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P&G tests snacks in stand-up, resealable pouches

Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble has begun test-marketing Eagle-brand snack foods in stand-up pouches with zipper reclosures. The test, which began in August, is only in Portland, ME.

The pretzel and corn twist snacks are available for $1.99 each. Although the weights differ due to different product densities-10.5 oz for corn twists and 5.5 oz for pretzels-the bags are very similar in size.

While such pouches are no longer novel most packagers have shied away from using them for mass-market high-volume snacks such as pretzels because they're more expensive than traditional vertical form/fill/seal bags. Though P&G wouldn't comment on future plans some experts believe the company hopes the resealable stand-up pouch will help it win marketshare in a highly competitive segment. Salty snacks have long been dominated by Frito-Lay.

As usual P&G won't identify machinery or materials used to make the pouch. However side and top seals reveal that the package is formed from a metallized film lamination on a horizontal f/f/s machine. It is believed the pouch is made on a Laudenberg from Profile Packaging (Sarasota FL) but that couldn't be confirmed at press time.

Although the packages are distributed for the Maine test via store-door delivery P&G hasn't said whether such a distribution method will be used nationally. USA Today reported that P&G may deliver the product via the conventional warehouse distribution system where it has more experience. But that exposes the products to more handling in a rougher distribution environment risky for delicate snacks. Frito-Lay-as well as many regional snack companies-delivers direct to stores to minimize breakage.

P&G wouldn't comment on the delivery method or timing for the national rollout according to spokesperson Lisa Hulse Jester. However she did say initial results seem promising. "Our early [indication] from consumers has been very positive."

The six-product line-up consists of three fat-free pretzel and three low-fat corn twist varieties. P&G bought the Eagle name from Anheuser-Busch in 1996.

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