'Markaging': Your in-store salesman

Today's packaging must not only protect products and enable distribution--in its role as point-of-sale advertising, packaging can also increase brand awareness and capture consumers' attention

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"Adding zipper resealability has given us the competitive advantage over other ice brands packaged in traditional non-resealable bags," explains Deina Merschbrock, Arctic Glacier's director of sales and marketing. "We gained increased market share because consumers prefer the convenience of easy storage. And managers of supermarkets, convenience and grocery stores quickly recognized the greater sales impact afforded by incorporating functionality into our packaging because entire bags of ice are seldom consumed in one sitting."

Heed the Environment

According to a study recently conducted by marketing research firm Grapentine Co., 59 percent of European consumers and 41 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed ranked the concept of purchasing fresh food in nature-based packaging as very desirable. Cargill Dow LLC, Minnetonka, Minn., responds with its NatureWorks PLA (polylactide resin) packaging material.

The material is 100%-derived from annually renewable resources such as corn, is compostable and adaptable to a range of packaging applications, including both thermoformed rigid structures and flexible wrapping films. The finished containers are crystal clear, non-fogging, high-strength, highly printable and cost-competitive with more traditional packaging.

"Packaging can be one of the most important branding tools produce suppliers can use to differentiate their products and gain advantage in today's ultra-competitive fresh food industry," says Lisa Owen, Cargill Dow global business leader. "Consumers believe clear packaging derived from a natural source makes fruits and vegetables appear more fresh, wholesome and convenient."

NatureWorks PLA also has potential for salads, deli items, baked goods, dairy products, pastas and candies. JoEL Inc., Elizabethtown, Pa., has adopted twist-wrap film made from NatureWorks to package its College Farm brand organic hard candies. Notes JoEL President David Deck, "Nature-based packaging is an easy and satisfying way to do something good for our customers and the environment."

Wilkinson Manufacturing Co., Fort Calhoun, Neb., also adapted NatureWorks PLA to thermoform compostable food containers from sheet. Called NaturesPLAstic, the line includes various sizes/shapes of clear containers with matching lids.

Earn a 'Markaging' Degree

Mastering the art and science of "markaging" may be key to the success of the products and brands of today and tomorrow. Brand managers and marketers will learn much at Pack Expo International, which will feature more than 1,900 exhibits.

The year's most innovative and award-winning package designs will be on display at The Showcase of Packaging Innovations. Designs to be featured include winners of the Glass Packaging Institute's Clear Choice Awards, the Institute of Packaging Professionals' AmeriStar Awards and the National Paperboard Packaging Competition sponsored by the Paperboard Packaging Council.

For more information, or to register for Pack Expo, visit www.packexpo.com or contact PMMI at 703-243-8555; email expo@pmmi.org.

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