Supermarkets finesse private-label lines
Unilever reduces color palette
Mars to include European-style labeling
PMMI elects new board members, executive committee
Bacon package is resealable
Malaysian salad packed in tubs


Supermarkets finesse private-label lines

by Pan Demetrakakes
Executive Editor


Two major supermarket chains are tweaking their private label offerings to be able to compete in specialized retail niches.

Wegmans Markets, a 71-store chain based in upstate New York, is featuring what it calls “club pack deals.” On its website and in e-newsletters sent to shoppers, Wegmans touts extra-large package sizes or bundled primary packages, of the kind commonly found in club stores like Sam’s Club or Costco.

The extra-large offerings go across all product categories, from Aquafina bottled water to Welch’s fruit juice. They include items like 49-ounce boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, 18-pack bundles of Silk soy milk, and 40-count bundles of Capri Sun aseptic beverages. The Club Pack stock-keeping units (SKU) included 65 center-aisle (dry) food or beverage products, 16 frozen, seven dairy, four processed meats, and 17 uncooked meats.

“TRY a Club Pack at Wegmans and skip the extra trip!” the website says. “You don't have to make a special trip for club-sized savings. We price to match or beat club store prices-and you'll never pay a membership fee!”

Meanwhile, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., operator of 447 stores under A&P and other names, has launched a premium store brand called Hartford Reserve. The first item in the line, an apple pie baked in-store, comes in a black paperboard carton with a window that shows off the pie’s “bumpy top” crust.

TOP DEVELOPMENTS

Unilever reduces color palette
To cut costs, Unilever is reducing its color palette, used for printing the packaging for more than 200 products, from 100 colors to six. Rainbow, the new color system, was developed by London-based packaging design firm LFH, and has already been used to reduce packaging printing costs for Unilever’s spreads and cooking products. According to Unilever, the system is eco-friendly because it reduces printing process waste.

Mars to include European-style labeling
Mars Inc. will begin including Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) nutrition labels on several of its products, making it the first U.S. confectionery company to include the information. The labeling, which reads “What’s Inside,” lists the specific amounts of fat, salt and sugar in a product as a percentage of the advised daily consumption. The labels, which originally appeared in Europe, will begin appearing in the U.S. in December, and will be on all Mars U.S. chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products by the end of 2010.

PMMI elects new board members, executive committee
The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) Board of Directors welcomed six new members, and also elected its 2009 Executive Committee. The new members on the Board of Directors are Richard Bahr, CEO and president of MGS Machine Corp.; Jeffrey Bigger, president and owner of MASSMAN Automation Designs; Richard Fox, president and CEO of FOX IV Technologies Inc.; Rocky Marquis, president of MARQ Packaging Systems Inc.; Mark Reichert, president of A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp.; and Carol Shuttleworth, president and CEO of Shuttleworth Inc.

The 2009 Executive Committee will consist of Randy Spahr of Goodman Packaging as chairman of the board; Glenn Siegele of Omega Design Corp. as vice chairman; James Anderson of Marlen as past chairman; and Charles Yuska of PMMI as president and CEO.

NEW PACKAGES

Bacon package is resealable
Center-cut bacon from Plumrose USA comes in a resealable thermoformed package from Printpack Inc. The “Re-Seal It” package combines proprietary label technology with high-performance barrier films for easy opening and repeatable resealability, with a unique precision sleeve rotary die cut. The package has been nominated for a Pack Expo Selects prize, which will be decided when attendees vote at the show.






Malaysian salad packed in tubs
A salad kit marketed in Malaysia features ingredients in five separate plastic tubs inside a paperboard carton. Flavoritas Appetizing Entrée from Flavorit includes vegetables, nuts, potatoes and dressing, all in separated injection-molded tubs. The tubs are stacked inside a paperboard carton with a window that shows several of the tubs. The 430-gram package, with four to six servings, retails for about $5.28.