The Packaging Pitch: bringing a new pack to life

October 02 , 2013

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

Lisa Cork columnistIt’s always interesting to write a column that is read by others. I get curious about how people engage with it; whether they read the piece and take it to heart, just skim it and glean key messages or ignore it all together.

Every now and then you get a bit of feedback that validates the fact people are reading the column and more importantly, are taking the ideas and bringing them to life in their own business.

As many of you who read this column regularly would know, I am often quite scathing of mandarin packaging and labeling. For some reason, even as a produce person, it is a fruit whose characteristics I know little about.  But what I do know about mandarins is…I know what I want to buy.

As a mum, I look for mandarins that are sweet, easy to peel and more importantly, seedless. I have yet to find a way to convince my son that seeds are nature’s way of ensuring you slow down and enjoy the taste.

In New Zealand, I buy mandarins during the winter months, when I know they are sweet, seedless and easy to peel. I could not even tell you the variety, because what I look for isn’t the variety. It is the characteristics – the ‘shopper benefit’. Once these lovely mandarins stop being available, I stop buying mandarins. Why? Because the next ones that come in are marketed by variety, not by characteristic, so I simply stop buying them.

Even though I am a fruit person, as a shopper, varieties like Afourer mandarins mean nothing to me. Yes, I could go and google it and find out, but that’s not the point. If you want shoppers to buy your fruit, it is your job to tell them your story and to showcase what benefits your product delivers. For most shoppers, just stating a variety delivers nil shopper benefit.

So I was thrilled to get an email recently from a clever New Zealand company who has taken my mandarin rants to heart. The email simply said, “We’ve been paying attention to what you’ve been writing and we think you will like the outcome. It’s selling well.”

You know what? They were right. As the photo shows, they’ve taken the first steps towards reinventing how they package and sell mandarins.

And, they’ve brought in powerful, yet easy to understand, shopper benefits messages. Take a look: MG Lunchbox Mandarins - New Pack 1 small

I like the lunchbox graphics, with two mandarins in a school lunchbox. This graphic supports the name “Lunchbox Pack” and I like that they put two mandarins in the graphic, not just one. Subtle suggestions like this are important.

From a packaging communications perspective, they’ve done lots of things right. Yes, it still says Afourer mandarins, but that is no longer the dominant message. Instead, what the shopper can identify is the benefits the fruit delivers; these mandarins are easy to peel; and they are healthy as an excellent source of Vitamin C.

These mandarins, while not seedless, are Low Seeds, which is the ideal way to deal with the seed issue. Tell the shopper what to expect and let them make the choice whether they are willing to adapt their consumption to a low seed variety.

These mandarins are also Sweet and Juicy.

The use of tick boxes is also a powerful tool as mentally, that’s what shoppers do when evaluating characteristics.

This pack showcases what is possible when you move from thinking about your packaging as a ‘containment vessel’ and instead start seeing your packaging as an in-store mini-billboard. My experience supports that if your billboard is designed well, it will help you sell more of your product for more money.

Got a pack you are proud of? One that is shopper benefit focussed? Send me an email photo and I will try and incorporate it into a future column. Contact: or call 64 9 815 5944.





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