Petit Pot founder Maxime Pouvreau has been bringing classic French pot de crème desserts to the masses in the U.S. since 2014. The brand’s French desserts are thoughtfully crafted from simple, USDA organic, clean ingredients, including real vanilla from Madagascar and dairy from Clover in Sonoma, Calif. What started as a side business nine years ago is now thriving, with product available in more than 5,000 retail outlets across the country including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Costco, Publix, Wegmans, and Amazon Fresh.
To replicate an authentic French pot de crème experience, Pouvreau sells his product in unlabeled, hot-filled glass jars from a France-based glass supplier that wasn’t named. The format is a nod to the traditional French packaging format, but the company says it also aligns with Petit Pot’s commitment to sustainability.
“Many of our consumers love to reuse our glass jars for home use, versus throwing them away,” says Eugene Lin, chief marketing officer at Petit Pots.
The undecorated jars are either multipacked in two-ct packs of two-side printed paperboard overwrap, or single-packed with single-sided printed paperboard overwrap. The paperboard multipacks are held together with adhesive. They're then case packed into printed e-flute corrugated cases.
Not long ago, in August 2022, Petit Pot was poised to launch a brand refresh. In doing so, Pouvreau saw an opportunity to further improve the sustainability profile, while continuing to delight consumers.
“Our objective for the packaging redesign was to ensure that we kept the best elements of our beloved brand while improving on product understanding and appeal, as well as shoppability across flavors and platforms,” Lin says.
The design refresh was to stretch across all its product lines, with redesigned glass jars made of 55% post-consumer recycled glass material that would be 35% lighter than the legacy jar. It would also include new, eye-catching packaging graphics on the paperboard. For instance, in a nice touch, the barcode on the label is designed to be the shape of a jar and spoon.
Beyond strictly aesthetic changes, there were structural improvements to the new paperboard overwrap, too. The old design had the glass jars only “clamped” by half-enclosed paperboard. Now they are fully enclosed in a four-side wraparound.
Supply chain issues almost derailed the relaunch, as Petit Pot team’s legacy paperboard supplier and printer couldn’t meet the brand refresh deadlines. But Petit Pot reached out to JP Graphics of Santa Clara, Calif., and Monadnock Paper Mills (MPM) of New Hampshire, who together were able to deliver the printed paperboard secondary packaging and printed kraft corrugated within a week, and in time for the planned launch.
The 18-pt 100% PCW recycled fiber Envi Performance board from MPM used in this application is FSC certified, produced carbon neutral, and made with 100% renewable Green-e certified wind-powered electricity.
Paperboard printing is done by JP Graphics in a four-color process on a HP 12000 press. An aqueous coating is added to protect the board and die cutting of the board into wraparound sleeve strips is done thereafter thereafter. According to JP Graphics' President Joan Escover, the converter made several cutting dies for this project, but also can ZUND cut on-demand, if the need for a specialty or short-tun size or shape should arise.
Even on this limited run Petit Pots project, using Envi Performance translated into significant environmental savings. According to The Environmental Paper Network’s online calculator tool, when compared to (the legacy) commodity board Petit Pots had been using, 49 pounds of solid waste were not produced, five million BTUs of energy were not consumed, 3,700 pounds of wood was saved, 6,280 net pounds of GHG CO2 were avoided, and 2,500 gallons of water was not wasted thanks to MDM’s paper substrate.
“The consumer reaction to the look and feel refresh has been overwhelmingly positive,” Lin concludes. “As evident by our growing fanbase on social media like Instagram and TikTok, more people than ever are discovering our brand for the first time while we maintain a strong core of passionate brand loyalists from before the refresh.” PW