Top trends for 2014






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The new year presents opportunities for packaging, if you know where to focus. Hear where leading packaging executives will direct their efforts.


Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor — Packaging Digest, 1/16/2014 4:40:05 PM





Meet the new trends; same as the old trends—but with some twists and nuances.

Packaging Digest tapped into the mind trust of our editorial advisory board to discover what trends some of them see that will have the most impact on their packaging decisions in the coming year (see “Our expert panelists” below). 

Hear what they have to say about sustainability, collaboration, cost savings, competition, health and wellness, authenticity, differentiation and communicating to the consumer.

 

Our expert panelists
• Oliver Campbell, Director, Worldwide Procurement, Packaging & Packaging Engineering, Dell

• Kim Carswell, Group Manager, Owned Brands Packaging, Target

• Joe Hotchkiss, Director, Michigan State University, School of Packaging and Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability

• Joe Keller, Section Head, Packaging Development, Global Packaging Sustainability, The Procter & Gamble Co.

• Peter Macauley, Director, Global Packaging & Sustainability, Abbott Laboratories

• Michael Okoroafor, VP-Packaging R&D/Innovation, H.J. Heinz

• Ron Sasine, Senior Director of Packaging, Private Brands, Wal-Mart

 

 

Dell straw pulp boxDell’s new wheat straw packaging is an example of innovating by improving packaging performance at a lower cost while advancing sustainable initiatives.

 

Packaging Digest: What market trends are you seeing and how are they impacting packaging?

Campbell: In the tech industry, we see more demand for sustainable or green packaging among our customers. Ernst & Young has a recent statistic that the largest category of shareholder proxy activity is for sustainability, at 38 percent, and that is up about three times from several years ago. I’d say that’s a market trend around sustainability—as well as a societal trend that we see in government regulation from Australian packaging regulations and Canada take-backs. 

The trend in sustainable packaging is being backed up by investment in research and new factories. The industry is walking the talk. It makes me feel good about the future.

Continued supply chain efficiency is another trend within Dell. For packaging, it’s is how can we get smaller packages while maintaining quality and providing a better customer experience.

One final trend is the programs being structured around 2020 initiatives. Dell just launched our Legacy of Good Initiative. We have 20 different 2020 goals focused on the environment, communities, and people. Our zero waste packaging for 2020 is among those. What that means is all Dell packaging by 2020 will be either recyclable or compostable, plus it has to be sustainably sourced.

 

Keller: I’m in hair care now at Procter & Gamble. It’s a fairly fast-paced category. We’re seeing a lot more competition on every level in our businesses. So we’re continuing to look at how to use packaging to differentiate our products—whether that’s through more sustainable packing options or decoration techniques, those types of things.

 

Where’s the additional competition coming from? Is it local or global? What are the drivers?

Keller: The competition is more new start-up brands. They wouldn’t necessarily be global, but sometimes they are. Even local, small brands are trying to offer something new to the consumer. 

As P&G, we need to continue to show why we are different, what do we bring to the consumer—and packaging obviously is a key driver in that because it’s right there at the shelf.

 

So you need to show the value proposition of your products. How is that going to translate on the packaging side?

Keller: Our advertising channels have changed vs where they were 10, 15, 20 years ago. That will drive more importance on making sure we stand out on the shelf. It helps to communicate the quality proposition we have to the consumer. It’s pushing us to rely more on the packaging to do that.

The need to differentiate still drives a lot of packaging projects. Mike, Heinz recently came out with a new plastic bottle to better differentiate on the shelf. What can you tell us about it?

Okoroafor: The consumer motivation for redesigning our bottle was twofold: to differentiate and to provide better ergonomics. 

Since Heinz came up with upside-down bottle, everybody has copied us. So when you look at the store shelf for ketchup bottles, they look the same. Packaging should be your biggest media. If everybody looks like you, there’s no differentiation. 

We wanted to design a plastic bottle that would maintain the iconic impression of the Heinz glass bottle, but offer better differentiation on the shelf. The new bottle is called the thunderbolt design, like the Thunderbird car that Ford came up with. 

We also wanted to design a bottle that everybody can hold and squeeze without any difficulty. The new ergonomic design allowed us to reduce the weight of the bottle without sacrificing the strength. In a compression test, the top load is actually slightly better than the original one because of this smart design.

When it comes to packaging design development, while we address emerging markets outside of this country, we also have to address emerging channels in this country. People who immigrate to the U.S. become an emerging channel. Near Lancaster, PA, one of the biggest restaurants is a Peruvian restaurant. Why is that? A lot of Latino people from Peru are in that area. Which means we have to think about how we’ll deliver the food or the beverage-and your delivery vehicle is your package.

 

What is the implication for packaging because of emerging channels? Is it using a structure that they’re familiar with? Is it graphics? Is it all that?

Okoroafor: It is all of that. But the point you make about structure is critical because that way you can make it more affordable. For instance, I can offer you ketchup in a plastic bottle or, same quality, in a pouch. In the emerging market, like Brazil, they love the pouch. So for them, it doesn’t mean less quality. As long as your shelf life is the same and we try to do that through science.

But you also have to think about merchandising. Your package has to do more than just to protect. That merchandising means that you have to come up with winning graphics.

 

Carswell: From a retailer perspective, health and wellness is definitely a trend. And when it comes to packaging, we are continuing to push the envelope in a sustainability space more. We expect to keep doing that because the consumers in the store are looking for that more than they were five, 10 years ago—and will probably look even more for it in the future.
The things that we’ve done in the past that we know are good for the environment—like less packaging, make it more recyclable, make it recycled content-are understood by consumers. The things they might start to understand are use of renewable materials and other second-tier improvements to the package design.

 

Okoroafor: Sustainability is here to stay. Obviously, people don’t want to be asked to pay for sustainability, but it is your key to the consumer’s door. Without that, you’re not entering.

 

Sasine: Where we’re really making a good deal of progress is linking our sustainability efforts farther up into our supply chain. We began eight years ago with a great deal of effort around sustainable packaging and made some large commitments and were able to deliver on those earlier this year. (See www.packagingdigest.com/Walmartgoal.)

What we’ve found is we can make similar progress with suppliers of all the products we sell and not just in packaging-by putting out some tools that people can use, particularly our buyers as they make decisions about products. Our sustainability index is now rolled out across all of our categories and buyers are using it as they analyze products. 

It’s had an interesting impact on us in packaging. It’s creating additional visibility into cost and—by packing and shipping more efficiently—how we can drive costs and continue to maintain that sort of customer-focused cost reduction that Wal-Mart is famous for. For us, sustainability has always been an objective and we’ve always strived to connect sustainability to our ability to deliver everyday low prices. We’re starting to see that come to fruition in a lot more of our categories in a very meaningful way. It’s been an opportunity to do the right thing and cut our costs at the same time.

 

Macauley: I would echo a lot of the same items when we talk about sustainability, but I will take a different tact and talk more about healthcare. Think pharma, think med devices, think nutrition. 

Healthcare hasn’t had the same kind of sustainability pressure points as the CPG brands. It’s starting to get a much better awareness and push. We’re seeing sustainability drive more design efforts. A lot of that can simply be, within a hospital setting, how do we increase our ability to recycle? 

From a packaging designer’s point of view, we are starting to look at how we can help our customers separate the packaging for reuse or for recyclability. 

A second trend we’ve had for a while is an increased amount of collaboration. Ron pointed to it, as well—going upstream. We are clearly working better across our overall value chain and generating more aligned sustainability metrics, which is still a missing link.

 

Hotchkiss: One of the emerging issues you’re going to hear more about is the role of packaging in food waste. The issue of how much of a product doesn’t get sold for whatever reason is becoming a day-to-day driver.

I use the analogy that packaging is like bridge building. Anybody can design a bridge that absolutely guaranteed will not collapse. The problem is that no one could afford to use it. A good bridge builder builds a bridge that just barely doesn’t collapse. That’s the optimum. And that’s the same thing in packaging, getting the right amount of barrier so the product shelf life is just right.

 

Okoroafor: One of the biggest trends we see is…You have to design for affordability. But affordability doesn’t mean cheap. You have to make sure your packaging is affordable for these consumer demographics: the struggling, the middle class and the affluent. 

It means you have to rethink how you innovate. You have to innovate for growth and productivity so you can make your product available at the lowest possible cost while you still make your margins.

 

Macauley: As we strive for new innovation, there’s sometimes going to be a cost impact. Do consumers understand that?

A missing link is, where is new technology in terms of its lifecycle to provide new solutions? Take biopolymers, for example. Biopolymers have been discussed and are rolling out, but are they at the level where we feel they should be today vs what we thought they were going to be five years ago? To provide those sustainability solutions—if it’s not a reduction; if it’s more renewable type materials—there’s sometimes going to be a cost impact. Can we pass that on to our consumers or not? The feedback so far is “not.” 

Keller: There is more pressure to drive costs out of the system and be especially conscious of capital and making that stretch as far as it can. We only have certain amounts of money. Sometimes we’re going to choose to put it towards packaging or capital and sometimes we’re going to choose to put it in other places. I haven’t seen any major shifts from what I’m seeing on costs other than just the increase in focus on it.

 

Campbell: At Dell, we’re focused on cost reduction primarily through innovation. As a tech company, innovation is part of our DNA and we tap into the resident brainpower in the company to come up with smarter solutions. The use of the term cost reduction is almost a disservice because if you look at innovation through the lens of value creation, you get to different points. Can you do the same thing at lower cost or can you do something better at lower cost, which is an improvement in value for our customers? A great example of where we’re doing something at lower cost but better performance is our new wheat straw packaging. Our supplier just dedicated a $50 million plant in China [in October 2013]. Yes, investments are being made where they’re smart and yield better customer value.

 

Keller: One of the things we’re looking for, too, is what we consider “platform” ways to reduce costs. What we look for from suppliers is, how can we leverage technology across our different products and not just in one specific area? That’s something we always look to leverage given the focus on resources with our company and trying to be more efficient with not only our money, but our people.

 

Carswell: If you can share your strategic views early to inform and influence your supply chain partner’s direction in their capital investment, it’s huge. Maybe certain projects could advance or other ones could be quickly killed. That helps with the cost equation vs thinking it’s about the pennies on the unit you’re talking about.

 

Campbell: That’s a good point. We tied our wheat straw back into a social trend in China. This is what’s made it so compelling. A lot of the air pollution in China is from burning of agricultural waste, such as rice and wheat straw. Now we’re creating an application which creates a market for what was formerly waste. When you do those types of things, and it saves money, it becomes much easier to justify the capital investments.

 

Sasine: One of the things Wal-Mart has been spending a good deal of time looking at over the past few months is the revitalization of American manufacturing. As the market for manufactured products and consumer opportunities grows in the U.S., there’s also going to be an upstream demand for packaging, components and other materials that go into providing that finished product. A good deal of capital investment opportunity will be tied to that. 

It’s encouraging more local supply for product as manufacturing comes back into some of our communities. Lots of towns were known for what they made. That sort of community-centered manufacturing is set for a rebound in the U.S. That ties back into cost. Clearly the cost of transportation is a critical part of what’s eventually paid at the checkout by consumers. The cost of labor in many of these markets around the world is also a part of that component. When all of the pieces get added together, we’re seeing that local manufacturing in many parts across the U.S. is becoming more competitive. That makes it an important time to consider packaging reinvestment.

 

Hotchkiss: Cost reduction is always a driver. But people are looking at it much broader because it’s not just the cost of the primary container that you’ve got to focus on. You’ve got to focus on logistics, supply chain, all of the costs that go with distributing products. You’ve got to focus on costs in terms of product loss. You’ve got to focus on costs of your consumers. If you put a cheaper package out there but it drives 10 percent of your consumers away, you haven’t done the company any good at all.

 

Okoroafor: [Going back to trends,] an emerging trend I see is consumer interactivity—using mobile devices to communicate with the consumer. 

That interactivity encompasses everything from personalization to communicating directly, one-on-one with the consumer. And packaging becomes your trigger for that virtual communication. 

Look at the emergence of NFC, near field communication. You could be walking down the ketchup aisle and a package would tell you “I’m now zero calorie” or “Please buy me. I’m on sale.” The packaging is triggering it because of printed electronics. Goods can interact with mobile devices. I see this trend going into the future for a long time. Watch out for printed electronics.

 

Do you think printed electronics is going to be done at the supplier level, or do you see it as something that brand owners are going to do online, on the fly, to get additional levels of personalization?

Okoroafor: The initial idea of going into printed electronics was so people can deliver it online quick, easy, low cost. Ultimately, I think brand owners will be doing it. Because I want to be able to do personalization as fast as my current mass production. And that is a reality with printed electronics. It’ll be just like printing with your inkjet printer.

 

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Packaging For An Online Business

Packaging For An Online Business

Have you ever waited with anticipation for that special something to show up in the mail only to receive a smashed box with broken pieces inside or liquid dripping out the sides? Packaging has always been a critical component of successful retail products. Packaging is also critical for successful products sold online. However, there are differences between the two types of packaging that should be considered. When a product is displayed in a retail store, it is competing with every other product on the shelf for the consumer’s attention. The boxes are normally shiny, multi-colored, and have foil stamping and embossing. The boxes seem to scream out, in a visual way, “Hey, look at me!” In online sales, the product is sold long before the consumer sees the packaging, but the packaging is still critical to creating a satisfied customer. Here are a few points to consider when choosing packaging for products that are sold online and shipped to the buyer.

Don’t spend too much on your packaging because it won’t be competing against one hundred other packages on the shelf of Wal-Mart or Best Buy. UV coatings, foil stamping, embossing, and other high cost packing enhancers are not needed.

Don’t spend too little on your packaging because it still needs to reflect the quality and value of the product inside. You can use one, two, or four color printing to enhance the package. Do make sure your packaging is sturdy enough to make it through the mail.

Make sure the package is crush proof. Some boxes require an inner structure made of cardboard, foam, or vacuum form plastic to keep them from crushing.

Test your packaging by sending five packages to a few people you know in different parts of the country or, for products that ship internationally, in the world. Have them send the products back to you. How did the packaging hold up? Does it still look good? Is it something you would feel good about receiving for yourself? Did the outer packaging protect the product? If there is any crushing, bad tearing, or product damage; rework your design and test again.

Don’t spend too little, don’t spend too much, test thoroughly, and your packaging will be just right.

Copyright © 2006 Philip Busk

Philip Busk has been in the software packaging and printing business for the last decade. You can find out more about packaging solutions at CD Packaging Solutions.

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If Holiday Retail Stats Don?t Have Economists Saying ?humbug,? Tuesday?s Gdp Report Certainly Will

If Holiday Retail Stats Don?t Have Economists Saying ?humbug,? Tuesday?s Gdp Report Certainly Will

By William Patalon III
Executive Editor
Money Morning/The Money Map Report

If it’s good enough for Wal-Mart…

Looks like the discounting model pioneered by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailing giant, will make its way to some rather unlikely high-end retailers: Barney’s New York Inc. and Neiman Marcus Inc. have announced significant price reductions (up to 75%) over the next few days to avoid a disastrous holiday shopping season.

For optimists, the message here is that all hope for holiday retail sales is not yet lost. A National Retail Federation survey showed that only 47% of consumers have finished their holiday shopping and another 19% have not even started. As a dismal 2008 comes to a close, the last die-hard eternal optimists are calling for a year-end Santa Claus Rally, as the government bailouts and U.S. Federal Reserve actions give investors some hope for 2009 and beyond.

But such blind optimism too often ignores a key point or two. The Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, for instance, just announced that its third-quarter earnings plunged 84% because of its aggressive discounting, the Dallas Morning News reported. And since the discounting will continue, so will the decline in profits, the high-end retailer conceded.

With even luxury retailers discounting to try and salvage something from the holiday shopping season, the outlook for lackluster sales and even-more-lackluster earnings feeds into an already dour outlook for the U.S. economy.

And if that doesn’t squelch the optimists’ ardor, then a looming revision in the third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) – last reported as minus 0.5% – will almost certainly bring them back to the realities of the sluggish economy.

It may even force those optimistic economists to finally say: “Bah Humbug.”

That GDP report is due out tomorrow (Tuesday).

Market Matters

Though perhaps it’s wishful thinking, there are some analysts who point out that one or more of any number catalysts could jump-start the economy and the financial markets in the New Year, putting the past few miserable months in the rearview mirror. They argue that the trillions of dollars in bailout money pumped into the financial system should finally start to provide badly needed liquidity; the Fed seems intent to do “whatever it takes” to reverse, or at least blunt, the current downturn (even if runaway inflation may be a repercussion down the road); an “Obamanomics” stimulus plan could create new jobs, while enhancing the country’s aging infrastructure; risk-free Treasury yields at 0.00% should start to look less and less attractive, prompting investors to look into stocks and non-government bonds again. Just a few last minute items to add to the holiday investment-shopping wish list.

Sadly, Bernie Madoff saw to it that his investors will have a holiday season to forget as the list of prominent victims grew each day: Real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman, U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., Hollywood movie mogul Steven Spielberg, Spanish bank Banco Santander SA (ADR: STD), France’s BNP Paribas SA, Nomura Holdings Inc. (ADR: NMR), and many charitable foundations and non-profit organization were among the people and institutions victimized.

Plenty of finger-pointing has been directed at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for failing to uncover some rather obvious signs of wrongdoing through the years. As Money Morning reported even before the official announcement was made, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama tapped FINRA Chief Executive Officer Mary L. Schapiro to head the SEC during this time of turmoil. Congrats on the appointment, I guess?

The Detroit Big Three automakers received early holiday cheer as the U.S. Treasury Department will release .4 billion of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money in return for potential equity stakes and other concessions from management and unions. General Motors Corp. (GM) and Chrysler LLC will be the recipients, while Ford Motor Co. (F) pursues – for now – the go-it-alone strategy. Meanwhile, Chrysler will be shutting down all of its North American production plants for at least a month and also will begin charging dealers large fees on unsold cars that remain on their lots after prolonged periods. In perhaps a sign of things to come, a consortium of 14 companies – including 3M Co. (MMM) and Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) – have asked for billion in government funding to begin manufacturing state-of-the-art batteries for electric cars. The move is reminiscent of action taken by computer chip firms decades ago that helped make the industry more competitive domestically. (Johnson Controls also announced last week that it would invest million to open a lead-acid-battery-production plant in China’s green-power energy industrial center in Changxing Economic Development Zone of Zhejiang province, Alibaba.com reported).

Energy traders disregarded the decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production by a record 2.2 million barrels a day, fearing lack of compliance by its members. Instead, traders chose to focus on the shrinking demand in the sluggish economy as oil prices briefly fell below a barrel to levels not seen since 2004.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) reported its first-ever quarterly loss and Morgan Stanley (MS) followed with a shortfall of its own.

FedEx Corp. (FDX) posted a higher profit, but gave a dire outlook and announced major compensation cuts for senior management (and benefits cuts for the rank and file). Stocks were relatively flat as investors digested the latest on Madoff, the auto bailout, and significant Fed actions.

Economically Speaking

“The Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth and to preserve price stability.”

Too bad Fed Chief Ben S. Bernanke couldn’t punctuate that last statement with a hearty “Ho, ho, ho – happy holidays.”

After setting the target for the Federal Funds rate at 0.00% to 0.25%, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policymakers revealed they are studying other measures and may purchase U.S. Treasuries at some point in an effort to stimulate the financial markets.

There are already some signs that the central bank’s action already are working. Mortgage rates have dropped dramatically and borrowers are taking advantage of refinancing opportunities to save on future interest payments. Investors are finding value in corporate and municipal securities, as certain high-quality issues are yielding more than 6% more than comparable Treasuries. Meanwhile, Japan’s central bank followed suit with a rate cut (to 0.1%) of its own.

More details of the Obama stimulus plan emerged during the week and his economic team pegs the total package at about 0 billion (or more than trillion by the time Congress adds its required “pork.”). Tax cuts of up to 0 billion will serve as the most immediate stimuli, with construction (infrastructure), energy and healthcare among the industries that will benefit the most over time.

The data of the week revealed that his package can not arrive soon enough. Housing starts fell by 18.9%, to a record low, and declining building permits did not offer much promise for future construction. Another forecasting release, leading economic indicators, fell for the second consecutive month; in fact, over the past six months, the index has experienced its worst decline since 1991.

The inflation picture remains favorable, though naysayers find pessimistic views in that data as well. The November consumer price index (CPI) fell 1.7%, the largest decline on record (since 1947), as gasoline prices plummeted by 29.5%. While the deflation-mongers claim that falling prices will force consumers to delay purchases (for when they become even cheaper), others point out that gas purchases can not be delayed, as people have to get to work (and few are choosing to ride their bikes or shift into mass transportation). In reality, plunging gasoline serves as a stimulus package without any government interaction (though OPEC is getting involved).

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William (Bill) Patalon III is the Managing Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning, and is also the Managing Editor for The Money Map Report. Patalon spent 22 years as a journalist, most of it covering financial news as a reporter, columnist, and editor that included stints with Gannett Co. Inc., and The Baltimore Sun.

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Guide to Selling Children’s Items on eBay

Guide to Selling Children’s Items on eBay

Selling for a profit on eBay is easy when you have kids. People are earning hundreds of dollars a month by selling kid related items. Here are some general ideas to help you get started.

Kids Items You Can Sell

Clothes, toys and videos are good money makers on eBay.

Go to eBay and look up a “lot” of size six girl’s cloths. You will find they are expensive! The average price for a lot of 20 good conditioned clothes is about .00.

When your kids grow out of their seasonal clothes do not throw them out. Bundle them into different lots by category. For example bundle girls dresses separate from girls play clothes, but only do that if you have at least six of each different type.

Lots of any item sell better than single items unless the item is unique or high priced. For example, a hand embroidered dress that you paid a lot for would sell better by itself instead of bundled with other basic dresses.

The next item to lookup on eBay is toys. Most toys in good condition will sell for a lot of money. One idea that works well is to buy hot items in October at Wal-Mart or Toys-R-Us and sell them on eBay. Busy people are willing to pay extra for the convenience of getting the items delivered to their home.
For example, last year a Mega Power Ranger came out in stores around October and sold at Wal-Mart for about .00. The same item sold on eBay for up to .00 plus shipping. The Yellow Power Ranger is yet another example where the store price was about .00, while the same item was selling on eBay for about .00.

Have your children ever received duplicate birthday or Christmas presents? You can sell those on eBay also. Look at the eBay listings for items of interest to see if selling on eBay is worth more than returning the item to the store.

Kid’s videos and DVDs are also good money-makers. Bundle about three of these together, and you can usually make about .00-.00 per bundle. Bundle more and the money goes up. Disney movies in hard cases can go for a higher amount. This also works for other types of movies as well.

Save those McDonalds toys. Some Kids Meals toys sell high. Take the new Star Wars toys from Burger King…very collectible. You will find them selling on eBay from .00 to .00, not including shipping.

Ebay has a whole section devoted to dolls and bears. If your daughter doesn’t want her collectible dolls anymore sell them on eBay.

Kids Crafts You Can Sell

Around the holidays, especially, have your children place their hand in paint and make a print on some quality paper. Add a holiday related poem and you have a great craft to sell on eBay.

Have your kids make gift jars with ready made mixes. For example, hot chocolate mixes in a jar with a plastic spoon tied to it with a ribbon. Dip the end of the spoon with white chocolate.

Baby Items You Can Sell

Used baby items are very profitable. Baby items cost a lot of money, especially in their first year. Any “gently” used items are generally good sellers on eBay.

If you have baby coupons that you will never use, sell them on eBay! Left over diapers and formula sell well also. A lot of 35 used cloth diapers usually sells for around .00 plus shipping. Four Fuzzi Bunz diapers (cloth diapers with hemp inserts) can sell for as much as .00.

There you have it. Plenty of ideas for selling those leftover kids items on eBay…and you can even make a nice profit while you are at it!

Want to find out about donkey facts and gecko food? Get tips from the Knowledge Bin website.

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Making Mead (honey wine), A Simple Recipe

Making Mead (honey wine), A Simple Recipe

How to brew honey mead, short and sweet.

Honey Mead
** 15 lbs of honey in 5 gallon batch makes good sweet but 20 lbs of honey is like cotton candy. I like to use the pasteurized processed clover honey from Sam’s Wholesale club or Wal-Mart. I’ve tried different honey with varying result. The honey makes a dramatic difference in the body and flavor of your mead. Pasteurized and processed honey negates the need for campden tablets as long as you’re not putting in anything else that may be contaminated with bacteria. Use good filtered water too. It really makes a difference. I use a Britta filter.

INGREDIENTS for each gallon of mead to be made:

2 1/2 to 3 lbs. (about 26 – 32 fl. oz.)unprocessed honey (dry to semi-sweet)
Water to one gallon (Specific Gravity – 1.085 – 1.105)
1 tsp. Super Ferment (or 2 tsp. regular “nutrient”)
2 tsp. acid blend (or 3/4 tsp. tartaric acid & 1 1/4 tsp. malic acid)
1 tsp grape tannin
1 campden tablet* (crushed- or substitute 1/8 tsp. sodium metabisulfite)
1-2 pkgs. wine (e.g. Premier Cuvee, Champagne, Cote des Blancs, Sherry) or mead yeast

PROCEDURE:

1. Mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the yeast and the campden tablet. Stir the must until the honey and additives are completely dissolved. Cover the pail to keep out dust and air with the large plastic sheet.

2. Crush and dissolve the campden tablet in 1 oz. of warm water. Add this to the must and stir well. Cover the pail again and tie down the plastic sheet. Let the must stand for one day, stirring several times.

*ALTERNATIVE: Heat honey with an equal volume of water to 180°F and let stand for 15 minutes to pasteurize. (DO NOT BOIL!) Cool and add remainder of water before proceeding to next step.

3. Rehydrate the dried yeast by sprinkling it into 1/2 cup lukewarm (95 – 100° F) water in a sanitized jar and cover for 20 minutes. (If using “Mead” yeast, prepare a starter 48 hours prior to using.) Add the yeast “slurry “/starter to mixture. Re-cover the primary fermenter and allow fermentation to proceed for 30-40 days or until foaming subsides.

4. Syphon the mead into a sterile glass jug. Avoid the transfer of sediment and aeration as much as possible. Be sure the mead completely fills the jug – into the neck. Attach a fermentation lock and allow the fermentation to go to completion (.995 – 1.020 S.G.).

5. One week after fermentation has ceased, syphon the mead into another sterile glass jug. Again, avoid the transfer of sediment and aeration. Crush, dissolve and add 1/2 campden tablet per gallon to the mead. Allow the mead to stand for one month in a cool dark place and repeat “racking” process. If at the end of three months, the mead is clear – bottle it. If it is not clear, repeat this step every month until it is clear and then bottle it. The mead may be sweetened to taste with additional honey, if desired, after stabilization (1/2 tsp. potassium sorbate & 1/2 campden tablet per gallon).

Note: All equipment should be well washed and sterilized with a solution of sodium metabisulphite. Fermentation temperatures should be no lower than 60 degrees F. or higher than 80 degrees F.

For an interesting variation, try adding a 6 oz. can frozen juice (e.g. orange, apple, cranberry) and cut back on the acid blend by 1 tsp.

Ratio for different meads – (parts by volume honey: parts by volume water)

DRY: 1:4 (2 1/2 lbs. honey per gallon)
SEMI-DRY: 1:3 (3 lbs. honey per gallon)
SWEET: 1:2.5 (4 lbs. honey per gallon)

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED FOR MAKING MEAD

Large Plastic pail or earthenware crock (primary fermenter)
One gallon glass jug (secondary fermenter)
Fermentation lock & drilled rubber stopper
Syphon tubing
5 ” Fifth” wine bottles and corks per gallon
Large plastic sheet

 

Other Sources:

http://www.SimpleHomeBrewing.com
http://www.squidoo.com/easybeermaking
http://www.squidoo.com/honeymead

James enjoys a myriad of hobbies from computer gaming, paranormal research, web design, teaching & adult training, natural healing & herbalism to making his own wine and beer. He is an avid home brewer and has been for many years specializing in traditional honey and fruit based wines. More recently he has begun serious study into beer recipes and methods and plans on producing a series of beer videos on youtube to match his “super simple winemaking” videos that are so popular on the site.

Project websites include:

http://simplehomebrewing.com

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Green Marketing and Possible New FTC Guidelines

Green Marketing and Possible New FTC Guidelines

If you’re a green marketer, pay attention:  the FTC wants to clarify what you legally may or may not say in your advertising.

In particular, they want to stop the phenomenon of “greenwashing” as a marketing practice, where marketers make broad, unsubstantiated and all-too-often deceptive claims that their products are “green” or “eco-friendly”.

As a result, the FTC is not only proposing substantial changes to their advertising guidelines, they’re adding several new guidelines as well.

It’s interesting to note that three popular phrases – “sustainable”, “natural” and “organic” – are not covered by the proposal.  The FTC says these terms are already covered under Department of Agriculture regulations, even though earlier this year the FTC did send warning letters to 78 retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, for incorrectly advertising rayon clothing as made of bamboo.

Here is a summary of the new guidelines the FTC wants to see.  Read through them, and be prepared to provide feedback; the FTC wants to know what you think.  They’re asking the public for comments (you can submit your comments online) until December 10, 2010; they’ll issue their final guidelines in the first half of 2011.

Proposed New Guidelines

“Made with Renewable Materials”

Marketers must provide specific information such as what the renewable material is, how it is sourced, and why it is renewable.
Marketers must qualify if the item is not entirely made from renewable materials.

“Made with Renewable Energy”

Marketers must qualify their claim if the power used to manufacture any part of the product was derived from fossil fuels.
Marketers must specify the source of the renewable energy.
Marketers must qualify if any of the significant manufacturing processes involved in making the product or package were powered with renewable energy or conventional energy offset by renewable energy certificates (RECs).
Marketers that generate renewable energy but sell RECs for all of the renewable energy they generate should not represent that they use renewable energy.

“Carbon Offsets”

Marketers need scientific evidence to support carbon offset claims and must use appropriate accounting methods to properly quantify emission reductions.
Marketers must disclose if the offset they’ve bought will not reduce emissions for two years or longer.
Marketers may not advertise carbon offsets if the offsets are required by law.

 

Again, the FTC wants to hear your opinions on this proposal.  Visit https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/revisedgreenguides by December 10 to submit your comments directly to the FTC electronically!

Beth Carter, Naperville copywriter and founder of Freelance Writing Solutions, helps businesses communicate the messages their customers want to hear.  She’s been creating outstanding website content, white papers, case studies and other marketing collateral for her clients for nearly fifteen years.

Want to see samples of her work?  Visit www.freelancewritingsolutions.com to see the results she’s achieved for her clients.

Contact her today to talk about the right message to send to your clients!

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Opportunities for India in a greening toy market

Opportunities for India in a greening toy market

If kids can think about sustainability from a early stage, it’s more likely to be an innate behavior when the grow into adulthood. In that perspective, greeneing of the toys is great news for our beloved earth. While green toys account for less than 1 percent of the market, the number of products is growing. As reported in Businessweek, Researcher NPD Group, based in Port Washington, New York, estimated the toy industry’s 2009 retail sales at .5 billion. This report suggests the market for “green” toys may hit billion over the next five years, or roughly 5 percent of all toy sales.

While made f recyclable materials, the raw materials for green toys come cheap, the growth of earth-friendly toys has been hampered by the higher prices that accompany sustainable manufacturing, or making products while using renewable resources, less energy and creating less waste, particualrly as we are coming out of the recession. But the fact that Wal-Mart has been pushing the category, is helping build awareness. As Wal-Mart makes a bigger push into green toys, the supplier industry will have to respond. Toy sales accounted for as much as 7 percent of Wal-Mart’s 8.2 billion in annual U.S. revenue last year. The results of such push from Wal Mart are already visible. Mattel has been working on reducing the size and amount of materials used in packaging and increasing the use of recycled content where possible. Several companies dedicated to green toy making are also emerging like Green Toys.

The materials that these toys are made out of – wood, minimal paints, recycled plastics – are what makes them greener than the competition. Green toys are also made from recycled materials and pose no threat to the environment. All materials that are used in green toys are natural, like bamboo. These toys are hardy, very durable and surprisingly lightweight, especially the ones made from bamboo. Some green toys are even being made from the recycled plastic of already used plastic bottles. This has also lead to the very low cost of making green toys since materials are very easy to come by. For example green toys claims the following about its toys:They are made from recycled milk containersThey are battery-free.They are non-toxic with no lead paints. They are BPA and Phthalate free (harmful plastics).They are packaged in recycled and recyclable materials.The Toys are 100% recyclableThey are environmentally friendly and create less green house gas.It is estimated that every pound of recycled jug that is used in the making of the green toys, saves energy equivalent to 3000 triple-A batteries which is equivalent to the energy required to power a TV set for 3 whole weeks. This energy can run a laptop computer for a month.So what is the opportunity for India here? Can we aim to be one of the leading players of this potential USD 1 Bn market in the US.

You can read more details on this here

Olive Earth is a community blog propounding green and sustainability value imperatives for India. It brings together the power of community blogging and social apps to execute on the green imperatives and a sustainable life style by promoting eco-friendly products. At Olive Earth you will find a directory of eco-friendly product and service companies in India. At the Olive Application you can access our various social Applications promoting sustainability in India.

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