The Packaging Pitch: competing to own low calorie count

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The Packaging Pitch: competing to own low calorie count

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

I love the phrase, "If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got", and it especially applicable in fresh produce.

On a regular basis our industry both extolls the virtues of shoppers eat more fruit and veg, and at the same time we lament shoppers simply aren’t eating enough of our fresh stuff.

In a situation like this my approach is to always look for the source of the problem. And over the past 18 months, I've developed a theory that some of our produce consumption issues are the direct result of our produce packaging. If we don't tell shoppers why our produce is good for them or how low calorie it is, or how heart healthy it is, how will they know?

Today's shopper is busier and more inundated with "buy me" messages than ever before. The closer you can educate them to point of purchase, the more likely it is you will get the sale.

So on that note, this month's column is about looking at processed food packaging and the strategies they use to communicate information of value to the shopper. What I want you thinking with each of the examples I provide is, "How could I use an idea like this on my package?"

Picture this. You are a busy mum on the run. Your goal is to put healthy and easy foods in your kid's lunchboxes daily. One day, you are shopping and you see these juice packs. The 'Just 10' jumps out at you. What is Just 10? What does that mean?

You scan the pack quickly and realize the juice packs contain just 10 calories. You also see the picture of the fresh looking apple, read that the juice now contains less sugar and it contains 100% of your child's need for Vitamin C. That's all you need to know to feel good, so you quickly grab the juice pack, put it in your trolley feeling good that you’ve purchased something healthy, with low calories and that is good for your kids.

You were happy to pay NZ$3.99 (US$3.20) for all these benefits, without thinking twice. Meanwhile, over in the fresh produce department, bags of small apples just say Apples or Lunchbox Apples. There is no calorie count big and bold, even though a small apple only has 55 calories.

At a macro level, do you see the difference? The processed food pack understands the consumer purchase triggers, makes them come alive on the pack and secures the sale. The fresh apple pack, on the other hand, thinks it is selling a kilogram of apples and that's all the pack attempts to do.

Compare the first pack now with this pack here. In very small text on the side, this Pineapple in Strawberry Gel pack notes it is only 60 calories per pack. The focus on this pack is not so much the calorie content, but the Sugar Free nature of the Gel. Given this is a Dole product, the brand is also big and bold as Dole is one of the few, truly globally, iconic brands, so they make full use of that on pack.

I know I go on and on about this every month, but here is what I want you to take away. Your pack, as these processed food examples have shown, is a valuable sales tool. It can be used to communicate information that triggers shoppers into wanting to purchase your products.

The way fresh produce companies will drive value growth in the future, will be by optimizing their on-pack communication; moving from just a bag that says "Lunchbox Apples" to a bag that says so much more.

If you are interested in making your packaging work harder, but you feel daunted by where to start, then drop me an email ( I help produce companies optimize their packaging every day and would love to have a chat. You can also follow me on Twitter: @broccolilady or visit my website.

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