‘Melting pot’ innovations merit high scores

The 2011 fourth-quarter Shelf Impact!/Dragon Rouge survey of innovative packaging awarded products that holistically combined creative concept, design, and execution: a wellness water that uses an active cap to deliver vitamins, a twist on concentrated cleaner packaging, and an appetizing pack design for organic baby food.

With a composite score ranging from 3.5 to 3.7 on a five-point scale, the three packaging innovations that lead our report are Karma Wellness Water, Ella’s Kitchen’s new organic baby food packaging, and SC Johnson’s new Smart Twist all-in-one cleaning system. While all three scored high across the board, they were exceptionally strong with relation to concept idea, structure, and graphics.

Taking the top spot this quarter is a new line of natural, nutrient-enhanced water. Unlike other nutrient-enhanced waters, where the vitamins are premixed with the water, Karma has developed KarmaCap, a proprietary technology that allows the vitamins to be contained in an airtight cap. When you’re ready to open the bottle and release the vitamins, simply peel off the top sticker, push the cap down, and shake! Since vitamins deteriorate in water, premixed drinks lose their strength over time. Karma allows you to enjoy all the vitamins’ benefits at their maximum potency.

With five different varieties, each focusing on a different health benefit, the line differentiates itself on-shelf through its square bottle shape, unique cap, and strong flavor cues. The uniqueness of the active cap technology caters to the idea of fresh convenience, clearly communicating the benefits and value of achieving the maximum vitamin potency when you need it most.

Fresh, on-the-go convenience is also exhibited in the new packaging for Ella’s Kitchen, an organic children and baby food brand in the U.K. The goal of the project was to harmonize and evolve the packaging to bring greater visibility and recognition of the brand mark across the line, provide a clear and simple communications hierarchy, and ensure that designs are appealing and differentiating. The new “at a glance” age-and-stage communication system cuts through the clutter, allowing moms to conveniently identify which product they need without having to invest time deconstructing the information on-pack. The vibrant colors and messaging such as “I’m Organic” further emphasize the freshness of the product.

Following the convenience theme, SC Johnson has introduced a new take on concentrated cleaning solutions with an all-in-one cleaning system. The system, called “Smart Twist,” was created to help consumers clean more efficiently and effectively by enabling them to choose three of their five favorite cleaners to dock at one time in a simple, lightweight sprayer that adds the water. Consumers simply fill the tank of the handheld sprayer with water and snap each of the concentrate containers into place. When they are ready to use the system, they simply twist the carousel to the desired cleaner. The new system is convenient for consumers and also takes up substantially less space than having to store each product individually.


‘True innovation’ requires a well-rounded approach
Regardless of average or above-average scores in one category over another, the three products that scored the lowest only further prove that true innovation requires a well-rounded approach—everything matters!

As part of its “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” initiative, nut processor John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Elgin, IL, decided to transition the current packaging for its Fisher Nuts brand from a composite can to a lightweight, clear PET package. The new see-through PET container provides more sustainability as well as a greater perception of freshness and in turn inspired a complete brand makeover. While the materials and production of the new packaging ranked high, the design concept and graphics fell short, as the new logotype and graphics don’t match the new overall contemporary look and feel of the structure and the campaign, “Freshness You Can See.”

Something Natural is a new brand of all-natural flavored sparkling water that blends the healthful and refreshing qualities of sparkling water with delicious fruit flavors. While the Something Natural brand was created to prove that less is more, the liquid and the name may deliver on this promise, but the design does not. Quite simply, the flock of birds design on the front of the bottle clutters up the pack, detracting from the simplicity and elegance of the overall design.

Similarly lacking in concept and graphics, Mountain Dew also falls short with its new bottle. The intent of the new structure and design was to reenergize the brand with a distinctive, new PET bottle design that more fittingly meets its promise of robust, spirited fun, exuberance, and refreshment. The new bottle features a distinctive silhouette that provides the package with a solid shelf presence. A label less than half the size of the brand’s previous label allows the bottle’s shape to be the point of differentiation for the brand. But respondents gave the new design unfavorable reviews, thus overshadowing the bold textural elements meant to add excitement.


Tips for 2012 design
As you wrap up 2011 and begin to think about how to create packaging innovation in 2012, try to keep these fundamental guidelines in mind:
• Begin with a solid foundation. If you don’t have an amazing concept, you won’t have anywhere to place a stake in the ground.
• Don’t overthink it! Simplicity and convenience are key… everything else will follow.
• Remember that the whole is greater than the sum of all parts—you can have really great design, a stand-out structure, sustainable materials, etc., but none of that matters if they don’t mesh well as a whole.

The author, Eric Zeitoun, is president of Dragon Rouge USA, an international brand and design consultancy. Contact him at eric@dragonrouge-usa.com or at 212/367-8800.

Source: Packaging World

Growing in Plymouth and around the World

CDF makes about twenty different types of flexible packaging, anything from two ounces to 300 gallons for the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food and beverage industries. A growing product for CDF is the flexible pouch that has wide mouth straw, currently this product is popular baby food and children’s snacks as well as yogurt and some smoothies. The product is great for travel and “the family on the move,” because the pouches are reclosable and child safe.

Also very popular is the Cheertainer bag-in-box systems, a plastic liner that fits into a corrugated cardboard box, unlike solid steel the Cheertainer design is environmentally friendly and less expensive than other packaging systems.

Getting its start from making liners for steel drums, CDF has stuck to its roots, creating plastic liners ranging from 12 gallons to 55 gallons and an assortment of caps, lids, covers and strainer inserts. The idea behind the liner is to save the drum for reuse.

As a leader in intermediate bulk containers, CDF has led the way in single cube-shaped, form-fit plastic holding up to 330 gallons inside either a reinforced corrugated box that is placed on a wooden pallet or an easily collapsible plastic tote, which saves space. “We definitely go after products that are relatively difficult to manufacture,” explains CDF President Joe Sullivan, “We go after niche markets that are a little too small for big companies to go after, and too small for offshore companies to gear up for.”

CDF is going after the European market; it has launched CDF Europe based in Lugano, Switzerland which is headed by Sullivan’s sister Laura Beechwood and also acquired the majority share of Quadpak which is based in Varnamo, Sweden.

Laura Beechwood, Managing Director of CDF Europe states, “we had been preparing for this European launch for several months, CDF is the leader in the industry in the U.S., and we intend to carry over the quality and expertise into our European division.”

CDF Europe is ready to manufacture and market this line, which is a huge accomplishment for a company that got its start about forty years ago. Joseph Sullivan Sr. made his start selling additives to paint companies in the New England area. The name CDF came from colors, dispersions and finishes. Marcia Sullivan, his wife, handled the books.

The elder Sullivan saw that many of the companies having a difficult time getting rid of 55 gallon drums with paint residue in them, and he had heard of a company in California that made molded drum liners. The liner is easily removed and the drum is recovered. After selling these liners he eventually bought the company. CDF expanded into different sizes and shapes and now occupies three buildings in the Plymouth Industrial Park.

From the beginning, CDF has filled the void in customer’s needs, a practice that has continued to this day. “It’s definitely a hands on business,” explains Joe Sullivan, the second generation company president. “Because we know the business, we see a lot of opportunities. We see when existing products are not meeting customers’ needs. To fill the voids, we buy new equipment, and a lot of time we have to tailor it to our needs.”

The CDF liner carries a wide array of product, from chemical products adhesives, automobile lubricants, beverages, dairy, edible oils, ice cream, juices as well as syrups and sauces. With such a range of product it is of importance to prevent leaks. CDF1 Smart Seal Technology heats the seam to a specific temperature, time and pressure. If these specifications are not met, the machine will shut down.

“The degree of difficulty in the manufacturing is quite high,” Sullivan adds. “And it’s been a team effort. Besides equipment, you have to have really good people. And we have good people. Without good people, you’ve got nothing.”

Capeplymouthbusiness.com –  January 2012