Starbucks v. Dunkin’: Iced coffee looks ‘premium’ in glass

By a margin of more than two to one, respondents in our latest Who Wore It Better poll for Iced Coffee voted for Starbucks classic glass bottle over the shatter-resistant plastic container used by competitor Dunkin’ Donuts. Many said it was because the Starbucks bottle projected a high-quality look, even though some admitted they prefer the taste of Dunkin’.

More than 70 people voted in our poll, which Packaging Digest conducted this November and December. Almost immediately (after about 20 people had voted), the percentages emerged at two-thirds to one-third and barely registered any sway through to the end when we closed the poll at 69% for Starbucks and 31% for Dunkin’ Donuts.

Both products are sold in single-serve containers. To help respondents make their decision, we described the packages and showed photos of the front, side, back and top (see the photos on page 2).

Starbucks is a glass bottle with a round base and squared off sides, transparent pressure-sensitive film labels on the front and back, and a metal vacuum closure with a printed tamper-evident neck bank.

Dunkin’ Donuts is a round polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container with a full-body shrink sleeve label that extends above the polypropylene closure to provide tamper evidence.

The tops of the closures were photographed and presented with the front label facing front to show how they were (or weren’t, actually) oriented.

In the side-by-side photo (above), you can see that the Starbucks container is slightly taller, even though the contents are the same in both bottles: 13.7 fluid ounces.


NEXT: Here’s why they picked what they did…

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7 ecommerce packaging developments that rocked 2017

Yes, Amazon made news this year—more than once—for its leadership in ecommerce and packaging. But sustainability challenges and packaging strategies for this flourishing market also captured your attention in 2017.

Continuing our review of the year’s top articles on based on page views, we now focus on packaging for online sales, which Deloitte predicts will exceed in-store sales this holiday season for the first time. Why does that matter to packaging departments? Some 65% of respondents to a Packaging Digest poll say ecommerce is either partially or fully integrated into their core business—meaning it’s also their responsibility. Ecommerce—and its impact on packaging—matters.

Here is a countdown of the top seven articles about ecommerce packaging posted this year:


#7. What best practices for ecommerce packaging are emerging?

Packaging Digest conducted the poll mentioned above during our highly successful July webinar “Ecommerce Packaging: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right from the Start.” (If you missed it, you can still watch it on-demand by clicking the link.)

To get a sense of where the industry currently is, during the 1-hour event, we asked participants to answer two burning questions:

1. Is there a standard transit test packaging departments are using for their ecommerce shipments?

2. Are most companies integrating their growing ecommerce enterprise with their brick-and-mortar business?

We’ve already spilled the beans on the second question: Yes, about two-thirds of respondents say they are integrating ecommerce into their core businesses.

Results to the first question, however, revealed that there isn’t a transit test that stands out as the “standard” yet (see chart above). Perhaps that will change as time goes on.


NEXT: Why you now need a strategy for ecommerce packaging


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6 transformational packaging production trends of 2017

Industry 4.0, cobots and new processing methods are all revolutionizing today’s packaging operations—and packaging engineers are eager to learn what they can to leverage these technologies. As part of our end-of-the-year review, we’ve identified our top articles of the year related to packaging production, based on page views at

Some articles in our 2017 list were actually posted in earlier years, and show the high value of our coverage of emerging trends, even as they continue to evolve. (It also shows the power our articles wield for search engine optimization/SEO.)

Help us count down the final days of 2017 with a countdown of our top packaging automation articles of the year:


6. How the 4th industrial revolution will impact packaging, part 1

How will Industry 4.0 impact packaging operations? Environmental advocate and law school graduate Kelly Cramer, now a project associate at GreenBlue, logically makes her argument in Part 1 of a two-part series:

“The world is changing as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Due in part to changing behaviors and desires, consumption is changing.

“As consumption is changing, the systems of production are also changing.

“Sustainability is a new standard and expectation in production and consumption.

“Because packaging touches all products, and because consumption and production are fundamentally changing, packaging will also fundamentally change.

“The traditional product/packaging system will struggle in the Fourth Industrial Revolution if it doesn’t adapt fast enough to the new demands put on it―but these changes can also set packaging free.”

Among the challenges Cramer sees are ecommerce and dimensional weight shipping. Among the exciting possibilities, she points to product concentrates and high-quality shelf-stable foods thanks to microwave-assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) processing (spoiler alert: more on this to come!).

Read the entire article by clicking the headline link above. Cramer’s Part 2 examines what industry can do about adapting packaging for this next era of production.


NEXT: How much automation do you really need on your packaging line?


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7 best-read food and beverage packaging articles of 2017

Our ‘bestselling’ articles of the year identify three CPG brands, Frito-Lay, Green Giant and Mondelez, one retailer, Costco, two trend features and an atypical BIB package that readers found to be the most compelling food and beverage content posted here in 2017.


If you’re an avid reader like me, you sometimes look to the bestseller lists to see what books are hot nationally and which of those may spark interest for you, too.

That’s what we have in mind with our annual compilation of the best-read articles published at over the past year. It’s our data-driven way to share with you the content that’s must-read with your peers in food and beverage packaging and likely deserving of your attention, too.

We’ve condensed our comprehensive list to Packaging Digest’s 7 Bestsellers that achieved a particular high-benchmark status making them worthy of special recognition.

We’ll kick things off with a fascinating piece that teams up football, snacks and consumer-engaging smart packaging from Frito-Lay equipped with LED lights and sensors.

Sounds like a heady proposition, but that’s what the snacks brand delivered when it distributed Tostitos bags with built-in alcohol sensors at select Super Bowl LI events and parties on the day of the big game. It’s worth noting that the championship football game is typically one of the worst days of the year for impaired driving. The Party Safe bag permitted football fans who have imbibed to summon an Uber ride with the tap of a smartphone, thanks to near-field communication (NFC) technology also incorporated into the bag. Frito-Lay conducted the promotion with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Albeit a limited promotion, the application clearly demonstrates the power of packaging to directly increase consumer safety. I’d say the brand scored a marketing touchdown and may even have saved a life or two, that’s an MVP performance by any measure.


Brand power continues in a Giant way with #6…

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5 ways packaging inserts can increase customer loyalty

You know what they say; it’s easier to retain a customer than it is to secure a new one. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to work on improving your customer loyalty and making it the best it can be.

One of the best ways to do this is to start marketing to your customer the moment they have purchased your product. You can do this by using inserts that go into the packaging of your product. However, there’s a lot more to this tactic than simply chucking a discount code into the box.

Here are five steps to maximize your opportunities when it comes to using inserts to improve your customer loyalty levels.


1. Send personalised/handwritten cards

Nothing makes a customer smile more than receiving a personal note from the business they just bought from, and it’s easily one of the best ways to maintain and improve your customer loyalty ratings.

Of course, this will solely depend on your business and industry. After all, you don’t expect a company to start dishing out handwritten thank you cards for buying a commodity item. However, if you sell handmade arts and crafts or baby clothes—basically a product that’s personal—this is where these notes can excel.

Many tools exist that can help you write and create beautiful and attractive personal notes, such as Adobe Spark or Canva.


2. Include discount codes

Okay, the first way that you could use inserts is by giving your customer a discount. Of course, other discounts are typically sent by email. Leaving one in the packaging is like a gift within a gift and it’s sure to get your customer excited.

You can easily create comprehensive and eye-catching discount offers for your packaging using writing tools like UK Writings and Cite It In.


3. Write Thank You cards

Show your customers you care about them by thanking them for their recent purchase. This is bound to make your customers feel appreciated, which is one sure-fire to make them want to come back for another purchase.

This could go hand in hand with the considerations above, and you could combine the two, saying something like “Thank you for shopping with us. Here’s 10% off your next order.”

This is just scratching the surface of ideas. Some of best writing tools, such as EssayRoo and State of Writing, can help you create compelling thank you cards that will generate repeat sales.


4. Think about cross-selling opportunities

The fact that a customer has already purchased something from you is such a good sign and, as long as the experience went well, there’s no reason they won’t buy from you again. With this in mind, why not include an insert in your packaging that educates your customers in what similar products you have that they might like.

Cross-selling is a great way to make more sales and can be extremely effective in boosting your bottom line. Tools like Big Assignments and Easy Word Count are great tools for helping you create these kinds of inserts.


5. Invite your customers online

Of course, you can’t forget about the power of social media and what it can do for your business. Inside your product’s packaging is a great place to include a request that can help you and your business. Likewise, this is another solution that can be used alongside any of the solutions listed above.

Within these inserts, you simply request your customer to go online, onto your website, their email or their social media profiles and leave a review on what they think your service and product was like.

“This is a great way to source positive reviews of your products, which is ideal for gaining new customers, as well as giving your existing customers a chance to speak out and become part of your online community,” explains Amy Duncan, customer relationships manager at Boomessays.


When you take control of the packaging insert marketing technique, and it can really put your business at an advantage, usually more than most other marketing strategies. Just get creative and use what suits your business.


Gloria Kopp is a marketing strategist and a customer relationships manager at Paper Fellows. She is a regular contributor at Engadget and Oxessays blogs. Kopp is an author of Studydemic educational project for marketing students and educators.

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