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Shelf Appeal, Functionality Drive Product Packaging In 2014

|Includes: Soupman Inc. (SOUPQ)

This year's Interpack, the leading trade fair for the packaging industry, revealed that today's packaged food products are shifting away from bulky, inconvenient packaging to more innovative forms.

A Euromonitor report by Karin Dussimon, senior packaging research analyst, noted the changes seen all over the world as manufacturers see the importance of standing out in ashelf and giving customers the convenience of resealing.

Dussimon said the main lessons in this year's Interpack is shelf appeal and pack functionality.

Among the examples shown were Japan's MeidiYa's, which now produce their corned beef in a plastic re-sealable container.

The colourful and modern packaging stands out on the shelf, serving also as a form of shelf advertising for the brand.

At the same time, consumers are appreciating the added convenience since it's easier to open than a tin can. Since Japan is known to have a large aging population, packaged meat in plastic containers are more appealing to that market segment since it is safer and easier to open and can also be reclosed.

Does it mean that tin cans may soon become obsolete?

It might. The past few years showed that a lot of pioneer and innovative brands have been experimenting with packaging that makes a statement.

Soup companies, for example, have been releasing some of their products in plastic cups and tubs. But while the bigger brands are still afraid to let go of the signature tin cans, The Original Soupman (OTC: SOUP) had completely embraced the change by marketing its gourmet soup in Tetra Pak containers.

The popular New York soup kitchen has been selling a number of its signature items in groceries and in Amazon in the form of artsy eye-catching, graphic-laden packs.

Seven of its popular soups - chicken noodle, lobster bisque, lentil, tomato bisque, crab corn chowder, chicken gumbo and jambalaya - now stand side by side with its canned counterparts in 4,000 supermarkets across the country.

The company is consciously marketing their soup as something hip and intuitive for the younger generations.

Could it be working? It should.

Euromonitor research shows that today's American consumer is wary of processed and canned goods because of the environmental and health repercussions of selling food in cans. Truth be told, cans are turning off consumers because not only are they bulky and heavy, its production also results in larger carbon emissions.

Young and more conscientious buyers see companies like Soupman as fresh and appealing.

Its stand-up pouches also grabs attention, serving as an in-shelf billboard since its flat surfaces are easier to read compared to those in cans.

Other products showcased during Interpack include Lancome's Renergie Lift container created with hot stamping. It has a neat open and close system that minimizes the risk of product spillage. It is only one among the many innovations in the beauty and personal care industry.