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By Kate Bertrand Connolly, Packaging Editor | 02/24/2012
A dual-compartment pouch separates the cheese from the seasonings (right) in Kraft's new Fresh Takes, but the paperboard sleeve aptly displays both.
Package designers are thinking outside the box, so to speak, as they create packaging for new food products. In the latest crop of package designs, from processors ranging from multinationals to start-ups, providing a view of the product — without sacrificing freshness, flavor or texture — is a recurring motif.
Kraft Fresh Take, a new meal kit from Kraft Foods Inc. (www.kraftcheese.com), Northfield, Ill., leverages the transparency of a dual-compartment pouch to show off the product's two ingredients. One compartment holds shredded or crumbed cheese, and the other holds seasoned bread crumbs. The pouch is folded in half and tucked into a paperboard sleeve that displays the cheese and crumbs.
"That inner bag is the first 'aha' of this project. In one bag we're able to create two different compartments that hold the moisture and the freshness of the cheese on one side of the bag while maintaining the crispiness of the spices and the breadcrumbs in the other" compartment, says Arthur Sevilla, brand manager for Kraft Natural Cheese.
The seal between the two compartments remains intact until the consumer opens the pouch to use the product. After the inner seal is broken, the consumer mixes the cheese and crumbs together and drops pieces of chicken, pork or fish into the pouch for coating prior to baking.
Because the product is merchandised in the shredded cheese section of the dairy case, Kraft also needed a package that would be compatible with space limitations and would position the product as a meal kit in a sea of cheese. The paperboard sleeve plays a central role in accomplishing those objectives.
"The sleeve was designed to have cutouts along the side, essentially asking consumers to take a peek beyond the sleeve," Sevilla continues. He adds that the sleeve cues customers that the product is a "meal kit or meal solution" rather than simply an ingredient, like cheese. "Most kits are in a box. A 'box' was required to differentiate ourselves in the [product] set where we would live," he says.
The sleeve also makes it possible to fold the large pouch in half, "minimizing the space we need within our dairy set," Sevilla explains. The sleeve has a peg hole, so the package can hang in the dairy case and occupy the same amount of space as an 8-oz. bag of shredded cheese. Or the package can be displayed upright; the bottom of the sleeve is flat.
For the Fresh Take product launch, which began in December 2011, Kraft created a pusher tray system that keeps the product vertical and reinforces its positioning as a meal kit. The display sits on a shelf adjacent to shredded cheese and has a transparent glass front, so the sleeves are completely visible to consumers.
Kraft created the structural designs in-house for both the multilayer-plastic pouch and the sleeve. Spring Design Partners (www.springdesignpartners.com), New York, created the graphics for the sleeve. Kraft Fresh Take launched in six flavors.
A new look at frozen fruit
In the freezer case, Dole is showing off its new single-serving fruit products. Dole Frozen Fruit Single-serve Cups hold 3 oz. of frozen "All Natural Fruit" and are sold in two-packs.
The product line, which includes Blueberries, Sliced Strawberries and Tropical Gold Pineapple, is available in select retail and Walmart stores and should be in national distribution in April.
In contrast to conventional frozen-fruit packaging — opaque pouches, that is — Dole's frozen-fruit cups make transparency an essential design feature. The fruit, packed in polypropylene cups, is completely visible. And the paperboard multipack sleeve is designed with a window to let consumers view the packaged fruit at point of purchase. That visibility communicates a key product benefit: the fruit's quality.
"Dole uses a proprietary patent-pending process that removes water from the fruit prior to freezing in order to diminish cell damage during the freezing process," explains Vanessa Beltran, business manager at Dole Packaged Foods LLC (www.dole.com), Westlake Village, Calif. "The resulting fruit exhibits improved appearance, taste and texture compared to traditional IQF [individual quick frozen] fruit."
She adds that the Nature Lock logo displayed on the front of each multipack "is Dole's way of letting consumers know that we've locked in all the nutrients of fruit at its peak moment to ensure consumers are getting the finest fruit available."
Dole chose polypropylene for the cups not only for visibility, but also for product protection. Polypropylene stands up well to freezing and "performs very well throughout the supply-chain process, ensuring we deliver the best product for our consumers," Beltran says.
Dole developed the structural package design for its Frozen Fruit Single-serve Cups in-house and worked with The DuPuis Group LLC (www.dupuisgroup.com), Westlake Village, Calif., on package graphics.
Tea tin with a window
The combination of product protection and transparency also is fundamental to the design of packaging for Tiesta Tea (www.tiestatea.com), a young company based in Chicago.