Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pack It Up

Have you ever stopped to think about how important packaging is to a product? The size, color, shape, and material used to hold a product can make the difference between an item flying off store shelves or sitting until it is past its prime. One of the major elements of the marketing mix, packaging is key to attracting a customer's attention; especially when consumers often make a judgment about the contents of the box, bag, or container based on it. Read on to find out how some food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies are creating innovative packages to help their manufactured goods stand out in grocery stores and elsewhere.

Today's consumers are more in touch with where their products originate. In addition to seeking items that are organic, local, and economical, buyers are looking for "green" packaging. In response to this preference, many companies have reduced, reused, and recycled the materials that make their packaging. In particular, many of today's water bottles are made with less plastic. Nestlé Waters' brands like Deer Park and Ice Mountain, as well as PepsiCo's Aquafina, and Coca-Cola's Dasani have all created eco-friendly bottles made with less plastic.

Even though cereal companies were the first to start creating their boxes from recycled paper and cardboard, with Kellogg's using recycled board for most of its products since 1906 and General Mills since the 1930s, the companies have recently done more to reduce their materials and consumer waste. By getting rid of the cardboard backing from Special K Cereal Bars, Kellogg's eliminated 4 million pounds of packaging. Kellogg's removed another three million pounds of plastic packaging through liner reductions in 2006. General Mills reduced its carbon footprint for Hamburger Helper when its packaging team reduced the number of pouches in each carton and its product development team changed the shape of the pasta to pack it more tightly in the box.

Recently, I noticed a pack of eight Quaker Chewy Granola Bars on a Target shelf, not in a box, but held together by a type of stickers or tape. Innovative and less waste! And who can forget this fall's SunChips controversy, when Frito-Lay ditched its compostable bag due to a backlash from consumers over the bag's loud rustling noises.

Packaging can also change to accommodate more product. In the case of Heinz, the 141 year old company decided its small ketchup packets weren't enough for most users, and just last week launched its dual-function Dip & Squeeze ketchup package for the food service industry, giving consumers three times more ketchup per packet.

Companies might also work with their packaging design to update a product's look, or to make it easier for consumers to find a product by adding brighter colors, removing wording to highlight the product better, or inserting text to explain benefits like low fat or whole grain.

If you're interested in learning more about packaging, online articles can help to explain the choices companies make when choosing their packages. You can also visit the Institute of Packing Professionals, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, or Interpack, the process and packaging international trade fair, for more information.

When at the supermarket, what have you seen on shelves? New packages? Creative packages that solve a problem? Leave a message and tell me more!

No comments:

Post a Comment