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Small is in…Brand Managers Need To Rethink Retail Packaging

We are often asked our thoughts and opinions regarding particular trends in the retail packaging industry.  Recently one question was if packaging is playing a role in the rise and popularity of small box stores…to which we can emphatically say yes it is!  Walmart has been introducing Neighborhood Market Stores, Target has Target Express, and stores like Save-A-Lot and Aldi have a stunning growth curve.  But smaller stores, less space, and the need to grab a customer’s attention immediately has made flexible retail packaging incredibly important.

First, here are some reasons why small box stores are out-pacing the big box ones:
•    Young adults and empty nesters don’t have the time or the desire to “stock up” like the old days.
•    Fewer number of people in the home…there are more households with one or two folks and less than 50% of them have kids.checklist-1
•    Many people are just trying to buy what they need for that day or even that particular meal.

Here are 3 ways for brand managers to out-hustle their competition on the store shelves of small box stores and all of them pertain to packaging.

1.    Stand out.  As I mentioned above, one of the key things people want when shopping in small box stores is to get in and get out.  Consider packaging that stands out with bold, creative color combinations, and graphics that say “pick me up and take me home.”  The old saying that you have one shot to make a good first impression is very appropriate in this case.
2.    Tell your story.  Your packaging is your representative in those split seconds a customer considers your product.  Use the packaging to display your product in the best way possible (like a clear see-thru window) and most certainly use it to tell your company’s story, why your product is so great, long lasting, and good for you, etc.
3.    Be retailer friendly.  If your product (packaging) is easy to store, ship, inventory, display, and replenish, you’ve just made a friend with the small box store.  They need to fill their shelves and sell more products and if you help them with that, they’ll buy more of it from you.  Further, retailers love when consumers are happy with particular packaging features (ziplocks, tear notches, hang holes, pour spouts, etc) so keep that in mind.

small box stores and pouch packaging

Flexible retail packaging such as custom stand up bags and flat bottom stand up pouches continue to grow in popularity on retail store shelves, and are perfectly positioned for small box stores regardless if you are packaging spices, food products, cereal, or even snacks.  They are made with laminated layers of FDA food grade barrier film that keep the contents fresher for longer while helping build your brand.  This packaging can be printed up to 12 colors, is recyclable and landfill friendly.

Custom stand up bags naturally have a wide face and back which is perfect for graphics, a window, or even both.  Materials range from clear structures, metalized film, and even foil.  Custom stand up bags have different bottom gusset styles that support different weights and types of material.  A round bottom gusset is one of the most common and is used for lighter (less than 1 pound) products such as spices and snacks.  A k-style bottom gusset is perfect for those items that are 1 to 2.5 pounds such as granola, cereal, and pet products.  While a plow bottom gusset is used for heavier items such as sugar, salt, and flour.

Flat bottom stand up pouches are one of the newest styles to hit the market.  Here the design is made to mimic a box and a folding carton so it stands erect on a store shelf (like a cereal box).  Even better, because it is made with laminated barrier film flat bottom stand up pouches will keep the contents much fresher than a traditional packaging without the extra or added inner liner that serves little or no purpose.  By design the flat bottom stand up pouch holds more volume in a much smaller space and uses up to 15% less film than traditional stand up bags.

In closing, the retail landscape continues to be fierce regardless if you play in the small box stores, the big boxes, or even mom and pops.   Choosing the right packaging style with the right graphics will most certainly assist your company and your brand so your products stand up, stand out, and fly off of store shelves!



Topics: Food Packaging, Custom Printed Flexible Packaging

David Marinac

Written by David Marinac

What LEGO’s Sustainable Packaging Teaches Us About Overseas Innovation

Since 1949, children across the globe have fawned over tiny, plastic, interlocking bricks.

LEGOs are a not only a classic toy but a staple in many households. Many kids beg their parents to take them to the majestic LEGOLAND, an amusement park where all their wishes and dreams could come true.

Why Nestlé, Unilever & PepsiCo are Banning Oxo-degradable Plastic Packaging

Originally marketed as an eco-friendly packaging material, new evidence regarding the potentially negative impact of oxo-degradable plastics has led a number of companies and governments to restrict their use.

More than 150 companies and global organizations, including Nestlé, Unilever and PepsiCo, have recently endorsed a total ban on the material in light of its potentially negative environmental impact.

Oxo-degradable plastic packaging, which includes select plastic pouch bags, is often marketed as a solution to plastic pollution because it claims to degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, oxo-degradable plastics do not degrade into harmless residues, but instead, fragment into tiny shards of plastic that actually contribute to plastic pollution.

Often, consumers think that because a material is biodegradable, it can be composted or even littered on the ground, because, it is thought, the material will break down into nothing over time. This actually ends up leading to an increase in pollution, since consumers don’t end up recycling or repurposing the material, and misconceptions about how the plastic will degrade leads them to end up putting it back into landfills.

What is important to note in this case is that although oxo-degradable plastics are biodegradable, being biodegradable does not necessarily mean that a material is eco-friendly. Although these plastics do break down over time, the tiny pieces they break down into are still plastics that contribute to pollution — they do not degrade into nothing or into another usable substance.

For companies looking to make the switch to sustainable packaging, it is important to consider that sustainable packaging does not necessarily mean biodegradable packaging, and vice versa.

Why New FDA Guidelines Could Bring Big Changes to Pet Food Packaging

Today’s consumers are demanding transparency and accountability from all types of products, and pet food is no exception.

Greater scrutiny over pet food ingredients, and an increasing demand for responsibility, sustainability and complete transparency from pet food manufacturers is driving change within the industry. As the consumer demand for “clean” pet food labeling evolves as a major topic within the world of pet packaging, FDA guidelines are shifting.