Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wal-Mart Rocks Packaging World With Corn Based Packaging Order

Remember my "9 Packaging Trends You Cannot Overlook" article back in June?
Well, #7 has just come true.

Consider this are traditional oil- and natural gas-based plastics on their way out? Read this and watch out.Wilkinson Industries Inc., a food packaging company in Fort Calhoun, 12 miles north of Omaha, won the contract to supply Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores with environmentally friendly corn-based plastic containers for fruits and vegetables.

If Wal-Mart becomes an early adapter the rest of the world will soon follow suit. Any oil- and natural gas-based plastics packaging suppliers will be scrambling to keep their business.
Food makers are already hurt by packaging energy costs so they will be eager to adapt new proven technology that will save the money and as a bonus save the environment too.

Friday, October 21, 2005

If You Package It, Will She Buy?

If you package it, will she buy? Women make or influence 85% of the purchasing decisions in today's marketplace. Consumer goods companies are finally waking up to that fact. Unfortunately, just taking the man off the box and replacing it with a woman is not the answer. Nor is it to use pink or other traditionally feminine colors for the packaging. So what product packaging appeals to women? What will entice her to pick your product off the shelf? What siren screams, "Buy me" as she walks down the aisle? The answers are different than you might think.

First, you need to connect with her on an intrinsic level. Do you understand why she is making the purchase? Alternatively, you need to know where she will be shopping. One thing is for sure, she will be in a hurry. Today's women are over worked, time crunched, and busy multi-tasking. How are you going to help her make an informed purchasing decision? When she comes to buy, she will dedicate about 2.6 seconds to the decision. (70% of purchases are in store, instantaneous decisions). So what will make her pick your product off the shelf?

We all know color is a big influencer when it comes to making a product purchasing decision. However, what color will appeal to her? Besides its success in the well-established "Think Pink" campaign for breast cancer, pink is one of the least preferred colors in product packaging. Blue ranks as women's the number one choice followed closely by red.

Does your packaging clearly illustrate the benefits driven product statement? Remember, she is in a hurry. Your package should scream the product's benefits. Convince her quickly that your product will simplify her life while being easy to use. Ease of use ranks high among female-friendly attributes along with simplicity of instructions. Keep away from engineering benefits driven statements. She doesn't really care how the product works as long as it works effectively and every time.

What about the size of the package? Products in general are evolving to smaller sizes. Our lifestyle mandates that products are easily consumed in a short period or that they are easily handled and storable. She will pay a premium for it too if you can convince her it's worth it.

As you design product packaging to target purchasing's number one decision maker, stay true to ways to make her life easier, simplified, and more efficient. For more insights on how to package products she will buy, don't miss the Packaging Diva @ the IIR Annual Marketing to Women Conference.

For more details, email JoAnn Hines the Packaging Diva at or visit

Thursday, October 20, 2005

8 Tips For Boomer Friendly Packaging

The Baby Boomer generation continues to influence how products are designed and sold. The packaging industry is no different. If we can find a way to "connect" with these folks we have an opportunity to capitalize on a market segment that used to be dismissed or categorized as "undesirables" according to a recent article in Business Week. With average life expectancy rising and deeper pockets than ever before, Baby Boomers are anything but "undesirable".

But how do we "connect" with this generation? JoAnn Hines (The Packaging Diva) has some great pointers...Read JoAnn's article by going here
Scroll to the last page.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

9 Packaging Trends That Will "Connect" You With Consumers

Today’s consumer is a moving target. Choosing the right consumer and the right demographic to target is an important decision. Monitoring what is hot and what’s not can dramatically influence a package design’s success or failure. Package design is an integral way to connect with your customer. But do you clearly understand the needs and wants of these elusive markets?
Understand the customer is critical. The problem today is that one package may not satisfy the needs and requirements of all buyers.

There are many niche markets out there and each one requires 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. So....

1) Find out what package attributes appeal to the customer you are targeting. If it is a harried homemaker shopping for your product then convenience of use had 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.

2) 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.

3) 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 a smaller quantity. Remember the three premium baking potatoes in a package cost almost the price of a 5 lb bag. If you live with just one other person, do you really need 5 lbs of potatoes?

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

5) 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 at the most easily accessible retail outlet. EX: The grab and go cups of snack foods convenience stores are now offering. This category did not exist a couple of years ago.

6) 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 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 and aerosol cans in Chicago.

7) 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.

8) Competition of various packaging materials is increasing. From 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 and people really don’t care where the product packaging is manufactured.

9) 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 as per their demands and others will follow suit.

Remember, the customer depends upon you, the designer, 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. If you cannot connect with the consumer through package design, do not expect your products to fly off the shelf.

Got packaging problems? I can help. Packaging problems are solved like magic when you work with the Diva. I teach you how to package products consumers will buy. Get advice from the top expert in consumer packaging. Email the packaging Diva @