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'Add-ons' inject luster into Rochester's packaging 'gem'

As consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies become leaner, they’re making the value of each expense earn its place on the balance sheet.
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Nowhere is this more evident than with product manufacturers aspiring to leadership positions while also stripping costs to the bone.

In matters of packaging, expenses can be risky. So the option of contract packaging is entering conversations when introducing new products, especially if the packager can provide valuable "add-on" services.

Diamond Packaging is one packager that falls into this realm. The Rochester, NY, company provides package design services, special effects options, alternate surfaces, and other capabilities that answer today’s call for retail packaging with sales impact.

The add-ons come in the form of secondary packaging, kitting, assembly, fulfillment, and other services available at the company’s Diamond Contract Manufacturing (DCM) (www.diamondpackaging.com/contract_main.asp) division. The 80,000-sq-ft DCM facility operates next to Diamond Packaging.

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Diamond and DCM target CPG companies operating within 350 miles of Rochester. These product manufacturers outsource at least $100,000 of packaging business annually and also create and market consumer products operating at the high end of their industries. Prospective customers are often small and mid-size companies lacking an internal packaging group or the ability to create packaging on their own.

One CPG company that fits this profile is Leveractive, in Webster, NY. The interactive media and software development company approached Diamond to create striking cartons for its new Giggles Computer Funtime for Baby flagship product.

Optimizing color

Leveractive markets the Giggles software series so parents can introduce their infants to computers in an educational and entertaining way. Leveractive challenged Diamond to capture the Giggles brand’s attributes during package design with playful visual elements in a rainbow of colors.

"The manufacturer uses color to communicate its message," Jason Aymerich, sales manager at DCM, tells Contract Packaging during a visit at DCM. "It is important that the colors chosen relate to each other, helping to build the brand by creating a family of products.

"We like to help our customers sell products by creating shelf presence, and packaging is a big part of that."

Diamond’s answer is to be more than a packager and fulfillment house. The company leverages its technical managers and also markets itself as an innovative printer.

Giggles CD gift sets and sleeves put these capabilities to the test. To heighten the shelf impact, Diamond and DCM replicate photo-quality images that exceed the sharpness of half-tone images.

Diamond delivers this level of quality using its proprietary TruCOLOR color system. The process uses six colors to accurately and optimally reproduce more than 1,000 colors in near-photographic fidelity through offset printing. The digital process provides marketers with vibrant, subtle colors. In addition, purchasing managers looking to control external production costs score reductions by avoiding expensive printing-plate changes.

The color system incorporates frequency modulated (FM) screening. This process varies the size of the dots that form the printed images. The 20-micron dots eliminate challenges related to screen angles and produce smoother vignettes and softer color-to-color transitions that are difficult to achieve with traditional four-color process printing, says Dennis Bacchetta, director of marketing.

After the cartons are printed, they move to DCM. An automated line fills and seals the cartons in runs of 5,000 for shipment to a fulfillment house, Aymerich explains. Up to 14 packaging lines are operating at any given time at DCM.

Design to distribution

Another entrepreneurial marketer that is turning to Diamond and DCM for special packaging needs is Life Science Nutritionals Inc., Stoney Creek, ON, Canada. Life Science wants to establish its Ironkids Gummies nutritional supplements by marketing the brand through Wal-Mart and GNC nutritional supplement specialty stores across the U.S.

The Gummies project is part of Diamond and DCM’s accelerating push into healthcare packaging. Life Science’s emphasis on stunning packaging is a bit unusual in the pharma industry, where product manufacturers typically concern themselves with new-product development and FDA regulations. About 50% of Diamond’s customers operate healthcare and personal care brands, with nearly 18% in pharmaceuticals. DCM is ISO 9000:2000-certified and cGMP-compliant for the pharma and healthcare industries, and also FDA-registered for secondary packaging and labeling.

Diamond produces the SBS cartons, with different color-coded packages identifying each product variety: Ironkids Gummies Multi-Vitamins for Active Kids, Ironkids Gummies Vitamin C for Active Kids, and Ironkids Gummies Omega 3 for Active Kids. Foil-stamping highlights the Gummies brand name on both the front and back panels of the carton. It also adds luster to the large, red K that is stamped on the front panel. Rich illustrations of lemons, oranges, and strawberries depict the flavor varieties of the vitamins contained in each container.

Diamond offset-prints the cartons in five colors with spot UV gloss over the Gummies brand name.

Filled, unlabeled bottles arrive at the contract packaging plant from suppliers in Germany and Canada. Next, DCM auto-fills the bottles into the cartons, then seals the cartons, and shrink-wraps the cartons into four-pack bundles. Each multi-pack is a saleable unit. Finally, the co-packing operation bundles six Ironkids four-packs into master shipping cases. DCM sources and purchases the corrugate cases from Koch Container (www.kochcontainer.com).

Prior to assembling the packs, DCM consults with retailers on pallet configurations and package dimension guidelines on behalf of Life Science. Among the considerations are merchandising preferences that GNC details in a 37-page vendor manual.

With this stable of design-to-distribution services—and a close proximity to Canada—Diamond and DCM believe they can help push more high-value products into the marketplace effectively. [CP]

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