April 9, 2009
Market competition in this day and age is quite stiff, and as a result, businesses and other organizations are frantically trying to find new ways to get customers to purchase their products. So how is it possible to stand out amidst such stiff competition? By utilizing excellent packaging, your company can bring more customers in. Nothing tends to get the attention of a customer the same way that outstanding packaging design can. At the point of purchasing a product, packaging is what serves as a direct link between the product within and the customer looking to make a purchase.
Packaging will appeal to the sense of style and the desires of your customers, which will help them make a decision. Marketing and advertising will both play important roles in the process, but neither of these roles are nearly as close to your product as packaging is, because the decision to make a purchase during the shopping experience is made specifically at the store level and not at the marketing or advertising level. Packaging is capable of drawing the consumer in, in addition to changing the view of a brand in order to help the customer make the purchase that they need.
What we need to think about then, is our packaging that we are using as well as the choices that we are making when it comes to packaging and selling our products. If the packaging is not doing anything when it comes to drawing attention to the product, then nobody is going to buy the product. Great packaging designs are going to support the brand, and in many cases, good packaging is also capable of building, creating and reflecting the brand. Whether your packaging is designed for business to business sales or consumer retail sales, packaging is everything when it comes to truly reflecting the brand.
It is important that you really get to know your market well so that you can make sure you are having a positive level of penetration. Also, having a good packaging design will continue to work for your company and your product for many years to come, which will allow you to build a large amount of loyalty all along the way. It is important, for this reason, that you make a point to know your customers well, and that you choose your packaging options accordingly in order to be able to penetrate the market with your packaging. When you come up with a solid concept for packaging, that is when you can generate real brand power, garnering the appreciation of your customers and building business as a result.
April 7, 2009
Think about the traditional three R’s associated with waste hierarchy, which are reduce, reuse and then recycle. These three R’s associated with the waste hierarchy should absolutely be considered when it comes to product development and packaging development as well.
1. Prevention is step one, because waste prevention should definitely be a primary goal when it comes to product and packaging development. Packaging should only be used where it is absolutely needed. Proper packaging is also an excellent way for your company to help to prevent excess waste. Packaging can play an important role in helping to prevent loss or damage to the contents of the packaging. The energy content as well as the material usage for whatever product is being packaged is usually going to be much greater than the energy content of the package itself. One of the most vital functions of the package is to protect whatever contents are inside for their intended use. For example, if the product is either damaged or degraded, then its material content and energy content may have been entirely lost.
2. Minimization is also known as source reduction, and relates to the mass and the volume of packaging. The mass and the volume of packaging, for each individual unit of content, are capable of being measured as well as used as one of the numerous criteria for minimizing during the process of packaging and design. Reduced packaging makes it possible for costs to be significantly minimized. Packaging engineers are consistently working toward reducing their packaging.
3. Reuse is important because it is encouraged for packaging or components of packaging to be reused for other purposes. When packaging is capable of being returned, it is even more useful as well as more economically viable as well, especially when it comes to closed loop logistical systems. In some case inspection and cleaning are required, and repair and recouperage may also be required in some instances.
4. Recycling involves the reprocessing of packaging materials, including pre consumer materials and post consumer materials in order to create new products. Emphasis is placed on recycling the largest packaging components, especially when it comes to primary components such as paper, plastic, steel and aluminum for example. Smaller components can also be chosen but they are sometimes much more difficult to separate, so they are only chosen when they do not contaminate the operations of recycling.
5. Energy recovery allows for heat to be made available from packaging components through refuse derived fuel and waste to energy processes which can be conducted within approved facilities.
6. Disposal is needed for some materials used in packaging, which means incineration as well as placement within a sanitary landfill. Certain states located within the United States will regulate packages for contents that are potentially toxic, especially if these packages have the potential to contaminate the air from incineration. Packaging like this should never simply be littered.
We hope this provides you a good starting point for your greener package design.
April 6, 2009
“Talk about your childhood wishes, you can even eat the dishes.” — Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Can you imagine going to the store, purchasing a yogurt cup, and then eating not only the contents of the cup but also the cup itself? This is a new innovation that is happening in the trend toward creating healthier and environmentally friendly alternatives. There is an organic food company operating out of California that is working hard to research this type of product.
Another example of alternative food packaging is edible films. The Division of Agriculture of the University of Arkansas is working on inventing and patenting several different protein-based films that are capable of serving as a carrier for organic acids capable of inhibiting the growth of three major food borne bacteria, which are E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria moncytogense. Additionally, these films can be used as a vehicle to deliver antioxidants, flavors, nutraceuticals, colors and a number other functional types of ingredients. There are a number of anticipated applications which include meats, vegetables, fruits, seafood, frozen pizza and frozen snacks, cereals, nuts and seeds and much more. This category is proving itself to be at the very cutting edge for when it comes to innovative food packaging trends in this day and age.
However, there are a number of challenges that this type of packaging is liable to face. The prices associated with organic foods are tending to be higher when it comes to the supermarket channel. The problem is going to have more to do with supply and demand in this particular instance. According to a study by Arcus, organic food has grown by 20 percent over the period of the last decade. And yet, it is still being perceived as a small business, with only 3.5 percent of the food industry in Canada, or $1.8 billion dollars per year. Small changes in the way of supply and demand are capable of rocking the entire industry. For example, if a company has a 7 percent share and wants to grow to 10 percent, they will need to grow their entire supply chain by as much as 50 percent. The supply chain just does not exist the same way today.
The one thing that dissuades customers from buying organic today in most cases is the price of the food. The explosion that private label organic food is experiencing is definitely going to be a good thing. Private labels are finally entering into this market in a truly big way, allowing large scale retail chains such as Safeway as well as Whole Foods to focus on creating organic food products as a differentiator in terms of competition, allowing this category to finally reach out to people who shop based on price. Private label organic is also making organic more acceptable on a broad scale, allowing for a deeper level of society to be penetrated. Finally, organic private label will create additional supply to fuel supply and demand as farmers and suppliers begin to realize that organic food is here to stay and is not just another fad.
April 3, 2009
Many of the products that have been innovative over the years have been successful as a result of packaging which has done its job. When the packaging is well made and well developed, you will fall in love with the product as a result. Sometimes the success of a product is completely dependent upon packaging that works. Everything needs packaging in some form of another, and when the packaging works, the product contained within is likely to work as well.
There have been a wide variety of different product packaging innovations that have come to make our lives a lot easier. There are also a number of different types of packaged products that we tend to simply take for granted, without necessarily realizing how the packaging made the product possible. For example, could we have potato chips or eggs without their packages? There are dozens of different egg drop contests all over the country that are held to create unique packaging options for eggs. Could we have toothpaste without the unique packing that makes it possible? Could we pop microwave popcorn without its unique bag?
There is a truly astounding list of packaging innovations that have been able to influence our everyday lives. There have been a myriad of different important packing innovations that have been developed in the last fifty years or so. There are a lot of key words that are regularly used when describing innovations in the world of product packaging, including terms like microwavable, shelf stable, juice box, meal replacement and home meal are all terms that have come as direct results from innovations in the world of product packaging. What many companies are now facing is how they can integrate innovative packaging concepts into their own project packaging in order to get the most out of their product packaging while utilizing the newest technologies as well as the most effective ways of packaging something.
How can you take your current type of packaging and somehow improve upon it? Looking at packaging innovations in the food industry is an excellent way to see how companies have been able to make packaging work for them. For examples, Sargento cheese was the first cheese company to put a reclosable zipper on the packaging for their shredded cheese. Wishbone Salad Dressing was the first company to develop salad dressing that could be sprayed rather than poured. Clorox developed a bleaching application capable of being applied directly to a stain, a Clorox bleach pen. By looking at these examples, it should not be impossible for you to see what it means to make packaging work for you. If your product can be improved upon in some way based on its packaging, or if you can somehow develop packaging that is innovative, then you are definitely making your packaging work for you.
April 2, 2009
You can generally look at packaging as falling into several different types of groups. Transport packages or distribution packages, for example, are packages that are used to ship, handle and store inner packages or products. Some people identify consumer packages as packages that are directly aimed for a household or a consumer.
Packaging is also capable of being discussed in relation to what type of product is actually being packaged within, such as bulk chemical packaging for example, or medical device packaging, over the counter packaging for drugs, food packaging for retail sales, military materials packaging, pharmaceuticals packaging and so on and so forth.
Sometimes it is convenient for people to categorize the different types of packaging based on their layer of function, such as primary packaging, secondary packaging, tertiary packaging and so on and so forth. In this particular scenario when it comes to identifying packaging based on its function, primary packaging is described as the material that is designed to envelope and to d the specific product itself. Primary packaging is usually the absolute smallest possible unit of use or of distribution, and it is also commonly regarded as the packaging that actually comes in a direct level of contact with the actual contents. Secondary packaging on the other hand is the type of packaging that is outside of the primary level of packaging and this level of packaging functionality is often used specifically to group a number of primary packages together with one another. The third level of packaging is tertiary packaging, which is especially common for bulk handling, transport shipping as well as warehouse storage. The most common form of tertiary packaging is a palletized unit loan that is packed into tight containers.
When soda pop is poured into aluminum cans and sealed, the aluminum can is perceived to be the primary form of packaging because it is the closest form of packaging to the actual product. The aluminum cans are sold in cases made of cardboard, which are perceived to be the secondary form of packaging because they are the packages that contain the primary packages. Finally, the tertiary form of packaging is perceived as whatever specific form of packaging is used for the purpose of wide spread distribution, such as a pallet system for example, where a large number of cases of cans of soda are wrapped in shrink wrap and carried on large wooden pallets to their destination.
These broad categories are often viewed as being somewhat arbitrary in nature. For example, depending on the specific use, shrink wrap is capable of being considered as primary packaging when it is being applied directly to the specific product, but it is also considered secondary packaging when the shrink wrap is used to combine smaller packages, and in some distribution packs shrink wrap is used as tertiary packaging as it keeps large pallets of products together in one place.
September 4, 2008
For those of you interested in staying current on regulations that effect the food packaging industry, there is a website dedicated to this very topic.
PackagingLaw.com is an online resource for both national and international packaging laws. This is a free resource sponsored by the law firm of Keller and Heckman LLP.
PackagingLaw.com is the leader in up to date information on laws effecting the product design and packaging communities. The website features regular updated regulatory news, links to packaging industry and government websites, monthly focus on topics, the ability to consult a law specialist online, and information on the FDA Food Contact Notification system.
Don’t make a costly mistake. be sure to visit their site before you package your food or drug product.
September 3, 2008
When does “organic” truly mean “organic”?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently established new standards for organically grown foods to clarify any confusion. The new rules define how and when products and marketing materials may bear the term “organic” or the new USDA “Organic” seal.
The rules state that:
- Products labeled “100% Organic”must be made entirely of organic materials.
- Products labeled “Organic” or “95% Organic” must consist of at least 95% organically grown ingredients.
- Products that have at least 70% organic ingredients may be marketed as “Made with Organic Ingredients” and may list up to three of those ingredients on the front of the product.
Products containing less that 70% organically grown ingredients may not make statements about the organically grown ingredients on the front of the product. The organic ingredients may only be declared in the list of ingredients.
Additionally, the new rules prohibit the use of irradiated and bio-technically enhanced ingredients in the production of any organic products.
Products allowed to display the new USDA seal must originate from farms and processors that have been certified by a private or public agency accredited by the USDA.
Most consumers believe that organically grown food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally grown foods. Many are willing to pay extra for the perceived benefits.
The USDA has stated that the new USDA Organic seal on packages is simply a marketing standard and not a stamp of approval. Still, many believe that the USDA Organic stamp will be perceived as an endorsement or a mark of quality.
Already there is talk that the new seal may have to be redesigned—or abandoned all together—if consumers misinterpret the meaning of the seal.
For addition information, download the official USDA publication:
Organic Packaging (39 KB | .pdf)
September 3, 2008
We have all purchased product that the checkout clerk had to pass over a special electronic pad before they placed the item into the bag.
Why did the clerk have to do that?
Chances are, they were deactivating an electronic device attached to, or hidden within, the product you purchased.
Source tagging is the process of adding a small electronic device to a product in order to deter shrinkage (theft). The device sets off a store alarm if it is not deactivated at the time of checkout.
To everyone but would-be thieves, source tagging creates a win-win-win situation: the devices allow retailers to focus on honest customers instead of worrying about shoplifters; product manufacturers are being provided more shelf space for items that are normally considered high shrink; and customers are able to handle product that is normally stowed out of sight. The benefits so far outweigh any negatives that industry experts expect more and more product to contain these devices.
But who will apply these devices? Most retailers want the tags to be applied during the manufacturing or packaging process instead of at the retail level. Not only does it eliminate the possibility of employee tampering but it also makes the process of stocking shelves more efficient.
September 2, 2008
There are always new and outstanding opportunities for packaging retail products.
For example, an item in a poly bag with a header could be upgraded to a blister pack and garner a higher price point due to a greater perceived value. Or a product on a skin board could be packaged into a clamshell and, not only look better, but offer greater protection from damage.
Recently a major snack food manufacturer discovered that the printed polyethylene sack offered numerous benefits over the corrugate trays they had been using for their individual snack items. Not only did the printed sacks cost less than the printed trays but consumers loved the brighter and snappier graphics available on the plastic sacks and thus bought more product!
The brown bag with a handle on it has been around grocery and department stores for decades but the idea of delivering multiple single serve units within a sack just hadn’t caught on in the manufacturing arena. That is, not until high impact graphics were added and a manufacturing system that could be used to package large numbers of sacks within a single shift.
But how did this revolutionary sacking technology and solution evolve?
Aaron Thomas Company, working with the FORMOST Equipment Corporation, took basic bread bagging equipment and re-engineered the loading areas and in-feed designs to handle the loading of multiple single-serve corn and potato chip bags into pre-made printed sacks. The mechanisms necessary to automatically fill the sacks were then fine tuned to neatly pack the sacks with organized rows of product to reduce damage and enhance customer satisfaction.
Later, a process to automatically seal the bags with standard or double heat seals was incorporated as was in-line pass or fail check weighing validation, automatic bag labeling, and multi-wicket sack feeding. It took almost a year to incorporate all the modifications necessary to maximize production throughput and to minimize production costs.
This revolutionary packaging technology is now available in all three of our locations. It has even been co-opted by our client and is used now nationwide in each of their manufacturing facilities! This resulted in our being honored with the prestigious “Contract Manufacturing Supplier of the Year” award in recognition of our efforts and accomplishments.
As you can see, packaging revolutions are challenging but not impossible if the right conditions are met. First, you need a strong vision of how you want your product packaged and the benefits it offers over existing packaging solutions. Second, you need a product that has the volume and longevity to justify the emotional buy-in and capital investment of your contract packaging partners. And finally, you need a contract packager that has the ability to think out side the box… or tray in this case… to get the job done.
September 1, 2008
Looking for the “next big thing” in packaging? How about big things in printed bundle wrapped packages!
Food and beverage companies are using colorful graphics to package their large and bulky items in bold new ways. You may already be familiar with trays of bottled water engulfed in printed film bearing the likeness of beautiful mountains or picturesque island scenes. But and more and more products are switching to printed bundle film every day. Soon you may see cans of soup, packs of soda and beer, and even items such as kitty litter bundle wrapped in printed film.
Why? The visual impact the packaging has on the consumer is the driving force behind this new wave of multi-packing. People are buying it.
But is bundle wrapping in printed film right for your product?
You will want to examine the cost of using printed film. Minimum film orders are usually in the tens of tons and typical production runs are in the tens of thousands. Also, depending on the packaging, the cost of film may be more or less than your existing packaging solution.
And then you have to consider the impact new packaging could have on your sales. For example, if you sell soda, you may determine that the cost of printed film is more than plastic rings, but the graphic impact may move product off the shelves quicker for just few pennies more.
Hands down the printed polyethylene wins over chipboard and corrugated cases or trays for visual impact. Perhaps by switching to bundle film with a great graphic design, your products will fly out of the coolers and off the pallets faster your competitor’s products that are still packaged in plain-Jane trays or clear shrinkable film. Projections are that club sales are going to skyrocket with products wrapped in printed polyethylene film.
If you are considering new packaging for your product, why not take advantage of the increased billboard area afford by bundle wrapping your multi-packs in printed film? Printed polyethylene makes great looking packages, great point of sale impact, and increased sales.
Printed bundle film has the title of the “next big thing” all wrapped up.