The Australian dairy case has entered a new era this month with the latest injection moulding technology from Visy Industrial Packaging (Visy) transforming National Foods’ 1 kg Yoplait tub and bringing Australasian dairy packaging in line with global standards.
The new format replaces traditional thermoformed, High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) containers for Yoplait’s 1 kg yoghurt offerings.
Shane Spence, Market Development Manager for Visy, says National Foods’ move to a more robust tub formed by injection moulding, with photo-quality in-mould labelling (IML), unique on-pack tamper evidence and custom design grip and pouring features, will undoubtedly raise the bar in both chilled and frozen dairy cases across Australia.
Spence says injection moulding technology with IML has been standard fare in the European dairy case for the past two decades but Australia’s lower volumes and costly barriers to entry meant, until now, Thermoformed HIPS was the only locally-made packaging option for large volume Australian FMCG chilled dairy brands.
“We’ve been working hard to bring this technology to the Australian market place for a long time,” says Spence.
“Before offering it to anybody, we needed the right combination of tooling, robotics, labelling and moulding to produce a product on par with leading European IML manufacturers. Everything came together at the right time – we had the IP and National Foods had the need. Together, I think, we’ve created the kind of leap in on-shelf differentiation rarely seen in a market as small as ours.”
Marina de Visser, Yoplait Adult Yogurt Brand Manager, says the packaging change had been on the agenda for several years.
“Market research indicated a complete overhaul would be required to address the weaknesses inherent in thermoformed packaging but the question for us was what and how, with minimal impact on the shelf footprint. Existing bulk yogurt packaging has been common to most players in this market for years – lightweight tub, foil seal and lid. There was certainly an opportunity to explore a completely new packaging alternative.”
The results of the research conducted pointed us in a very specific direction, explains de Visser.
“Consumers told us the square, bulky shape of the large tubs made it difficult to store and use. Visy was able to manufacture a custom design so we could incorporate features like a comfort grip and pouring spout. Users said the current packaging was difficult to grip and felt flimsy to hold. Polypropylene injection moulded containers are stronger and sturdier by nature. Retailers were sick of the wastage from tubs missing lids while consumers perceived this as a hygiene issue. The tamper evident seal on the new container seals the lid to the body and provides visible proof against product tampering.”
“We have been able to address all of our consumers’ concerns with preliminary market tests revealing nothing less than a positive response to the new design,” de Visser said.
Spence adds, “Visy is proud to be at the forefront of this innovative development leading the way, with National Foods, to rejuvenate the Australian Dairy Case and laying the foundations for further IML innovations.”
“We have been able to do this, he says, because we’ve held a long-standing philosophy to partner with global leaders so we can bring the latest technologies and processes to Australia faster. This investment is the result of our partnership with leading European toolmakers, machine and robotics manufacturers.”
The set up Spence describes is world class - high cavitation equipment to meet the growing demands of FMCG manufacturers, production standards to HACCP food and safety specifications and quality, drop and leak tests conducted at regular intervals in a NATA-approved lab testing facility.
The Visy Innovation Centre in Coolaroo, Victoria, provided further support in the development of this custom design.
The packaging overhaul for Yoplait’s 1kg tub is part of National Foods’ wider brand strategy that includes updating the graphics on its smaller pack formats including twin and six packs.
Yoplus and No Fat (as well as Farmers Union - also a National Foods brand) will complete the packaging transition in March 2007.
For now, though, a range of in-store media and sampling activities will support the sales growth of this naturally unmissable product.