The Packaging Pitch: it's all about what you say on the pack -

The Packaging Pitch: it's all about what you say on the pack

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The Packaging Pitch: it's all about what you say on the pack

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

Packaging communication optimization. It's a mouthful, but it’s where fresh produce packaging is trending in today’s competitive retail environment. So what is it and what does it mean? Packaging communication optimization is about putting a message on your produce packaging that reflects what shoppers want to buy.

Let me give you an example. In Australasia, it is common for value-added sweet corn to be sold in packs like you see below. The grower likes this pack because ‘value’ has been added and the pack should earn a higher return. The retailer likes this pack because it’s a higher dollar sale and adds value to the shopper experience.  So what’s the problem? Can you see it?

The problem with this pack is the on-pack message. Have a look. What is it saying? This value added pack simply says, “sweet corn.” The problem is the shopper knows this is sweet corn, so those words on-pack as the dominant message are not adding value to the product or inspiring the consumer to want to pay more for it.

This is one of the most frequent mistakes I see when working with growers and marketers on their packaging communication. I call it, “Restating the obvious”. It is where there is a failure to focus on or understand the consumer benefit or added value of a product. Unfortunately, I see it all the time.

Take another look at the sweet corn pack and let me tell you what I see from a shopper benefit point of view. This is convenience corn. Someone has already done the hard work of shucking it, getting rid of the husks and more importantly, dealing with the corn silks that seem to go EVERYWHERE when you shuck it at home.

I see “apartment friendly” corn, meaning for those who live in apartments, no waste or mess to throw away or lug down stairs to a rubbish bin. For an older consumer, I see “arthritis friendly” corn, where the manual, hard work of peeling and tearing off the layers has been done.

When you look at this pack through marketer eyes as opposed to producer eyes, here is what emerges. First, rather than just being sweet corn targeting everyone, there is the possibility of three unique, but different target markets: the convenience consumer, the apartment dweller and the older senior.

The value added benefit of the corn is that all the hard work has been done. It is 100% ready to use, with no waste, no throwaway husks and no hassle. These are the benefits consumers are willing to pay a premium for. These are the benefits that add value. These are the benefits or messages that need to be communicated in a dominant position on the pack. You must do more than state the obvious.

In today’s crowded and competitive marketplace, where fresh produce growers are competing with every other type of food for a limited share of the consumers’ stomach, the way you get incremental sales gains or increased returns, is by determining the value added benefit your product offers and then communicating this boldly on your pack.

Free Packaging Review for Fresh Fruit Portal Readers

At Fresh Produce Marketing, one of the services we offer is a packaging communication review. As a value added offer for Fresh Fruit Portal readers, you could win a free packaging review just by reading this column. Simply submit a front and back photo of one of your fresh produce packages, along with a description of the packs’ target market and channel of distribution. For each column written, we will pick one company and review their packaging as part of this column for free. Send photos to

Remember, your packaging is an in-store, mini billboard seen by thousands of potential buyers every day. Make sure every word on your packaging counts by ensuring it adds value and ‘sells’ the benefit the shopper is looking to buy.

Lisa Cork helps fresh produce companies get more sales by improving their packaging communication. You can follow her on Twitter: @broccolilady or visit her website.

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