Packaging Pitch: P stands for passion, produce and packaging

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Packaging Pitch: P stands for passion, produce and packaging

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

Lisa Cork columnistThe Boss was recently in town. I don't mean my boss - I've been fortunate to work for myself for just under 20 years - but The Boss, as in Bruce, as in Springsteen. I am not normally a big live concert fan, but I grew up with Bruce and 'Born in the USA', and if there was one live show I wanted to see, it was him.

I have to say the show was fantastic. He and his band of musicians played for 3.5 hours without taking a break and they played like that concert was the only concert that mattered. When you consider Bruce is 65 and he has been playing music since he was 20, to play with that kind of passion is truly inspiring to watch.

There was one section of the concert when it was just Bruce, a saxophone player and a drummer at the front of the stage, standing in a semi-circle, just playing to each other; feeding off each other's music. From the audience's point of view, they appeared lost in the moment, lost in the passion of playing music they love with guys who shared the passion. It was awesome.

So what does The Boss have to do with this column? I have friends who are in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) business and when we talk about work, what I notice is their lack of passion; Not for their jobs – they are all passionate about the work they do - but for the big, multinational companies they work for.

Their career is path is one of jumping, from company to company, to the next role advancement in order to progress their careers. They don't tend to stay in a role long and that's how the FMCG system works.

Therein lies the difference…and the link to The Boss.

I have never met or worked with a produce grower who was not passionate about what they did. Many growers have now been in the production game 20, 30 and even 40 years, and like Bruce, they are as passionate today as they were when they started. Bruce produces music and stories in song; growers produce the healthy foods that feed the masses. Passion is passion, regardless of the output.

And this is where packaging comes in. Packaging needs to be thought of as a marketing tool that captures and reflects your passion. Yes, it needs to be shopper-focused. Yes, it needs to convey the shopper benefits associated with buying your product. But when I do work with growers, we often find the best packs emerge when we back the shopper story up with the passion the grower brings to growing his product. Nothing captures a heart and soul more than experiencing passion in action.

So how do you capture your passion in your packaging? I work with clients on four areas.

1.    First, tell me your story. How did you end up being a grower? How did you decide to grow what you grow? What keeps you growing year after year?

2.    Second, tell me about where you grow. Why this farm? Why here? How did you end up on the land you grow on?

3.    Third, tell me about your product. Why do you grow grapes or cherries or sweet corn or broccoli? What made you decide on this product or this innovation to the product?

4.    Fourth, tell me why a shopper should buy your product? What makes what you do or what you produce unique in the eyes of the shopper?

Somewhere in having this conversation, I will find the angle, the passion point, the point that connects grower to shopper and then my job is to develop that story and bring it to life on pack.

I believe that passion matters. In a busy, frenetic, challenging world, I believe stories of passion cut through the clutter and the rhetoric.

I know I am passionate about what I do, and I feel so blessed that I get up every day and do work that I love and am passionate about. For most growers, it is the same story but few recognize or leverage the power of their passion.

Let's make passion your challenge for this month. Think about what makes you passionate about what you do. Whether you are a grower, a marketer, or an importer-exporter, what is it about the produce industry and what you do in it that makes you passionate? Want to share your story? Then drop me an email ( I'd love to hear from you.


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