Mike Richmond

Editor's Note: This a synopsis of the Packaging Points columns that will appear in the May issue of Dairy Foods.

Labels today are so much more than a piece of paper to consumers and retailers. Labels are critical sales tools that provide shelf impact, and convey a message-often subliminal-about the product.

Colors, shapes and pictures can tell you the food (or beverage) is fresh, fun, flavorful, cool, modern and more. Single-serve flavored milks using full body shrink sleeves are examples of labels that really connect with the consumer and the retailer and help sell the product. Remember: The product is the package and the label is critical in the "sell proposition."

The dairy industry has made progress with shrink labels in dairy beverages, but the commoditization of sour cream, cream cheese and cottage cheese is embarrassing. Improved labels and color could change these categories dramatically. Think fresh, flavorful, fun, modern, cool or convenient.

Some label options to consider:

  • Foil or holographic sleeves can make the product jump out of the dairy case.
  • Digital printing puts "you" on the picture eating a favorite food like sour cream and cheese quesadillas or cream cheese with a bagel.
  • New shapes and colors-rather than old thermoforms for cultured products-take products into the new century and tie in labels to performance.
  • Dairy is great food! Let's use packaging to help consumers and retailers understand that, too.