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Mintel: Brands Using Packaging To Reinvent Products, Categories

October 29, 2012
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Among the regular presentations being made at the Pack Expo trade show in Chicago this week is a discussion by Mintel Group about the ability of packaging to refresh products and categories.

In a presentation Sunday on the first day of the event, Mintel Senior Global Packaging Analyst Benjamin Punchard said changes and innovations in packaging can have far-reaching effects.

“They’re finding that we can make our product relevant to a new consumer,” he said, noting there were about 40,000 new products launches annually. “Really, packaging needs to do something not only to invigorate your current brand, but show what it is about your brand that is interesting and different.”

Mintel Director of Innovation and Insight Lynn Dornblaser cited examples from Miller Lite and Keystone Light, with Miller Lite’s punch top can to increase gulpability in a beer, and Keystone’s 18-pack box that can be used as a bean-bag toss game after the beers have been removed. She said the Miller Lite can recalled days of opening beers with can openers and church keys.

“When it comes to thinking about reinvigorating brands, look to the past and think about how you can transform that idea into something very modern,” she said.

Making the Keystone box have a punch out hole to become a bean-bag toss game was just as innovative, she said.

“It’s a clever way to repurpose something that flattens out and goes in a recycling bin,” she said. “It’s keeping that brand alive longer than you normally would have.”

Punchard discussed a Turbo Tango beverage in the United Kingdom, a limited edition bottle designed with a squirt function that made it more of an experience than a drink.

As they cited Mintel research suggesting a trend toward a snacking society – people more often eating shorter, on-the-go meals that cost less and take less time to consume – Dornblaser discussed Quaker putting some of its regular cereals in snack containers. The company was able to charge a similar price for a much smaller snack package than it could for a cereal box.

“This is all about the ease and convenience of use,” she said. “And notice how it gets them into a different part of the store. All of the sudden, it’s not a breakfast cereal. It’s a snack.”

Heinz was cited for the similar move of taking baked beans in the UK – a staple food – and turning it into snack-size portions similar to U.S. yogurt 4-packs. The labeling suggested the serving size was just right for beans and toast, Dornblaser said, another staple food in the UK.

“Changing and rethinking packaging can lift an entire category,” Dornblaser said. “The bottom line is, obviously the right change in package can get the consumer more focused on the brand.”

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