Friday, December 14, 2007

I Want More Packaging -- Not Less!!

Packaging News You Can Use
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
Tip Of The Week
I Want More Packaging -- Not Less!!
Issue #1288 - December 14, 2007

The Packaging Diva Now Writes For ThomasNet Industrial Market Trends....

We want you to be informed about what is happening or likely to happen in the packaging industry. In case you missed the December 11, 2007 - Packaging the Holidays Issue of Industrial Market Trends here is the link to read the articles

I Want More Packaging -- Not Less!! by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

Wow, what a statement! I'm sure I'll be excoriated for this opinion.

But seriously, this is how I make my living. I understand and analyzing how the packaging industry works. It's complicated and it's big business. To be cost effective consumer products companies have been forced to use packaging as an integral part of their marketing campaigns. Remember the salesperson? When was the last time you saw one who actually knew anything about the products inside the store? Selling - that is one job of product packaging. It has to tell the customer all about what's inside the packaging. It helps you make an informed purchasing decision too.

Let me pose another question. When was the last time you bought something in a beat up shopworn, dog-eared package? That's another packaging job -- to protect and secure the product inside (what a concept).

One factor these nay-sayers never consider is who pays for damaged products? You do, the consumer of course! One study says that there is a 20% waste factor in fresh produce that's packaged properly. The detractors say no excess produce packaging! What will be the waste factor with no or limited packaging? And who will absorb this cost? You will again not the package manufacturers or the retailers.

My mind is numb from all the hue and cry about problem packaging: bad packaging, excess packaging, wrap rage packaging, get rid of packaging, leave packaging at the store and so on. This one gets to me too -- stories about how many injuries there are from people trying to open packaging.

Packaging is under attack by the very people who need it the most and understand it the least: The Consumer. I counted no less than 10 stories this week decrying the bane of packaging. But it's true that what is considered excess packaging is in the eye of the beholder. But with media headlines like this how can one not be swayed?
Weekend of action against packaging waste;
Don't fall victim to Wrap Rage this holiday;
Parents urged to fight toy packaging, and don't forget these current trendy buzz phrases: Packaging Hall Of Shame,
Consumer Reports Oyster Awards;
and packaging related accidents.
Yikes! Who wouldn't be on the lookout.

But let's get down to packaging basics. Here are a few packaging factoids you might consider before beginning your annual holiday rant.
True packaging facts
Packaging is the third largest industry in the US;
10% of every dollar spent at retail can be directly attributed to packaging;
The packaging industry employs over a million people;
Food accounts for 70% of all product packaging;
Packaging is a trillion dollar industry;
The US accounts for 25% of the global packaging economy with China closing fast;
The consumer has no idea the role packaging has to play in modern society;
Without a package, you can't have a product (in most cases).

So what is the "packaging" reality here? While researching this article I came across a staggering amount of what I call misinformation or misunderstood information.

These are packaging facts I'm not so sure about:
Packaging makes up 1/3 of the average household's garbage? Defined by who?
US consumes about 660 pounds of packaging per person? Are we eating this? ( just kidding).
90% of that packaging becomes solid waste. I know this is not true from a seminar I attended recently. It's closer to 30-35%.

So lets get a little reality check here. Yes, there is bad packaging, yes, some things are overpackaged, yes we should give more consideration to the way we package products and how much packaging is used; yes, we should investigate more environmentally friendly materials, (the jury is still out on this one as to the true cost benefit analysis) and finally yes we the packaging industry should do a better job of educating the consumer about product packaging.

Yes, I want more product packaging. I want the things I want undamaged, fresh, uncontaminated, secure, accessible and available where and when I want them.

To me that means more and better product packaging not less.

Need to know whose got the latest concepts in packaging innovation? I know that's what I do-track packaging trends and innovation and how it is going to impact your business. Get connected with me JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva via email at or by phone 1-678-594 6872.


Sevi Organics upgrades packaging to be even more eco-friendly.PR Web (press release) - Ferndale,WA,USAThe family owned small company strives for purity and honesty and are proud to be an earth, animal and people friendly company. The full cosmetic line is ...

Anglesey slams Christmas wasteNews Wales - Knighton,UK... explained, "By raising awareness about this important issue we hope that people will really start thinking about whether all of the packaging that comes ...

Biopack Announces Soft Opening for - USA... seven fully automated machine units as well as eight mixing pools for coloration of Biopack's unique 100% biodegradable food grade packaging products. ...

Food and drink manufacturers pledge to cut packaging and food wasteMRW - London,England,UKFood and drink manufacturers pledged to considerably cut packaging and food waste by 2010, in a five point plan initiated by their trade body, ...

Spend Less to Shop GreenMotley Fool - USAPick products with minimal packaging. Buying in bulk will reduce both your costs and the packaging you have to recycle or throw away. While you're shopping, ...

Clinton, Wal-Mart foster 'green' buyingBusinessWeek - USAWal-Mart has set targets for reducing energy use and packaging waste and selling more environmentally friendly products. Steps include switching to only ...

Vodka repackaged and marketed as a luxury goodInternational Herald Tribune - FranceHappily for drinkers of these luxury vodkas, the attention paid to packaging and marketing seems to be matched by that paid to the product. ...

New food ratingUI The Daily Iowan (subscription) - Iowa City,IA,USAKatz echoed Friesleben's concerns that many American consumers are misled by product packaging. "People are going to learn things they never knew they never ...

Our View — Put a stop to fooling consumersMankato Free Press - Mankato,MN,USAThe meat-packaging controversy is the latest to surface in a string of recent food-related problems. Just this month 1 million pounds of ground beef that ...

Forest-Products Company's Trim AssetsMotley Fool - USAmeadwestvaco is focusing on packaging, consumer and specialty chemicals. Temple-Inland is spinning off its real-estate and financial-services divisions, ...

Analyst says consumers still need cans, packagingMilwaukee Journal Sentinel (subscription) - Milwaukee,WI,USASchwiesow says he's cautious about many of the so-called deep cyclical stocks, because the best time to buy them is at the bottom, when people don't yet ...

Naturally Iowa, Inc. Enters Final Stages of Acquisition of PLA ...PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USAWe believe that this is an enormous potential revenue source for the Company, given the growing consumer interest in sustainable packaging. ...

JoAnn Hines
Packaging Diva

I package people, products and services. Get started in the right direction by visiting any one of my websites for free advice, articles or just plain help. You can ask a question to a packaging expert too, list your packaging request or just e-mail me at I *will* find your perfect packaging solution!

Personal Website:;
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Packaging Workshop:;
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JoAnn Hines (The Packaging Diva) work is featured in Package Design magazine, Shelf Impact, Webpackaging and many other packaging portals and magazines. In the months of Sept. and Oct. her packaging commentary was used in Chicago Tribune (2), Entrepreneur Magazine and Cision. She is recognized as one 50 most influential packaging leaders in the 20th Century.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Hate Packaging - Reprised

Packaging News You Can Use
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
Tip Of The Week
I Hate Packaging - Reprised
Issue #1287 - December 4, 2007

Got a question you think my readers would be intereted in hearing about? Drop me a line.
Recent queries include topics such as thecarbon footprint of packaging, packaging coming out of China, whats new in packaging innovation.

Is Packaging Innovation The Chicken Or The Egg?
This from Tim at KTM Industries

I can only concur with your findings. As a producer of strictly sustainable packaging materials, I am amazed that the vast majority of packaging professionals that I have met with at some of the largest, most respected companies find Green Cell Foam a novelty or curiosity, even though we discuss that Toyota, Honeywell, Volvo, Sony and other majors have been using this for several years with excellent results. Why do so many packaging folks eschew “green” technologies?

Here are my best guesses:
Investment – many companies are so heavily invested in machinery and fixtures that the idea of integrating new materials goes directly against corporate strategies

Overloaded – packaging engineers are so busy that they rather select materials and processes that are “tried and true” rather than go through the extra work of investigating/testing/etc.
Job protection – it’s a lot safer to use materials that are “tried and true” rather than try new materials that may go wrong (even if the chance is near nil)

Not important – “green” technologies are just not high on the list of imperatives (no bonus check for going “green”)

Relationships – many professionals have been working with the same companies/persons for many years and they remain loyal

Costs – while many “green” technologies carry a price premium, we’ve found that even at cost parity, companies stay with current designs to avoid the hassle of switching for no bottom line gain

Lack of vision – (I may be burned at the stake for this one) with energy costs going through the roof, hydrocarbon-based materials will cost a lot more in a very short period of time. Biobased materials, on the contrary, have a much lower energy cost component and, thus, are not subject to oil-based price increases. And with more cities/states/countries enacting environmental legislation, there will be a clear market advantage to using sustainable materials. Oh, yes, and add Wal-Mart to the list of drivers…

I travel extensively and I always carry Green Cell Foam with me. People invariably ask what it is and when I explain it to them – along with the environmental benefits and ease of disposal – about 118% of them instantly like the material (OK, so I need a new calculator…)

So how do we bridge the disconnect? Marketing…
I am starting to meet with the MARKETING departments of these companies, rather than the packaging and operations groups, to explain the benefits to the company through their customers. Will this strategy work? Clearly, I don’t know, but I believe that it comes down to this facet of the business to drive innovation.


I Hate Packaging - Reprised by JoAnn Hines Packaging DivaIt's that time again (the holidays) when packaging will be getting top media coverage by its detractors. Those would be the people looking to complain about product packaging because it’s too difficult to open or there is too much of it or they think it doesn't do its job properly. I always read a slew of articles on how many people were injured or had to go to the hospital trying to open a package.

Bad raps on the packaging industry appear in the news all year but with the holiday and all the gifts giving its a natural topic to get additional publicity. Just check out my website to read a few of the most "infamous cases." I have been interviewed several times to explain the other side of the story too: The real role packaging has to play (the good side) and where would we be without it.

Consumer Reports just put its annual call out for the "Oyster Awards" given to the worst packages out there. You can bet consumers are lining up to rant about various problems with packaging and how packaging is the bane of the public.Yes, I know there are problems with packages that can't be easily opened. Specialized tools have been created to make this problem easier. I gets news releases on these all the time some of these tools are better than others (if you want my opinion drop me a line).

I had a recent experience with my husband's new electric razor which elicited a few choice words while I was trying to get it out of the plastic clamshell. But boy did it look pretty on the shelf. I could see the entire product and the nifty freebie gizmo that came along with it. I was very intrigued to finally get the product out (without mishap I might add). Even I was surprised when I finally got inside the package to see all the interworkings that went into packaging this product. It was really great package design at its best.

It is amazing how much thought and innovation went into the design itself. It sat upright and was very well positioned on the shelf among its competitive offerings. The product was clearly visible had some great marketing graphics which caught my eye. The package was composed of numerous types of packaging materials that were well integrated into the complete unit.

Why did I buy it? The package made me do it, of course, and the fact that my husband broke his old razor so I got to play consumer for a product that I wouldn't normally purchase. It was a reason to experience the process. But the packaging did its job too. It persuaded me to buy that particular product knowing the heartache I would experience to get inside. I didn't worry whether it was "green" either. I simply didn't care I need this and now and the package called out "buy me."

Despite what all of the critics have to say, packaging is integral to the successful sale of a product. It has to get it to the shelf, but that's only the beginning. It has to protect, secure and display the product too. It has to persuade you to make the purchase while telling you all about what is inside. That would be the reason that you just can't live without this product.

I'm reading all these rants about excess packaging at the supermarket. Calls to strip away product packaging and leave it at the store. These are the first people that will be complaining if the fruit is bruised or the lettuce is not fresh and even scarier when there is some sort of health threat due to contamination. Have you seen how many food recalls there have been lately? Just think how much more there would be if packaging wasn't doing its job.

Too few of us (especially consumers) really understand the role packaging has to play in modern society. Many problems that packaging resolves are taken for granted and only get exposed when it turns into a problem. Look at Tylenol. That poisoning incident (happened 25 years ago in September) changed an industry forever and evolved an entire new packaging category of product security, integrity and tamper-evident. This could happen again anywhere in the world. The packaging of food products is 70% of the industry and it is sorely in need of scrutiny for product integrity and security. Several issues regarding food security have recently arisen especially food products coming from China. I have seen several posts on this lately and get asked questions about it every week. Some companies are even marketing "China free" on the product packaging.

So this holiday season give some thought to why about why products are packaged the way they are. Be on the lookout for cynics and people who give a bad wrap to packaging without understanding what packaging really does. Be sure and take the time to explain to them the role packaging has to play. Don't let anyone get away with saying "I hate packaging" without helping them to clearly understanding where would we be without it.

Need to know whose got the latest concepts in packaging innovation? I know that's what I do-track packaging trends and innovation and how it is going to impact your business. Get connected with me JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva via email at or by phone 1-678-594 6872.


Am I Retrainable for Sustainable?GreenBiz - Oakland,CA,USAAfter more than 30 years as a packaging professional focused on flexible -- dare I say -- plastic packaging, this new movement people are calling ...

Valley eateries move to compostable productsArizona Republic - Phoenix,AZ,USAKing's company sells only packaging from renewable resources and said his business is up 83 percent from last year. "It's becoming the zeitgeist, ...

Councils ready to ban plastic shopping bagsGuardian Unlimited - UKThis is because people would be encouraged to use bags made from other materials or alternative forms of packaging, which may be equally or more damaging to ...,,2210012,00.html

Recycling Is Critical for Environment and BusinessEarthtimes - London,UKRecovered paper and packaging are used by paper mills to manufacture new products, including office paper, packaging and shipping containers. ...,221887.shtml


How much does packaging weigh? You are about to find out.

Wal-Mart hit with $89705 state fineHerald Times Reporter - Manitowoc,WI,USAJudy Cardin, section chief for weights and measures with the state, said that in the case of bulk coffee, the weight of the packaging materials was included ...

Tesco finds niche in US marketArizona Republic - Phoenix,AZ,USAFor example, Fresh & Easy will not carry cigarettes or products with non-recyclable packaging. All Fresh & Easy buildings will meet energy efficiency ...

$55 Billion in Sales Could Shift to Store Brands, McKinsey Study ...Earthtimes - London,UKThe projected shift was outlined by McKinsey & Co. in a breakfast presentation today at this year's private label industry trade show in Chicago. ...,222730.shtml

Packaging World to Produce Brand-Protection Packaging ForumPR Web (press release) - Ferndale,WA,USA... for brand owners to protect their products from counterfeiting, diversion and gray-market distribution, using the latest packaging-related technologies. ...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Is Packaging Innovation The Chicken Or The Egg?

Packaging News You Can Use
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
Tip Of The Week
Is Packaging Innovation The Chicken Or The Egg?
Issue #1286 - November 27, 2007

Dear subscriber to: Packaging News You Can Use.

I'm changing the delivery date of Packaging News You Can Use from Fridays to Tuesdays.
I'm also changing the subject title from the name of the featured article to: Packaging News You Can Use by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva.

You will have to open the email to see this weeks "hot" packaging topic written by me JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva.

Other important sections include what is hot in green product packaging (Packaging Greenwatch) and my picks of the hottest packaging news of the week.

Is Packaging Innovation The Chicken Or The Egg? by JoAnn Hines
Packaging Diva

It’s a long-standing quandary, which came first the chicken or the egg? It's sort of like that with consumer product packaging innovation. Let's face it. We are all in advertising overload. We see nearly 3,000 marketing messages a day. So what's a poor packaging professional supposed to do? Develop the product then the package or vice versa. No matter the answer, it’s evident that conventional packaging doesn't sell products or at the very least it produces flat sales. According to some of my latest research, the packaging may not sell the product at all in the future.

In preparation for a presentation on packaging innovation, I decided to poll my network about what they believe to be new in packaging innovation for consumer products. I posed these questions to my audience:

What is your definition of packaging innovation for consumer products? Have you seen any recent packaging examples that you consider truly different and why are they unique? If you could invent it what new types of new product packaging would you like develop?

Big mistake! Maybe I should say it was a true learning experience. You think I could have anticipated some of the responses. Remember, I have been researching packaging as a marketing tool for years. Most of the responses I received were not favorable to the packaging community.

One thing is clear. Our beloved "packaging" is under attack by the consumer. They just don't understand it.

A couple of surprising points came from this exercise.

1) The packaging professionals didn't seem at all concerned about this topic or for the most part wouldn't share their insights (non confidential of course) about the topic. I wonder if they are just too busy or they simply didn't care about packaging innovation.

2) The consumer (those people not in the packaging industry) registered loud and clear. They gave me the skinny on their dissatisfaction on everything from less packaging to "wrap rage" induced by product packaging. They took the time to express their opinions.

So to what do we attribute this dichotomy of opinions? Package professionals are involved in the third largest industry in the US. It is “packaging" and we are confident that we know what the consumer needs (or so we think).

Uninformed consumers are unhappy, outraged, dissatisfied and just plain angry with the packaging industry and it’s our fault. Our industry has done very little to educate the consumer about why they need packaging and what role it has to play in modern society. What about the consumer perceptions? These are sadly going downhill. With the holidays, we get a flurry of editors writing about "wrap rage." In addition with the "green movement" we are getting protest of environmentally unfriendly, excess packaging and so on.

But the truth is consumers need packaging innovation. They need all of the benefits it has to offer with threats such as product integrity and security, country of origin issues and so on.

So who is going to answer these dilemmas? Smart packaging professionals who will use packaging innovation to the consumers’ benefit. They will educate and inform consumers that the package is a whole lot more than what it seems to be -- on the surface.

To answer the age old chicken or egg quandary. Packaging has a perception problem which has to be resolved now. It is imperative that we "connect" with the consumer before the egg or the chicken are either conceived or hatched. Otherwise, packaging will continue to face detractors and complainers and reinforce the negative consumer perceptions.

Need to know who has got the latest concepts in packaging innovation? I know, that's what I do-track packaging trends and innovation and how it is going to impact your business. Get connected with me JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva at my websites or by phone 1-678-594 6872.


Going 'green' can be a mixed bag for consumer companiesMarketWatch - USABy Anjali Cordeiro Consumer product suppliers are pushing to make their products and supply chains more environmentally friendly in an effort to bolster ...

Engineering Green PackagingDesign News - Newton,MA,USABY THIS AUTHOR Food, beverage and consumer product packaging will soon get a whole lot greener. And much of the credit goes to Wal-Mart. ...

A Spotlight on the Green Side of Bottled WaterNew York Times - United StatesA. We use less packaging than sodas or other convenience beverages. Nestlé Waters is rolling out Ecoshape, a 12.5 gram plastic bottle that holds half a ...

Lessons Learned on Display at Wal-Mart's Sustainability - Peterborough,NH,USAIt can be an engine for innovation in products and packaging, even delivery systems. And it wants to help its tens of thousands of suppliers move in that


Target reducing use of PVC: reportReuters - USANEW YORK (Reuters) - Target Corp said it is reducing its use of the plastic polyvinyl chloride in packaging and children's ... like lunch boxes and 0071106

The Vinyl Institute Response to News Report on Target's Reduction ... PR Web (press release) - Ferndale,WA,USAThe Vinyl Institute (VI) expressed disappointment today over a news report that Target Corp. is reducing its use of PVC for packaging and children's ...

Sick lungs to be shown on packaging of cigarettesManila Standard Today - PhilippinesPICTURES of damaged and discolored lungs will soon be used on cigarette packs to further discourage people from smoking, an official said yesterday. ...

Monash student wins Cormack Innovation AwardFerret - AustraliaCormack Packaging Marketing Manager, Ron Hartman, said Sarah's design solved the frustration felt by many DIY people with the current vacuum formed ...

Battle Against Bottled Water Hits StreetBaltimore Sun - United States"People can choose bottled water, or they can bring their own tap water. We offer water in convenient, portable and resealable packaging that's readily ...

JoAnn Hines
Packaging Diva

WHO IS THE PACKAGING DIVA?I package people, products and services. Get started in the right direction by visiting any one of my websites for free advice, articles or just plain help. You can ask a question to a packaging expert too, list your packaging request or just e-mail me at I *will* find your perfect packaging solution!