Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wooing Women with Packaging

In just one month three California vineyards have introduced new wine product lines specifically targeted to women. The product offerings are intriguing with names such as “White Lie” and "Mad Housewife" to the latest introduction "Working Girl White." These wine companies are responding to the message: A wine just for women. Interestingly, all three wines have different product approaches. From clever white lies on the corks, to retro chic on the bottle graphics each has its own unique appeal.

What's the driver behind this new product offering? Quite simply, it is the demographics. Women either make or influence 85% of the purchasing decision and companies are finally waking up to that fact. Unfortunately, just taking the man off the box and replacing it with a woman isn't the answer. Nor is it to use pink packaging or other feminine colors.

So what do women really want in their product packaging? What will entice them to pick your product off the shelf? What siren screams "buy me" as she walks down the isle? The answers are not what you might think. Women perceive products differently than their male counterparts. They have different expectations of products. Women say that they product manufactures don't understand their wants and needs either. In fact 59% of women feel misunderstood by food marketers. This market segment accounts for 60-70 of all product packaging.

So, how do you get this powerful consumer to connect with your packaging? First, see the product though the woman's eyes not the designer’s or brand manager’s. In my recent research, product attributes such as the shape and color were important to people in the packaging industry but not so important to the average consumer. The mostly highly rated characteristics that both groups agreed upon were convenience, ease of storage, and female friendly elements such as the size of package and handles for carrying.

Second, consider how and where the product will be purchased. External factors can influence the purchasing decision as to how and where a woman shops. Recent studies show that women on average no longer make a big “stocking up trip" to the store. In fact they make numerous short trips to get the essentials for the moment. Today's shoppers are under tremendous time constraints and are willing to pay a premium for the privilege of more free time.

Finally, it is imperative to get noticed. How can you grab their attention? Make packaging simple, easy to read, and use. Get rid of the gimmicks and the hype. More than 89% of survey respondents said they would not purchase a product because it was endorsed by a celebrity, and those that did were embarrassed to admit it. Cause marketing also scored low on the scale of importance in influencing a purchase as did their concern for the environment.

So listen to your female buyers the next time you designee a new product, bond with them on an intrinsic level not through gimmicks or the current "in" celebrity. Make your product easy to read, use and time sensitive. By adhering to these fundamentals you will have garnered her attention.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Devious and Deceptive Packaging

Have you read anything in the news lately about childhood
obesity, Jose Canseco and steroids, or fat free foods? Where is
the truth in any of that?

If only we lived and shopped in a pure world where labels told
the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But while consumers
rely on labels to make wise nutritional choices, food manufacturers
use labels to sell their product. Remember when we used to read
the label before making an informed purchase decision.

The two functions of a label -- providing accurate information and
enticing someone to buy the product -- conflict and send mixed messages.
One the one hand we read buy me and on the other is this product
good for me?

Labels can be misleading, especially if you don't learn to read between
the lines and examine the fine print. today's labels are very complex with
statements that make claims or tout benefits that may not be true.
Knowing what the words on the label really mean is a big step in learning
to make nutritious and the right choices at the supermarket.

Through the years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
attempted to make sure that the food products made available to
the American public are safe for consumption. For most, the
likelihood of suffering a food or drug related illness is remote.
That was until bio-terrorism threats reared its ugly head.

Yet, for those with specific food allergies or unique health
conditions, proper labeling on products is imperative in order to
avoid potentially dangerous situations. The addition of
supplements and additives to food products poses another risk to
consumers if it is discovered that the substance in question is
harmful. It is therefore extremely important that consumers are
made aware of specific dangers associated with food and food
products, through accurate labeling, published warnings and their
own investigation. Think about all the food products lately that
have been recalled due to mislabeling at the manufacturers.

Here are a few popular product statements to consider:

No sugar added or low carb
The FDA has rules about labeling claims that specifically bar the
use of "low" such as low-car yet it has not established a
standard for "low" for an ingredient or nutritional element (such
as the standard for low fat)... So claims of low-carb on labels
right now are actually illegal.

MSG is sometimes hidden in food with labels that say "No Added
MSG" and "No MSG."
Find out more at http://www.truthinlabeling.org/index.html

Got Milk? Well, is it really all its cracked up to be?
The latest claims are touting drinking milk as a way to lose
See http://www.stoplabelinglies.com/ and decide for yourself.

100% natural! Natural what?
A product label will state: "made with 100% natural ingredients,"
or "made with 100% organic ingredients." The "100%" claim often
refers to one or two ingredients, which are "100% natural" or
"100% organic" even if other ingredients are synthetic. So the
bottom line is what is "natural" when it describes a product?

"Unscented" Yeah right, ever use any of these products?
That unscented product is many times worse that the scented variety.
Anyway unscented is a misnomer -- it does not mean "without chemical
fragrances." If an item is labeled "unscented," it may contain a
masking fragrance (which is a chemical fragrance designed to
"block" the smells of other chemicals in the product) and
additional toxic chemicals.

So the question remains -- When is a product packaging misleading
in its descriptions and are the manufactures deliberately
deceptive? No one knows for sure. Let the buyer beware! It's up
to you the consumer to read the labels and make an informed
decision as to the true benefits of a packaged product.
Remember most products carry an 800 number on the package that
you can call and ask about the product itself.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Package Your Products for Thunder Thigh Women- Big Butts Too

Package Your Products for Thunder Thigh Women- Big Butts Too

Wake up women (and you men too). I think we are seeing light at
the end of the tunnel. Madison Avenue is getting real about
advertising campaigns for women. Following the unparalleled
success of Dove line of personal-care products sold by Unilever,
the company introduced what it calls a "campaign for real
beauty." I predict others will follow suit.

This week Nike unveiled a campaign using women with big butts and
thunder thighs -- no kidding! Why? It is because that image
represents the majority on the US female populace. (FYI, the
average size woman is a size 14-16, not a 0.)

Remember when I told you that women aren't influenced by
celebrity endorsements on the product package. Well, they are
influenced by real women who they can relate to. They are not
impressed by the thin, waif-like creatures that have been
purported to represent the average female consumer. Nor are they
in awe of the horse like runway models seen in TV commercials
clunking down the stage.

Two drivers impacting this change include the fact that women are
the primary purchasers of products and that women over 50 are
finally being recognized as a significant purchasing

How well do you understand the needs and wants of these two
target groups? Do you want to sell more products and connect with
consumers though your product packaging?

We know what these buyers want in packaging. Our special report:
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Find out what the representatives of the leading consumer goods
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Packaging Trends You Cannot Overlook: Part #2

Part #2
6) Food safety is becoming paramount.
What this means to you: No longer are the words tampering and bio terrorism buzz phrases. They are facts of life. Product integrity will become increasingly important to consumers. New packaging ideas have been developed in response to growing food manufacturer fears about food safety and tampering. Packaging is likely to perform a key role in establishing and maintaining consumer confidence.

7) Environmentally friendly biodegradable packaging is another growth area, reflecting consumer and retailer awareness of the issue of waste disposal.
What this means to you: A large number of packaging firms are launching products made of 100 per cent recycled materials. There is increasing evidence of biodegradable inks on the market. All it takes is a few early adapters to make huge swings in the use of environmentally friendly materials. Remember how quickly the market changed when McDonalds switched from an EPS clamshell to a paperboard product? Literally overnight, the entire packaging climate changed.

8) Niche markets for products are being created. Niches that are large enough to be very profitable.
What this means to you: New products are being introduced for specific target markets. No longer can one product capture the majority of a consumer segment. Many of these markets are obscure but very lucrative. Innovation is continuing at a rampant pace. Look for new and previously untapped markets. Two growing areas are products marketed to women and boomers.
Important Info:
The over 50 market is the hottest market for prestige products. With 76 million U.S. boomers born between 1946 and 1964, the potential for profit and growth are enormous. Every seven seconds, someone is turning 50 years old. Baby boomers will push the number of 50-and-over adults to more than 108 million by 2015.

9) Look for the continued growth of dual purpose products.
What this means to you: Growth can come from unlikely areas. Markets that were once strong have become so diluted they have become unprofitable. Whether you call if “phood” or pharmaceutically engineered and enhanced food, this category is hot. Explore all of the new product introductions that fall under these parameters.
Important Info:
The New U.S. "Phood" Market: Functional, Fortified, and Inherently Healthy Foods and Beverages
What You’ll Get in this Report
The New U.S. "Phood" Market--Functional, Fortified, and Inherently Healthy Foods and Beverages makes important predictions and recommendations regarding the future of this market, and pinpoints ways current and prospective marketers can capitalize on current trends and spearhead new ones. No other market research report provides both the comprehensive analysis and extensive data that The New U.S. "Phood" Market--Functional, Fortified, and Inherently Healthy Foods and Beverages offers. http://www.packagedfacts.com/pub/1020433.html

10) Competition will continue unabated.
What this means to you: Today's market leader may be tomorrow's out of business company. Keep abreast of changing technology and innovation is the key.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Packaging Trends You Cannot Overlook (part #1):

1) People are buying in smaller quantities. Our busy lifestyle keeps many people from eating at home on a daily basis. Gone are the days of the sit down dinner with the entire family. When these occasions due occur it’s usually a holiday or a special occasion.
What this means to you: People are looking for smaller sized packages and are willing to pay a premium. An example is the 3-pack baking potato; quality potatoes in a three pack that can cost as much as a 3lb bag. Why? People don't use three pounds of potatoes before they go bad.

2) Time is not on your side. Consumers are looking for the quick fix. The ready to eat or with minimal preparation market is booming. People want products that require little or no work but still taste good. You will notice the shrinking of the fresh meat counter in favor of the pre-seasoned, easy to prepare, or ready to eat meats. The proliferation of products is amazing. Convenience is mandatory not just an issue.
Banquet, the longtime staple of frozen TV dinners, has introduced new crock pot frozen meals. Grab-and-go packed carrots and celery produced by California-based Ready Pac will appear in grocery stores this summer. Ready Pac is also selling ready-to-go “bistro” salad bowls — Cobb salad, chicken caesar, blue cheese. They keep meat and other protein separate from greens. It comes with a fork and dressing and is ready to tuck into a lunch bag. Del Monte makes grab-and-go cups of fresh-cut fruit that are sold in convenience stores.
Important info: The prepared meals market will grow by 16.5% over the next five years, forecasts research and markets.
What this means: Products need to be simple to prepare or almost ready with minimal food preparation time. The easier you make someone’s life, the more loyal the will become to your product. Keep thinking about all the top tier restaurants that are offering take out service.

3) People are becoming more health conscious and really are learning more about what they eat. How many diets have you read about this week? Is the low carb craze in or out? The low carp craze and the trans fat concern are just two of the recent trends.
What this means: Products that contain unhealthy fats or other ingredients are being scrutinized. Companies are providing reduced calories versions in addition to regular product offerings. People shop for healthier versions of products they used o buy. Even fast food companies are taking notice with healthy new product offerings. Watch for continued growth in this category. Pay attention to ingredient panels and special information tags such as “contains no trans fats” or “only X carbs.”

4) People are looking for products they can access on the run.
When was the last time you or your significant other went to the store and purchased everything you needed for the entire week? Make it easy to purchase. Consumers are buying products in unconventional places like a drive though with take out service; a convenience store with high caliber products
What this means: Unconventional types of retail outlets, such as convenience stores, are experiencing strong growth.

5) People are spending money to treat themselves to a little luxury.
Feeling a little neglected or sorry for yourself? You deserve something special and you are not alone. Luxury purchases are on the rise. People are willing to buy expensive treats for themselves for daily use not just for special occasions.
Important info: Last year the typical luxury consumer spent $33,188 on average buying luxuries, an increase of 33 percent over their reported spending in 2003 of $25,010. While spending in all categories of luxuries rose in 2004, increased spending on luxury automobiles resulted in the greatest boost to overall luxury spending, according to Unity Marketing's new Luxury Report, 2005.

Look for part #2 shortly

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Death of Product Packaging as We Know It.

The Death of Product Packaging as We Know It.

It used to be you that if you had a great product you put it in a
package and voila! . . .someone would come along and buy it. That
is not the case any more. The package not only has to protect the
product and allow for its tracking, it has to sell it too. Most
importantly, the package has to capture someone's attention in
less than three seconds.

Consider the last time you went shopping. Were there any new
products that jumped at you off the shelves? With smart packaging
there is an embedded chip that says ?buy me? every time someone
walks past your product. Seriously, that will happen in the
future, but right now smart packaging is confined to a few
interesting innovations.

What smart packaging innovations will impact you and your
product? It depends not only upon your target demographic but
where you plan to sell your product. Packaging 101 simply doesn't
make the grade any more.

Ask yourself some important questions that will help you build
your package brand.
Who is your buyer?
How old is your buyer?
Where does your buyer shop?
How often do they shop?
What features are they looking for in your product packaging?
What is the most important aspect of your product package that
will appeal to the buyer?
Will my package have to persuade people to buy it?
Can your package be easily compromised, tampered with or

This should get you started thinking about who you are packaging
your product for and their expectations. No matter who the
ultimate customer is, the package has to "sell? them on buying
your product. If you haven't taken the time to "think like a
customer" your product won't be flying off the shelf. It will be
dying on the shelf!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Packaging Design for Overworked, Time-Crunched and Over-The-Edge Consumers

When was the last time a product's packaging called to you from the shelf, “Buy me, buy me”? Or are you like most that get the same standbys on every trip to the store?

With the proliferation of products many times we are simply too overwhelmed with the number of product offerings to make a change. The decision making process is simply too complex to assess new products on the shelf or to determine if the new product can replace what we currently use. Our rut is so deep that I have to keep the old packaging for my husband when he goes to the store or invariably he comes back with a different, new, or improved version of what he was sent to get. Who can get mad when he's helping out?

As a seasoned veteran that speaks and writes about packaging on a daily basis, I sometimes get snookered by the latest product on they shelf. Don't you just love it when the brand you have been buying for years suddenly no only looks different but has a complete new color scheme along with a confusing array of new and improved versions? Don't they know I'm overworked, time-crunched and over the edge about making an informed shopping decision?

Add to this the fact that various practitioners are telling me how to eat healthy, look younger, consume smaller potions with less fat and less carbs plus have all the essential vitamin and minerals. They implore me to try the new and improved version while supporting my favorite charity and saving the planet too. So what am I to do when poised to make that purchasing decision to ensure I'm getting the product I am looking for?

Simplify the information. Remember the customer? Make it easy to find out all the features and benefits the product. Don't confuse me with superfluous information. Yes, it’s used by such and such, but who cares? I don't. Use the personal mantra WIIFM (what's in it for me) when creating ad copy. If a consumer buys your product what will they get in return? Forget the hype and the over the top, trite marketing gimmicks. Plain and simple -- will it make my life better?

Give me good value at a fair price, even a premium price; it’s worth it to make it simple for me to reach a decision instead of me staring at the label trying to decide the best value. Tell me all the important information too. Is it ready to go or do I need to read a set of complex instruction before using the product? Is it enough to feed an army (to use my mother’s expression) or enough for the two of us without leftovers? After it is open, what can I do with it besides give it to the cat?

I've seen wonderful new product introductions fail simply because the packaging doesn't get the job done. This is the problem of overreaching designers trying to solve too many problems with one product. Yes, I'm a packaging expert but I don't want to engage my brain in complex decision making when shopping for necessities. Just get me in and out the door with a minimum of stress and satisfy my needs with the products purchased. We aren't all "experts" when it comes to packaging so think about that the next time you develop your packaging concept. Make it work from the customer's perspective not the designers.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

9 Package Problems That Lose Sales

You have a great product, but it's not flying off the shelf. Is one of these packaging problems turning sales away?
1) You don't understand your market.
There are so many new markets and retail outlets out there. Don't forget Internet marketing too. The question is can one package service them all? The answer is no. There are features that work to your benefit in all types of packaging, but in general attributes that appeal to one audience won't appeal to another.
What to do:
Refine your niche attributes. Is your product broad based? Does it appeal to a special target audience? Do you understand what this group is looking for in product packaging? I have several research studies that focus on packaging that appeals to niches: Women and Boomers (to order these special reports return the word "research" via email).

2) The packaging is too big or too small.
In my recent research for the Packaging and Design Summit, I uncovered an interesting fact. Products that work well for children, especially kid proof packaging, simply doesn't fit the requirements of the over 50 market.
What to do:
Keep size in mind when designing your product packaging. Who is actually going to use this product and how? Is there a shelf life or consume by date that can impact the usage factor?
Women said: keep it easy to carry and easy to store.
Boomers said: keep it simple and easy to open.

3) The package is too hard to open:
Every Christmas and holiday time we read ranting and raving over packages that simply cannot be opened easily or require the aid of scissors. Much of this packaging has come about for specific reasons: security, tamper evident, counterfeiting and so on. But think about it the next time you try to open a product. Was all that packaging necessary?
What to do:
Try testing with a focus group outside the world of packaging. Many times a person unfamiliar with packaging can identify a problem area that a packaging pro can't. I did a segment for NBC TV as their packaging guru. They ended the story with people ripping and tearing open the packaging that I had so carefully explained. Boy, was that an eye opener. Look for my upcoming article in the June issue of Global Cosmetics Industry.
"Don't think like a package designer. Think like a consumer"

4) The package is too generic:
Is it trying to be all things to all people and as a result, it doesn't appeal to anyone. Have you ever been totally confused when looking at a product package? What am I supposed to do with it? Or what's the purpose? This is a total turn off.
What to do:
Tell people up front what's inside, how to use it and what the benefits are. Simpler is better -- especially when we are in a hurry.

5) The package doesn't fit with today's life styles.
Got any 20lb bags of potatoes lying around? If you are like me, 20 lbs can last a year. Large quantities and amounts do have a special market but generally people are buying in smaller size units. In fact, one of the fasted growing market segments is ready to use and consume. When I was in China ready to use was the only type packaging available. Single servings were huge there and now they are becoming hot here.

6) People are confused by the packaging.
More product iterations mean more confusion at retail. Yes, I know brand managers are constantly creating new and improved versions, but get real! How many new and improved products are really different from their predecessor?
If you want a good laugh be sure and read my upcoming article in the June issue of Packaging Design Magazine: "Packaging Design for Overworked, Time-Crunched and Over-The-Edge Consumers."

7) The package doesn't fit the retail outlet. There are myriad of cross marketing opportunities available. What works in a club store certainly won't work at a convenience outlet. Consider where your package will be merchandised.
What to do:
Ensure you have the appropriate package size for the retail outlet. Go to a store and see how people shop. It could affect the product's success.

8) The package isn't contemporary.
There are a lot of old brands that are repackaging their image. Old brands have been revitalized with new and updated packaging. Old brands can lose favor with the consumer simply because they look old.
What to do:
Keep on top of important trends. Remember when the Pillsbury Dough Boy went on a diet? Just kidding, but he did get slimmer and trimmer in his image. The same is happening to Ronald MacDonald. He is getting a makeover too. Even long-standing icons have to keep up with the times.

9) The package is too gimmicky or doesn't work.
Keep in mind, simple is better. Products that get too complicated only appeal to a certain market segment, and it's not boomers, the largest share of the purchasing market. The electronics industry seems to have lost track of this fact. Make sure it doesn't apply to your product.
Whatever the problem is, it can be corrected by understanding your target audience. Learn what they want and need. Make some adjustments and watch packages fly off the shelf.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Eat Your Package Not the Product

Wow. What a concept. Just think how happy this innovation will
make environmentalists in addition to all the packaging material
that won't be going into landfills. Seriously, I just got this
announcement about edible packaging wraps. Scientists at the US
Department of Agriculture's research agency (ARS) have developed
100 percent vegetable and fruit-based wrapping similar to nori,
the seaweed strip traditionally used for sushi.

I know all the food science colleges are dabbling in this
technology but consider the ramifications if this becomes
mainstream. How is this going to affect the food industry?
Consider all the wonderful new products. Heat and eat the entire

It's technology and innovation that's driving the packaging
industry to new dimensions.
And it's so difficult to keep up with the new inventions. Every
day I hear of something new and wonderful that I need to know

How do I keep up? I read, research, speak, and write. So how do
you keep up? Let me help you keep abreast of new technology that
can impact your career or your business. Do you want me to know
about your new product? Send me a quick email.

I'm currently researching:
Packaging Design Innovations
Packaging Products for Women
Packaging Products for 50+

I'm still waiting for many of you to get back with your packaging
IQ "test" results. For a reminder of the questions email me back.
If you have missed an issue or two of PNYCU (Packaging News You
Can Use), I've started a blog so get your updates here @

Its a quandary:
Pack Expo, HBA and CPPExpo are running concurrently.
What's a pkg. pro to do?
I will be speaking at CPPExpo so I will not be exhibiting at Pack Expo.
If you want me to stop by your booth send me a note plz.

VIP Show Passes:
I have free CPPExpo VIP passes that will get you into PackExpo too
Visit http://www.cppexpo.com/, click on the button "Register Me",
choose "On-Line Registration" and enter your unique source code,

Friday, August 05, 2005

Packaging Made Frozen TV Dinners Possible

I was saddened to hear of the passing of one of the food industry pioneers Gerry Thomas, One of our unsung heroes credited with invented a "package" the frozen TV dinner that literally changed the way we eat. Never mind that it was considered by nutritionists as a step backwards, his invention still made a major shift in the food and food services industries. In fact foodservice was in the early stages of product development when the TV dinner was first introduced in the. (turkey with corn bread dressing and gravy, sweet potatoes and buttered peas - sold for about $1 apiece and could be cooked in 25 minutes at 425 degrees.)

I was reminded of other packaging innovations that we take for granted. Everyday foods such as microwave popcorn, prewashed salads, shredded cheeses to name a few. All that are already prepared and ready to be consumed within a few minutes. Products that have make our lives a whole lot better. Consider were we would be without these package innovations that make meal preparation easy or a whole lot simpler. Remember when all the food preparation was done by your mother or your grandmother.

Not anymore. One of the fasting growing food sectors is the prepared, ready-to eat or easy/minimal preparation meal. We are a convenience society and packaging innovation has made major strides in providing products that are ideal for this lifestyle. Have you ever given any thought to the box that delivers your pizza, why its still hot and not soggy, or the prewashed salads and carrots that are ready to eat or put on the table? What about the juice box and the "Lunchables" that makes school lunches a breeze.

Packaging makes all this possible. I won't bore you with al the technical details just that without the package many of these products couldn't exist. Innovations such as the TV dinner have become "de rigeur" in American culture. So the next time you hear someone bad mouthing all the packaging materials going into landfills or the excess packaging material that is use to package a product or how difficult it is to open.

Remember consumer (that's you) are demanding these products be invented.
The features and attributes that you complain about also keep it fresh, sanitary, and easy to use to make your life and your families lives much better. After all consider the fact that without a package you couldn't have a product.

For a list of packaging innovations that have changed the way we shop, eat or generally made our lives better or to discuss what's on the horizon in packaging technology email the Packaging Diva @ packagingdiva@aol.com

Thursday, August 04, 2005

10 tips for packaging that sells products to boomers.

Boomers are a prime and growing target audience. Does your product speak to them? Does your product's packaging compel them to buy it? If not, you are missing a very important market segment. According to Rick Adler, founder of The Senior Network: "Simply based on population growth trends, if a product is marketed to the 50-plus audience and maintains its market share, it should increase in sales by 35 to 50 percent in the next 20 years. Conversely, a brand targeted at the zero to 50 age groups will be flat in sales." These 10 tips are adapted from DESIGN YOUR PACKAGING FOR THE ULTIMATE TARGET AUDIENCE - BOOMERS 1. Don't associate boomers or over those older than 50 generation with being old. Boomers view themselves as younger than they are (typically by 20 years). Whether you use the word, "boomer," "senior, "over 50," or "aging," this group doesn't want to be referred to as old. Avoid using the "over the hill" context. Use words that are not considered negative. Gone are the days of over 50 being considered close to the end of life. You're not old. You are in the prime of your life. In surveying my audience I asked what name they preferred to be used as a reference. The 50+ age range prefers to be called: · mature · boomer · older · senior · golden 2. Make it easy to use.Emphasize convenience or ease-of-use. Boomers are busy people--making their lives easier or more simplified is important. They like to spend time on activities like cooking. They just don't want to spend a lot of time getting things together to do it. 3. Make it easy to read. How important is the label's readability?70% Very Important8% Somewhat important 4% Not at all important "We are not illiterates. Just make sure we can see what we are buying." They size of type and the readability of packaging was the #1 packaging problem issue cited by the over the 50 crowd. Even with glasses many times the product labels are difficult to read. Make no mistake; Boomers will be reading it to make an informed decision 4. Keep the product secure.By product security I mean that there is no evidence of tampering or indication that the product has been opened in any way. This is going to be a huge issue in the future. With the advent, of 9/11 food security has become paramount. How important is product security/integrity?72% Very Important 18% Somewhat important 2% Not at all important 5. Create relevance.Use role models or visuals that represent the audience. Having a 20 year old touting the latest benefits means nothing. Conversely, having a 50+ year old speaking to her daughter or granddaughter creates relevance. 6. Don't use celebrity endorsement.Do celebrity endorsements influence your purchasing decision?2% Yes 98% No Wow. Think of all the wasted money. Do endorsements from a senior organization such as AARP influence your purchasing decision? 14% No 86% Yes So the bottom line is don't use celebrities. Think of all the money you will save. Do use AARP and similar organizations to tout the product. 7. Make it easy to open.Does ease of opening influence your decision? 48% Yes 54% No Ease of opening was considered a problem after they tried to open the package. Unfortunately, many of the reasons a package is difficult to open is because of external influences, tamper evident, theft, counterfeiting and product integrity. 8. Keep it simple.The same features that make packages kid-friendly should make it easier for many adults to utilize. What they want you to know about the package: Make it easy to handleUse color coding to differentiate products in a familyNeed easy opening packages 9. Use language that connectsUse language that connects with boomers. In most cases, they are educated, literate and informed. Communicate with them as such. Hip hop and other "in "style messages create a negative image rather than a positive one. 10. Forget about ageDoes age matter? How important is the designation that the product is for those older than 50? 14% Very Important 16% Somewhat important 60% Not at all importantSo don't categorize the product is one created for those over 50. However you reach out and connect with boomers through product packaging, it's important to visualize this market as vital, active people. Eliminate the old stereotypes that we grew up with of people over the age of 50. Create significance by using images of people who realize they have the best years of their lives ahead of them.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Packaging Trends, Technology and Other Interesting Stuff

Packaging Trends, Technology and Other Interesting Stuff
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

What happens during the dog days of summer months when all good intentions go the way of fun and vacations? Well, business marches on and it with it often comes major house cleaning (AKA-eliminating jobs). I guess they think people won't notice. The important point is that you don't always see it coming. But keeping your visibility and skill sets current can help. That's why I created Packaging News You Can Use (PNYCU). I know you are busy just keeping your head above water but seriously you can't lose site of the big picture. You have to know what is going on in and about your industry. That's what my e-zine is all about keeping you informed and knowledgeable about packaging news and issues that could impact your career and your business. Take a short test:Can you list five packaging trends that will impact the future of the industry? What two new US packaging trade shows have been established for 05/06? Do you know the names of the two companies with recent announcements of job layoffs (major players)? Can you name three packaging conferences where you could be a speaker or an attendee? Name four packaging industry associations?Can you describe at least two demographic trends that will impact your business/career? What three new packaging innovations do you consider significant? We'll see how you do. I will compile the answers and send the entire list to anyone that responds to the questionnaire.

Happy Dog Days!

10 Packaging Tips That Will Make Consumers Buy Your Product

The customer is king/queen. We have all heard this mantra. It’s up to you, the supplier, to prove it so. With these ten tips you will be a lot closer to proving that you are on top of industry trends and technologies for the packaging industry.

1) Understand the customer. The problem today is that one package may not satisfy the needs and requirements of all buyers. There are numerous niche markets out there that require specialized packaging. So if you are targeting one of those, do your research first. What works for one target market may not work for another. EX: Child resistant closures on medicines are almost impossible for those over 50 to open.

2) Find out what package attributes appeal to the customer you are targeting. If it’s a harried housewife shopping for your product then convenience of use better be at the top of the list. Those over 50 are seeking convenience too but issues like the size of print on the package and ease of use top their priority list. Make sure your package employs the characteristics that appeal to your target market.

3) Understand how the package will be used. Families no longer sit and eat a meal with everyone at the same time. There are special diet requirements or dieting in general in most households. It’s not uncommon to serve different meals to different individuals. Package sizes will vary accordingly. EX: People who travel a lot buy sample or trial size packages because they are small and easy to deal with

4) Know your customers current buying trends. Several years ago we went through the supersized phase. There are still a lot of supersized packages; however, buying trends are changing to smaller sizes in general. To package smaller does not mean less profit, in many cases it means more. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience, ease of use and smaller quantity. EX: 3 premium baking potatoes in a package cost almost the price of a 5lb bag. If you live with just one other person, do you really need 5 lbs of potatoes?

5) Keep abreast of new packaging technologies. Creative new products have the advantage in the marketing world even if their technology is not new but the application is. Several years ago Metedent took the world by storm with the duel aperture dispensing mechanism. Recently a host of new cleaning products have revived interest in this type of dispensing. Look for innovate ways to combine two products into one package.

6) Watch where people shop. There is a shift from traditional retailers to new and innovative store formats. The convenience store, once considered a low end marketer, has now transitioned into store that provides premium products at a premium price. This evolved from the hurry up and go mindset demonstrated in today's shopping habits. Recent studies are showing that consumers no longer make one big trip and stock up but make several trips a week and get just what is needed at the moment.EX: The grab and go cups of snack foods convenience stores are now offering.

7) Keep pace with "hot button" packaging issues. This includes legislation too. People do really care about the environment and the amount of excess packaging. There is a move afoot to expand the number of vegetable based plastic materials used in food packaging. If packaging consumers give these products their endorsement, look for other new products to surface. Legislation can change packaging mandates overnight. There have been "bottle bills," surcharges and bans on certain types of package that prohibit the use of certain packages. EX: Several fast food companies are test marketing corn-based plastic packaging materials. Ex: Ban on juice boxes in Maine.

8) Security in packaging is becoming increasingly important. This will continue to come into focus as more people become concerned about product integrity. One major security scare could force everyone to change their packaging methods immediately. Look for new tamper evident and security devices that can be incorporated into your packaging. Cost efficiencies are now making many of these devices more affordable and will soon become mainstream.

9) Competition of various packaging materials is increasing. With the imports that are readily available to the merger and acquisition mania that is taking place, keep current on your chain of supply globalization. Certain products such as plastic bags that used to be the mainstay of American manufacturing have now gone offshore. Ethic diversity both her and abroad is demanding that all packaging be multi-lingual.

10) External influence of power players. The big box retailers are driving packaging procedures and policies at retail. Mandates from these companies such as RFID tracking are in their infancy. This type of requirement could become mandatory overnight. If you want to do business with companies such as Home Depot and Wal*Mart, you will need to include the design and selection of your packaging materials.

Remember, the customer depends upon you, the manufacture, as a resource. They expect you to keep up with packaging trends and technologies and provide the latest and greatest innovations the industry has to offer.