Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Pepperidge Farm points to its proud heritage in the baking and snack categories. But the company is also focused on the future, as evidenced by its recent appointment of Irene Chang Britt as president—the first woman to lead the company since founder Margaret Rudkin. This forward thinking also extends to the role of packaging within the Campbell Soup Co. business.
Case in point, Norwalk, CT-based Pepperidge Farm is the first to commercialize a new-to-market reclosure on its Baked Naturals Cracker Chips, while also first to utilize Sonoco’s SealTab® technology. The Baked Naturals Cracker Chips line was introduced in 2010 in a quad-seal stand-up bag. Pepperidge Farm listened to consumers who indicated a desire for reclosure on the flexible bag, and responded with a flexible package that brings a new level of convenience to reclosable packaging. The new packages hit store shelves in August and are sold nationwide in four product varieties, in either 5.8- or 6-oz quantities, at a suggested retail price of $2.99. Additionally, the reclosable package is available in four product varieties in the Canadian market, which launched in July.
With the new SealTab reclose feature, consumers open the bag from the top and access chips as usual. Once snacking is complete, the consumer can pull a tab near the top of the face panel which initiates the 4x5-in. scored flap backed by a resealable adhesive. The consumer then folds the top section of the bag forward and adheres the flap, which effectively closes the opening and prevents chips from coming out. Moreover, the scored flap is also the outside print web and contains the Principle Display Panel (PDP). Each time chips are consumed, the top of the bag is folded down and the flap is adhered against the top of the folded bag, retaining freshness and maintaining the Baked Naturals brand on the bag’s front panel. Baked Naturals brand manager Elizabeth Amend says, “Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals delivers value to its consumers through high quality, premium ingredients, great-tasting products, and now innovative packaging with a reclose feature, setting it apart from all mainstream players in the aisle.”
Senior packaging program manager Matt Felice explains, “Maintaining the panel is a big plus. We have printed instructions to show the consumer how to use the new technology, which is also integrated into the front-panel graphics. Based on consumer insights, we created streamlined instructions featuring verbal and pictorial elements so that consumers can quickly and readily use the reclosure. Once the final insights were gained for instructions, we partnered with our graphic design group to integrate into the PDP.”
Beyond integrating reclosure instructions, graphics were redesigned and the print process was moved to rotogravure. Pepperidge Farm’s graphics team worked with Deutsch Design Works so that the main copy and brand identity remains intact when consumers reclose the bag.
Packaging serves Pepperidge Farm
Pepperidge Farm is no stranger to using packaging for consumer convenience and marketing appeal. A recent example is the packaging for its Deli Flats thin rolls and Goldfish bread, award winners in both the IoPP Ameristar and DuPont Awards competition in 2012. Pepperidge Farm director of packaging development Eva Peters states, “The Baked Naturals Cracker Chips reclosure demonstrates how we are continuing to drive packaging innovation to provide value to consumers as they enjoy our products.”
Peters adds, “Together the Deli Flats package and Baked Naturals reclosure illustrate how packaging innovation is a key driver at Pepperidge Farm to differentiate and delight consumers with new usage and functionality.”
Senior packaging engineer Matt Dingee recalls, “Sonoco was a new vendor for Pepperidge Farm identified when we first commercialized the Baked Naturals Cracker Chips product line in a flexible bag. They provided a great solution for our initial new product launch requirements. Sonoco always brought forward thinking and new ideas and technology.” After Baked Naturals Cracker Chips were introduced, Dingee notes, “The value of a reclosure for the chip bag was identified based on consumer feedback, and we also recognized the innovative and differentiating power of utilizing SealTab technology in our new package. With consumer interest for reclosability in mind, we started a partnership aimed to customize SealTab for a new reclose system on our Baked Naturals Cracker Chips.”
Although satisfying consumers was the focus of this packaging innovation, Pepperidge Farm also needed to be sure the bag changes did not impact its production efficiencies.
An important packaging consideration for Baked Naturals Cracker Chips was a good moisture and oxygen barrier. Dingee says, “We employ an easy-open sealant that provides great seal integrity as well as easy-open access for the consumer.”
Dingee says, “The quad-seal bag is formed, filled, and sealed vertically in-line from rollstock on equipment from Ilapak. The stand-up bottom is also formed in-line, and bags are then manually case-packed and palletized.
“The initial line challenge was that we had to change the film structure for the new SealTab reclose feature, which proved more difficult to form a consistent bottom stand-up bag. However, we brought together Sonoco, Ilapak, and our comanufacturer to develop the material and we made machine adjustments to enable us to produce a consistent stand-up bag. Moreover, the new structure machined much better than the old film structure, and it provided a consumer reclose feature that the comanufacturer did not have to monitor or incur additional process steps to produce. All the benefits of this new technology really fostered a great atmosphere where all involved contributed to optimizing the stand-up feature on the new structure.”
A supplier perspective
One of the key drivers for implementing the SealTab technology for Pepperidge Farm, says Rod Pettis, Sonoco’s director of technology for flexible packaging, was to maintain the same package format and equipment “without any loss in efficiencies due to machinability on the vertical form/fill/seal equipment. That meant having a nice, wide heat-seal range for peelable seals, and a bag that stands upright and looks good on the shelf.”
The peelable section is created on the front of the bag by precision laser scoring through the polyester, allowing the consumer to roll the bag forward and wrap that flap over the top of that bag with the pressure-sensitive adhesive on the flap.
Pete Gioldasis, division marketing manager for Sonoco’s flexible packaging business, says, “This is the first commercial application for SealTab technology. Patents have been in place for a number of years, but the design has been tweaked and improved upon. It really is new to the world—not just new to this category.”
For consumers, Gioldasis says, the pack helps to maintain freshness and contain the product. “You don’t have chips spilling all over in your purse, on your couch, or in your car,” he says. “So portability—on-the-go convenience—is what our market research confirmed the consumer wanted in this category. And from the CPG perspective, Pepperidge Farm receives packaging that can be easily integrated into their [comanufacturer’s] filling equipment without making additional capital investments and without slowing down the production speeds.
“We also think the bag provides some improved storage convenience because it can be folded down multiple times as the product is consumed, therefore the size of the reclosed bag gets smaller as the contents get emptied. The rotogravure graphics really pop and the quad-seal stand-up format provides a nice billboard. Also, with the built-in SealTab reclose feature, consumers don’t have to repackage the chips in a zippered bag or a canister. The brand stays in front of the consumer until the product is finished.”
Dingee says, “This package is extremely unique and is the first reclosure of its kind in ANY category, but especially for salty snacks.”