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Shelf Impact! Jim George

Plastic packaging: tooled up and ready to go

Introducing tool-free plastic packaging from J.L. Clark. Five great structures to choose from. Already tooled up and ready to go. With all the features, functionality and value-added post-mold operations you need to compete with your biggest competitors for a fraction of the startup cost.

JL Clark

Built in label "timer" reminds user to replace product

Arm & Hammer taps WS Packaging to devise a custom "timer" that notifies users when to replace baking soda in the fridge, prompting replacement sales.

WS Packaging Group Inc.

Video: Roll-fed expanded content labels in action

See this short video from Quality Assured that demonstrates how expanded content labels open and re-close for roll-fed labeling applications. Video also demonstrates in-line application on existing equipment.

Quality Assured

Tamper-evident shootout: which method do consumers most prefer

White paper from Axon compares all the major types of tamper evidence, from film bands, metal pop-up closures, breakaway closures, and under-cap seals. Covers sustainable developments in replacing PVC film with alternatives.

Axon Corporation

Video shows labeler for small cylindrical products

Video from Quadrel shows pressure-sensitive labeler using horizontal rollers to apply wraparound labels to small cylindrical products such as lip balm or glue stick.

Quadrel Labeling Systems

Shelf Impact! Advisory Board

Our packaging experts help shape the content and provide independent analysis.

February 25, 2011
In This Issue

thumbDust cover-carriers distinguish Maui Brewing's beers

Maui Brewing Co. is taking value to another dimension in craft beer...

thumb Heinz and Sargento-great marketers think alike

Who knew there was a "revolution" under way in the packaging of Heinz Beanz?

thumbPackage Gallery

Dust cover-carriers distinguish Maui Brewing's beers

By Jim George, Editor

Maui Brewing Co. is taking value to another dimension in craft beer by inserting lightweight, injection-molded, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) ring carriers on its cans. The handles complete the bundling of multipacks, and they are distinctive because of their dust covers.

The dust covers are designed to keep the can tops clean—a marketing plus for craft beer consumers. These distinctive carriers, provided by PakTech, are a natural fit for smaller-run craft beers and help give them an edge on shelf from mass-produced brews, says Garrett Marrero, Founder of Maui Brewing, Lahaina, a Maui, HI-based brewery.

"They look better, the cans don't fall out of them, and the can tops stay clean," Marrero says of the dust covers. "We want to increase the value to our consumers. Craft beer quality caters to a totally different consumer from mass-produced beer, and we believe the packaging needs to be just as high-quality as the beer going inside."

PakTech has been selling the carriers to beverage processors for several years. The company realized that by providing machines to apply them to cans, customers would continue to purchase the carriers.

The dust covers take time and care to apply to the cans. Maui Brewing recently increased production speed a whopping 12-fold and expanded its distribution reach with a faster and mostly automated line, also provided by PakTech, where the distinctive handled ring carriers are inserted on the beverage cans.

With this upgrade, Marrero projects that production volume for his craft beers, which include varieties like Bikini Blonde Lager, CoCoNut PorTeR, and Mana Wheat, will double from 11,000 barrels (2.5 million cans) in 2010 to more than 22,000 barrels (5 million to 6 million cans) in 2011. This will occur as the brewery's distribution expands from Hawaii, Japan, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Colorado to include Texas and Arizona in 2011.

"The new line is capable of 650 cans/min, but we choose to run between 200 and 300," Marrero notes. "If we run the machine at a higher speed, there is more wear and tear on the machine. For us, the sweet spot is 'jogging' at 200 to 300 cans per minute. A nice, comfortable jog is still 12 ½ times faster than before."



Heinz and Sargento—great marketers think alike

By Pat Reynolds, Editor, Packaging World

Who knew there was a "revolution" under way in the packaging of Heinz Beanz? That's the word chosen by RPC Containers, the maker of the 1-kg (2.20-lb) reclosable plastic Fridge Pack recently introduced in the U.K. The six-layer, PP/EVOH/PP container weighs 50 g, takes an 80-mm closure, and withstands retorting that delivers a 15-month shelf life.


Heinz isn't the only brand owner introducing a Fridge Pack concept. On this side of the pond, Sargento Foods is introducing its own Fridge Pack—a windowed paperboard carton of 18 individually wrapped cheese snacks.

Among the things I find remarkable about these two clever packages is that the press kits announcing them are dated two days apart. How fascinating that two brand owners an ocean apart were thinking along such similar lines—even to the point of using the same Fridge Pack nomenclature—and launched their brainchildren at virtually the same time.

But there's more here than mere chronological serendipity. These two packages—one plastic, one paper—are a vivid reminder that brand managers and package designers should always keep their field of vision wide open when it comes to packaging materials. Don't get so locked into paper, or plastic, or glass, or metal, or flexible film that you barricade yourself from a potential solution simply because you are closed-minded about materials options.


Also worth pointing out is the extent to which these packaging innovations help drive sales of well-known brands by providing a point of differentiation compared to private-label brands. Consider, for example, the Heinz container. It lets bean lovers enjoy beans in whatever portion they like and then return the package to the fridge until the next usage occasion. It's a way for Heinz to extend its brand by offering consumers different package formats to suit emerging lifestyle requirements. Heinz calls it "the ideal complement to the Heinz Beanz brand."

Adds Heinz Marketing Manager John Alderman, "We are sure that the Fridge Pack will become a popular purchase with consumers."

Equally consumer-focused is Sargento's take on the Fridge Pack. This Plymouth, WI, firm commissioned a Healthy Snack Survey that interviewed nationally representative samples of adults age 18 and over. A key finding was that Americans want healthful snacks that are easy to find. So Sargento designed a package accordingly.

"With Sargento Fridge Packs, we are helping consumers choose a wholesome and flavorful snack that they can easily see, grab, and go," says Senior Marketing Manager Erin Price.

These two package innovations remind me of a piece of advice from Pat Conroy, a Consumer Products Practice Leader at Deloitte. He believes that if national brands are to win sales from private-label competitors, they must shed homogeneity, be irreplaceable, and be a brand that the retailer cannot be. These two Fridge Packs succeed on all three counts.

Package Gallery

A closer look at the newest trends in today's packaging.

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OFF THE SHELF: Safeway scores with own-brand salty snacks

Jim George shows a good example of an increasingly frequent development: a private-label package that out-innovates the national brands.

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New 500-mL wine carton aimed at 'active, modern lifestyle'

Eco-friendly wine producer introduces line of 500-mL cartoned wines for consumer convenience and portability.

Bota Box, an eco-friendly wine producer of premium 3-L California varietals in Napa, CA, has announced an extension of its environmentally sensitive portfolio with the launch of Bota 500-mL in Tetra Pak packages. Bota Box will roll out its new, vintage-dated 500-mL wines nationwide with four of its most popular varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay. Each is priced at $4.99.


"We take great care in making sure our wines are packaged in environmentally friendly packaging, and in doing so, [we] have received an overwhelming response from our customers," says John Garaventa, Senior Brand Manager for Bota Box. "We knew it was time to push the envelope by bringing something fresh and innovative to quality-and eco-conscious wine enthusiasts. For us, Bota Tetra Pak cartons are a homerun: quality wine, sustainable packaging, and convenient size."

The 3-L Bota Box—packaged in 100%-recyclable, unbleached, post-consumer fiber, printed with soy-based inks—is already the green choice for wine enthusiasts, according to Bota Box. Lightweight Tetra Pak cartons will further those eco-friendly efforts by boasting a smaller carbon footprint than the equivalent amount of 750-mL glass bottles. The alternative packaging and size are said to reduce greenhouse gases by 75% and waste by 50%, cut fuel emissions due to the lighter shipping weight, and are produced primarily from paper, which is a renewable resource.

"In addition to having a lighter carbon footprint, Bota Tetra Pak cartons fall in sync with the active, modern lifestyle," adds Garaventa. "It's not surprising that Tetra Pak cartons are already widely accepted throughout Europe, Canada, and South America. The versatile containers are shatterproof, portable, and practical with a resealable, twist-off cap, making the Bota a perfect wine choice for ski trips, backpacking, camping, and outdoor entertainment."

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New design takes 'natural' brand to the next level

Well-branded natural products are good examples that represent a "higher order of benefits." Beyond sales, they're about people and offering healthier, better choices, as well as a profound respect for Earth.

They're about loving craftsmanship rather than mass production, as well as heart and soul. But at some point, they mature, and a good example is Wellshire Farms' Garrett County brand. Design Force recently contemporized the brand by updating it through graphic design on a paperboard carton. The brand was renamed Lou's Garrett Valley Naturals for Wellshire Farms owner Louis B. Colameco III.

"Our brand is a solemn promise to our customers. We needed to fully express its values in the retail marketplace," Colameco says.

After renaming the brand, the focus turned to presenting a fresh brand identity, and it was decided to create an identity perceived as handcrafted or artisanal rather than mass-produced. The new brand identity is framed in a cartouche with scalloped edging, and a handwritten script is used for the words "Lou's" and "Naturals." The words "Garrett Valley" appear in a clean, contemporary, yet approachable sans-serif font, while two green leaves convey the "natural" message on a soft, beige background.

The new design, he adds, presents principal brand assets quickly, and vivid photography creates appetite appeal. Above the photography, the words "All Natural" appear with the product name and description. Beneath the photo is the brand tag line, "Always in Good Taste … Naturally." The design presents a clean visual hierarchy that is easy to follow.

"By rebranding, establishing a new brand identity, and refreshing the packaging, we feel these products are better differentiated at retail," says Ted Mininni, Design Force President.

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