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Dairy reshapes PET bottle for national expansion

Dairy reshapes PET bottle for national expansion
Promised Land’s milk packaging is refreshed by a structural and graphics redesign done for three bottle sizes.

A packaging change to a proprietary, ergonomic PET bottle paired with a new label design that meshes nostalgia with a modern look across 25 milk SKUs positions Promised Land Dairy for brand recognition nationally.

For small companies, the promised land of business success is to grow from a local icon into a national player. That’s no different for Promised Land Dairy, Dallas, TX, which is relying on major changes to its milk packaging to help the brand gain recognition across America. The dairy, which has seen 45% growth in adding 2,536 stores over the past three years, continues to expand throughout the U.S. and will be available nationally by mid-2016.

In conjunction with that expansion the company is now introducing a new and improved custom PET milk-bottle design for 14oz single-serve, quart and half-gallon sizes of flavored and white milks that’s easier to grip, pour, and open. The new packaging will be across the brand’s entire milk portfolio of some 25 SKUs including limited-time flavors such as Mint Chocolate Chip Milk, Salted Carmel Latte Milk and Egg Nog for the holiday season. 

The new bottle and packaging design has been in development for about a year, according to Allen Spence, director of marketing for parent company Borden Dairy Co. He says that PET continues as the bottle polymer for two reasons: Its part of the brand’s heritage, and consumers want to see the rich and creamy product inside, as they have since the launch in 1987.

“The design began as a vision of our packaging design firm, The Launch Point, and was finessed to completion by bottle supplier CKS Packaging to our manufacturing specifications,” Spence says. “CKS was elected for its expertise in dairy packaging and strong design capabilities, especially at it relates to packaging ergonomics. It is a new supplier for us and they have been a great partner.

“Our previous bottle, while beautiful, was not proprietary to us, and with our national expansion plans in place, we did not want to not own our bottle. We wanted to maintain key brand equities, modernize the look and feel, as well as our label to provide more shelf impact. The bottle is part of our story, and we love a good story!

Spence tells the rest of the packaging and design story in a Q&A that on the next page that starts with the benefits of the new bottle—and how it is more spill-proof now.

Limited edition and seasonal flavors in the new design will provide periodic additions to the brand’s year-round products.

What are the benefits of the new bottle?

Spence: New typefaces, color palettes and the more modern, art deco design of the bottles reflect the evolution of the Promised Land brand’s overall look and feel, while still evoking nostalgia consumers have come to instantly recognize. The new bottle family now unites the products to give a distinct, owned look to Promised Land milks. The bottles are more ergonomically correct and address the consumer’s previous challenges with spillage while the new mid-height tapering allows the bottles to be gripped on all sides by our consumers.

Exactly how does the new bottle address spillage?

Spence: The 38mm neck finish is more of an industry standard size and what consumers would expect with milk. It provides a more controlled pouring experience. The larger neck size on our old quart and half gallon bottles increased the likelihood of spillage. Improving ergonomics and usability were priorities with this packaging refresh. 

What were the design goals—and what graphic elements deliver on that?

Spence: The overall objective of the new bottle design was to evoke nostalgia by looking reminiscent of a vintage glass milk bottle. The business challenges that needed to be met in attaining that goal were trying to stay as close as possible to current specifications while making sure we improved our shelf presence. How this objective translated during label design was the need to maintain the air of nostalgia while being distinctly modernized. We did this through a more balanced, cleaner design, a simplified logo (without the filigree), while showcasing our beautiful Jersey cows. We think the design, as verified through consumer research, delivers on all of these elements.

Old versus new design on the right reflects a cleaner design, simplified logo and improved bottle design.

How do the graphics compare to the previous label? 

Spence: We changed design houses between this label and the old label. The graphics in the new label are much more balanced, vibrant, and indicative of current design principles. On our half gallon and quarts there is more real estate to share our story. Label design agency The Launch Point was a great partner in helping us achieve what we were hoping to achieve aesthetically.

Are the packaging changes messaged on the label?

Spence: We are not actually communicating the change on label. We are using more peripheral communication, such as in-store point-of-sale materials to communicate that the bottle is new but that the contents are the same and consumers can expect the same high quality, Jersey milk they have always enjoyed. For current markets, our “Moo Crew” loyalists will immediately notice the change in look and feel, and based on our research and early market data, they are thrilled with the new bottle. For our expansion markets, the entire Promised Launch proposition will be new so everything about the bottle will be new!

What was the largest hurdle to overcome?

Spence: The biggest packaging hurdle was sustaining the structural integrity of the bottle while accounting for multiple externalities. We are making tweaks each step of the way to ensure continuous improvement and excellent service delivery to our customers and consumers.

What’s been the response?

Spence: The trade response has been one of wide acceptance and praise. We could not be more thrilled with the trade’sreaction.  We keep hearing from buyers and category managers that “our new bottles not only reflect the quality milk inside, but carry forward the core brand equities.” It has been exciting knowing that our new bottles are now more reflective of our story and that people are taking notice. Our most loyal consumers, while eager about the new look and understanding of the change, provide comments reminiscing about the “good old days when we were in a glass bottle.” You have to appreciate that level of fandom and their longtime continued support. 

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Have a taste for food packaging? You’ll find plenty of food for thought during EastPack 2016, June 14 to 15 in New York City.

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