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Kraft a big believer in packaging

Part of the Worldpak 2002 conference program held June 23-28 at Michigan State University’s School of Packaging was a presentation by Glenview, IL-based Kraft Foods.

Pw 15949 Kraft

The session was titled Packaging strategies leveraged by Kraft Foods for packaging development. Speakers Don Joswick, section manager meals division (far left), and Ron Olson, food services packaging R&D, assured the session’s standing-room-only audience in East Lansing, MI, that packaging would, as Joswick put it, “continue to be a huge marketing tool for growth at Kraft.” Among the reasons that packaging plays such a pivotal role, added Joswick, is that it gives Kraft an “advertisable point of difference.”

Other nuggets of information from the session:

• Club store sales represent Kraft’s fastest-growing segment.

• Top management spurs packaging development at Kraft by scheduling “packaging immersion days” at which Kraft people and suppliers brainstorm together.

• Kraft has a strong preference for suppliers with whom it can establish a “mutually beneficial” relationship; from these relationships come innovative packaging technologies that are as good for Kraft suppliers as they are for Kraft.

• Kraft has generally shied away from participation in reverse auctions conducted over the Internet, but the firm is a big believer in other information technologies that can “standardize and compress cycle times.”

Joswick told Worldpack attendees that a spirit of packaging innovation pervades Kraft’s corporate culture like never before. Top managers are receptive to ideas about new approaches to packaging partly because they have seen solid successes in the recent past. The most obvious examples: Lunchables, Digiorno pizza, and a widespread conversion to plastic containers for powdered drink products. —PR

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