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Stand-up pouches push the retail envelope

Nabisco rolls out Mini Chips Ahoy! cookies in a resealable stand-up pouch while Patrick Cudahy uses a pouch for frozen, precooked meats. And in Ecuador, an integral straw helps kids sip fruit drinks from a stand-up pouch.
FILED IN:  Package design  > Structural
Food and beverage marketers continue to introduce products in stand-up pouches aimed at providing consumers with extra convenience. Recent launches in North America by Nabisco and Patrick Cudahy for food products along with a children’s beverage in South America serve as good examples.

In March East Hanover NJ-based Nabisco introduced Mini Chips Ahoy!® cookies in a zippered resealable stand-up pack. Industry sources indicate the cookies are contract-packaged at about 50/min on a GMB-26 STU/S horizontal pouch machine from Bossar USA (Sarasota FL). David Smith Nabisco’s senior director of packaging development would only confirm that a horizontal machine is used to make the pack from rollstock.

Ann Smith Nabisco’s senior director of marketing communications confirms that Printpack (Atlanta GA) converts the material but she doesn’t say much about the structure. Sources tell Packaging World that it includes polyester/low-density polyethylene/metallized biaxially oriented polypropylene/LDPE/sealant. Reverse-printing is done on a gravure press in eight colors.

The gusseted pouch holds 1 lb of cookies. The pack’s “metallic blue” background a big bold version of the product’s well-known logo and appetizing product photography make the pack stand out on store shelves.

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“The graphics of the metallized film and the color printing are vibrant and the product logo jumps right off the packaging” asserts Ann Smith. “The pouch provides consumer convenience and is the perfect size to throw in a gym bag or in the car on the way to the soccer field. It’s resealable so it has a freshness aspect to it and offers hand-to-mouth convenience for kids.” She reports that the shelf life is 12 months.

Sold nationwide in two varieties chocolate chip and chocolate chip and pecans the products have been seen on store shelves priced between $2.79 and $2.99. “Retailers have been very excited by the new packaging” says Ann Smith. “Sales have exceeded our expectations.”

She says that while Nabisco has used stand-up pouches for other baked goods the Mini Chips Ahoy! rollout “is the biggest initiative we’ve had” with this package. Asked about the economics of materials used for the stand-up pouch vs bag-in-box Nabisco would only say that costs are comparable.

Although Mini Chips Ahoy! is available only in a stand-up pouch the Nabisco representatives say that many of the company’s products will be sold in both BIB and pouch formats. “We want to use both” says Ann Smith. Dave Smith adds “The decision depends on the type of product how it’s used and for whom it’s intended. We’re not going to abandon our current packaging for stand-up pouches.” They do admit however that Nabisco has invested in stand-up pouching machinery at several of its bakeries.

Frozen food pouch

Another resealable stand-up food pouch in the U.S. market comes from Cudahy WI-based Patrick Cudahy. Under the Heat & Eat brand the company uses a resealable pouch for 14-oz quantities of frozen sausage links patties and meatballs. The precooked and browned product can be heated in a microwave conventional oven or on the stovetop. Aimed at the home-meal replacement market these products are sold nationwide in supermarkets. Suggested retail price is $2.89 for sausage links and patties $3.29 for the meatballs. The company declined to answer any questions about the package citing competitive reasons.

Integral straw

In Ecuador Guayaquil-based Quicornac S.A. is using a stand-up pouch with an integral straw for six flavors of its Kiko®-brand childrens drink. The colorful pouches contain a back-panel graphic of a straw along with a tear notch located at one of the top corners. A three-step illustration instructs the child to grip the package at that corner and tear so that the straw pops out. That allows the child to sip the 200-mL beverage flavors. A front-panel graphic also assists consumers.

Quicornac tells PW the “Doyen”-style pouch is filled with product and a straw on a Bossar B-2000 STU/D-P horizontal form/fill/ seal machine. The company’s Vinces Ecuador plant uses Bossar’s duplex machine that fills at rates of 100/min 50/min from each side of the machine.

Bossar says Quicornac was the first company to commercially use the machine equipped with the drinking straw feeder and tear-notch unit. The machine uses rollstock film from Alusa (Santiago Chile) that includes a 1-mil layer of polyester and 4 mils of PE.

According to Fernanda Villacis Quicornac’s marketing and international sales manager “before this package was introduced similar products were packaged in bottles or brick packs. We started with this pouch for the Kiko brand [in ’98]. It’s unusual because only two other companies had used it. Kids like it because it is easy to carry in a lunch box.”

She says that despite “a lot of economic problems in Ecuador [the product] is [meeting] all our expectations.” Individual pouches sell for the equivalent of U.S. 14¢ in chain and drug stores and supermarkets. “We sell it as a single and in a multipack of eight” she notes. The eight are reportedly shrink-wrapped in film and contained in an outer paperboard sleeve. The product requires no refrigeration. Shelf life is six months.

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