And it proved that kids--and therefore their parents--could be drawn to tubular packaging for something other than ice pops. Go-Gurt has since become a $120 million/year franchise. The company has branched out, adding in 2000 adult-oriented Yoplait Expresse, 2.25-oz tube packs of spoon-free yogurt. The Minneapolis, MN-based company's most recent Go-Gurt promotional effort was the Star Wars tube packs that resemble a light sabre and glow in the dark.
Packaging part of the total experience
General Mills senior packaging engineer Paul Torniainen spoke on the Go-Gurt phenomenon at the WorldPak 2002 conference in late June in East Lansing, MI. He emphasized the concept of total product offering or TPO, to reflect the whole product experience. Several of the eight attributes associated with TPO are packaging driven, including convenience, appearance, and fun.
"The tube alone is not responsible for Go-Gurt's success," he points out. "Rather, it is the synergy between the package, the brand, and the product that makes Go-Gurt such an exceptional total product offering. It was the right product in the right place at the right time and at the right price.
"[Kids] want their food to be fun, and Go-Gurt meets kids' want to interact with yogurt in ways that they never could have with a cup. The tube is squeezable, soft, and squishy."
Three seals are better
Torniainen also cited the advantages of a three-side-sealed tube instead of a four-side-sealed tube. "While the three-side-sealed tube is more challenging to form and seal, it allowed us to use 10% less material for a tube of the same dimensions," he disclosed. "In order to form the three-side-sealed tube on a vertical form/fill/seal machine, an innovative forming collar and sealing system were developed." He acknowledged that the machinery is from Winpak Lane (San Bernardino, CA).
He also identified the package structure details: The tube is constructed of reverse-printed 48-ga polyester/low-density polyethylene/blend of polyolefin sealant film. It's highly likely that the material is supplied by Curwood (Oshkosh, WI). "This material has excellent cross-directional tear, which in combination with a tear notch, allows the entire tube end to be removed," Torniainen reports.
The company introduced Exprèsse yogurt in a tube in August 2000--the rollout was completed in mid-2001--designed for adults. The package form appears the same as that used by Go-Gurt.
Another indicator of Go-Gurt's popularity is that store-brand versions of tube-packs of yogurt are now available.