Beverage Industry

Picking the perfect package

March 1, 2004

Picking the perfect package

By Joanna Cosgrove
Choosing the right package really does contribute to success
There's a lot to consider when selecting or designing a new package. From the container and the graphics to the label and the closure, a well-designed packaging serves as a silent messenger that reaches out to customers from the shelf to convey a brand message.
"A package must be first and foremost consumer friendly in terms of look and feel," says Katie Ryan Strimban, brand/communications manager at the Monarch Beverage Co., Atlanta. "The package itself must immediately catch the consumer's eye and educate the consumer on what the product offers."
In every package's life there comes a time when a tried and true look — even one that's been wholly successful – falls in need of a makeover, or at the very least, a little sprucing up to get current with the times.
"New packaging conveys the message of innovation," Strimban says. "Monarch has always looked to new packaging to sell improvements to our products over the years."
Monarch recently had the opportunity to retool the packaging for its Rush! Energy beverage, while adding two new 16-ounce and 8.3-ounce package sizes. The 16-ounce size is for single-serve sales, and the 8.3-ounce size is sold in 12-pack cold-packs and filmwrapped packs as well as single-serve.
"The energy category is moving more and more towards 16-ounce," Strimban says. Monarch believes broader package offering is key and only complements the great tasting products that we have with Rush! Energy and Rush! Energy Lite."
She adds that Monarch's All Sport brand will soon introduce two new product lines with All Sport Zero and All Sport Plus, and will utilize a 20-ounce and 32-ounce widemouth package for the Zero line, Plus line and the Body Quencher line for "enhanced gulpability." All Sport Zero is a no-carb, no-calorie, no-sugar sports drink. All Sport Zero is available in two flavors, Lemon Ice and Mixed Berry, and will launch this month.
All Sport Plus Glucosamine and Chondroitin and All Sport Plus Soy Isoflavones are nutritionally enhanced additions to the All Sport family and will launch in April.
"All Sport Plus is the innovation engine for the growing sports drink market and now offers scientifically proven benefits that allow the athlete/consumer extra advantages while continuing to hydrate the body," Strimban says.
Miller adds Fridge Packs
Beer comes in kegs, cases and six-packs – and now in Fridge Packs. Taking a cue from the soft drink industry, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, announced it will offer Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft in Fridge Packs that are designed to fit conveniently into home refrigerators. The Coca-Cola bottling system began using the Fridge Pack multipacks with great success about two years ago, but Miller is the first to offer beer in the package.
"This is the next milestone for Miller as a brewer and a marketer," said Bob Mikulay, executive vice president of marketing at Miller, in a statement. "It's innovative packaging for innovative brands — we are very pleased with the results and we think American beer drinkers will be too."
The new packs will be available nationwide by the end of April for the company's top two brands, and it also will roll out Fridge Packs for Icehouse in the Southeast and Miller Genuine Draft Light in the Midwest.
Multipack convenience
Refrigerated multipacks are all the rage right now and are extremely practical for consumers wanting to chill a large quantity of beverages without taking up too much space in the refrigerator.
MeadWestvaco Packaging Systems LLC, Atlanta, is a supplier of paperboard multipacks such as the Absopure FridgeBox — half-liter eight-packs of plastic bottles for the Absopure bottled water brand — which replace conventional corrugated trays and shrinkfilm. Available in multiples from six to 24 bottles, MeadWestvaco's paperboard dispenser-style multipacks go directly into cold storage, skipping the home pantry and providing sales lift as more volume is consumed at a faster pace.
The multipacks are also multipurpose, adding value to products through special handles and other consumer comfort features, plus providing marketing advantages such as better graphic reproduction and plenty of billboard support for seasonal promotions, pricing and channel diversification.
David Hobbs, MeadWestvaco's national sales director, says that to craft the right packaging solution, it's imperative to understand the true purpose of the package, the structural requirements and aesthetic desires.
"Knowing what type of primary container (glass, cans, PET) we are packaging is vitally important due to variations in each container," he says. "We also must find out how many bottles/cans the customer hopes to package in a single multipack. Then we can recommend different configurations with consumer-friendly features. Both the primary container and quantity must be considered when developing a structurally sound package.
"We must also strongly consider the machine that will form the carton," he says. "This is where we pride ourselves in our ability to recommend a total system solution, which will offer the customer the highest level of line efficiencies, line speed and labor savings."
In addition to the FridgeBox for Absopure water, MeadWestvaco also recently developed a new package for Pepsi's half-liter 12 pack. BI

Mock-ups make the difference

A new packaging concept takes time to come to fruition. A design often undergoes a series of tweaks before the package is considered perfect and enters the production process. That's where a company like Atlanta-based AdProps can be a valuable partner.
"AdProps produces packaging mock-ups that
look like they came off the shelf," says AdProps President Randy Perkinson. "So when it comes time for presentation, there is no explaining, 'the color
is close to this' or 'the container is something like this.' No imagination is necessary on the part of the client. And when designs are presented in a finished form, they sell."
AdProps offers a unique "Crystal Ball Graphics" service that allows design firms and manufactures to experience their package as it will look when it comes off the actual production press.