in the pack and less labor and time required to assemble the unit than with traditional RSC and Partition packs.

This simple and streamlined offering is the cost-savings alternative.

CATEGORY: Food, Refrigerated (top image)

Shelf Ready Cheese Packaging

Schreiber Foods

The Delkor Cabrio Case was developed as a display case for shredded cheese packages. Schreiber Foods was asked to find an economical, easy to open case to display shredded cheese packages on a shelf instead of hanging on a peg. With the patents pending Cabrio Case product loads flat, ships flat, and displays horizontally. It uses less corrugate than other styles of display cases, is easy and intuitive to open, and provides a clean customizable tray front that isn’t marred by perforations.

CATEGORY: Food, Refrigerated

Sargento Balanced Breaks

Plastic Ingenuity – Sargento

The thermoformed package and paperboard sleeve are the perfect combination of balance. The two compartment, yin yang tray and seal allows the cheese to stay moist, and the fruit and nuts to retain their texture. The outer sleeve provides eye catching graphics; nutritional information; unique radial shaped sides; and exceptional product visibility. This total product/package offering provides for impeccable differentiation at shelf, which was made possible through collaboration with Sargento, Plastic Ingenuity, Bemis, and Zumbiel Packaging.

CATEGORY: Food, Refrigerated

Oh Snap! Pickles


The Oh Snap! shaped stand up pouch for GLK Foods’ line of brineless pickles is a first of its kind. The shaped stand up pouch creates disruption in a sea of sameness - single pickles are usually packed in brine and a 3-side seal flexible pouch with very little graphics. Oh Snap! is a stand-up pouch with an hourglass shape providing differentiation and portability with its easy to grab indented middle. A registered matte varnish is used to highlight the bold, bright graphics.


CATEGORY: Food, Shelf Stable (above)

Kellogg Special K Quad Seal Bag


New quad seal, flat bottom stand up bag for Kellogg Special K® Cracker Chips offers high end graphics, excellent on-shelf impact, great product protection and sustainability.

CATEGORY: Food, Shelf Stable

Wrigley Orbit FlexPack – A 5 piece flexible chewing gum package for Latin America


The Orbit FlexPack is a simple and creative package for chewing gum utilizing common packaging materials. The flexible lamination is a simple Paper/ metalized OPP structure and the creative use of heat seal coating and proprietary glue development allows for easy opening and re-close. Most importantly the straightforward structure allows the product to hit key entry price point in Mexico and South America ($0.50, 5 pieces per pack). No other chewing gum packaging at this price point is able to deliver this consumer functionality.

CATEGORY: Food, Shelf Stable

E-Z Snackpak by Ampac


E-Z SnackPak by Ampac is a new packaging format for the single-serve snack food market. The tetrahedron shaped pouch transforms into a serving tray upon opening – providing a unique consumer experience. The flexible pouch is an innovative category changing package primarily focused on snacking occasions. E-Z SnackPak provides dual functionality, first as an innovative package, and second as a serving dish after uniquely converting into a tray after opening.

CATEGORY: Health & Beauty Aids (above)

Permatex - Fast Orange

Berlin Packaging Studio One Eleven

This compelling package refresh for the #1 selling waterless hand cleaner, Fast Orange, introduces a saleable point-of-difference with its unique, inverted “disc-top” closure. Users simply tap the bottle on a bottom corner to open the rocker closure and dispense, then tap again to close. Promoted by manufacturer Permatex through a YouTube video, the innovation has disrupted a staid product category and formed the cornerstone of the brand’s recent marketing efforts.

CATEGORY: Health & Beauty Aids

P&G Gillette ProGlide with Flex Ball Technology


In North America, Gillette collaborated with Placon on the new Proglide with Flex Ball Technology razor packaging, designed with a recyclable clear blister that’s heat sealed to a vivid graphic card and base. A 360° perforation skirts the periphery of the thermoform with a tab located at the top of the package providing opening instructions via an embossed downward pointing arrow. Once the tab is lifted and pulled back, the raised portion of the thermoform smoothly and completely lifts off the perforations, no scissors required.

CATEGORY: Health & Beauty Aids

Gillette Venus Swirl with FLEXIBALL

think4D Inc. / Procter & Gamble

The Gillette Venus Swirl packaging features a 3D silver ball printed and formed with think4D multi-dimensional technology, showcasing the new Flexiball. This packaging is cost effective, automation friendly and environmentally responsible, balancing function, structural design and eye-catching visuals, showing customers this is an innovative new product from their trusted brand. It’s made from PETG, rPET and paperboard - all pre-consumer waste is recycled and the final package is completely recyclable.

CATEGORY: Health & Beauty Aids

It's a 10 silk express conditioner

Berlin Packaging / it'sa10

Injection Molded Tube technology with an In Mold Label offering amazing shelf impact with : Outstanding metallic and gloss;  full coverage from top to bottom ; a no-seam look ; perfect resistance for in-shower use;  tube always returns back to original shape when squeezed ; screw-on flip top cap always oriented; lead-time reduced from 20 to 8 weeks  and one supplier replacing four;  tube  is 100% recyclable polypropylene and uses 25 to 35% of the energy to produce vs. virgin polymers.

CATEGORY: Household Products

Lube-Tech Fuel Treatment Bottle with Dosing Cup


Lube-Tech’s private-label fuel treatment package delivers a 16% reduction in resin use, 43% reduction in package costs, and more accurate product measurement by replacing the category’s typical built-in measuring chamber with a snap-on dosing cup. Designed by Berlin Packaging’s Studio One Eleven, the new PET bottle and PP cup also avoid both overdosing and product waste common with chamber solutions; reduce corrugated and pallet needs via a smaller footprint; and provide easy recyclability not available with the PVC used by many competitors.

CATEGORY: Household Products

Purina Pro Plan Renew Cat Litter Jug

Ecologic Brands & Nestle Purina

Ecologic Brands is a designer and manufacturer of molded fiber bottles made from 100% recycled cardboard and newspaper to form a unique, innovative, and disruptive container. The Purina  Pro Plan Renew cat litter jug, developed in partnership with Nestlé Purina PetCare, is Ecologic’s first bottle made entirely from molded fiber, including the friction-fit cap. There is not a trace of plastic material in this package! The package conveys the brand’s commitment to natural materials while maintaining a consumer-friendly, easy-to-pour design.

CATEGORY: Industrial / Commercial

Ecolab Nexa Concentrates Packaging System

Ecolab, Inc.

Ecolab has revolutionized the Hand Hygiene market with the latest innovation called Nexa Concentrates. The new Hand Care Packaging Platform is a closed loop, refillable, unit dose dispensing system. The system is comprised of a unique dual-port bottle, positive-sealing valve insert, and 2014 Ameristar award-winning packaging component: Nexa Pump. This Hand Hygiene system provides significant improvements over typical Hand Care packaging offerings in areas of dispensing, product protection, manufacturing, distribution, and sustainability.

CATEGORY: Industrial / Commercial

Vented Fitment for off gassing liquid chemistries packaged in Ecolab Oasis Pro Flexible Pouch

Ecolab Inc.

The all new vented fitment is an extension of the original Ecolab patented Oasis Pro bag line enabling a new line of off-gassing chemicals to be safely shipped in the Oasis Pro bag. It’s constructed by taking a probe and welding an injection molded piece, which carries the ePTFE vent membrane.


Chamberlain Garage Opener Packaging


Veritiv was given the task of redesigning Chamberlain garage door openers current packaging for their Retail product line. The existing packaging solution consisted of EPS foam cushions with a top-loaded FOL design. In the new package design, Chamberlain wanted the following attributes: protection, out-of-box experience, space efficiency, cost reduction, and environmentally friendly.


Anchor Packaging Embraceable Platter and Dome Lid

Anchor Packaging

Oval platter designed with locator ring in bottom to hold standard 8-oz paper food container for chili, soups, oatmeal, grits, mac & cheese that often accompany main dish, sandwich or salad. Clear, anti-fog lid contains an integral sealing flange that forms a lid over paper container at same time it forms leak-resistant seal on platter. Elimination of extra lid for paper container reduces cost and demonstrates environmental commitment to reduce waste. Meal may be carried in one single container rather than two improving consumer convenience.


Create Your Taste Open-Face Sandwich Carton

Havi Global Solutions

The patent pending Create Your Taste Open-Face sandwich carton with a built-in divider to separate sandwich halves is a unique design within the sandwich carton category. It is the foremost sandwich package in the marketplace today, allowing consumers to experience a premium open-face sandwich concept in a “to go” format. The collaboration between McDonald’s, LBP and Havi unlocked an integral component to the launch of the new Create Your Taste platform and reflects the marketing principles: fresh, authentic, natural and customizable.  

CATEGORY: Promotional / Display

Kellogg Enhanced Ready to Eat Cereal Carton

Kellogg Company

The Kellogg Company introduces the Disney Frozen ready-to-eat cereal in a package that is sure to catch any consumer’s eye. The traditional carton has been uplifted with a metalized (MET) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) holographic foil laminate to help capture the theme of the movie and visually enhance the appearance of the carton, making it jump off the shelf.

CATEGORY: Promotional / Display

Gear Box for music festival organization

Leo Design & Packaging Solutions Ltd.

Most box use lid & cover structure in opening. The gear box uses a “new idea” in opening by inserting a key into the gear lock and turning. The gear lock is made of several layers of cardboard paper. With novel design in its structure, the extended part of bottom layer (underneath the box surface) of gear lock can be inserted into the “hole” of gear box when it is in unlock status. When the key is turned, the extended part rotated into a new position and as a result, the extended part is blocked inside the “hole” and the gear box is locked.


1st Place Student

Cotton Swabs Redesign

University of Wisconsin Stout

Carrie Kierstyn, Jacob Meicher, Jason Introwitz

2nd Place Student

Contact Solution Bottle and Case

Cal Poly State University

Rachel Berman, Elaine Cohen, Rachel King, Kevin Chiu

3rd Place Student

Easy to Open and Child Proof Prescription Bottle

Cal Poly State University

Mariah Barnum, Tyler Beaty, Arek Boloyan, Scott Burbach, Kathryn Cassidy

Honorable Mention

EZ Pour Funnel

Cal Poly State University

Jordan Sligh, Shamus Smail, Devadasi Stuart, Aline Schmitz, Blake Tillery

Honorable Mention


Cal Poly State University

Taylor Crump, Rachel Day, Galen Dresser, Sean Gorman, Jonathan Han

You can see the winners at the IoPP’s 2015 AmeriStar Awards page.

SoapBox’s HopeCode shows consumers how their purchases are helping

SoapBox’s HopeCode shows consumers how their purchases are helping
SoapBox provides more than just personal care products; it gives aid to those in need and, through its HopeCode, lets consumers share their participation in the mission.

SoapBox Soaps’ strategy can be summed up in three words: good, clean and helpful. Each purchase of a SoapBox product triggers a donation of soap, clean water or vitamins to those in need in the United States or abroad.

The young company uses coding on its health and beauty aids (HBA) packaging to fuel an ambitious aid mission. Its packaging design incorporates what SoapBox calls a HopeCode on each bottle or carton; by typing in the code at SoapBox’s HopeCode portal, consumers can see which community their donation is helping.

The company’s products include bar soap, hand soap, body wash, lotions, shampoo and conditioner. The HopeCodes are digitally inkjet printed on the back pressure-sensitive label of each bottle, and they are printed directly onto the bar-soap cartons. 

SoapBox works with Andler Packaging to source bottles from a number of manufacturers, including M&H Plastics. SoapBox products are available at Whole Foods Market, Target, CVS and other retail chains.

Daniel Doll, president and chief operating officer of SoapBox Soaps, discusses the HopeCode and his brand’s mission.

What type of code is the HopeCode?

Doll: The HopeCode is a printed alphanumeric code that is unique to every bottle or bar soap produced.

How many different codes are there? How do you determine which code is added to which package?

Doll: Every HopeCode is unique. We variably print each of the labels and cartons and associate them to the product type by the lead alpha character.

When will the online portal be available for consumers to look up the code on their package?

Doll: The portal is active right now at We are launching a new website in a couple weeks that is built around an immersive experience of the HopeCode. Our goal is to provide a unique experience that provides transparency of our aid mission to our consumers. 

How can consumers use the codes on social media?

Doll: On our new website, consumers will be able to share their HopeCode redemption through social media. We are also working on technology that allows us to show our consumers their lifetime social impact, and how it compares with the members of their social network. 

Why do this? What are the benefits?

Doll: SoapBox was created with the social mission first. Our core goal is to increase our footprint of sustainable aid development. More exposure to our brand via social media helps us communicate our mission and create differentiation for potential new customers, and subsequently do more good.

How successful has this campaign been? How will you measure its success?

Doll: So far, early data shows great traction of the program. We already have thousands of redemptions and are working to make the HopeCode the main feature of our new website to drive even more consumer engagement. 

4 ways adhesives aid and abet wine packaging

4 ways adhesives aid and abet wine packaging
Some of the beauty of today's wine packaging is thanks to an adhesive.

The next time you’re enjoying a delicious glass of your favorite Merlot, take a moment to think about all of the adhesives that were involved in the process of getting the wine from the vineyard to your table. From the labels that adorn the front and back of the bottle, to the case the wine was placed in prior to being loaded on a pallet and shipped, adhesives play a bigger role in the wine packaging and labeling process than you may have ever realized.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the many ways that wineries rely on hot melt and other adhesives.

1. Applying Labels

The label on a wine bottle is an extremely important element, as it is a visual representation of the winery’s brand. Ensuring that the wine label sticks to the bottle without slipping or getting dog-eared during the shipping process is imperative to making a good impression at the store, and ultimately to driving consumer interest and sales.

Wine labels are applied to bottles either manually or automatically. In manual application, staffers use a label gluer to apply adhesive to a single label, then affix the label to the bottle. In automatic applications, the wine bottles are sent through high-speed labeling machines that affix the labels to bottles, typically using water-based glue. Many large wineries use premade “peel and stick” type labels on rolls. The adhesive on these pressure-sensitive labels was applied to non-printed paper stock by large converting companies and sent to the label printers.

There’s no right or wrong way to apply wine bottle labels, as long as the labels stick. Ultimately, the volume of wine being produced and the winery’s budget and preferences will determine if manual or automatic label application is used.

2. Building Boxes and Cases

Many of today’s small- and medium-sized wineries opt to handle their own packaging needs, including building and sealing wine cases and boxes. These same wineries have found that the process of building the box—folding the minor flaps inward, applying the adhesive, then folding the major flaps over the minor flaps before applying compression to set the seal—can be an extremely time-intensive, headache-prone process. Wineries using water-based or white glue may find the process especially tedious, due to the much longer compression and drying times required for their chosen adhesive.

Wine manufacturers that want to streamline the boxing process can use a system called a box erector. Consisting of a box mandrel, a high-volume hot melt system and a tool balancer that supports the hot melt handgun, a box erector system can significantly decrease the amount of time necessary to erect high-quality wine cases. Additionally, the hot melt adhesive used in box erector applications is much easier and more economical to apply than water-based or white glue adhesives—in fact, sealing a box bottom with hot melt typically costs a single penny. 

For high volume applications, hot melt adhesive is applied to both the bottom of the case in an automatic box erector and to the top of the box in a case sealer. This machine can easily erect and seal hundreds if not thousands of cases of wine per hour.

3. Unitizing Pallets for Shipping and Delivery

Getting the product safely to the stores and to the customer is a priority for all wineries—after all, any bottle that is damaged or destroyed in the shipping and delivery process is a bottle that cannot be sold. Many wineries use adhesive to help secure wine cases to one another on pallets as a way to help minimize the chances of cases sliding during shipping. Wineries may choose to use hot melt or water-based glue in the palletizing process, depending on their preference.

4. Adding Wax Seals

Some wineries seal the tops of the bottles with a colorized wax seal. This material is primarily used to add aesthetic appeal to the bottle of wine.  You will be surprised to know that this is actually a custom wax/hot melt adhesive mixture not just wax. This can be applied with hot melt handgun, benchtop hot melt metering system or automatic hot melt machine

Adhesives: The hidden heroes

From the labels that denote which wine you’re buying, to the cases and pallets in which the wine bottles are shipped, adhesives play an important but often overlooked role in the wine labeling and packaging process. The next time you’re uncorking a bottle, why not give a silent salute to the all of the hard-working adhesives that helped make the process possible?

Pierce Covert is the president of Glue Machinery Corp., a company that supplies industrial strength adhesives and machinery for a range of industries.

6 ways robots improve food and beverage operations

6 ways robots improve food and beverage operations
Control up to eight Delta robots from one controller to help increase production output rates. Photo courtesy of Omron.

Traditionally, robots have played a prominent role in industrial manufacturing. However, due to their repeatability, speed, accuracy, flexibility and safety, the role of robots is rapidly becoming a staple in operations for the food and beverage industry. Automation technologies, including robots, are becoming a core element for food and beverage processing and packaging companies and are integral to protecting brands, market shares and ultimately profitability.

Robotics have made it possible for food and beverage processing and packaging companies to vastly increase the scale of factory automation over the past few decades. Industrial robots have become the backbone to manufacturing facilities of all sizes and types, in all parts of the world. This increase in robotics integration has resulted in higher production rates, improved quality and improved safety—all by reducing the effects of challenging work environments and eliminating the impact of external environmental factors.

Collaborative research within the industrial automation industry has identified six common ways robots strengthen food and beverage processing and packaging operations to support production goals while protecting brands, market share and profitability.

1. Increase production output rates

Robots can run for long shifts, overnight and during weekends with little supervision. This enables true around-the-clock production runs to increase output rates. New products can be introduced faster into the production process and changeover time becomes almost negligible. Handling multiple applications on a single production line can be done with minimal disruption to existing processes. Many applications, such as cookies coming out of an oven on a conveyor, are picked and placed into their primary packaging. The packs are automatically placed into cases, ready to be palletized. Each application may be configured specifically for the end customer. For example, Costco may have a different packaging and palletizing requirement than Sam’s or BJ’s. With a robot installed at each critical control point, orders can be picked, packaged and palletized automatically to meet each customer’s unique requirements—eliminating errors that can occur with manual packing. 

Next: Boost manufacturing flexibility

Vision-guided robots pick and place products to help boost production flexibility. Photo courtesy of Omron.

2. Boost manufacturing flexibility

Accommodating changeover, or switching from one product to another, is simple with robots. Systems with robotic automation can easily accommodate variations in product, increasing uptime and reducing waste. The incorporation of vision systems to guide robotic function has resulted in an increase in the flexibility of robot use.

Take a process that requires making visual distinctions and decisions, such as picking and placing products into a mixed variety pack. A vision system will identify an assortment of products—including their orientation, aesthetic properties and location on a production line—and then communicate that data to a robot. Based on a pre-programmed recipe, a robot with multiple grippers will pick the correct products to make the proper assortment.

Prior to the introduction of industrial automation, human workers handled this complex, repetitive and time-consuming process. By integrating vision-guided systems, the same tasks can be performed by robots with consistency, accuracy and speed.

Next: Avoid workplace safety hazards

Complete integration of robotics, logic, motion, vision and safety can help keep packaging workplaces safe. Photo courtesy of Omron.

3. Avoid workplace safety hazards

Robots can perform tasks in conditions that are hazardous to human workers—they do not get fatigued and are not affected by heat, dust, humidity and other challenging work environments. They are not affected by strenuous tasks, such as palletizing heavy cases. With proper protocols and environmental safety controls, robots contribute to a safe workplace by diminishing the risk of injury or death to humans.

An unsafe workplace leads to fear-driven human inefficiency, lowered production rates, higher insurance and workmen’s compensation costs, as well as high employee turnover. Robots can significantly elevate the nature of safety by removing the factors that cause workplace safety issues.

Next: Protect food safety

IP69K robots can withstand frigid temperatures without special suits, heating elements or pneumatics, ensuring that refrigerated or frozen foods are safely handled at the proper temperature. Photo courtesy of Omron.

4. Protect food safety

Human workers are subjected to external environmental factors, which can be transferred during direct contact with raw food. Robots do not carry pathogens—they do not have skin, hair, fingernails or bodily fluids such as perspiration, saliva and blood—that can cause foodborne illnesses. Harsh wash-down, high-pressure cleanings set at regular intervals, and after each recipe shift, can significantly minimize contamination.

Exposure to foodborne pathogens leads to product holds or recalls, which ultimately impacts the bottom line. Robots alleviate safety concerns by removing the factors that cause food safety making them more suitable for upstream processing.

Next: Reduce product waste

With their precise motions, robots can help ensure packing accuracy for fewer rejects—eliminating non-conforming products or product waste. Photo of Omron’s vision-guided robot for pick and place applications.

5. Reduce product waste

Robots perform routine functions to fine tolerance limits, reducing rejects and waste. A fully automated production line offers a coordinated control system, which securely shares data between the robot and other critical control points. This coordination provides relevant data to the robot and manages motions or functions for improved accuracy. Continuous monitoring means products should not fall outside the fine tolerance limits—eliminating non-conforming products or product waste.

Coordinated control systems and continuous monitoring means that virtually every product coming off the line conforms to set tolerance limits, increasing the amount of conforming output. Food and beverage processing and packaging companies can expect to see greater overall efficiency as the quality of output increases—as well as the amount of output.

Maintaining high quality in production processes produces consistent product packages, which contributes to consumer satisfaction and, hopefully, repurchase.

Next: Control SKU proliferation

For fluctuating production demands and handling multiple SKUs, this SCARA robot is capable of picking, packing, assembling and loading various products. Photo courtesy of Omron.

6. Control SKU proliferation

Robotic systems are engineered to meet the food and beverage industry’s need for high stock-keeping unit (SKU) mixed product distribution while eliminating errors involved with manually building a mixed SKU pack or pallet.

Take the industry’s emphasis on retailer-ready deliveries from distribution centers. Each pallet must include a variety of products—in retail-ready packaging—so retailers can directly replenish the shelf with minimal effort. That makes their jobs easier, but it can make building a pallet more difficult.

Palletizing robots can be programmed to fill pallets in completely custom patterns—even for high SKU requirements. Using palletizing robots for this type of operation increases throughput and efficiency—while decreasing time to market.

Robots, if incorporated correctly into a food and beverage processing or packaging production line, can improve operations and are flexible for future changes. Few other industrial automation solutions can have such an impact on brand protection, market share protection and ultimately profitability.

Robotics’ capabilities continue to increase with time. Major robot manufacturers are working diligently to upgrade their robots with increased load capacity, greater accuracy, increased reach and range of motion, improved speed, faster communication with external equipment and better safety features. How can you take advantage of all these benefits on your packaging line?

Co-author Laura Studwell is the food, beverage and packaging industry marketing manager for Omron, a provider of automation and safety products. She has worked in the food and packaging industries with associations and governing bodies throughout the Pan-Americas to drive standards for food safety and quality. Studwell received her MBA from Northern Illinois University and is an active member of PMMI, serving on the Emerging Leaders Committee. She is also a member of the Packaging Assn. of Canada, serving on the Ontario Region Leadership Council.

Co-author Dan Dibbern is Omron’s product manager for robotics and linear motors. He has a strong background developing turnkey automation solutions focused around robotics and has worked in the automation industry for more than 10 years. Dibbern received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from ITT and has active interest in Robotics Industries Assn. (RIA), PMMI, OMAC and ETG.

Keep your competitive edge

Laura Studwell, along with her colleague Mike Chen, product engineering manager at Omron, will be speaking at the upcoming Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit (July 7-8; Chicago). Their presentation, “The Future of Automation & Robotics: Holistic Planning for Incorporating New Machines on Your Manufacturing Line,” will be at 2:15 p.m. on Tues., July 7.

Produced by Packaging Digest and its owner UBM Canon, the event consists of two full days of conference sessions, with panel discussions on intelligent packaging and new materials for sustainability, sessions on Innovation and Design for Millennials, presentations on new technologies such as 3D Printing and much more. View the full agenda at When you like what you see, you can register here.

Cannabis-edibles packaging assures safety without sacrificing brand pizzazz

Cannabis-edibles packaging assures safety without sacrificing brand pizzazz
Snacks infused with medicinal marijuana convey an elegant image in upscale packaging.

Auntie Dolores gourmet marijuana-infused edibles, which are medicine in the form of food, pose a packaging design challenge—the solution to which incorporates both healthcare and food packaging techniques.

The company’s packaging is child-resistant, and dosage information is clearly stated on the front of each paperboard canister. But the visual effect is far from medicinal. Thanks to upscale, color-coded graphics, the black-lidded canisters convey an elegant brand image.

Auntie Dolores’ products, which are made from scratch and preservative free, include Savory Pretzels, Cheese Biscuits, Glazed Pecans, Cocoa Sparkle Cookies and Caramel Corn.

Julianna Carella, founder and CEO of California-based Auntie Dolores, discusses the brand and her company’s packaging.

How does the Auntie Dolores package design communicate the artisanal quality of the products?

Carella: Our packaging is vibrant with color and description, and stands apart from other cannabis edibles on the shelves in dispensaries. We use clearly branded packaging with sleek, clean design and concise dosing. Our ingredients and recipes include savory options and other flavor palates for the sophisticated consumer.

What is the significance of the black-and-white background on your packaging?

Carella: When we first got our start in this very gray, quasi-legal market, it was important to me to have something bold in black and white to counter that perception. I also like the other interesting colors against the black and white, as it makes all the colors of each product emblem pop more!

Are your products sold only in California? If so, your target market, at least for now, is strictly medical-cannabis patients, right?

Carella: Yes, our products are currently sold in medical-cannabis dispensaries in California, but we will be expanding to other legal states and into medical as well as recreational/adult-use markets. In other states, we follow whatever the regulations require. We love being involved in the medical-cannabis movement, as we got our start there, but actually feel our products are just as well suited for the adult-use market. We look forward to when California has these laws in place, so that we can accommodate the many enthusiasts who want our products.

Is there strong demand for artisanal cannabis-infused edibles in California?

Carella: There is a strong demand for anything that helps develop this industry, so that the products match the consumers in caliber and quality. For many years, the products available did not reflect the community of sophisticated consumers. But we feel there is a growing niche in California and everywhere, as cannabis enthusiasts seek out products with delicious flavor, quality ingredients and consistency.

What is the price range for your products?

Carella: Retail prices range from $4 to $40.

What package structures do you use? Are they custom or stock?

Carella: All of our packaging is 100% custom. Our products are packaged in child-proof plastic inside a recyclable, reusable cardboard canister. All of the components satisfy the various requirements in our industry while being as eco-conscious as possible.

Please describe the child-resistant features on your packaging.

Carella: The inner plastic bag, along with the plastic seal and stickers on the outside of the cardboard canister, all meet the child-proof requirements in California. There are many steps to opening the package, and small hands have difficulty.

How do your labels explain the cannabis dosing of the products?

Carella: One dose equals 10 mg THC. All of our products are labelled according to milligram content, how many 10-mg doses are included, and what one dose constitutes. In the case of our savory pretzels, for example, one dose is two to three pretzels, with 12 doses in the package, and this is indicated on the outer canister.

Did you work with an outside packaging design firm?

Carella: We created the designs internally, although hiring an outside firm is advised, as the process of designing new packaging is long, time sensitive and very detail oriented. Unless you have talented designers on staff to carry this out effectively, hiring an outside firm can actually save your company money in the end.

Limited-edition Barbasol cans take a trip to ‘Jurassic World’

Limited-edition Barbasol cans take a trip to ‘Jurassic World’
The Jurassic World limited-edition can designs maintain the familiar Barbasol brand stripes.

With the release of Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic World,” the dinosaurs are back—and not just in theaters. Perio Inc., in partnership with Universal Pictures, has created limited-edition, co-branded packaging designs for Barbasol shaving cream. The cans are decorated with images of roving and flying dinosaurs in addition to the partners’ logos.

Dinosaurs are a rarity, to say the least, on health and beauty aids (HBA) packaging. But they are a natural for the Barbasol brand, which first made its mark on the “Jurassic Park” franchise when a Barbasol can was used in the original 1993 film as a dinosaur-embryo carrier.

Included in the limited edition are Barbasol Original and Barbasol Soothing Aloe. The package graphics maintain the barbershop stripes, red for Original and green for Soothing Aloe. “Jurassic World” poster artist Mark Englert created the package graphics for the limited edition, merging Pteranodons and Velociraptors seamlessly with Barbasol’s iconic stripes.

To make Englert’s illustrations come to life (so to speak), Crown Aerosol Packaging USA printed the cans on a six-color offset-lithography press. After printing a standard white base coat on the cans, Crown printed all the graphics, plus varnish, in just one pass through the press.

From a brand perspective, “the challenge was to maintain a certain amount of Barbasol’s brand identity, when the Jurassic figures have obviously taken over the can,” says Janice DeLisio, plant manager of Crown’s Midwest Graphics Center. “There were actually two brands that we had to maintain. We had to maintain the ‘Jurassic World’ logo, and then of course the Barbasol logo.”

Technical challenges included maintaining true colors for the packages’ color-coded stripes and for Barbasol’s shield-shaped logo. The brand owner “wanted us to maintain the Barbasol dark blue signature color, which is a special ink, and the lighter blue that is in their logo. That’s where the real challenge came in, because the dark blue was part of the background, as well,” DeLisio explains.

Ultimately, the print job was accomplished using four process colors plus three spot colors. A spot red was used for the stripes on Original cans, and a spot green for the stripes on Soothing Aloe. The third spot color, Barbasol’s signature dark blue, was used for both designs. A UV gloss varnish on both cans provides a durable finish.

In recognition of the project’s complexity and superior results, the Intl.  Metal Decorators Assn. (IMDA) awarded Barbasol’s limited-edition packaging a 2015 IMDA Award of Excellence in its annual Print Quality Contest.

The limited-edition 10-oz. cans launched in May and will be available nationwide, while supplies last, in supermarkets, drug stores and major mass-merchandise chains.

EAS protein powder gives consumers a scoop on convenience

EAS protein powder gives consumers a scoop on convenience
Repackaging bulks up on convenience and on-shelf differentiation.

A scoop in lid for the new Building Block container of EAS Sports Nutrition protein powder supplements is reminiscent of Abbott Labs’ award-winning Similac baby formula packaging.

Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery and within a company’s own packaging portfolio may be the most efficient, too. Such is the case for EAS Sports Nutrition’s 100% Whey Protein Powder supplement in large multiserve containers. The packaging switched from the standard round containers and lid with scoop buried inside the powder to a category-differentiating rectangular container with the scoop affixed neatly inside the lid.

The minute I saw the product’s packaging promoted recently in a newspaper’s free-standing-insert advertising section (shown below) it struck a familiar bell: It looked to be a near-perfect match for Abbott Nutrition’s Similac baby formula AmeriStar Best-of-Show packaging for 2009-2010. With a little research I discovered why: EAS Sports Nutrition is a division of Abbot Labs.

Armed with that information, I reached out to the company and was put in touch with Heather Fries, general manager of Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition, who responded to my questions about this notable repackaging effort.

When was the new packaging introduced and what is the current status?

Fries: The new Building Block packaging for EAS 100% Whey, EAS Lean 15 and EAS Complete began shipping in early April. It was distributed nationally beginning June 1.

What are the varieties and pricing?

Fries: EAS 100% Whey, EAS Lean 15 and EAS Complete 2-lb and 1.7-lb containers were transitioned to the new package, each in chocolate and vanilla, for a total of six new SKUs. Prices may vary, as retailers ultimately set the price for our products in their store.

What was the previous packaging and how is this better?

Fries: Based on feedback from consumers and retailers, we found an opportunity to provide innovation in our packaging, while making EAS products easier for consumers to find on the shelf. The new Building Block packaging has an easy peel foil [lidstock], and easy access to the scoop in the lid helps hands and fingers stay clean.

Can you relay any feedback?

Fries: While it’s too early to tell on a national level, retailer acceptance to the new packaging has been strong, and consumer response in social media has been positive. Following are some examples:

@parkercarole: Love the new package…kudos to the marketing team for the idea…Building Block..square container…brilliant.

@LisaSexton: I love the scoop in the lid! How handy! No more digging around the powder with a fork to keep it off my fingers!

@perla737: I can’t wait to try it, no more digging for the scoop! Love that purple!

@JacquelineAnne: This bad boy is going to be so much easier to store and use! And storing the scooper in the lid…awesome!

What can you tell us about the packaging?

Fries: The injection-molded base container and overcap use a polypropylene resin. The sealing membrane is a multilayer lamination with a metallized PET barrier layer.

What were the main design goals? 

Fries: The container shape was developed to hold the necessary powder quantity for each product. The rectangular shape allowed us to update the graphic design of the labels to show both short-side and long-side front label displays.

Do what degree does this borrow from the award-winning Similac packaging?

Fries: We incorporated a few of the best features of our award-winning Similac SimplePac packaging, including the scoop in the lid. Easy access to the scoop makes the product easier to use, keeping hands and fingers clean. 

The rectangular design, similar to Similac, also allows the primary display panel to face consumers on the shelf, giving it an advantage over round packages. Round jars have a tendency to rotate over time, positioning the main display panel to the side or back on the shelf. The rectangular design also allows for a larger hand to scoop the powder from the container.