Friday, June 09, 2006

How To Package "Skinny"

I'll be the first to admit I not much for dieting as you probably guessed from reading last week "Beer Profits Drop Could it be the Packaging?". I do watch my weight, exercise daily and try to eat well balanced nutritious meals, But I'm still tempted though by products that say thin, slim, low calorie or even diet (yikes) on the package hoping to find a product that actually tastes good or resembles the real thing.

I found a fun and interesting product while researching for this article "Skinny Cow, chocolate fudge ice cream bars." Sounds great and delicious too bad its only available in the UK. . (Since I wrote this I found out its available in the US too with many avid fans that agree, they are delicious.)

Outside of the obvious diet products, I did manage to find Skinny Water(r), Skinny Natural Corn Chips, Skinny Root Beer and a whole host of "skinny" hair care products, some sound good enough to eat (almost). Companies like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig have traded in this space for quite a while very successfully. Versions of their packaged products now are in almost every supermarket. It takes the temptation out of overeating when everything is prepared and with a limited caloric intake.

Entire new brands of packaged meals like Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice have evolved around our concerns to watch our weight yet eat delicious foods. If you remember back in November, I wrote "Food Packaging Trend – 100 Calorie Snacks; Smart or Stupid?" about the host of new 100 calories snack products that tempt us to regulate our snacking and still feel like we are having a treat. Companies such as McDonalds and other fast food companies are trading on "skinny" too. Counting on the fact that now they are putting ingredients and calories on their food packaging that people will actually read it and not over-eat. Wow what a concept!

Every week I see new products introductions that promise me that I'll achieve those lofty goals. You know, the emaciated razor thin model that all American women are supposed to aspire too. Yes, "skinny" sells. One of the cleverest names I have seen lately is a new product entitled Skinny Dip Beer. Of course this is an oxymoron but I am still intrigued with all the beer claims that promise "great taste with less calories." I've tried a few of these and decided its not worth the effort or the calories which I'll get from something that actually tastes good thank you.

The dairy industry has taken up the skinny charge too with "Drink Yourself Skinny" claiming that dairy products boost metabolism and aid with weight loss. Does that include whole chocolate milk?

It's not enough to just slap the word "skinny" on the packaging although that may garner some consumer interest in the short run. Beware of false claims and false advertising. There are people lurking everywhere to catch you misstating your facts, including Uncle Sam. Look for more regulation to require you to actually validate the claims that you make on your product packaging. And your buyers too will be unhappy if you don't deliver what you have promised. So if you decide to package "skinny" make sure you deliver what you promise.

Please feel free to use me as a resource when it comes to understanding what packaging markets are hot and what are not. Or what companies are developing the latest in innovative packaging technology.


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