Private Label Buyer: Packaging Trends – Vive La Difference!
By Kathie Canning
Through a special
arrangement, what follows is a summary of a current article from Private
Label Buyer, presented here for discussion.
An old saying
insists you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the right product “cover” —
that is, unique or innovative packaging — certainly can help spur a sale.
And packaging that helps differentiate a product from the rest of the
pack is becoming increasingly critical to the purveyors of store brand
That’s a huge
change from private label’s traditional unobtrusive positioning, noted
Linda Carroll, color insight manager for Ampacet Corp, which studies
“I look to
the [private label] market and say, boy have they evolved into a mindset
of packaging with ego,” she said. “Now I’m seeing strength and personality
president of Crown Packaging Technology, says packaging differentiation
essentially has two key dimensions: functional and visual. The functional
dimension consists of any value-added feature that makes a positive difference
to the consumer, while the visual element encompasses features such as
shape, color or décor.
As for functional
features, Mr. Abramowicz pointed to anything that makes a package easier
to open and/or close.
launched an improvement called EasyLift, Mr. Abramowicz noted, which
is a technology that gives the consumer better access to under the tab
on easy-open soup and other cans.
opening forces aren’t any different, the consumer finds it’s much easier
to open because they can leverage the force they apply better,” he said.
On the visual
side, shaping technologies are becoming a popular means to make both
national brand and store brand items stand out on the shelf. Mr. Abramowicz
pointed to the Heineken keg-shaped beverage can, which used Crown’s proprietary
shaping technology, as an example of a departure from the traditional
shapes might represent the best way to differentiate a product on the
shelf, said Brian Ksicinski, marketing manager for Silgan Containers
“They act as
a billboard by providing instant visual clues, and they bring out a product’s
intrinsic character, quality and value,” he said. “We’ve found that shaped
metal cans actually improve taste perceptions despite no change to the
can make a huge visual statement, and can be just as vital on the value
side of private label.
“It’s an extension
of [the consumer’s] financial capability,” she said. “They don’t want
in hand with differentiating color are gradation effects, stripe effects
or textural elements, Ms. Carroll noted.
can do to engage all five senses must be done,” she added.
graphics technologies really can boost color and grab the eye. Mr. Abramowicz
said Crown recently created a beverage can with such high-quality graphics
for Polar Beverages’ Black Jack Tea.
start in the round, and we decorate them in the round,” he said. “The
quality of the graphics in the beverage can is much lower than we can
get on a nice aerosol can. But this technology is closing the gap.”
What impresses you most about advances in private label packaging
over the last few years? Does one particular feature – color/graphics,
shape, function (easy to open), etc. – particularly stand out? Where
does private label packaging still have to improve to catch up with