Innovative Food Packaging Catches the Eye — and More

Savvy structural design adds functionality in new ways.

By Kate Bertrand Connolly, Packaging Editor

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For Target stores, the package design offers merchandising efficiencies. “They can fit more of it on the shelf,” Trader says. “The consumer gets the same amount of cereal or perhaps more, but the container is not as wide or deep as a conventional cereal box.”

Target sells 18 stock-keeping units of Archer Farms cereal, several of which were introduced with the launch of the new package. “They wanted the cereal package to create a destination product for them,” Trader explains. “A big portion of [Target’s] cereal aisle is devoted to this.”

Interlocking bottles

In glass packaging, some of the most interesting design innovations are occurring in the spirits and mixers categories. To design a memorable bottle for the Rose’s Mojito line of cocktail mixers, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (www.drpeppersnapple.com.), Plano, Texas, worked with design firm Ignited Minds (www.ignitedla.com), El Segundo, Calif. 

Rose's Mojito Cocktail Mixers

Rose’s Mojito line of cocktail mixers, from Dr Pepper Snapple Group, come in an asymmetrically curved shape that allows the bottles to nest against each other on-shelf.

The tall, 21-oz. glass bottle sports an asymmetrical curved shape that allows the bottles to nest against each other on-shelf. The colorful mixers, in Traditional, Mango and Passion Fruit flavors, are visible through the bottle’s frosted glass. Clear pressure-sensitive labels decorate and provide product information on the front and back panels, and a leaf pattern is embossed on the shoulder of the bottle.
From a practical point of view — creating a bottle that could run at acceptable speeds on filling lines, that is — this design project was “a 10 in difficulty,” recalls Robin Utay, creative director, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG).

Package engineers at DPSG worked closely with bottle supplier Vitro Packaging Inc. (www.vitro.com), Plano, Texas, to modify the initial structural design for commercial use. The work group “really pushed the envelope to make this work with our operating system,” Utay says. And yet the final bottle “is very close to the original sketches.”

The package provides functionality for consumers and retailers, as well. Although the bottle’s center of gravity is not the same as a conventional bottle, the container is easy to pour from. And the package’s interlocking shape makes a bold visual statement on the shelf while saving precious merchandising space.

For the Rose’s Mojito product line, DPSG “wanted something that was eye-catching, but they also wanted something that would be easy to stock on the shelf,” says Gabriel Gentile, business manager with Vitro Packaging. The package design delivers on both requirements.

Stand-out sweets

Among high-end dessert and confections companies, package structures often combine aesthetic appeal with user benefits such as ease of serving or easy opening.

The Filthy Food Co. (www.filthyfoodcompany.co.uk), Manchester, England, packages its premium, chilled chocolate dessert bites in a carton that stands out from competition both graphically and structurally. Thanks to folds in the paperboard, the carton fans out to become a serving dish when the lid is removed.

In contrast to other chilled indulgent desserts in the United Kingdom, which use squat packaging, often in dark colors, Filthy Food uses a tall, slim, light-colored carton.

The product is “more like a confectionery product than a traditional dessert. Therefore, we borrowed packaging cues from gift confectionery,” says Simon Preece, brand consultant at London-based design firm Elmwood (www.elmwood.co.uk), which designed the package.

Inside the carton, a printed cellophane wrap adds a layer of ritual to opening the package and builds anticipation. In keeping with the brand’s tagline, “Obsessed by Pleasure,” the carton has a soft-touch finish that is “similar to skin, making it more sensual and indulgent,” Preece says. 

Oral Fix Candies
They’re not breath mints, they’re “a stylish, on-the-go lifestyle accessory.” So Oral Fixation Mints chose an elegant, minimalist package that evokes a 1920s-era cigarette case.

Confectioner Oral Fixation (www.oralfix.com), Hopewell, N.J., uses packaging to give Oral Fixation Mints a fashion-forward personality. The premium-quality mints are packaged in a small metal tray with sliding cover. The cover is deeply embossed with the brand’s logo, which is an image of two people feeding each other mints. Planet Canit LLC (www.planetcanit.com), Highland Park, Ill., supplies the tins.

The gourmet mints, which come in nine flavors, are hand packed inside the tin in a single layer. Covering the mints is a sheet of parchment printed with graphics that key to the product’s flavor.
Oral Fixation Mints are marketed as a stylish, on-the-go lifestyle accessory. Thus the elegant, minimalist package design evokes a 1920s-era cigarette case. But, with a depth of only 6mm, the tin can be tucked into tight jeans pockets. It also offers one-handed opening.

The compact size and easy-open feature add continuing value for Oral Fixation because the package is ideally sized to hold credit cards and business cards. So consumers continue to carry the tin — and look at the company’s logo — long after they’ve consumed the mints.

 


Note to Marketing
Batter BlasterSome of the most intriguing package design innovations happen when processors look outside their own product category for packaging ideas. As an example, Batter Blaster (www.batterblaster.com), San Francisco, launched its first product, an organic pancake and waffle batter, in an aerosol can.
The product targets the organic-conscious, time-crunched consumer, making it easy, fast and fun to make pancakes and waffles. It also eliminates the mess of making them from a dry mix or from scratch. Batter Blaster is sold refrigerated, and each 18-oz. can makes about 28 four-inch pancakes or waffles.
The aerosol cans are made of recyclable steel, and the carbon dioxide infused into the batter does double duty: The gas is the aerosol propellant, and it also aids in leavening and browning the batter as it cooks.
Batter Blaster currently is developing other products for the aerosol can, including cupcake, muffin, cookie and brownie batters. Crown Cork & Seal (www.crowncork.com), Philadelphia, supplies the Batter Blaster cans. Package graphics were created by Focus Design (www.focusd.com), San Francisco.
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