Business News

Pharmaceutcial Packaging Challenges – What are yours?

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Medical Devices, Opinion, Technology on July 29th, 2014 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
New Challenges in Pharmaceutical Packaging sector

New Challenges in Pharmaceutical Packaging sector

With an ageing population and the growth of emerging economies across the world, the pharmaceutical sector is booming. Research business IMS predicts that the global pharmaceutical industry will reach sales of as much as $1.2tn by 2017 – representing annual growth of 3%-6% and, crucially, a growing market for pharmaceutical packaging suppliers and contract packers.

Yet it is a market that brings particular challenges, and particular opportunities, to those packaging suppliers and packers operating within it, not least the regulatory environment, which is complex and becoming more so. New regulations – notably the EU Falsified Medicines Directive, which requires every individual pack to carry a unique serial number – are posing new challenges to the supply chain both for product and packaging.

Chris Penfold, CEO of Design Cognition, along with a number of other industry experts recently took part in a Packaging News and Essentra roundtable discussion looking at the wide range of issues facing players in the pharmaceutical packaging segment.

You can find a Chris Penfold discusses pharmaceutical packagingmore in-depth transcript of the discussion here:

Packaging News – Tough Talking – Pharmaceutical Packaging

or a short video ‘taster’ by clicking on the photo of Chris to take you to the YouTube video.

If you would like help and advice on any of these or other issues further and would like to contact Chris, please send an email via or via phone on +44 (0)115 846 1914.

Interactive Packaging Club

Posted in Branding, Business News, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Design Cognition News, Drinks Packaging, Events, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Interactive, Marketing, Materials, Medical Devices, Product News, Technology, Uncategorized on April 28th, 2014 by Chris Penfold – 13 Comments

JOIN THE CLUB – What’s in it for YOU?

bionicwomaneye_2Dear All,
Rapid innovation is happening that will enable products & everyday things of all types to ‘interact’ in some way remotely with people or other products.  New devices and processes ranging from: smartphones and their ‘apps’ through 3D printing & nanotechnology to low cost Printed and Plastic Electronics (PPE), are becoming available that can:     Create new visual effects: including static or moving and scrollable images
    Produce a sound
    Contain embedded data: for instant information; for validating the identity or location of a product or person;
    Enable interfaces that can respond to touch, gestures or motion
    Sense & report on an environment, temperature or condition
    Release a chemical substance in a controlled way
    Gather energy from the ‘air’ ….and much more

Smart ‘things’ will form extended data communications networks and lead to the much-vaunted longer term vision of every product having its own unique IP address and being accessed by other intelligent devices anywhere.  This is part of what has been dubbed the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT).

A new generation of devices and communication protocols that sit alongside RFID is emerging; e.g. Near Field Communication (NFC), Ultra Wide Band (UWB), ZigBee, RuBee etc.  These promise to deliver real time information on location.

So what are YOU doing about it?

If you have enjoyed the recent Pack To The Future (#PTTF) events with presentations on topics such as  ‘Printed Electronics in Packaging’ and the affiliated IPI events such as ‘Game Changing Developments for Brands and Packaging based on Smart Phones’, we have something very special FOR YOU that I’m sure will be very appealing.

Design Cognition is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Interactive Product Solutions, and the forming of an Interactive Packaging Club dedicated to this area. In particular the club will help Members to find answers to key questions such as:
•    What applications are other early adopters pursuing and why?
•    What technologies can I adopt now & what are the resource and cost implications for me?
•    Which technologies can be used alone or in combination to address my applications and how?
•    What are the realistic time scales and when will it begin to affect my company?
•    What commercialisation activities or development projects are worth engaging in now?


So how will we do this?
Club details:
Together we are planning to run a series of special events:
1. A series of Webinars sessions which will will involve presentations by leading technology suppliers from around the world, followed by a discussion of the commercial implications of the developments presented.  A great way for our international clients to participate…..Webinars will cover specific topics or themes as follows:
-    Flexible Displays (battery & non-battery powered)
-    Sensors (biological & non-biological)
-    Controlled Release Devices
-    Brand Protection, Anti-Counterfeiting & Traceability Devices
-    Physical/Digital (phygital) Experiences, including Augmented Reality
-    Consumer Engagement
-    Packs as active tokens in game play
-    Indicative packaging

2. Regular full-day facilitated Working Group Sessions that will provide the opportunity for Interactive Packaging Club Members to develop an in-depth understanding and debate emerging technologies and identify new applications and commercial opportunities.
3. On-Line Interactive Packaging Resource Centre
Via the restricted ‘members-only’ web site, Interactive Packaging Club Members have access to a comprehensive and authoritative dossier of information relating to Interactive Packaging.


Payment will be via a one-off annual membership fee – see prospectus for provisional details.

If YOU or any of your friends or colleagues would like to find out more, please ask them to send an email to Chris Penfold via: and we will keep you updated as information becomes available over the next few weeks.

Many thanks and we look forward to working with you

Chris Penfold

Design Cognition

If this event is not quite right for you, we are always willing and able to run bespoke workshops at your premises anywhere in the world. Let us know if you’d like us to put together a unique itinerary for you.

To find out more email
Give us a call on +44 (0) 115 8461914

PRESS RELEASE – New alliance between GP Solutions & Design Cognition

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Marketing, Medical Devices, Product News, Technology, Uncategorized on July 23rd, 2012 by Sheila Penfold – 16 Comments

GP-LogoDesign Cognition Group Ltd are pleased to announce the formation of a new alliance with GP Solutions UK Ltd. Both companies provide a range of dedicated products /services which are specifically geared towards the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets. Commenting on the arrangement, Design Cognition Managing Director Penfold said “This is a major step forward for our companies that will provide a unique and unrivalled offering for our respective clients which will provide a fantastic & interesting product/service mix adding real value”.

Equally enthusiastic about the new co-operation,  GP Solutions UK Ltd Managing Director Howieson stated “By combining our respective know how & expertise we shall be able to offer a comprehensive pool of packaging/product development talent”.

GP Solutions UK Ltd were first incorporated in 2000. They are a small yet dynamic consultancy & product development enterprise. The business devises unique IP led packaging, labelling & technology based solutions into the pharmaceutical/R&D markets. Some of its notable achievements include :
Dose Guard – a child resistant peel & push secondary layer for blister packs &/or patient wallet cards
Chrysalis – which is a integrated high speed leaflet/carton construction created to aid compliance
Dose Recognition – a mobile phone software/App platform designed to (remotely) monitor patient compliance.
Alongside the development arm of the company they also supply a bespoke range of dedicated clinical trial materials for many of the worlds leading pharmaceutical companies. Across all aspects of the business they operate a pro-active & progressive approach to identifying new market trends which can help to improve client supply chain management & patient engagement process.

Design Cognition were formed in 2006 and are an award winning, independent and dedicated packaging design & development contractor & consultancy. We provide packaging development, product development and project management support for companies from small business start-ups to large multi-nationals, primarily in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

Design Cognition also provides brand owners, product development companies, packaging designers and packaging suppliers/assemblers with packaging and pack design expertise (structural and graphic) & undertake bespoke training across all product categories. Focussed on innovation we provide tailored packaging support on all aspects of the product lifecycle and supply chain. The company has previously been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Nottingham Evening Post and have appeared on BBC East Midlands.

For more information on how this fantastic alliance can help add value in your business contact Design Cognition on:
+44 115 846 1914

Pack To The Future – Packaging Design & Innovation at NTU

Posted in Academia, Business News, Creative Spotlight, Design, Events, Innovation, Materials, Opinion, Technology, Training on August 24th, 2011 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
Packaging Design & Innovation 19th Oct 2011

Packaging Design & Innovation 19th Oct 2011

As many of you may know, as well as running Design Cognition, I am Chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society (based in Nottingham UK) and in that role, my main focus this year is to entice more of you, our valued members, to take part in events and also to encourage ‘new blood’ into the industry.

We’ve got some fantastic events lined-up, in which you could participate in a number of different ways and at a number of different levels – it’s up to you how far you want to get involved.

Much of it will be FREE and could directly benefit you personally and your business.

You may want to participate yourself, or you know someone else that could be interested. Either way, I’m looking for partners and I’d love to hear from you. The aim of the whole exercise is to help raise the profile of packaging but also to facilitate the integration of academia and industry for everyone’s benefit. So this is applicable to:

Students – who may want to learn & enhance career options

Universities – looking for business avenues/partnerships to help commercialise their ideas

Product development companies, packaging suppliers & design agencies – wanting to keep up with latest technology & also identify high calibre students for job placements & opportunities

The first of our events is on 19th October at Nottingham Trent University, 4.30 – 8.30pm with a free buffet and refreshments (see flyer attached).

All are welcome, members and non-members, but pre-registration is essential – just drop me an email to:

Come along and listen to some exciting & leading-edge talks from the university & from the packaging design industry. Network with industry & academic experts – with various table-top demonstrations, discuss your design projects in an informal atmosphere and get practical mentoring help & advice.

Some of the highlighted topics will include:

Smartphone technology & how it can enhance the consumer experience

Using packaging technology to tackle counterfeiting

University research into brand design

Display technology for packing applications

Design of packaging for reuse / recycling

You can find out more about this and other East Midlands Packaging Society events on our ‘ning’ site:

East Midlands Packaging Society website

and also on our LinkedIn Group & Facebook Pages:

EMPS LinkedIn Group

EMPS Facebook page

This is the first of three planned university partnership events during the next 12 months, so whether in academia or business – You decide how you want to get involved, which could be as a speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, trainer or as a participant – how could it best benefit yourself? I really do think that ‘everyone’s a winner’ with this. More details to follow in future blogs.

If you’ve got any other ideas yourself, let me know.

Chris Penfold

Chairman – East Midlands Packaging Society

00 44 115 846 1914

Sailing through the Plastiki soup in search of paradise?

Posted in Business News, Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling on August 13th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments
Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

As we have discussed in previous posts, there is a huge and ever-increasing mountain of rubbish growing in the middle of the Pacific, like a giant festering ’soup’, much of which consists of plastic packaging waste. This has had a massive knock-on affect in the  form of polluted beaches on islands throughout the South Pacific. See our previous article: Great Pacific Garbage Patch article

David de Rothschild is a man on a mission. The offspring of the wealthy banking family, he is one of a new breed of environmental crusaders and entrepreneurs that some are calling ‘Gaia capitalists’. ‘Gaia’ in mythology was the primal Greek goddess of the Earth and aptly a ‘gyre’ in oceanography is any large system of rotating ocean currents (source: Wikipedia).

To highlight the Pacific issue and raise it’s profile in mainstream media, De Rothschild decided to use his family’s high profile  (& money) to build a yacht made entirely of recycled plastic bottle packaging, which he named ‘Plastiki’ (making reference and tribute to the late Thor Heyerdahl’s papyrus Kon-tiki raft which crossed the Pacific back in 1947). Over a four month period he sailed this 60ft catamaran from San Francisco to Sydney, where he landed last week. But his exploits are no shallow ploy to fill aimless days with fun and adventure.

De Rothschild and his ‘Gaia’ friends are driven by a combination of social conscience and economic pragmatism, seeking a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way we live and desecrate our planet. They espouse a new form of capitalism that factors in the environment and social wellbeing as a cost. It considers protecting the environment not only as a moral issue but as a set of design challenges to correct inefficiencies that make the capitalist system unsustainable. Waste, for example, is considered the result of inadequate thinking. If you are smarter about it, and create products that work properly, then you shouldn’t have to throw anything away at the end – should you? The group include Chad Hurley (33) who with his co-founder, sold YouTube to Google for $1.6Bn and has since ploughed some of his fortune into the Green Products Innovation Institute and Jeffrey Skoll, worth $2.4Bn, who wrote the business plan for eBay and has set up the Skoll Foundation to encourage ’social entrepreneurs’ to play a greater role in developing a better world (source: The  Sunday Times).

These are ‘game changers’, who see solutions where others see problems – a new entrepreneurial revolution – one of collaboration something that de Rothschild calls ‘Planet 2.0′. So I feel that we will be hearing a lot more from this ‘band of brothers’ in the future. They mean to ‘rattle some cages’, get us all to think differently and make a real impact by influencing things at ‘the top’. They have a point! Can we really carry on the way we are? For a really ’sustainable future’, for our children and their children’s sakes, things have to change a lot quicker.What do you think?

Chris Penfold

Leveraging Captain Morgan’s brand & packaging assets through NEW media

Posted in Branding, Business News, Drinks Packaging, Marketing, Product News, Social Media, Tweets on June 18th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 8 Comments
Captain Morgan wielding his packaging assets

Captain Morgan wielding his packaging assets

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to listen to Paul Walsh CEO of Diageo, the world’s leading spirits, beer and wine company, deliver a ‘marketing’ talk at Nottingham Business School (Nottingham Trent University). It was entitled “Marketing & Communication in 2010 – Responding to the New Stakeholder Condition” and was such a powerful &  interesting insight, I thought I’d provide you with an overview and share some of my thoughts with you.

Diageo is the proud owner of some of the biggest ‘power brands’ on the planet, such as Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Baileys, J&B, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Bushmills & Tanqueray. Both Guinness and Johnnie Walker have been around for over 200 years and Bushmills almost 400 years. Some feat! and a tremendous bank of heritage on which to pull (or push – or whatever you like really!).

Walsh is a fine orator, who is passionate about his brands and company. He talked about the basis of all iconic brands being ‘great products’ driven by FACE (Flair, Agility, Consumer insight and then Executed flawlessly). But he also acknowledged that the global marketplace is constantly evolving which affects the way we live and interact with our favoured brands.  At the same time, broadband is proving to be the biggest technological development since the introduction of television. As the world ‘goes on-line’ a whole new media stream has opened up to feed a young and dynamic market who have ‘bags of energy’ and want to ‘party’.  Walsh highlighted this momentous change by showing the video Shift Happens – some mind-blowing & thought provoking figures (I’m sure you will agree).

So the ‘rules of engagement’ have changed, and indeed are constantly evolving. Advertising spend in traditional media such as magazines, newspapers and TV has ‘nose-dived’ and has been diverted into new media, where Diageo, and other companies for that matter, have “up-weighted their spend in the digital space” and enjoyed much bigger ‘bangs for their buck’, realising huge cost savings.

It is clear that Diageo have become masters of leveraging the new technology. Key to their success, according to Walsh, can be attributed to a 5-point plan:

1. Having a good product

2. Being clear about the target

3. Identifying the single most compelling benefit

4. Effectively dramatising that benefit

5. Saying and constantly repeating it through the most effective channels

Affiliated to this is the ability for brands to attract and become “participants in a conversation NOT simply involved in a top-down message”. Metaphorically, he likened this to a change from a game of ten-pin-bowling, with a one-ball strike to a game of pinball, banging, bouncing, to-ing and fro-ing through a maze of buffers and pins. In this new media world, Walsh alluded to 3 types of people:

Passive participants – Those who are completely passive and soak up all of the information ‘thrown at them’ via static websites

Engaged participants – people who are engaged and share information via social media platforms

Active participants – those who voraciously add content on-line and are hugely influential

These 3 groups of people seem to inhabit this digital world in approximate ratios of 90 : 9 : 1 (respectively). It is the small group of active participants have been key to Diageo’s new media brand success. By influencing these people in this sector they have turn their brands from on-shelf icons to (almost) living and breathing entities.

A classic example of this success is Captain Morgan, which has rocketed over recent years and now holds a prestigious No2 position for premium rum brands. The driver behind this has been the building and grooming of the ‘Captain’ icon as a ‘living legend’. This hasn’t happened by accident. A carefully orchestrated campaign has evolved through the ‘Captain’s Cup’, video and photo ‘collateral’ and word-of-mouth – driven by social media. The Captain has a certain physical stance or  ‘pose’ and when an interpretation of that ‘pose’ was ’struck by a famous US NFL football star on the pitch during the Super-bowl, it took on a completely new iconic dimension. There followed a series of copycat ‘poses’ by a number of esteemed brand advocates, including David Letterman on his prime-time  TV show. Media-savvy Diageo capitalised on this by offering a $10,000 prize to famous people striking the pose in public places & at high-profile events, all building on the character of ‘The Captain’ and acting s a ‘viral’ growth driver for the ‘living legend’. It has proved a very cost-effective way of marketing.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that this type of ‘non-sponsorship’ could be classed as a more passive form of  ‘ambush marketing, which is actually very topical at the moment. In the South African World Cup this week (14th June), 2 Dutch women were arrested for ambush advertising and 36 women ejected from one of the stadiums when they were spotted wearing short orange dresses made by the Dutch brewery Bavaria, in conflict with  Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser who are the official beer of the event. It led to quite a fuss and ITV media pundit Robbie Earle was sacked from his role when it was claimed by FIFA that he had sold tickets meant for family and friends on to the Dutch beer company.

Getting back to Diageo, another fine example of leveraging the new technology, has been the Smirnoff ‘be there’ media campaign built on a ‘viral’ marketing platform. Here young (25-30 yr old) party-goers were encouraged, via social networking sites like Twitter & Facebook, to provide ideas on their perfect party events – a party that they would remember for all time – to have ‘been there’. Diageo then picked the best ideas, provided funding to hold the event and a short video was shot at each which were then posted on YouTube. Here’s an example of a Smirnoff ‘Be There‘ TV advert. These have also proved a phenomenal success for Diageo at moderate expense – a terrific Return on Investment (ROI).

So, all in all, Diageo have shown great foresight in their on-line endeavours; an area that has worked well and is sure to be developed by them further across all of their brands. If companies want to stay ‘ahead of the game’ in an increasingly fragmented market, they need to embrace and adopt new ways of working and promoting themselves (and their brands), using creativity, flair and imagination. In this respect they could learn much from Diageo.

It also goes without saying, that in these recessionary times, where marketing budgets are being slashed, left, right and centre in huge cost-cutting exercises, the time and effort invested will also reap huge benefits in cost and greater ROI…..and will also work wonders for a brands’ ’street cred’ ;-)   Why not get in touch and see how we could help you Contact Design Cognition OR, if you’re a more hands on person why not have a look at our forthcoming Branding and Shelf Impact training course.

Chris Penfold

Would you like to get your hands on some EC funding to help develop & commercialise your packaging ideas?

Posted in Business News, Design, Design Cognition News, Environmental Issues, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Materials, Technology on May 21st, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 6 Comments
EC Packaging Project Funding available

EC Packaging Project Funding available

Later this year (July) it is expected that the EC will publish a call for proposals to support the packaging industry to find new ways of adding value to its products. Large companies (>250 employees) can receive a grant of 50% towards their costs whilst SMEs can receive grants up to 75%.  The European Commission is looking for proposals that produce packaging concepts exhibiting the following properties:

· superb barrier properties in terms of durability and protection capabilities utilizing e.g. nanocoatings or thin films for enhancing consumer safety and to extend the shelf life of packaged, perishable goods;

· smart features incorporating nanotechnology such as indicators, sensors, protection against counterfeit and tampering, product traceability indicators, interactive components or biometric components which can be added to packaging  using low cost printing technologies, such as roll-to-roll printing;

· utilisation of materials derived from a sustainable and renewable source, recyclability or biodegradability, and the applicability of resource-efficient (material, energy, water) package production processes.

Maybe you are part of a large corporation that has identified some opportunities but don’t have the finance or resource to take them forward  (e.g. a sustainability or technology project that has the potential to ‘add value’)
or on the other hand, you could be part of an academic institution, Knowledge Transfer Network or SME who has a technology that is looking for a ‘home’.

Either way – I am looking for opportunities to help match you up, build a ‘value case’ and try and get our hands on some of this funding. So if you are interested – please get in touch: (putting ‘EC Funding’ in the title)

Chris Penfold

High street packaging dreams – end in ‘the den’

Posted in Branding, Business News, Design, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Marketing, Opinion, Product News, Retailers on May 19th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 598 Comments
Den Kit packaging branding

Den Kit packaging branding

Monday night saw the 2nd programme in the mini series High Street Dreams (8 programmes) on BBC1. The ‘reality TV show’ about product branding, packaging & design development. Over the series Jo Malone and Nick Leslau will help a number of individuals as they try to launch new products. From a packaging and design perspective, I don’t think that this week’s show was as good & fulfilling as the first, but still entertaining. The ‘guinea pigs’ included:

Primary school teachers from Shropshire – Jo Jones & Kay Miller who developed a ‘Den Kit’ – a fun and adventure product to help kids play & learn the old fashioned way! Good old ‘home farm’ values and fun!

Initially chopping trees down themselves in rural Shropshire to make ‘handmade’ wooden mallets, they proposed a huge retail price of  £40 per pack. However after visiting the annual Toy Fair where the average toy price was £6.70, they were forced to reconsider. Their mentor David Strang, an entrepreneur & leading toy manufacturer, emphasised the importance of  ‘eye catching’ packaging (good to hear!) which helped his own products increase sales by a factor of 25!

The ladies took this ‘on board’ and a “top graphic designer” was brought in to develop the branding, but I must say it left me disappointed. Although the typography was strong, with an ‘all over’ camouflage effect. Not sure that it had enough ’shelf stand-out, without any alluring photography or a means to view the products inside. But we didn’t have the benefit of a proper evaluation of competitor packs and ’sight’ of all packs on shelf together. Certainly if it had been our project we would have also considered other packaging options (rather than standard carton) to try and incorporate the above factors and try and add more consumer appeal, convenience & value.

The ladies did manage to get their costs down substantially by sourcing components from a brother in the Philippines. Enabling a revised price point of just under £30.

They christened their overarching brand as ‘Real Adventure’ & pitched to the MD Duncan Grant of the ‘Entertainer’ retail chain who was certainly ‘wavering’ and undecided on whether or not to stock the product. He loved the ‘down to earth’ product concept and I think that most of his concern was targeted at the packaging. He mentioned that the packaging  needed “more work” but did eventually give the ‘ go-ahead’ to try out the products in his 52 high street stores in the UK.

The revised Den Kit packaging

The revised Den Kit packaging

The kit contains: tarpaulin, groundsheet, handmade mallet, tent pegs, tent peg bag, 10m rope, metal mug, camouflage paint, webbing haversack & instructions

Since filming, Jo & Kay have certainly been busy and now have other products featured on their website which you can see here: Flibberty

You can follow them on Twitter: @DenKit

The second product featured on the programme was Nutriyum. Husband and wife, Paul and Maria Stricker quit their lucrative city jobs and invested their life savings (over £15K) to create Nutriyum – a healthy drink for young kids. Developing a drink that is both nutritious and tasty is tough enough, but they had just eight weeks to formulate a product in order to secure themselves a place on the highly competitive supermarket shelves. They enlisted the expertise of Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley and Little Dish’s Hillary Graves to help them focus, but sadly time was against them and despite bags of enthusiasm,  had failed to do their homework!!

The initial products offered by Paul & Maria were banana & strawberry flavours – but containing no fruit! The product was redeveloped within a matter of days from the previous synthetic mix into a chilled fresh fruit smoothie, which the couple were expecting to sell at the premium price of £1. Leslau affirmed the importance of pitching with a real product – NOT a prototype – something that we would strongly endorse. In our experience, retailers, buyers & marketers often find it difficult to visualise the ‘final product’, so it’s critical to get as close as possible with your product & packaging in any ’sales pitch’. Something that can be achieved quite easily these days with the ability to provide quick-turnaround physical mock-ups & realistic digitally printed artwork.

Leslau also emphasised the importance of gaining ’shelf space’ with retailers. I would also mention that stores sometimes measure profits in terms of the profit per length of shelving – which needs to be borne in mind in any pack design! Retailers need to be able to:

  • Restrict their investment to the lines that will sell
  • Buy in small quantities (keeping minimum stock)
  • Buy goods that generate the highest levels of profit

Indeed we would emphasise the importance of meeting the business needs of all supply chain parties – suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers & customers – all are interdependent.

Manufacturing was shown in more detail this week, as the young couple hired contract filling facilities to fill prototypes – at a cost of £5000 (+£1000 for materials) – only to come to the conclusion that they had been packed in an inappropriate packaging format (an expensive mistake to make and underlines the importance of thinking these things through properly and employing ‘experts’ to help from the outset – which can actually work out more cost-effective in the long run!)

The packs chosen for filling were Guala ’style’ ‘doy’ packs, commonly used on drinks like Lucozade, but would have presented the wrong ‘messages, cues & triggers’ for the ’single shot’ proposition intended. The branding agency chosen by Malone and Leslau were ‘Identica’ who (not surprisingly) struggled to find a fit with the brand name ‘Nutriyum’ and also with the overall pack proposition (considering that the product ingredients were synthetic but supposed to be healthy and appeal to young mothers). So there was a big ‘disconnect’ there. If more market research had been undertaken by the couple before developing their product/brand a totally different & more focused offering would have been achieved.

Ultimately, Paul & Maria realised their problem and simply ran out of time, so decided themselves to ‘bow out’ – a very brave decision considering the allure of retail endorsement and the TV PR coverage they would have gained for their new brand (despite that – they certainly got some good coverage anyway!). I feel that they made the right decision and will ‘live to fight another day’, once they’ve got it right.

As it happens, I undertook some research on the web today, and it does appear that the couple have been ‘beavering away’ in the background. Although the product is “not in the shops yet”, you can find out more about their endeavours on-line (link below). As a matter of interest Nutri-Yum does already appear to been trademarked by someone else (which wasn’t mentioned in the programme by anyone!)  Paul & Maria do seem to have taken ‘on-board’ the comments made in the programme and redeveloped their branding & packaging (and no-doubt the formulation also). In fact a completely different product offering! Certainly an improvement on what was shown on the TV – but probably in need of a bit more work. The brand name has been changed to ‘nyum‘. According to Wikipedia, this means “Swallowing in Catalan” – which I suppose is reasonably appropriately. However, a quick search on Google, pulls up a huge array of ‘nyum nyum’ activity & ‘noise’ – much of which seems to relate to eating BUT none of which relates to this new brand – so I feel that more work is needed there guys! You can see the latest offering on their website

We wish all parties featured in the programme every success with their products, but the big learnings for anyone in their position are:

  • Include product development & design specialists from the start if you want success (we can give you a free consultation if you are unsure)!
  • Make your mistakes early on in the process, before you’ve spent too much money
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Don’t be afraid to ‘pull the plug’ if it doesn’t feel right!

Next week the High Street Dreams team will help two sets of partners market fashion products. If you want to watch last night’s programme again you can download it on i-player here: 17th May programme


Chris Penfold

High street dreams? a packaging reality!

Posted in Branding, Business News, Design, Food Packaging, Marketing, Product News, Retailers, Social Media on May 11th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 4 Comments
Mr Singh's new branding logo

Mr Singh's new branding logo

A  new mini series High Street Dreams (8 programmes) kicked off on BBC1 last night that is a ‘reality TV show’ about product branding, packaging & design development – and very entertaining it was too. Over the series Jo Malone and Nick Leslau will help a number of individuals as they try to launch new products. Last night’s ‘guinea pigs’ included:

Mr Singh’s Chilli sauce ( and Asian Singh family of 7 from East London who have developed a unique “dynamite” chilli sauce over a number of years and now want to “take on the world”. Having already developed their own packaging they were ‘knocking out’ 1000 bottles a day in their garden shed. However, after undertaken some market research on local doorsteps they redefined their key brand messages and with the help Pearlfisher, undertook a complete brand overhaul. Anyhow, it must have been successful because the conclusion was a trial in 3 London Asda stores and their website now lists a number of other independent stockists.

New Muddy Boots brand logo

New Muddy Boots brand logo

Meanwhile, Roland & Miranda Ballard, the couple behind the gourmet ‘Aberdeen Angus’ burger range Muddy Boots Foods, worked with Blue Marlin. Together they revamped their vacuum packed burger range, which when showed to shoppers in it’s existing packaging, was described as “looking like dog food”. Anyhow, after development of  bespoke ‘windowed’ carton to show-off a tantalising view of the top-quality prime cuts, they managed to secure a trial in a few Waitrose stores (although Waitrose weren’t totally convinced of the merits of the small window). So top marks to all concerned! A good insight for those of you not involved in teh industry, on how a brand and packaging can be redeveloped & invigorated. You can find out more about Muddy Boots foods at ( Both companies also have Twitter accounts (@mrsinghssauce & @muddybootsfoods ) and they both have Facebook accounts.

Next week the High Street Dreams team will help two sets of partners market children’s products. If you want to watch last night’s programme again you can download it on i-player here: 10th May programme

Cheers Chris Penfold

Nice rise for Unilever

Posted in Business News on April 29th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

Great to see Unilever doing so well despite the current market conditions.  Just goes to show that it’s still possible to find new markets.

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