FLP 12-13 Viewpoint 5.06 5/23/06 3:01 PM Page 12
■ BY DENNIS CALAMUSA, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Have you noticed lately that the frozen food category is starting to re-invent itself through the use of new and innovative flexible packag- ing? Over the years, we have not typi- cally thought of the frozen food cate- gory as particularly innovative. However, since many modern freezer cases today have now gone “Upright,” “Lit Up,” and many retail stores have gone “Upscale,” so has frozen food packaging. The modern freezer case of today is starting to get “jazzy” with many new product introductions, new packaging formats with sparkle, vibrate color and attention getting graphics. Once a category perceived by many as “commodity,” frozen food packaging rarely warranted more than the most minimalistic packaging due to the low level of product protection required. Typically packaging was addressed by basic surface printed polyethylene or paper board cartons. Today there are many new examples of quality, convenient, and creative frozen food solutions making this category one of the most exciting and profitable segments in the food industry. Wow, how things can change quickly once momentum begins. One of the first to venture out of the cookie-cutter packaging more than a decade ago was Contessa Premium Foods, introducing its new line of stir fry meal kits in standup laminated pouches with magnificent rotogravure printing. The frozen food industry must have thought they were crazy! Utilizing an expensive
“pre-made” laminated Press-to-close and “slider” rotogravure printed stand-up zippers can now be applied bag was surely insane and to both polyethylene or certainly not necessary nor laminated bags providing cost-effective. What were the convenience and they thinking? marketing benefits to suit The expression “crazy like both multi-use and larger fox” immediately comes to format package sizes. mind. Contessa realized more Calamusa Today's diversified than a decade ago what many marketing outlets include companies are just starting to realize: retail, super / mega center and club that if they are to stand out in the store opportunities, each providing the market, they need to be magnificently packager new opportunities to different than the competition, not introduce new innovative products, only with the quality of the product recipes, new sizes and new packaging offering, but with the packaging. And formats to suit each outlets specific to say they were correct would be an marketing requirements. understatement. Contessa Foods was With all this happening in the well ahead of its time. From the very frozen food aisle, your company day it proudly appeared in the frozen should obviously be benefiting by food aisle, Contessa and others to now from this growth opportunity come, have had a dramatic effect on through your own flexible packaging how “quality” frozen food is marketed sales and marketing efforts through today. the sale of printed roll stock or pre- Contessa is just one example of made bags. how an entrepreneurial company can If the frozen food category has not break away from their competition by shown up on your radar, or if you positioning themselves uniquely in the perceived it as a commodity market market and not just following the therefore giving it little or no focus, perceived “standard”. perhaps you may want to take a fresh Today we see many examples of look. It may be time to consider package format innovation in the creating a specific market strategy, freezer case; styles include standup- focusing a greater percentage of your pouch, side gusset, microwaveable group's time and resources on this pouches and film lidded trays with evolving market. steam venting. Zipper and “slider” To those of you who are already reclosability is being added to today's serving this dynamic market frozen food packaging at a constantly segment, by all means keep up the increasing pace. Reclosability, once good work! ■ considered an unnecessary expense, by many now is becoming an expected Dennis Calamusa can be reached at ph: (941) 923-1181, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit norm by today's astute consumer. www.standup-pouch.com.