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Nestlé puts new faces on mix containers

A multi-material oval can in the U.K., a twin-pack of pouches in Switzerland, and a high-density polyethylene oval in the U.S. each deliver kid-oriented retail punch for Nestlé's powdered milk mixes.

New containers are helping Nestlé?s powdered milk mixes stand out internationally. In the U.K., a new hot chocolate drink mi
New containers are helping Nestlé?s powdered milk mixes stand out internationally. In the U.K., a new hot chocolate drink mi

In the U.K., in Switzerland, and in the U.S., Nestlé's powdered milk mixes sport new packaging with a look that fits the company's "making milk fun" marketing theme. All the packs share a common feature: they're easy for children to handle, dispense and reclose. Nestlé U.K. Ltd., based in Croydon, Surrey, in January launched Nesquik® powdered hot chocolate mix in both a 225-g and 90-g trial size. The new product is sold throughout England and in Northern Ireland, in oval Cekacan® containers supplied by ~=kerlund & Rausing (Lund, Sweden). Along with the new hot chocolate mix, the Cekacan replaced an oval-shaped composite canister for three flavors of Nestlé's Nesquik cold milk drink mixes. The Cekacan body includes a 22-pt paperboard laminated to .00035 aluminum foil with an inner layer of low-density polyethylene. Body stock is printed by ~=&R in five or six colors, plus varnish, on a rotary offset press. Nestlé uses an ~=&R C-60 machine to form the body from sheetstock. A base is then induction sealed to the body. The base material is nearly identical to the body, with the exception of a lighter-weight 16-pt board. After filling, an oriented polyethylene terephthalate/LDPE/foil membrane is induction sealed to the top of the body. The final piece is an injection-molded LDPE hinged lid that's automatically glued to the body. "We consider the new package an upgrade," says Mike Peplow, packaging technologist in Grocery Technical for Nestlé U.K. Ltd., "because of its functionality. It has a hinged lid and a peelable membrane that pulls off easily. The consumer does not have to puncture it to open it, as was necessary with the previous membrane." Brand manager Catriona Hogan adds, "Because these containers are slightly taller than our old package, there is added headspace between the hinged lid and the membrane. That allows us to add in a promotional product, which we plan to do." Another consumer benefit of the hinged lid, says senior public affairs officer Marion Irving, "is that it cannot become separated from the pack and lost," as could happen with the previous package which used a separate lid. Graphics for the packages have also been updated to appeal both to parents and children. According to Peplow, container costs are about the same. In fact, there are savings generated by the use of a lighter-weight body stock. And by making the container and filling it at the same site, there are distribution savings as well. Peplow expains that in the past, container materials were sent from a supplier in Germany to Nestlé's facilities in France where product was filled, then shipped to the U.K. for distribution. "By making the container in-house, we no longer need to pay for shipping preformed containers," he says. Although it's a tad early to gauge sales from either product line, Hogan indicates the future looks promising. "The products have only been in the market for a couple of months, but we've had quite a bit of interest in them from our retail customers." Duo packs in Switzerland Just as the Nesquik container sold in the U.K. was on display at Pack Expo last November in Chicago, so too was a twin-pack stand-up handled pouch for Nesquik. These pouches are sold by Nestlé Suisse S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Each of the two reclosable pouches holds 1 kg (2.2 lb) of powdered cocoa drink mix. Each pouch may be used either as a primary package or as a refill pack. Nestlé Suisse "first introduced these Duo Pac(TM) pouches in March 1996," explains Rudolf Haller, project engineer in Vevey. Pouches are sold at retail, primarily in Switzerland, with limited distribution in Austria. Duo Pac pouches are filled on a Model FBM 20-44 horizontal form/fill/seal machine from Laudenberg Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH, represented in the U.S. by Profile Packaging (Sarasota, FL). According to Profile, Nestlé Suisse is the first company worldwide to use this unusual machine, which is also used to produce single pouches in 1-kg and 500-g sizes. A local supplier provides the laminated structure that includes polyester reverse-printed in four colors/white high-density polyethylene/linear LDPE. First, the hf/f/s unit folds the film in half, like a conventional machine. It then applies a zipper that's provided by Presto Products (Appleton, WI). After filling and sealing, pouches are transferred by a rotary Duo Pac module. Added last summer, the Duo module heat-seals one pouch to another along the top. The handle is then die-cut out of this area. Since introducing Nesquik in the Duo Pac configuration, the Swiss company has also launched its Nescafé Red Cup brand coffee in the Duo Pac. In this case, two 150-g pouches are heat-sealed together. Unlike the handled Nesquik pouch, the coffee Duo Pac has hole punches that permit it to be displayed from pegs. "In Switzerland, we began packa-ging Nesquik in a more ordinary 'flowpack' pouch in 1994," recalls Haller. "It was the standard vertically formed, filled, sealed sachet which all of our competitors copied. "We've found advantages in the new pouch in that it is more efficiently filled on the Laudenberg machine, it has a flat base that stands up on the shelf and at home, and it has a significantly stronger impact on the shelf because of the wider front face," he contends. "The overall reaction from both the trade and consumers has been excellent," Haller continues. "The trade appreciates the practicality of the format, while the consumer finds the flat base and reclosability a major step forward from the old-fashioned 'soft packs.' The Duo Pacs were an immediate success and contributed to dramatic sales increases of the brand." Ovals in the U.S. In the U.S., meanwhile, Nestlé's Quik® recently introduced an oval-shaped HDPE container for 15- and 30-oz versions of the powdered mixes for milk. Nestlé U.S. declined to identify either packaging or marketing details. The bright yellow HDPE oval and matching HDPE lid does much of the talking, along with a colorful wraparound label. The label shows the Nesquik Bunny, as do the international packs. In addition, the label carries a violator that proclaims, "Fun new package, same great Quik." On the back of the container is a message for children that promotes the environment by urging kids to keep the container as a souvenir once the product is consumed.

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