Mayfield milks nostalgic design

Now that Coca-Cola has awakened marketers to the power of nostalgia with its retro-style plastic bottles for Coke and Sprite, nostalgic package design is extending to the dairy category, too.

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First it was Pepsi with its Smooth Moos dairy shake in a glass bottle (see PW, July '95, p. 2). Now Mayfield Dairy has switched its milk and juice products from gabletop cartons to natural-colored high-density polyethylene molded to look like old-fashioned milk bottles from the days of home delivery. The Athens, TN-based regional dairy introduced in September 10- and 16-oz sizes of milk that retail for 59¢ to 79¢ in convenience stores, vending machines and groceries, in Tennessee and northern Georgia. Juices and other beverages will be distributed to several other Southeastern states in both sizes, and quart sizes for eggnog were slated for a November introduction at press time. Extrusion blown by Ring Can (Chattanooga, TN) using a custom mold designed specifically for this project, the containers utilize full-body PVC shrink labels from Seal-It (Hicksville, NY) that extend over the top for a tear-away, tamper-evident seal. Labels are flexo-printed in 3 to 7 colors with special inks that provide a barrier to UV light, resulting in a product shelf-life comparable to what paperboard provides, according to Bridgett Raper, Mayfield marketing manager. Phoenix Closures supplies the custom continuous-thread injection-molded 43/400 polypropylene linerless closure, which duplicates the look of the old crimped-on metal closures and provides resealability. Gambling big on the plastic bottle, Mayfield has removed all its old gabletop machinery (except for production dedicated to half-pints for institutional business) and has added a brand new packaging line to expand capacity and accommodate the new containers. The new container was accompanied by a price increase at retail of about 10¢, but that hasn't put a damper on sales-quite the opposite, claims Raper, citing preliminary sales reports. Mayfield's parent company, Dean Foods, is said to be keeping a close eye on the project, Raper says, evaluating it as a pilot for a similar conversion at its other dairies.

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