Help CPG companies provide shelf-stopping power, P&G engineer tells FTA

P&G's Paul France stressed during his keynote presentation that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are looking to partner with innovators in assessing what’s needed at shelf, and then implementing what’s possible.

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“Color is a key driver to a win—a.k.a. sale—at the First Moment of Truth, the four to five seconds a shopper spends looking at a package on a store shelf in deciding to reach for the product or pass it by.”

With those remarks, Procter & Gamble’s Paul France left about 170 flexographers and Flexographic Technical Association members with this question to open the organization’s fall conference Oct 5 in Ronkonkoma, NY: “What can we do together?” France, principal engineer, technology entrepreneur for printing, substrates, and packaging development at P&G, stressed during his keynote presentation that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are looking to partner with innovators in assessing what’s needed at shelf, and then implementing what’s possible. CPG companies’ overriding concerns, France said, are shelf-stopping power, holding power, and buying power.

France identified CPG companies’ major needs as scale and speed, global distribution, and material and technology range, noting that P&G owns and manufactures 23 billion-dollar brands packaged in pouches, bottles, cartons, blister packs, and aerosol cans. These packages increasingly contain photography and rely heavily on halftones and vignettes. Photos even might be printed on holographic foil or other decorative and challenging materials.

P&G commonly puts multifaceted challenges to its printer partners. France listed five that matter most:

• Getting it right the first time. “Printing materials must match the target artwork and align on both color and content, which can be the hardest part of the job,” France said.
• Repeatability. Quality must be consistent from print run to print run.
• Color simplification. France mentioned that P&G is consolidating its color library. “P&G’s hope is to move from 2,000 colors to 400 or 500,” he said.
• Common first moment of truth language parameters. said France: “Consumers don’t speak L*a*b* or Delta E. They say, ‘warm and fuzzy.’ Designers, color separators, and printers have to understand those words and easily translate them back to technical terms.”
• Consumer-relevant and—noticeable First Moments of Truth. “Has anyone heard of sustainability and e-commerce?” France asked.

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