Tag Archives: packaging

Fresh Food Vending Machines

Consider the humble vending machines. They are virtually everywhere, and we do mean everywhere! We see them in stores, hallways, offices, subway stations, laundry mats, gas stations, and more. Not only are the vending machines convenient, but they are easy to use, can take cash or cards, and consumers do not have to interact with a cashier or sales person. Easy. Fast. Convenient. And, usually not very good eating.

Yes, the common vending machines as just that – common. They have been around so long that they no longer excite consumers. There is nothing particularly interesting, and virtually little food that is healthy for us. When was the last time you looked forward to eating a meal or snack dispensed by a vending machine?

That may be about to change with the advent of new machines that dispense fresh, healthy food in high density locations. Instead of soda, candy bars, and chips, today’s machines carry salads, yogurt parfaits, pudding, specialty coffee drinks, and much more satisfying fare. Not only are the foods better, the service is faster than stopping at a fast-food joint and waiting in long lines. And, as an added bonus, some of the machines will even recycle the packaging to reduce waste.

Here are few of the new alternatives:

  • Farmer’s Fridge – 400+ machines in office buildings and food courts in six states
  • Fresh Bowl – Seven locations in New York
  • Chowbotics – 100 salad robots that build orders from touchscreens
  • Le Bread Xpress – Five bake machines that cook croissants, pizza, and quiche
  • Briggo – High-end coffee cars that make 100 custom drinks per hour

Hungry and in a rush? Let’s meet at the vending machine.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Where are vending machines? What do they buy form vending machines? Why do they buy from vending machines?
  2. Divide students into groups. Have each group take an existing vending machine and work out an update for today’s consumers.
  3. Alternative: Show Web sites of new vending machines dispensing fresh food and have a team of students analyze each vending machine and company.
  4. For each company, determine the target market, where it should be located, and the messaging.

Source: Black, J. (13 February 2020). The machine that lets you skip the salad bar. Wall Street Journal.

 

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Disturbing – But Realistic – Images for Cigarette Packaging

Packaging is a critical component of marketing tactics. The package is an important tactic in connecting with the consumer and showing the value of the product. But, what happens when the packaging images are disturbing and show the consequences of buying the product? Will consumers choose to not buy the products?

This will soon be tested in the U.S. Recently, the FDA announced that it has a new set of images to be used on cigarette packs. A warning message and graphic will cover the top half of a cigarette pack. The new images are striking, especially when compared to the current packs and warnings. The new images portray diseases associated with smoking; the intent is to help improve the public’s understanding of the consequences of smoking. Images include warnings about lung and bladder cancers, diabetes, heart problems, blackened lungs, bulging tumors, and more.

The FDA’s suggested packaging is still under review and it isn’t known whether tobacco companies will fight the proposals. While the U.S. was the first nation to require warnings, the current warnings as seen as inadequate by the medical community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 13.8% of U.S. citizens smoke (nearly 38 million people) and 480,000 people die each year from smoking-related issues, making it the nation’s leading cause of preventable death.

While one might think that the perils of smoking are widely understood, the World Health Organization in 2019 said that warning labels “are most effective when they are pictorial, graphic, comprehensive, and strongly worded.” Other studies have found that the graphic warnings reduce the appeal among youth.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of packaging as part of the marketing mix tactics.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team find examples of both strong and weak packaging.
  3. Show the new cigarette packaging in class: Video – https://youtu.be/1R8XUf-EI0k
  4. Visuals of the new labels can be found with a Google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=new+cigarette+packaging&client=firefox-b-1-d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjv1PGjsLPkAhXLGDQIHbk-DckQ_AUIEigC&biw=1280&bih=606
  5. For more context, the WHO report can be found at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/326043/9789241516204-eng.pdf?ua=1
  6. Additional research from Cornell: https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/11/graphic-warnings-snuff-out-cigarettes-appeal-kids
  7. What are the students’ opinions of the new packaging?

Source: Kaplan, S. (15 August 2019). The FDA’s new cigarette warnings are disturbing. New York Times.

 

 

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P&G Introduces New Detergent ‘Swatches’

Tide Pods were a revolution when they launched in 2012 and have since spawned a new look for many detergent and soaps as pods took over the laundry room. But what’s next? Could P&G top the Tide Pod craze? Perhaps. And the answer may be in producing a new product line without using a key ingredient – water.

The innovative products are not in the old soap and detergent forms; instead, they come in small swatches that look like fabric, but foam when water is added during washing and cleaning. The new product form substantially reduces the size and weight of detergents, making them lighter and smaller to package, ship, and store. There are eight types: hand soap, face wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, surface cleaner, and toilet cleaner.

Think about it. Instead of carrying home (or shipping) a gallon of detergent that can weight upwards of eight pounds, the new product can be carried home in a small box that weighs ounces, and is packaged in biodegradable boxes. This new size would allow P&G to sell direct to consumers. Pricing is higher than standard products though. A box of 60 body wash swatches are $19, while laundry detergent costs $29 for 30 swatches (compared to 81-pack of Tide Pods at $19).

One remaining topic is how to brand and name the new product line. It is currently being called EC30. P&G is still considering whether to create a new brand, or use another well-known P&G product name.

What is your opinion of the new product line?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Show the IndieGoGo campaign that P&G used for proof of concept: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ds3-next-generation-cleaning-for-body-and-home#/
  3. A video of the product can be found at https://youtu.be/ToPjozrz6ME
  4. The product can also be found on Web site: https://ds3clean.com/
  5. For this product, what is the target market? Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc. (Note: Can the product be sold to organizations also?)
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  7. Poll students: How should P&G brand/name the new product line?

Source: Terlep, S. (22 April 2019). Forget Tide Pods. P&G bets water-free soap ‘swatches’ are the future. Wall Street Journal.

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