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Breadings stand up

For 25 years, Dutch-American Foods of Dolton, IL, has sold its breading mixes to foodservice and institutional accounts. But last year the firm decided to market at retail, and management felt an unusual package would be a key to success.
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So unlike its established competitors which use flexible bags inside folding cartons Dutch-American opted for a clear reclosable stand-up pouch made of 3-mil low-density polyethylene.

This approach is more cost effective than bags in cartons says vice president of sales and marketing Bruce Stevens. But it wasn't cost savings that drove the choice in packaging. "We wanted consumers to be able to see what they were getting" says Stevens.

Packaging differs from that of the competition in other ways as well. For instance while most competitors sell 10- or 12-oz packages of mix for about $1.49 Dutch-American's stand-up pouch holds 16 oz and sells for $1.99.

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Perhaps the most noticeable feature that sets Dutch-American apart from its peers is the package's recloseable zipper. It's put on the premade pouch by its manufacturer Milhiser Inc. (Richmond VA). Already formed into the pouch is the gusset in the bottom that permits the pouch to stand up after filling.

Milhiser makes and sells the patented pouches under license from Jaguar Packaging (Burlington Ontario Canada). Jaguar's Gerry Davoren claims the Standzip(TM) is the only premade zippered pouch that can be filled through the bottom. The key advantage he says is that it eliminates the difficulties inherent in filling through the zipper. For one thing the filler operator doesn't have to align the two zipper halves and close them. At Dutch-American the operators hold the bottom open beneath the spout of a volumetric filler and press a foot pedal to commence filling. A band sealer heat-seals the bottom.

Another advantage is that the folded-over top also provides a tamper-evident feature. To get to the zipper and open the bag the consumer must tear along a perforated line across the top of this fold.

Graphics are modest. Brightly colored pressure-sensitive labels carry the load. Weber Marking Systems (Arlington Heights IL) supplies unprinted labels and Dutch-American prints them in-house on a Legitronic thermal-transfer printer also from Weber Marking. Ingredients and cooking directions are in smallish type while the flavor is prominently displayed. A UPC code is part of the label design.

Currently the supermarket merchandisers in the seafood meat or deli departments are left to their own devices when it comes to displaying Dutch-American's nine varieties of breadings. Soon however the pouches will be packaged in a corrugated shipper with a tearaway section that will allow stacked cases to become their own in-store display.

Distribution of Dutch-American's breadings is currently limited to supermarkets in northwest Indiana. But Iowa is next and other regions Stevens predicts will follow.

"Our packaging is unique in the category" says Stevens. "The colorful labels and larger volume makes for a pretty dramatic presentation."

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