Another point of interest in this application, done for popcorn snacks offered through Scouting programs, is that consumer value was the primary consideration ahead of sustainability, though the revamped packaging wins on both fronts.
It offers a take on the old rigid-to-flexible packaging switcheroo that many packaged goods have followed, in this instance going from a rigid metal can to a large stand-up bag. The cans had been decorated with landscape scenes, while the bag graphics emphasize directly the Scouting aspects, including photos of uniformed Scouts.
Although there are environmental and other benefits to the change, Doug Dent, vice-president of marketing for Trail’s End Popcorn Co., told me that this was done mainly to increase the value for consumers. They receive on average 20% more product at the same suggested price.
He said that Trail’s End had reacted to a “massive amount” of research that showed consumers put more value in the amount of product they were getting and not as much in the amount or type of packaging.
Another improvement in the name of consumer convenience is a combination of easy finger-tab opening and press-to-seal reclosability that was not on the previous smaller bags that were packed inside the can.
That isn’t to say that Trail’s End doesn’t leverage the new packages’ environmental improvements: It reduces the amount of packaging going into landfills by 3.8 million pounds yearly. Also, back-of-bag copy makes a seamless connection to the Scouts: “Trail’s End and Scouting strive to protect the environment by using as little packaging material as possible.”
The change was 30 years in the making, or at least that’s how long the Scouts have adhered to the can format. The actual development for the new package took about a year, Dent said.
Coincidentally for me, my wife pre-ordered a bag from a coworker and brought it home the very day I was writing about it. Standing 10.5 inches tall and nearly 9 inches wide and 4 inches deep, the bag was larger than I’d expected; what I call “touchy-feely research” via physical product samples is always helpful and sometimes dramatically so.
I was also reminded of my own days in the Cub Scouts and similar fundraising efforts over the years for other organizations. From those experiences I knew I wanted to stay out of sales, though this seems like pretty “cool” packaging to be pitching to customers.
“We have received excellent feedback in preliminary sales results,” Dent reports about a month into the fall selling season launch.
I salute Trail’s End and the Scouts for their revamped package that sounds like a win all the way around for consumers, the environment, and for Scouting.
Plus there’s just something about a product packaged in a nifty new “uniform.”
Rick Lingle, executive editor