Miami — Ron Sasine knows more than just a little bit about packaging.
As the former senior director of packaging for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., he was responsible for look of the company's brands, including Great Value and Parents' Choice.
And he knows this: pouches present an opportunity to refresh products, but they also present challenges for retailers.
“Clearly the pouch is a wonderful format,” Sasine told attendees at the recent Global Pouch Forum in Miami. “It's growing in terms of innovation. It's very on-trend, and consumers are preferring the launches that are coming out in pouches as well as the opportunity for pouches to re-invent some classic brands.”
But pouches, commonly made from plastic, can present display challenges for retailers set up for conventional merchandising of packaging such as bottles, cans and cartons.
He challenged attendees, those in the pouch supply chain, to “think a little more like a retailer” or their customers when it comes to their interactions with pouches.
While pouches can look perfect when presented a digital screen or in a conference room presentation, Sasine said they can run into difficulties on store shelves if not properly handled.
The display of pouches can start to look sloppy because of the geometry of the package compared with its rigid counterparts, for example, as product gets jostled or moved around on shelves.
Pouches, however, can be easily and neatly presented and quickly restocked through the use of shipping and display boxes that serve to keep pouches in order.
Sasine is the kind of guy who plays close attention to packaging trends through his packaging consulting firm, Hudson Windsor LLC. And he says pouches can bring new relevance to traditional brands or foods.
Case in point: apple and fruit sauces. The trend toward putting these sauces in individual-serving pouches has allowed that industry to create a different perception of value among consumers.
“With that move, the pricing concept, the idea of what applesauce and fruit blends should cost was permanently adjusted upward,” he said.