A tremendous outburst of creativity in packaging has happened over the last several years. Retailers, their supplier partners and, especially, packaging companies should take advantage of the many innovations that not only improve product usage but also make them more salable. However, everyone in the supply chain should be careful to obey the disciplines imposed by the shelf environment as they enjoy the fruits of the designers’ inventiveness.
New designs address a host of consumers’
needs. They’re looking for convenience in a variety of environments and many
different ways, be it on the dashboard of their car, on their bike, in the gym
or just plain walking. A presentation recently delivered at the Food Evolution
Summit, by Aaron Brody of Packaging/Brody Inc., pointed out that many consumers
are seeking to preserve, prepare and consume the food product all from the same
container. To do this they need easy-open and reclosable packaging. They want ease
of access to the product and, in many cases, want it to be spoonable or
Package designers have inventively responded over
the past several years with a considerable flow of new packaging. There are
packages that feature flexible pouches that can stand up on a square bottom, as
well as packages that provide ease of access of multiples, as well as those
that are portion-sized. There are retort pouches and trays. Refrigerated
prepared foods in microwave reheatable plastic are also part of the flow of new
ideas. Packages specifically designed for dashboard dining are another example.
Especially important for fresh cut vegetables and fruits is product visibility.
Shrink film bundling has grown in usage.
This is great
because it provides consumers with many of the benefits they seek. These
developments also promote new product introductions that can bring new business
to retail aisles. Indeed, there is tremendous pressure to bring new products to
the shelf, and packaging does have an extremely important role to play in
achieving success with recently launched items by providing freshness,
visibility and appeal.
However, the caveat is this: The
product must fit the dimensions of the shelf and must lend itself to
presentation in a mass-market, self-service environment. It has to pay
attention to space requirements in that it should not be an outsized package
taking up too much space. It must meet labeling requirements. It has to present
information to the consumers in the split second that the consumer’s eye
surveys the shelf.
Many of the new packages will indeed fit
the specifications and the discipline of the shelf. But package designers and
product suppliers must keep a close eye on what retailers can adequately handle
in their stores. Not doing so could wreck a product, which adequately packaged
to conform to shelf discipline and requirements could be a winner, not a
problem. Doing so could very well make a good product an enormous success on
the shelf through its packing and presentation. F&BP
Innovative packaging must fit the lifestyle and the shelf
By Roy White
Roy White is a vice president of The Food Institute and has devoted his career to serving the mass market retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturing industries.
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