Gourmet Foods Need Visual Sizzle

The packaging recipe for high-end foods and beverages pairs visual sizzle with product protection.

By Kate Bertrand, Packaging Editor

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“Consumers want taste and speed, as well as convenience. They’re also looking for variety and flavor,” says Nathalie Fine, William Saurin product manager. “The expertise we have in terms of gourmet product recipes adapted to and combined very well with this steel package.”

The package is lightweight and durable, which makes it practical for toting to work or school. “This package, overall, reflects and supports our daily lives: eating quickly and relatively well, combined with practicality, speed and flavor,” Fine says.

In addition to convenience, William Saurin’s packaging assures food safety and taste preservation. Technologists from the company worked closely with the packaging supplier, Paris-based Crown Food Europe (www.crowncork.com), to modify filling and seaming operations and ensure that product taste, flavor, color and vitamins remained intact until the point of consumption.

Thanks to retort processing and the bowl’s resistance to oxygen and light infiltration, the Salades Gourmandes have a shelf life of three years. The package uses the Crown Peel Seam opening system, which consists of a peelable flexible aluminum lid sealed on a 99-mm polymer-coated ring. The lid is seamed to the 314-ml polymer-coated steel bowl, also provided by Crown. The peelable lid has a tab for easy, safe removal from the bowl.

The package’s amenability to decoration also appealed to William Saurin. The company prints product information and brand graphics on the bowl and lidding and on the can’s wrap-around paperboard sleeve. The package is stocked vertically on shelf to maximize visual appeal.

Champagne in a can

Another example of metal packaging, one geared to making a splash at retail and reinforcing premium brand positioning, comes from Nicolas Feuillatte (www.feuillatte.com), Epernay, France.

The company, a relative youngster among French champagne makers, recently developed a special-edition package in which its champagne bottle is packed in a metal canister. The three-piece canister is formed from holographic polymer-coated steel that is printed with brand and product identification.

Corus Packaging Plus (www.coruspackaging.com), Ijmuiden, Netherlands, supplied the holographic steel, and Paris-based Crown Speciality Packaging Europe (www.crowncork.com) developed the technology to print directly on it.

Packaging for gourmet items: Feuillate champagne package
Nicolas Feuillatte's champagne is not in a can, but the champagne bottle is. The holographic treatment conveys premium quality and provides visual movement on shelf.

The holographic treatment conveys premium quality and provides visual movement on shelf, drawing the consumer’s eye and differentiating Nicolas Feuillatte from other champagnes. Although the canister is innovative and contemporary looking, the champagne bottle inside is conventional.

The main objectives of the holographic treatment “were to position Nicolas Feuillatte as a modern and creative brand, capture the interest of consumers with a three-dimensional effect, appeal to distributors by offering a ‘special edition’ package and increase brand visibility,” says Stéphanie Autréau, marketing manager at Nicolas Feuillatte.

The Nicolas Feuillatte canister launched last year in major supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and liquor stores worldwide.

In the coming months, holographic treatments on packaging for gourmet and luxury foods and beverages should become more common, partly because holographic origination fees are no longer prohibitive.

“What you’ll see in packaging for both high-end gourmet food and for liquor is custom holograms starting to move in. It’s just a matter of time,” says Eric Bartholomay, product development manager with Toray Plastics (America) Inc. (www.torayfilms.com), North Kingstown, R.I.

For spirits, high-end chocolates and other luxury items, holographic packaging provides “an opportunity in terms of point-of-purchase appeal and to a certain extent, brand protection,” he adds. “It melds those two things.”

Package as gift box

Paperboard packaging also can make a strong statement for gourmet and luxury products, particularly when teamed with an inner structure that provides appropriate oxygen and moisture permeability.

Napa Valley Toffee Co. (www.napavalleytoffeeco.com), Napa, Calif., uses a distinctive paperboard carton for its gourmet toffee. The product is enclosed in a heat-sealed cellophane bag inside the carton, providing a three-month shelf life at room temperature.

The simple but elegant cartons, which are the result of a recent packaging redesign, have enhanced retailers’ and consumers’ perception of the brand. Napa Valley Toffee sells through local specialty food and gift shops, high-end grocery stores and the company’s web site.

In approaching the redesign, “we wanted our packaging to look more like a gift,” says Mike Beatty, Napa Valley Toffee’s president. The new carton’s gable top and an embossed ribbon-like band contribute to the gift appeal. And a new three-pack specifically positioned for gift giving is improving sell-through.

“The three-pack became a way for retailers to clear a lot more product. Whereas normally consumers would only buy one box of toffee, now they are buying three,” says David Schuemann, owner and creative director of Napa-based CF Napa Brand Design (www.cfnapa.com), the firm that designed the new packaging.

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