Orlando, Fla. — A well-made package must transport and protect, but it also should be agile and adaptive in today's changing market where consumers are looking beyond traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Campbell Soup Co. is known for one the most iconic packages in the whole world: the metal soup can.
But that hasn't stopped the company from looking to new packaging solutions — including both rigid and flexible plastic — to keep up with the demands of today's market.
A few decades ago, major consumer product companies focused on designing packaging for mass production, said Robert Weick, vice president of packaging research and development at Campbell's.
"That was a great model for the 80s," he said at the Packaging Conference earlier this year in Orlando.
But fast forward to today. "We want to be able to change quickly. We have different distribution models that really want to have their own identity, their own products in the marketplace.
"How do we create adaptive ability? When you start to look at the challenges of omnichannel packaging, it really requires that we get down to really being able to adapt and do so agilely. That's not something that large CPGs have truly mastered. Certainly at Campbell's we're trying to make improvements," he said.
Existing infrastructure is a big hurdle in making packaging changes. Think about canning operations, for example, that are set up to run fast. Creating a packaging line to take advantage of the newer trends is not easily accomplished considering the investment made in existing equipment.
But Campbell's is moving some products into new packaging to take advantage of the attributes that plastics provide.
Prego, Weick said, is one of the company's major brands. Some Prego products have begun using PET containers as a substitute for glass as a way to allow shipment beyond traditional channels.