The Packaging Pitch: ticking all the right boxes
By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork
Currently, most fresh produce packaging is plain and perfunctory and simply re-states the obvious. It wastes the opportunity to use packaging as a shopper-focused sales tool and fails to take into account that packaging is actually valuable, in-store real estate.
Don’t believe me? Then walk down any grocery aisle in any supermarket just about anywhere in the world. What do you see? You are inundated by on-pack messages that capture your attention and prompt you to buy. There is a lot we can learn from these packages and I often use grocery packaging tactics and translate them to use on fresh produce packaging for my clients.
Today, I am particularly intrigued by on-pack checklists.
Now, before I go too far, I realize that different countries have differently packaging labeling laws. In most countries, if you are going to make a claim on pack, whether a nutritional claim or part of a checklist, there will be a requirement to provide further nutrition information on pack to substantiate the claim.
Often, fresh produce does not have to use detailed nutrition information on the pack, so realize that if you are going to use a checklist, then you need to thoroughly understand the fresh produce packaging and labeling laws within the country where will you will be selling your products. Now that we have kept the legal teams happy, let’s talk about checklists.
What is a checklist? As you can see from this Cookie Bitez cereal package, a checklist is a quick and easy, front of pack reference tool, that gives shoppers a succinct overview of the nutrition 'benefits' of the product. For example, on the Cookie Bitez cereal box, their checklist is titled, "Mum’s Checklist" and it includes the following information about the product: gluten free, wheat free, 79% fat free, no preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours.
Let me give you one more example. I love the Food for Health range and recently took a photo of their The Gluten Free Muesli cereal. They also use a front of pack checklist with the following information: gluten & yeast free, peanut free, sulphur free fruit, no artificial sweeteners, no added sugar or salt and Australian owned and made.
As you can see from these examples, a checklist is a quick, easy, and efficient way to impart information of value and importance to their targeted shopper. The key is to understand who buys the product and what is important to them. So looking back again at Cookie Bitez, even though the cereal targets children, the checklist is for mum's because kids are just the influencer and mum is the actual economic buyer.
It is also equally important to not just understand who buys the product, but what information is important to them. Staying with Cookie Bitez, the name itself, if read on its own merit, could imply a cereal that was unhealthy.
Now, I am not making any value judgement about a breakfast food named Cookie Bitez, but I believe the checklist helps create the impression the product is healthy. My brain sees that checklist, with all those benefits ticked, and somehow processes that information as important, credible and healthy. The checklist also stopped me from looking for further information because the nature of a checklist, with ticked boxes, implies the work is complete. There is an interesting psychology behind that!
Staying with the theme of who buys, you gear your checklist content around what is important to the shopper. So in the Food for Health Cereal box, the company must have done research that showed their customers want benefits like yeast free and sulphur free fruit. Noting these in the checklist helps the company create a discernible differential advantage for their product versus other competitive healthy cereals, and the checklist enables this communication in a quick and easy way. The information is not buried as part of the other packaging messages.
So how do you use the checklist concept in fresh produce? Consider the following. Let’s say you do bagged carrots. Rather than just say "carrots" on the pack, why not consider putting some of the following information into a checklist on the front of the pack: freshly dug, good source of beta carotene, naturally high in plant fibre, sweet & crunchy, NZ/Australian/Chilean/Peruvian/South African owned and grown?
It could literally be that simple. The key is to think about your product and the benefit it offers shoppers. Write those benefits down and then prioritize them. Finally, play with your wording until you create short, sharp, checklist comments…and you are done!
There are numerous benefits to using a front of pack checklist. In produce packaging, we don’t use checklists enough. Currently, in some of my work with clients, we are staring to explore this option for their packaging more and more. For early adopters, it is a great way to capture the visual attention and interest of the consumer and use it to quickly communicate information of value. There is a real opportunity to utilise checklists on your packaging more. I encourage you to explore it or feel free to contact me and I can talk you through how to make it work.