Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Changes in packaging result in ROI for F&B products

Changes in packaging result in ROI for F&B products
If you work for a food and beverage company, you may have noticed something about your competitors. Every few months, one of them changes the box artwork on their packaging. It’s usually something subtle – changing the font, tweaking the color, substituting Christmas themes for Halloween – but the change is always something that you and your customers notice, even on a subliminal level.

Here’s something you might not know – these changes aren’t just shuffling the deck. Every time you change the artwork on your F&B packaging, you have the opportunity to take in more attention, grab customer interest, and turn your brand from wallpaper on store shelves to a must-buy. In other words, changing your packaging artwork is an opportunity for increased revenue. Here’s how:

Seasonal Snacks Compete for Holiday Revenue
In terms of changing F&B packaging, seasonal snacks are the easiest example we can think of. Basically, these are snacks – usually candy – that palette-swap their packaging around the major candy-oriented holidays. This usually means an orange-and-black package for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, pink and red for Valentine’s Day, pastel blue and yellow for Easter, and a more traditional package for the rest of the year.

The makers of seasonal snacks don’t do this for fun. Consumers buy a staggering amount of candy during the holidays, with over $1.6 billion being sold during the 2015 holiday season alone. A good seasonal package design determines whether a candy company will get a share of that revenue increase. That’s because according to the National Confectioner’s Association, almost 65% of consumers prefer holiday candy that incorporates a seasonal design. It follows that the confectioners with better, more eye-catching seasonal designs will win more customers from that majority.

Time to Change it Up?
Candy sales may spike during the Christmas season, but not many food products (except maybe turkey) experience the same kind of seasonal variation. Many of these companies tweak their packaging designs on a regular basis, however, regardless of seasonal sales. What causes a F&B company to change their packaging formula in this case?

Declining Sales Lead to Total Package Redesign
The way a F&B design looks contributes a large amount to whether it sells. Research from Nielsen, for example, shows that almost 60% of buying decisions are made at the shelf – where the consumer has no information other than what’s printed on the package they’re looking at. Package design is critical to sales – and the right package design can rescue a flagging brand.

Such as the case with Lean Cuisine. After years of declining revenues, Lean Cuisine made a change. They used audience research to determine that their previous package was strongly associated with bland diet food, which has gone out of fashion in recent years. They completely redid their logo and packaging in order to associate their food with a more lifestyle-oriented image. As a result, their revenues did a complete rebound, recapturing a 17% loss and experiencing a 3.7% boost in the following year.

Tweaking a Well-Known Brand to Capitalize on Long-Term Revenue
Some food brands are so well-known that you can probably see their packaging in your sleep. Brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Doritos, Cheez-Its – their logos and package artwork instantly come to mind once you think of them. These brands are long-term winners, so why do companies tweak their package designs?

As it turns out, there’s a fine line between “timeless” and “dated.” F&B manufacturers from brands new and old are constantly tweaking their designs so that their brands and logos keep in tune with the latest design trends while remaining recognizable to consumers. The changes may be hard to spot, but they can have a huge cumulative impact.

As a quick example, let’s take a look at some recent iterations of the Coca-Cola logo. At its most basic, the Coca-Cola logo is just white cursive font on a red background. In the early 2000’s, however, the logo was given a drop shadow, and it was surrounded with fake water droplets to simulate condensation. By the end of the decade, the droplets and the drop shadow were gone, the letters in the logo were slightly thinner, and the background was a different shade of red.

Unless you paid careful attention, you probably didn’t notice any of those changes. When you look see the designs next to one another, however, the differences are apparent – as is the dated-ness of the older design.

Keeping a consistent, high-quality brand design over a long period of time can have significant benefits. In blind taste tests, for example, participants universally rank Pepsi as tastier than Coke. Once participants can see the label of what they’re drinking, however, they switch their opinions around. The power of the Coca-Cola brand is so strong that it can literally shift your perception of taste – and that’s why good packaging artwork is important.

Changing Packaging to Fit Regulations
One last reason that F&B brands change their packaging? They may be required by law.

Starting in 2016, the FDA began to introduce requirements for an updated nutrition label. The new label features larger font for improved readability, requires F&B manufacturers to point out the link between obesity and heart disease, and implements new requirements for listing certain ingredients. While manufacturers have had plenty of time to prepare for this change, other changes have been both sudden and industry-defining.

For one example of how a sudden change may have manufacturers scrambling to change their artwork, take a look at almond milk. In September 2018, the FDA announced that it would begin taking a look at all plant-based dairy alternatives – and the result of its inquiry might mean that almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and similar products might all need to change their names! This kind of upheaval is endemic in the food and beverage industry, and it’s one reason why artwork managers need to stay on their toes.

Keep Abreast of Trends and Regulations with Intelligent Artwork Management
Art managers in food and beverage companies have five big reasons to change up their labels and packaging on a regular basis:
  • Implementing seasonal product packaging variations
  • Refreshing an underperforming product line
  • Tweaking a successful product line
  • Complying with changing FDA regulations
  • Customizing product packaging

The best way to manage all of this is with an automated, configurable solutions that allows you to manage packaging artwork through the end-to-end product lifecycle. You need to be able to quickly change labels, to reduce time to market, especially if your company offers more than one kind of product. As such, you’ll have to cope with the challenges that this entails. Specifically, these challenges include:
  • Timing
You need to time your label changes correctly. If you want to implement a seasonal label for Halloween, for instance, then you’ll want your labels to start showing up on the market in the first week of September and disappear during the first week of November. Depending on how long it takes to get your product into stores, that might mean printing labels months in advance. Here, time to market is key.
  • Consistency
When you switch to the new version of a label, you don’t want the old label showing up anywhere. The means coordinating with manufacturers and label printers so that the new label and logo start showing up uniformly across all your product lines and related brands.

  • Localization
Different areas have different regulatory regimes, and new regulations crop up all the time. To avoid product recalls, you need to make sure that your labels in different areas are rapidly updated to reflect the changing regulatory environment.

In order to meet these challenges, retailers need to automate and centralize their artwork management solutions. Your solution needs to collect inputs from multiple sources, enforce strong version control, and eliminate error-prone manual processes. This will let you design, approve, and implement artwork changes with calm confidence, allowing you to plan new packaging and logo strategies months in advance – as opposed to scrambling to get your product on shelves in time for the holidays.

Want to learn more about how to get your new packaging approved and printed, fast? Check out our free ebook, “From Chaos to Calm: How to Digitally Transform the Artwork Management Process,” and get the help you need to speed your new product artwork into production and into the hands of consumers.

Johannes Panzer
Head of Industry Strategy for Ecommerce, Descartes Systems UK
Is digitisation the key to preventing cross-border landed costs from disrupting international ecommerce?
Richard Seel
Managing Director Supply Chain & Logistics, Delaware
Meeting the Challenge of Supply Chain Efficiency – How Manufacturers Can Achieve their Goals
Olivier Binet
Managing Director International Markets, InPost
How to build sustainability into last mile deliveries
Ron Volpe
Global Vice President Apps Business Development, Tradeshift
Under-Pressure Retailers Turn to D2C to Level the Playing Field
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Margin Erosion is turning the spotlight on the Warehouse
Simon Runc
Principal Visual Analyst, Atheon Analytics
Unlocking the Value in Data
Steve Purvis
Operations Director, Bis Henderson Space
Brexit Uncertainty Highlights Need for Flexible Logistics Strategy
Alan Gunner
Business Development Director, Adjuno
Starting at the source: achieving a sustainable supply chain
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Conquering Connected Commerce
Mark Jolley
EMEA Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics Solutions Sales Lead, Zebra Technologies
Augmented Reality is becoming a Retail Reality
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
The Cost of Doing Nothing
Sam Ireland
International Marketing Manager, Loftware
Are You Navigating Global UDI Compliance?
Stephen Cameron
Business Development Director, SWRnewstar
How the Resource and Waste Strategy Can Empower Industry
Georgia Leybourne
Senior Director International Marketing, Manhattan Associates
Are we embracing the profit potential of the over 50s?
Jon Moody
Chief Executive Officer, SSG Insight
The Future of Supply Chain Management
David Luttenberger
Global Packaging Director, Mintel
Mintel announces top global packaging trends for 2019 and beyond
Andrew Tavener
Head of Marketing, Descartes UK
Compliance Management – it’s time for joined up thinking
Stephen Cameron
Business Development Director, SWRnewstar
Primark's move to 100 per cent sustainably sourced cotton should be commended
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
Why an extension is best for British businesses
David Jinks MILT
Head of Consumer Research, ParcelHero
Booking a courier? No printer required, says ParcelCompare
Graham Parker
CEO, Gravity Supply Chain Solutions
Mitigating The Risks Of Trade Wars And Tariffs
Sam Ireland
International Marketing Manager, Loftware
How Brexit Will Impact Supply Chain Labeling?
Sid Holian
Managing Director, Bis Henderson Consulting
Three critical steps to a hi-tech, agile supply chain
Manu Tyagi
Associate Partner, Retail and Consumer Goods, Infosys Consulting
M&S and Ocado have signed a £750 million deal to take M&S groceries into the home delivery market
Olivier Frère
Serialisaton Expert, Zetes
Understanding the Tobacco Products Directive
Paul Heiden
Senior Vice President of Product Management, Ultimaker
6 overlooked benefits of 3D printing for your supply chain
Dave Locke
EMEA Chief Technology Officer, WWT
Merged pharmaceutical firms seek fast-track route to savings
Johannes Panzer
Head of Industry Strategy for Ecommerce, Descartes
How to make international ecommerce transparent, efficient and cost-effective
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Putting the WOW in the checkout experience
Richard Parfect
Fund Manager, Seneca Investment Managers
The cessation of Airbus A380 production
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
What next for British business?
Chris Jones
EVP Marketing & Services, Descartes
5 Key Logistics Trends and Technology Implications for 2019
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
What is the Checkout of the Future?
Andres Richter
CEO, Priority Software
UK Manufacturing: The Productivity Conundrum
Martin Meacock
Director, Product Management, Descartes
Brexit: only 10 weeks to implement if changes are ultimately needed
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
What does May's defeat mean for the supply chain?
Martin Meacock
Director, Product Management, Descartes
Get Ready for CDS