Retailers

Bar Coding & Mass Serialisation Course -14th October 2014

Posted in Anti-Counterfeiting, Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Design Cognition News, Events, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Interactive, Legal, Marketing, Medical Devices, Retailers, Technology, Training on September 1st, 2014 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment

Bar Code ScanThe first of our new series of packaging training courses has arrived……….

Barcoding, traditionally a means of stock control, is evolving and increasingly being used in more imaginative ways in areas of packaging such as marketing, anti-counterfeiting and mass-serialisation!

To help keep you up-to-date with these innovations, Design Cognition are proud to announce that we have now partnered with the world leading barcode verification solution provider Axicon to bring you this interactive workshop

This one day course will provide a really practical hands-on view of a wide range of barcodes and their packaging applications. It will include demonstrations of the verification equipment in use and your chance to use it yourselves.

We will cover EAN, 2D Data matrix, QR codes, Aztec codes and others.

So whether you just need to understand the basics, or are looking for other insights into this exciting and evolving area of packaging technology and ideas on how you can use them in the wider business context, this course is for you!

For more information – Follow this link to our Training Page to download a PDF flyer

Cutting Edge Security Solutions for Brand Protection & Product Authentication

Posted in Anti-Counterfeiting, Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Design Cognition News, Drinks Packaging, Events, Gift Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Interactive, Marketing, Medical Devices, Retailers, Technology, Uncategorized on August 22nd, 2014 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment
Brand Protection & Authentification

Brand Protection & Authentication

Dear All,
Research has shown that there are now some 250 plus suppliers of security components and brand protection solutions active in the global marketplace. New technologies are being developed all the time.

So how best to navigate the complex terrain of security technologies and solutions in order to reach optimal and cost effective brand protection solutions tailored for specific product categories and different market conditions?

As a Brand Owner please join us on 23rd September for our INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP to take a detailed benchmark analysis across the spectrum of security technologies being used today, with specific reference to integration and aggregation of solutions by packaging and label converters and security printers.

Reference will also be made to emerging new technologies that show promise for brand protection, together with related smart phone enabled mobile concepts and social networking.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE QUOTING PROMO CODE: VDG01 TO GAIN A SPECIAL WORKSHOP DISCOUNT

Attendance at the above workshop will then entitle you to FREE ADMISSION on the afternoon of 23rd and all day on 24th September to the subsequent CONFERENCE that will cover:

  • Materials science & security – From optical systems to nano taggants and forensic marker solutions
  • Interactivity and the Internet – Combining digital protection with on-product / on-packaging coding and serialisation: from security with smart phones merging digital protection and coding to analytics & user metrics
  • Integrator / Aggregator functions – A central role can be provided by packaging converters, label converters and security printers
  • Digital protection and coding – From inventory control to product authentication with RFID / NFC and printed 2D codes
  • Encouraging consumer interactivity through the Internet – Product authentication utilising smart phones or tablets

In particular the conference will help 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?

To bring you this event, Design Cognition has teamed-up with brand protection specialists Vandagraf International.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE EVENT BY CLICKING HERE

The Vandagraf International 2014 Workshop and Conference is organised by Vandagraf International in association with:

  • Product and Image Security Foundation
  • Design Cognition
  • Tarsus International
  • World Customs Organisation
  • Securing Industry
  • The Packaging Society

The Workshop, which is conceived specially for BRAND OWNERS, takes place in the morning of the first day (23rd) and is followed in the afternoon and all through the second day (24th) by the main Conference, WHICH IS OPEN TO ALL.

Both events take place in central London at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining’s modern yet historic conference venue.

Speakers have been carefully selected to cover as many aspects of brand protection as can be squeezed in to one and half days of this intensive event. They include:

  • Solution providers – both offline (packaging related) and online (Internet related)
  • Integrators / aggregators – packaging / label converters and security printers.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE QUOTING PROMO CODE: VDG01 TO GAIN A SPECIAL WORKSHOP DISCOUNT

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:  enquiries@designcognition.com and we will keep you updated as information becomes available.

Or give us a call on +44 (0) 115 8461914

Many thanks and we look forward to seeing you there.

Chris Penfold

CEO,
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.

Or if you’d like to find out more about us and how else we could help you, check out Design Cognition
or the following links:

Tween-focused packaging design

Posted in Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Healthcare & Pharma, Marketing, Product News, Retailers on December 5th, 2011 by Chris Penfold – 22 Comments

The Tween market is one of the most desirable and fastest growing consumer groups and said to be worth over $200-billion-per-year. Aimed at 9 to 14 years old, it is a sensitive market with many dichotomies. Where girls are said to be “too old for toys, too young for boys,” and boys…are just boys…never too old for toys ;-) . Tweens are feisty, opinionated, razor-sharp, brutally honest, slightly awkward, and very, very important for your brand.

U by Kotex - Tween packaging design

U by Kotex - Tween packaging design

Much work has been going on recently to explore this area and the following article provides some useful and interesting insights into how best to differentiate your packaging to appeal to this particular audience, who:

1. Aspire to be older, but are still children.
2. Want to be unique, but also still fit in.
3. Have strong ideas about what they want to buy, but need parental involvement and approval to purchase those things.

But, whilst also being mindful of the underlying needs of their parents who still have  a big ‘hand’ in what they buy. Some great examples are demonstrated by U by Kotex Tween and Geo Girl, Walmart’s new line of Eco-friendly cosmetics for 8 to 12 year olds (which personally I feel a little less comfortable with)…..but read on and let us know what you think…..

You can read the rest of the article here (via Healthcare Packaging): Tween-tastic package design

Chris Penfold

Branded Packaging That Delivers – Transform Your Products

Posted in Branding, Design, Design Cognition News, Events, Innovation, Marketing, Product News, Retailers, Training, cost-optimisation on November 3rd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment
coca cola - branded packaging that delivers

coca cola - branded packaging that delivers

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, effective branding is essential.

So we are running a 1 day course to give you hints, tips and pointers on how to make your product stand out on shelf through effective packaging as a marketing tool.

It will explain how to transform your good brand into a GREAT brand and help take your products to the ‘next level’, looking at a number of important aspects including brand values, added value & convenience, rationalisation, pack size, reducing material cost and innovation to get retailer acceptance, drive sales and increase profitability.

9th December 2010 at Biocity in Nottingham, UK

HURRY NOW – find out more & how to register to get an EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT by clicking Branded Packaging That Delivers

Claire’s very English Jewellery packaging

Posted in Branding, Design, Events, Gift Packaging, Marketing, Opinion, Retailers, Uncategorized on July 21st, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 15 Comments
Claire's unique matchstick earrings

Claire's unique matchstick earrings

This article is a follow-on from the two that I wrote yesterday and Monday, which provided an overview on the packaging design aspects encountered in the recent mini series High Street Dreams on BBC1; The ‘reality TV show’ about product branding, packaging & design development. Over the series Jo Malone and Nick Leslau helped a number of individuals to launch new products.

Today we focus on Programme 3: ‘Fashion accessories’ striving to be the next fashion brand and in particular on Claire English, a contemporary jewellery designer from Lewes, East Sussex, making distinctive and eclectic homemade jewellery.

Help and advice was provided to Claire on the show in the form of Stephen Webster, a jeweller to ‘the Stars’, including Christine Aguellera, Kate moss and Cheryl Cole. He emphasised that, as a newcomer, Claire must “earn every inch”, “convey her story” and “focus” her collection. He thought that she needed a ‘hero’ (star) piece, to ‘draw the eye’ in the ‘polished’ environment of a designer shop to hold potential customer interest.

Claire did subsequently amend her product range and decided to be ‘the face & name’ of her own brand. During ‘market research pitches’ in a real retail environment, although her creative skills were without question, doubts about her commercial ability to run a business were raised. However, the team decided to let her pitch to Selfridges, the ‘flagship store’ in Oxford St, London, to Anne Pitcher the Buying and Merchandising Director. Claire’s packaging provided a “Beautiful presentation” with pretty bows and ribbons and cut with scissors – a nice touch! At £2 each, the boxes weren’t cheap (especially for a small business when the minimum order quantity is 1000), but they ‘did the trick’.

Some of Claire’s jewellery, made from unorthodox items such as ‘bubble blowers (see picture above) and matchsticks were seen as ‘very English’, with good ’stand-out’ in media such as magazines that would “give the ‘press’ something to talk about”. Indeed Claire was commended by Anne: “Congratulations – Quite extraordinary – You have thought about PR and POS material”. Although she was warned to “think about the competition”, which is something that is often a good starting point for us at Design Cognition when thinking about designing any new packaging. Not that we would necessarily follow the ‘norms’ of a particular sector, but at least it can provide a useful ‘benchmark’.

Ultimately although Selfridges liked Claire’s work very much, saying that it was” quite special”, they did not place an order on the day, because the jewellery was only at prototype stage. They wanted to wait until they had seen a ‘production sample’. Seeing as Claire’s work is now listed on her website as “available online from Selfridges”, we are assuming that she was finally successful, although there only appears to be one product on-show. A good starting point, but to develop a thriving business Claire will evidently need to ‘roll this out’ further at Selfridges and also through other channels. The on-line shop on Claire’s own website appears to be “coming soon”, which is a shame because she’s probably missing out on a lot of the good PR from the TV show, which could have given her a good kick start with her fledgling business.

Granted, that packaging is not the main selling point for a Claire’s jewellery – especially if it’s going to be sold on-line. However most of the items will be bought as gifts, and for a price of around £100 per item, customers will expect some nice packaging as part of the price.

As mentioned in my previous postings, when developing effective packaging, a unique set of circumstances needs to be considered, depending on the product itself, the route to market (whole supply chain) and consumer needs involved. Packaging performs a number of varied and important roles; containing, protecting. preserving, transporting, informing & selling and has to meet a number of important stakeholder needs at all stages of the supply chain, from manufacturing & filling, through warehousing & transportation, retail and consumer-use to final disposal or reuse.

Purchasing ‘fashion accessories’ like jewellery is a much more ‘tactile shopping experience’ than for other products like foods. As Claire seems to be concentrating sales presently through an on-line route, perhaps this is not so much of an issue, but as the brand and sales channels develop into more ‘customer facing’ ones, needs will evolve.
Claire showed on the programme that she has ‘an eye’ for some innovative gift packaging ideas with her bows & ribbons and this is a good start. This will enhance perceived ‘value’ and if developed to mirror her other branding will reinforce the brand credentials.

So what sort of things should Claire consider? Let’s have a look at them one at a time:

Daisy Chain jewellery packaging
Daisy Chain jewellery packaging

Selling
On-line retail means the packaging does not really need to perform a selling role at Point of Sale (POS). However, the benefits of ‘added value’ gift packaging have already been mentioned and this can help promote referrals from clients, friends and relatives. If done properly and using stylish ‘must have’ packaging that could also act as a funky jewellery box, with subtle use of branding, the packaging will perform a permanent sales role on the dressing table. It may also help promote ‘up-selling’ to other pieces of Claire’s jewellery & trinkets. All merchandising; packaging, brochures, website design etc  – all need to work together to provide a consistent message and brand image. Take a look at the Daisy Chain packaging in the photo that is something that someone would want to keep and cherish.
Informing
If selling through retailers such as Selfridges, product and bar code information will be required. This may not necessarily be so for Claire’s own website initially, but as her business grows, this type of information will greatly aid her stock control. For consumers, useful information could include, at a basic level – jewellery name, collection name, materials, colour, price, contact details but at a more emotional and engaging level, provides an opportunity for Claire to ‘connect’ with her target market. She could’ like Beryl in yesterdays article, provide all sorts of information on the brand heritage, her vision for the business, brand values, the methods she uses to make the jewellery, the quality of materials & methods used and really build an emotional story on which to ‘pivot’ the brand.
Transporting
From Claire’s online store, I should imagine that most of her transport needs are met by DHL or some other courier. I’m not sure what sort of stock-holding Selfridges will want to keep (if any), but it’s certain that they will want to manage & move their stock in the most efficient way possible. To enable this, as well as relevant information, they will want jewellery boxed into suitable multiples (6, 10, 12 or whatever). The shipping boxes used will require their own ITF bar codes to enable ease of handling & storage.
Protecting
Jewellery manufactured from ‘hardy’ metallic materials but can be very delicate at the same time. Careful use of traditional ‘padding’ materials like coloured tissue paper can provide a simple enough ‘filler’ to protect the product from scratching and crushing, but at the same time can also provide a lovely ‘backdrop’ to accentuate and contrast the glistening colours of the metalwork. As well as product, any lovely gift boxes will need to be protected in some suitable transit packaging if being sent vie courier; it is not uncommon for packets to be used as ‘footballs by postal workers.

Heartbreak packaging - a novel approach to containment

Heartbreak packaging - a novel approach to containment

Containing
Containment is usually more of an issue for products like liquids and powders, which can spill or leak, rather than jewellery. Although Claire is presently selling on-line, as she builds a portfolio of products being sold in retail stores, she might want to consider how consumers will ‘contain’ their jewellery and gift boxes during the trip from shop to home. As with Beryl, this is another ideal opportunity for her to provide some ‘added value’ packaging, such as high quality branded shopping bags or boxes that will raise brand awareness and ‘perceived brand value’ with consumers and act as a ‘walking’ advert through the shopping streets of our towns & cities. Take a look at the novel Stephen Einhorn ‘Heartbreak’ packaging, which provides a great ‘twist’ on containment, with all sorts of subliminal messaging that will help engage potential customers.

I hope that this has highlighted SOME of the packaging considerations that need to be taken into account when developing a product like jewellery and supplying it to market. I’m not sure how many of these issues were discussed ‘off camera’ during the programme, but they all play their role in a successful launch, and ‘branding’ is only part of the picture. So well done Claire and we wish you every success in the future.

You can find out more about Claire’s products from her Claire English Special Jewellery website.

Over the next 2 days, I’ll take a look at the other 2 products covered in the last TV programme and, as well a giving an overview of what happened in those shows and how packaging and design aspects were tackled as above, I’ll also take a ‘step-back’ and provide my own thoughts on some of the other important issues that those entrepreneurs need to consider (or should have considered already) in the successful launch of their products to a mass market! So keep your eyes open for the following postings on this site:

Thursday 22nd July: ‘Homeware’ – Harry Singer from Somerset with his innovative wall hanging picture ‘Monkey frames’ ( Phlib) product.

Friday 23rd July: ‘Homeware’ – Bex Simon an artistic blacksmith who designs beautiful one-off metal-ware objects for the home.
Chris Penfold

‘Necking it’ – Woolly packaging for ‘Queen Beryl’?

Posted in Branding, Design, Events, Gift Packaging, Marketing, Opinion, Retailers on July 20th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments
Beryl's scarves with proposed packaging

Beryl's scarves with High Street Dreams packaging

This article is a follow-on from the one I wrote yesterday, which provided an overview on the packaging design aspects encountered in the recent mini series High Street Dreams on BBC1; The ‘reality TV show’ about product branding, packaging & design development. Over the series Jo Malone and Nick Leslau helped a number of individuals to launch new products.

Today we focus on Programme 3: ‘Fashion accessories’ striving to be the next fashion brand and in particular on Beryl Brewis, a single mum with 2 teenagers from Buckinghamshire, producing high quality chunky hand-knitted scarves.

Help and advice was provided to Beryl on the show in the form of fashion’s most vocal critics to give their verdicts: Nicole Smallwood from Marie Claire, Angela Bottolph online editor from Gratzia magazine, Mario Latandie from Tatler, Dolly Jones from Vogue.com and Kate Creasy from Cosmopolitan.

The general feeling was that they liked Beryl’s ‘rich & earthy’ colours, but didn’t like her chunky buttons. However, they did think that the scarves were well overpriced, considering comparable competition.
So what was the remedy? Creative Director of Pringle, Claire Waight Keller (ex-Gucci and Ralf Lauren) was brought in to give the benefit of her experience. She thought that the texture & colours were “great” but had to be ‘brutal’ to get Beryl to see ‘the bigger picture’ – not to be “too precious”. So it was ‘off with the buttons’ to give a “richer more playful scarf” and a small patch of stripes to provide a much more exciting product range.

But, as with many small businesses, a major problem for Beryl is how to upscale from a 1 person operation to a larger corporation, increasing output but still maintaining Quality Control, which Beryl has tackled by using her ‘granny army’ of local OAPs.

Branding guru Perry Haydn Taylor was brought in; a top branding consultant who has branded many top products such as Boden clothing & Gu desserts. His team undertook some promotional filming which was executed well and “really brought it to life” for Beryl. Perry’s team also designed some prototype packaging, which consisted of a paper wrap-around label (see photo above). Granted, that packaging is not the main selling point for a handmade high-quality scarf, but I felt that it was pretty basic and a bit ‘lacking’, for the following reasons….

For each of the product areas covered in the TV programmes, a unique set of circumstances needs to be considered, depending on the product itself, the route to market (whole supply chain) and consumer needs involved.

Packaging performs a number of varied and important roles; containing, protecting. preserving, transporting, informing & selling and has to meet a number of important stakeholder needs at all stages of the supply chain, from manufacturing & filling, through warehousing & transportation, retail and consumer-use to final disposal or reuse.

Purchasing ‘fashion accessories’ like clothes & scarves is a much more ‘tactile shopping experience’ than for other products like foods. Whilst some up-market strategically placed packaging can enhance perceived ‘value’, the printed text is mainly aimed at reinforcing the brand credentials and providing product and bar code information for identification and tracking logistics movements and sales.

So what sort of things should Beryl consider? Let’s have a look at them one at a time:

saskia rose packaging

Saskia Rose packaging

Selling
The selling role involved for the scarf packaging will depend to a certain extent on whether Beryl takes the retailer route to market or an on-line one. If both routes are being used, the selling role is obviously more important in a store and will need to work in tandem with any merchandising at Point of Sale (POS), brochures, website design etc  – it all needs to work together to provide a consistent message and brand image.
Informing
As well as the product and bar code information mentioned above, useful consumer information could include, at a basic level – scarf colour shade, scarf length, price, contact details but at a more emotional level, provides an opportunity for Beryl to ‘connect’ with her target market. She could provide all sorts of information on the brand heritage, her vision for the business, brand values, the people that knit the scarves, the quality of wools and yarns used and really build an emotional story on which to ‘pivot’ the brand.
Transporting
Retailers will want to manage & move their stock in the most efficient way possible. To enable this, as well as relevant information, they will also want scarves boxed into suitable multiples (6, 10, 12 or whatever). The shipping boxes used will have their own ITF bar code requirements to enable ease of handling & storage. Beryl might not be shipping lorry loads (yet), but boxes should certainly be designed for optimum pallet fit.

Sayak Silver Jewellery Gift Box
Sayak Silver Jewellery Gift Box

Containing
Containment is usually more of an issue for products like liquids and powders, which can spill or leak. However, Beryl might want to consider how consumers will ‘contain’ their scarves during the trip from shop to home. This is another ideal opportunity for her to provide some ‘added value’ packaging, such as high quality branded shopping bags or boxes that will raise brand awareness and ‘perceived brand value’ with consumers and act as a ‘walking’ advert through the shopping streets of our towns & cities. Take a look at the pictures here of the Saskia Rose bag and box packaging range and the Sayak jewellery packaging as stylish examples.
Protecting
One could argue that scarves, being woolen, are in little need of protection and to a certain extent that is true – certainly compared to many other products. However although fairly ‘flexible’ and ‘forgiving’, there is certainly a need to consider protection from the elements such as direct sunlight (which might cause fading), moisture (which might cause mildew), vermin attack (in dark/damp warehouses) and taint or damage from other products (such as chemicals) stored in the near vicinity during transport or warehousing. As Beryl considers export markets, these issues will become greater and more complex.
Preserving
A scarf will not have a limited shelf life like a food product, although it might well go ‘out of season’ or ‘out of fashion’. So preservation is not so much of an issue here, although optimum packaging, to protect from the dangers raised in ‘Protection’ above, will ensure that the scarves reach their destination in perfect ‘tip-top’ condition and in exactly the same state as when they left the knitting needles!

I hope that this has highlighted SOME of the packaging considerations that need to be taken into account when developing a product like a scarf and supplying it to market. Developing packaging with sustainability and the environment in mind is another area that I have not discussed and goes ‘without saying’ these days. I’m not sure how many of these were discussed ‘off camera’ during development, but they all play their role in a successful launch, and ‘branding’ is only part of the picture.

Anyhow, despite the issues that I have raised, Beryl’s products were well-liked when she ‘pitched’ to a team of buyers headed by Belle Robinson who co owns Jigsaw (she has a husband who started the brand originally) and Beryl secured an order worth £25K. So well done Beryl and we wish you every success in the future.

You can find out more about Beryl’s products from her Berylware website.

Over the next 3 days, I’ll take a look at the other 3 products covered in last two shows and as well a giving an overview of what happened in those shows and how packaging and design aspects were tackled, as above, I’ll also take a ‘step-back’ and provide my own thoughts on some of the other important issues that those entrepreneurs need to consider (or should have considered already) in the successful launch of their products to a mass market!

So keep your eyes open for the following postings on this site:
Wednesday 21st July: ‘Fashion accessories’ striving to be the next fashion brand. Claire English from Lewes, East Sussex making distinctive and eclectic homemade jewellery.

Thursday 22nd July: ‘Homeware’ – Harry Singer fro Somerset with his innovative wall hanging picture ‘Monkey frames’ ( Phlib) product.

Friday 23rd July: ‘Homeware’ – Becks (Bex) Simon an artistic blacksmith who designs beautiful one-off metal-ware objects for the home.
Chris Penfold

Effective packaging & design to meet ‘High Street Dreams’?

Posted in Branding, Design, Events, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Innovation, Marketing, Opinion, Retailers on July 19th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments
Jo Malone and Nick Leslau

Jo Malone and Nick Leslau

Friday before last saw the 4th and last programme in the mini series High Street Dreams on BBC1; The ‘reality TV show’ about product branding, packaging & design development. Over the series Jo Malone and Nick Leslau have helped a number of individuals to launch new products.

It’s been a long 6 weeks since the 3rd programme, during which the ‘void’ has been filled with all sorts of interruptions such as Wimbledon and World Cup football – how inconsiderate!

From a packaging design perspective, I don’t think that the 3rd show was as good & fulfilling as the first two, but still entertaining and was to some extent rectified in the 4th show. Whilst the advice & support given to budding entrepreneurs on High Street Dreams provides a ‘snapshot’ of what’s required in the packaging development process (usually from the ‘sexy’ brand perspective), having watched all of the programmes, I can’t help thinking that packaging has been viewed at a very superficial level. Many of the requirements necessary to get a product to market, seem to have been simply glossed-over or even ignored completely. I appreciate that many of the more technical issues that were possibly raised during development discussions were not actually shown in the final ‘cut’, but I’m sure that most of it was simply not addressed. Branding is only part of the picture. At the end of the day packaging performs a number of other varied and important roles; containing, protecting. preserving, transporting, informing & selling and has to meet a number of important stakeholder needs at all stages of the supply chain, from manufacturing & filling, through warehousing & transportation, retail and consumer-use to final disposal or reuse.

For each of the product areas covered in the programmes, a unique set of circumstances needs to be considered, depending on the product itself, the route to market (whole supply chain) and consumer needs involved. Clearly, the packaging needs for a unique Beryl Brewis woolen scarf will be different to that of a spicy Mr Singh’s Chilli Sauce or a packet of Muddy Boots premium food products.

To start with, purchasing clothes products is a much more ‘tactile shopping experience’ than for foods and whilst some up-market strategically placed packaging can enhance perceived ‘value’, the printed text is mainly aimed at reinforcing the brand credentials and providing product and bar code information for identification and tracking logistics movements and sales. With food products there is a far greater consideration graphically (text) for shelf-life (use before), food legislation, warnings and claims. But also structurally, a need to choose components that will meet the brand credentials, market segment needs and user aspirations as well as protecting and containing the product within from spoilage.

So over the next 4 days, I’ll take a look at the 4 products covered in last two shows and as well a giving an overview of what happened in the two shows and how packaging and design aspects were tackled, I’ll also take a ‘step-back’ and provide my thoughts on some of the other important issues that those entrepreneurs need to consider (or should have considered already) in the successful launch of their products to a mass market!

So keep your eyes open for the following postings on this site:

Tuesday 20th July: ‘Fashion accessories’ striving to be the next fashion brand. Beryl Brewis, a single mum from Buckinghamshire producing high quality chunky hand-knitted scarves.

Wednesday 21st July: ‘Fashion accessories’ striving to be the next fashion brand. Claire English from Lewes, East Sussex, making distinctive and eclectic homemade jewellery.

Thursday 22nd July: ‘Homeware’ – Harry Singer from Somerset with his innovative wall hanging picture ‘Monkey frames’ ( Phlib) product.

Friday 23rd July: ‘Homeware’ – Bex Simon an artistic blacksmith from East London who designs beautiful one-off metal-ware objects for the home.
Chris Penfold

‘Best Before’ – Education Required!

Posted in Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Retailers on July 14th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 14 Comments

Food WasteAnother article from a major UK newspaper discussing the amount of food waste generated in the UK each day. 

Whilst I don’t agree with all of Philip’s points, he does make some very valid ones, particularly regarding the use of ‘best before’ and ‘use by’.  I believe the major problem is that a large majority of consumers not only misunderstand the meaning of and the differences between the two dates, but they have also come to rely totally on the date shown on the packaging, regardless of whether it’s a best before or a use by.  

This appears to lead to a lot of people throwing away food that has nothing wrong with it just because it has gone past it’s Best Before date.  They appear to have lost much of the ‘common sense’ previous generations had when it comes to recognising if food is still safe and edible.  I think a prime example of this is fruit and vegetables.  Walk into any supermarket in the country and you will find bags of potatoes with Best Before dates on and I know people who won’t use them after they’ve past that date and yet in reality the potatoes may sit happily in a dark cool cupboard for much longer and still be perfectly edible.   Whilst having dates on food items is very useful for the supermarkets as it helps staff with stock rotation it also creates massive amounts of waste. 

I know that the supermarkets say that they are doing everything they can to lessen the amount of food waste, but I believe they should be doing more.  They should be making a concerted effort to not only educate their customers on what the difference is between Best Before and Use By dates, but also in how to identify if food is still safe and edible.  At the moment all the big supermarket chains whether it be Sainsburys with Jamie Oliver or Waitrose with Heston and Delia appear to have some sort of a ‘celebrity’ chief encouraging their customers to try new and different foods and recipes – what about using some of these people to publicise what constitutes edible food and encouraging people to use the Best Before date for what it was originally intended – just a guide and not the strict date many people seem to interpret it as currently. (Jane Bear)

To read Philips full article just follow the link to the Telegraph

Consumer needs for active & intelligent food packaging?

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Innovation, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Retailers, Technology, Tweets, cost-optimisation on July 5th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments
Apparently over 30% food produced is wasted before being eaten

Apparently over 30% of food produced is wasted before being eaten

It is interesting to read that the focus of active and intelligent (A&I) packaging has shifted from “manufacturer concerns” such as shelf-life and spoilage to “consumer concerns such as freshness, quality and information”, according to recently published research.

The report – ‘The Future of Active and Intelligent Packaging in Food and Drinks’ said that industry leaders had identified “freshness indicators as the most important innovations in the field over the next five years. A development on quality was listed as the next most important field followed by temperature and time indicators.”

However, with over 30% of all food that we buy being wasted, I would hardly call “shelf-life and spoilage” just “manufacturing concerns”. They are huge and global concerns for everyone, much of which is to do with education and the role that packaging can play to save costs for everyone in the supply chain (very important in the present economic situation) but also, ultimately, to help save the planet’s finite resources.

I’m not sure how the research was conducted, what questions were asked, or how they were asked, but apparently, consumers ranked “health, convenience, safety and enhancing product attributes” as the most important attributes that would make them willing to pay more for A&I-packaged products. “Longer shelf-life and packaging that communicates product information” were also seen as important, but consumers perhaps see these as a ‘given’ and wouldn’t necessarily want to pay extra for them.

It is my feeling that the growth of A&I packaging has been primarily technology-led, by developments in sensor technology including nanosensors and biosensors. This is highlighted by the emerging trend of the incorporation of scavenging functions into packaging with bottles, labels or films. This is great technology, but I’m not sure that most consumers would understand what these are or what benefits they bring and therefore they would certainly not want to pay for their incorporation.

It is true that “Delivery of efficiencies in the value chain and the opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate their products and boost their efficiency by reducing product losses” will be major benefits for manufacturers and retailers – but what about consumers? There is a huge consumer-led marketing ‘trick’ being missed here, especially when “High production costs, compliance with food safety regulations and consumer mistrusts” are being highlighted in the report as “potential challenges”.

So, it is good to see that the consumer perspective is taking greater prominence (to some degree at least), in the New Product developments (NPD) that will help meet consumer needs in the expanding drinks and ready-meals segments. I agree, that the current focus for A&I has to be on luxury goods initially, and that it will move to lower-end products as the technology becomes more widely available and costs fall, but maybe it’s time to take a large ’step back’, flip this around completely and look at it from a consumers’ point-of-view. It is up to us all to educate consumers – highlight the wider issues of food (and water) waste & spoilage, get them to understand the more holistic effects of these on their daily ‘wants & (real) needs’ and ultimately get their ‘buy-in’ to the ‘real’ benefits.
Chris Penfold

You can read the full article at www.foodproductiondaily.com

Many thanks to @PhilCyLaw in Brussels for bringing this to our attention via Twitter.

Adding value for consumers through internet & packaging in a Brave New World

Posted in Design, Innovation, Materials, Opinion, Retailers, Technology on June 15th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 18 Comments
Bionic woman - Source: Wired

Bionic woman - Source: Wired via BrianSolis

Do you remember the film, Minority Report?  Fiction often prefigures reality and in that movie a future was depicted, where visual objects are manipulated by hand, newspapers have sound & moving pictures, billboards change & interact (depending on who is viewing them) and cereal packs ‘talk’.

In the near future, it will be technically feasible and increasingly more cost-effective to put a moving display onto a packet of cornflakes. However, whether you are a technical specialist, generalist or know nothing about packaging whatsoever, we are all consumers and the question that’s so often overlooked is: so what?

Imagine going into your local supermarket where every cereal box bears a moving image. Should we use that moving display for promotional purposes or to add more information on the pack? As pointed out by Faraday, If all the pack graphics are moving, how will you create a clear point of difference? How else will the consumer be affected by the technological tidal-wave that could result from cheap, ubiquitous nanotechnology including plastic electronic devices and ‘smart’ materials?

Sony’s Rollable OTFT screen

Sony’s Rollable OTFT screen

Remarkably much of this technology already exists. Touch-screen technology is rapidly developing and ‘talking’ newspapers with moving pictures are close, as printing & polymer science catches up in devices like flat-screen televisions, where Sony launched “the worlds first OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV” in Japan 2007 and more recently (May 2010) their organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) ‘Rollable’ material.

Elon University made broad predictions (2006) for the future:

2010-2014: RFID tied to GPS – everywhere. Super supercomputers. Intelligent materials.

2015: Adaptable materials. Genetic profiling. Human cloning.
2016-2025:
VR immersion. Ubiquitous robots. Emotion-control devices. Paint-on power.
2026-2045: Space elevator. Moon base. A “singularity” due to accelerating change.
2046-2150: Mars colony. Time travel. Brain downloading. Humans assimilated into the internet

So what are the implications for retail packaging? Certainly, it will need to be ‘smarter’, not only in terms of technologies & materials but also:

  • Supporting changing lifestyles
  • Communicating more effectively (on shelf & at home)
  • Providing greater consumer & convenience
  • Augmenting branding
  • Lower environmental impact

Packaging will also need to communicate even more information to the consumer:

  • ever-more information required on ever-smaller packs (primarily pharmaceuticals)
  • traditional printed packaging will not cope
  • use of low-cost printed displays & electronics could be necessary

There are already a variety of ‘intelligent’ packaging formats available in the healthcare sector to help patients take their medication at the right time. In consumer packaging, some AR technology is already used, such as the Lego Point-of-Sale packaging that gives a 3D visual rendition of the assembled contents within.

Lego AR POS packaging demo

Lego AR POS packaging demo

Lego AR interactive POS terminal (Source: Augmented Reality Blog)

However, AR initiatives so far have been mostly utility focused, nothing more than animated 3D demos, exploiting the novelty of new technology. As a result, the AR ‘space’ is quickly becoming overcrowded and won’t take long for the ‘AR novelty’ to ‘wear off’. What is needed is a more consumer focused ‘problem solving’ approach in order to exploit the benefits of the technology.

As technology and web convergence happen, a number of exciting packaging opportunities will arise.

In retail stores, there will be opportunities for:

  • Enhanced shopping experiences through interactive packs at POS
  • Improved Brand identification, through applications such as Google Goggles, where consumers take photos of packs on their mobile phones, products are ‘recognised’ and more information, special promotions or affiliated/similar brand/product information is provided via web
  • Guiding you to other similar products via GPS
  • Longer Term RFID will supplement ‘hodgepodged’ communication to further enhance interactive experience on packs at POS
  • Communication will become more ‘pack driven’ (RFID), rather than requiring consumers to take photos of packs

However for all of this to work, there will be a fundamental need for collaboration between retailers & all their supply chain partners.

In the home there will also be potential for more interactive & vivid:

  • Instructions for assembly & use
  • Multilingual & interactive 3D information
  • Product shelf life warnings– fridge & fruit
  • Product information

This will mean opportunities for ‘Storytelling’ and bringing the products ‘to life’, which will lead to deeper brand engagement and stronger emotional connections, leading ultimately to greater brand loyalty.

There is an argument that all of this technology will have a dehumanising effect and there is also the privacy issue recently highlighted by Facebook, but the counter-argument is that communication binds us together, gives us shared context & ultimately a shared identity. Personally I think that the benefits far outweigh the problems, and we are now already on a journey of ‘no return’. So I would urge you to ‘grasp the nettle’ and take the initiative, before your competitors and before you get stranded without a ‘liferaft’.

O’Reilly said that “If we are going to solve the world’s most pressing problems, we must put the power of the ‘Web to work’ – its technologies, business models, and perhaps most importantly, philosophies of openness, collective intelligence & transparency.” Ultimately the Web and World will be one and the same, inextricably interlinked through packaging!

Chris Penfold

If you liked this and would like to see more – check out the collection of favourite Augmented Reality videos on our YouTube site.