Mintel’s Global New Products Database regularly reports on industry trends.  Lynn Dornblaser, Editorial Director, has noticed some interesting developments in the packaging arena.

Pack it up
If the dress makes the man, then the package often makes the new product. In looking at the products we see every single day, a number of truly unique packages cross our desks.  Making sense of those packages, and finding common themes among them is sometimes a challenge.  “Sometimes we have a bit of an ‘aha’ moment, as we look at a group of new product packages and wonder why we never saw that before.  For example, when we say the first zip-type closure on shredded cheese, we thought it was clever and innovative.  When we say the same concept applied to snack mixes and other salty snacks, we had our ‘aha’ moment. Finally, we thought, true reclosability comes to products you probably shouldn’t eat at one sitting,” comments Lynn Dornblaser.   We’ve taken a close look at recent product packages, and have two big trends to discuss.

Finally, packaging for old-timers
We’ve been virtually pleading with manufacturers to develop packaging that is easy to read and easy to open.  After all, Baby Boomers are getting older and either already are or will be finding opening and closing packages more and more difficult.  That, combined with the depredations age wreaks on eyes, we also will be needing packaging info that’s easier to read.  No developments yet on the latter, but we have seen three products on the market that serve the former.  Bayer, Morristown, NJ (Aleve); Whitehall-Robins Healthcare, Madison, NJ (Advil); and Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart, Toronto (Life); all have pain relievers in easy-open packaging.

The Life and Advil items both have a large flange on the top of the cap that is easy to grasp and turn.  The cap is not child-proof so it turns very easily, locking into place when closed.  The Aleve package is a bit tougher to open, as consumers have to squeeze side panels with one hand while turning the top with the other.

“The concepts are terrific.  There’s one big problem, though.  All three have a foil seal on the top of the bottle.  Yes, this seal is essential to ensure the wholesomeness of the product.  But why can’t there be a pull tab on the seal so that you don’t have to use a knife to get the pain reliever inside?  Make that relatively simple change, and you probably gain fans for life,” comments Lynn Dornblaser.  One other problem with the Aleve product; it also comes overboxed.  The seal on the box is also difficult to open, especially if you have older arthritic hands.

Toys for adults
We have seen plenty of product packages for kids that allow them to eat the contents and then play with the package, either by refilling it or using it for a different purpose.  Items as simple as CAP Candy’s Spin Pops (and all the iterations of that concept) that allow kids to keep playing with their food long after the original food is gone are great ways to keep the brand and the product at the top of the mind.  And do you recall all the gum and candy packaging of a few years back?  Gum that was packaged in a container that looked like a cell phone, for example?  Once you ate the gum, the package was a toy – push the buttons and they made noise.  Even the lowly PEZ dispenser can either dispense candy or star in a puppet show.

We just don’t see products like that for adults.  Well, we’ve seen just a couple now.  The Body Shop has its Shimmer Powder Block.  This block looks a bit like a piece of chalk or maybe a piece of graphite for drawing. It is nestles, surrounded by foam in a lidded, reclosable box that measures about 50mm by 65mm by 35mm.  The box is decorated to look like wood (it’s paper-covered board) and has an elastic loop and bead closure.  Once that fun little shimmer block is gone, it’s the perfect size to store jewelry, paper clips, or keepsakes.

The second one we’ve seen is decidedly more upscale.  Puig USA, New York, is selling Carolina Herrera perfume, called 212 On Ice.  Only with expensive nonfoods can you get away with so much packaging.  The perfume bottles (two are nestled together are enclosed in two plastic cubes. Take the perfume bottles out of the cubes, turn both cubes so that the open end is up, and you have two very nice holders for votive candles.  Just the thing to have in your bathroom or dressing table.  One thing that’s missing, though: you can’t buy Caroline Herrera 212 On Ice scented candles. There’s an additional selling opportunity missed.

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