Perusing the dairy case with my 12-year-old a couple of weeks ago I suddenly hear: "Ooh, I want a strawberry milk." She grabs the pink-labeled single serve plastic bottle and puts it in the cart. I'm hoping the local dairy doesn't use red dye, but I'm not going to spoil her fun by talking about nutritional concerns. Besides I'm on to the yogurt, the jug milk and the cottage cheese.
As we wheel on out to the parking lot, she opens the milk and starts wailing like someone had run over her foot with a forklift.
"This isn't strawberry, it's low-fat."
"How unfortunate," I tell her. "That pink bottle fooled us. Guess we should have read the label." We put the bottle away and I tell her we'll use it on cereal at home. "On the next trip I'll buy you one of those little Horizon Organic strawberry milks. No red dye in those. And it's organic."
A few days later it's the 18-month-old daughter who tags along with Dad on a trip to the fruit stand and the supermarket. About halfway through, she musters her growing vocal skills to make a distinctive sound I recognize and translate roughly as "put something in my belly, now!"
I think about cookies, think better, and hang a right at the dairy case to find the Horizon milk. No strawberry, but there is chocolate. I insert the telescoping straw and watch the little girl's eyes light up as she takes the first sip. Eventually there's a growling noise as she chomps on the straw. Still clutching the small shiny box as I load her in the car, she begins "moo-ing" while pointing at the tiny, cartoonish cow on the label.
And we think the cow images are passé!
So the girls have reminded me of the power of the package and the label. They can add shelf-appeal and entertainment. They can reflect the quality of the product within the package, and usually, if everyone's paying attention, they make it easy for consumers to choose the type of product they are looking for.
Those of you who are focused on the packaging aspect of the business live and breathe this every day. For us it's a once- or twice-a-month proposition, as we bring you in each issue stories on packaging technologies relevant to the selling of dairy foods.
This month, check page 58 for a story on in-mold labeling, or IML technology. It's an outstanding innovation with lots of potential applications. And it can help you keep dads and daughters shopping the dairy case.