Another trend is emerging in the food industry – but unlike the vast majority, this one doesn’t have anything to do with flavors or composition. This is all about the packaging. According to a new report, pouch packaging is swiftly coming up as the packaging of choice for many food producers.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Campbell Soup Co., H. J. Heinz Co., and many other food producers are gravitating toward pouches as their preferred packaging this year for products like soup and ketchup. Why the sudden interest? Experts in the industry are pointing to a variety of reasons, including savings on packaging and shipping costs due to pouches’ lightweight nature and lack of relative bulk, as well as the improved protection pouches can offer from the elements:
John Kalkowski, editorial director of Packaging Digest, said pouches also are becoming more prevalent because technology has improved, doubling average shelf life from one year to two.
Manufacturers can cut packaging costs 10 to 15 percent by going to the pouch, he said.
However, that’s not all. As with any other trend piece recently, it didn’t take long for food production representatives to bring up a familiar buzzword: Millennial. Campbell in particular is on the verge of launching a range of new products including a new line called Go Soup – soups with trendy flavors packaged in what the Tribune describes as “an edgy, graphically intense pouch with funky fonts and pictures of young people making quirky faces” like something out of a Pepsi Generation Next fever dream. According to a company spokesperson, it’s all part of a bid to attract the young folks:
For Campbell, the move is part of a battle for credibility with millennials, ages about 18 to 34, who tend to associate its iconic red-and-white cans with grandma's house.
While officials said Campbell's first goal is to support its iconic can, the company is looking to baby boomers' children as they're starting to set up households, and making a big bet on pouches to get their attention.
"We want to fire some bullets and if they become cannonballs, we'll put our money down," said Campbell's CEO Denise Morrison. "It's a different approach for us, but we're going to listen to consumers, we're going to develop the products that they want, but then they need to buy them."
It’s a fair assessment in some respects – we’re always intrigued by something new, and sometimes it takes a packaging revamp to really bring some life back to a brand. With that said, we’re not quite sure what to make of a soup emblazoned with slogans like "shiitake happens, but this soup is ready to eat." (We don’t always need edgy slogans, that red-and-white can of chickens soup just like grandma used to
make heat up can be pretty comforting.)
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Heinz, on the other hand, is reportedly looking at pouches from a value perspective and using the packaging design to launch a smaller and cheaper portion of its ketchup:
With a squeezable pouch and nozzle, the 10-ounce product will sell for 99 cents, compared with $1.99 for a 20-ounce bottle.
The typical shopper in a developed market like the U.S., said CEO William R. Johnson, "is now intensely focused on value," adding that buying decisions are based more on price "and less about product design."
That’s an application that’s hard to argue with. The preferred aesthetics of food packaging may come and go, but value is always a good thing. We’ll be looking out over the coming year to seeing just how much of a trend pouches turn out to be.
[SOURCE: The Chicago Tribune]