Some people say that consumer marketing is like trying to shoot the moving ducks in an arcade game with a rifle. Just when you get your timing down something from the opposite direction gets in your way. That's what it's been like so far as The Scotts Company Marysville OH has geared up to produce 10-qt flat-bottomed plastic bags of its premium potting soils. A year ago the company was readying a packaging line at Scotts' Imlay City MI soil packaging plant. Material substitutions bag size changes tooling changes even the weather conspired against getting the line up and running. Last October Phase I of the installation began operation after months of disappointment. Imlay City produces and packages soils and peat under the Scotts® Hyponex® and other brand names. Most of its production is packed into large polyethylene sacks (20 lb and more). Like other companies Scotts palletizes these sacks flat and stretch wraps them as further protection against the elements. Meanwhile at its Marysville headquarters Scotts' marketing staff decided to use potting soils as its entry into flat-bottomed bags that could be merchandised either standing on the flat bottom (the preferred way) or flat like conventional bags. In the 10-qt size (roughly 10 lb/bag) the colorfully printed bags were designed to be the package that would finally convince grocery store operators to put soils onto the supermarket shelf. To produce the package Scotts purchased an Ultima flat bottom bag packaging system from Hayssen (Sheboygan WI) complete with a volumetric feeding system. Scotts also has now committed to packaging with a costly lamination 3.5 mils of linear low-density polyethylene/reverse-printed polyester from Union Camp (Wayne NJ). Thanks to trapping the flexo printing inside the lamination the graphics are very strong and protected from abrasion. The polyester gives the exterior a glossy look that's in keeping with Scotts' traditional quality image. Currently the 25 3/4" rollstock is printed by the Asheville NC plant of Union Camp in nine colors says Jon Moyer packaging engineer. The top of the gabletop bag is folded down and a cohesive label from Cal Emblem (Fresno CA) is affixed so that the consumer can reclose the bag once the tight brick-style bag has been opened. While product quality and the appearance of the package have been impressive to more traditional markets Scotts is just now beginning to see orders from supermarkets. The package is already popular with the home centers garden centers and mass merchandisers that are Scotts' mainstay customer base. But most of the bags sold through these outlets have not been produced on the new line at Imlay City. Scotts has been packaging the product in premade bags at several of its other soil packaging plants around the country. That's how the company can meet the demands of the national retailers like Kmart and Wal-Mart while it keeps overall freight costs down.