The pet industry is big business. In fact, it’s estimated that pet owners in the United States will spend close to $109.6 billion on their pets this year. And in 2020, an uptick in pet adoption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic led to an astonishing 18% increase in US pet food sales. As you might imagine, an industry that large has its fair share of competition. Shelf space, visibility, and packaging are incredibly important.
This is the story of how PrintFlex Graphics helped our client, a major player in the pet care industry, overcome a promotional packaging malfunction that threatened to jeopardize their placement with a national chain of retail warehouse clubs.
The Challenge – Changes in Packaging Lead to Adhesive Failure
Our client had been successfully selling two types of dog treats together as a special promotional dual pack at retail warehouse clubs throughout the United States. To meet the bulk-volume demands of club members, the client was providing their normal single pouch packages as dual packs. The two bags of different dog treats were adhered together with a single handle. This saddlebag design was convenient for both the retailer and the customer… until it wasn’t.
The single pouch packaging was redesigned, to provide an updated appearance. The exterior coating was changed, and the new coating was resistant to the original handle packaging adhesive used to create the bundle. The handles were no longer secure and were completely detaching from the bags, leaving a mess in the aisles and a problem in the hands of our client.
This was an important sales channel for our client, and they were at risk of losing it. They needed to quickly find an adhesive that met the packaging requirements and held the two treat bags securely. And they knew just who to call. Thanks to our 25-year relationship as their solutions provider, the client knew if there was a partner who could respond with an effective and efficient solutions, it was PrintFlex Graphics.
The Solution – A New Packaging Adhesive and Then Some
PrintFlex Graphics’ technical team, known in and outside our building as Seal Team 6, came together to identify and source a variety of adhesives to test against the customer’s new packaging requirements. After rigorous testing with different adhesives, several options were identified that didn’t break or rip off the packaging. We further narrowed the list to a single choice, by testing the amount of force required to move the handle.
Once the appropriate packaging adhesive was identified, we also discovered the adhesive wasn’t the only issue. Our client had previously produced the handles on single sheets, requiring multiple steps for removal and application. This was a cumbersome and time-consuming process, making it difficult to meet the retailer’s skid requirements. We worked to reengineer the construction of the handle and implemented a new die-cut that allowed the polyester lining to become part of the handle itself. We were able to produce the handles as a continuous process on rolls, instead of sheets. We were also able to print barcodes and product messaging on the handles and present a more efficient application process for our client’s copacker.
The Results – A Stronger Packaging Solution
By implementing the innovations uncovered by the PrintFlex team, our client was back in business with their major retail partner. They had a packaging solution that checked all the boxes and allowed them to return to selling dual packs of their popular dog treats again. And the easy-to-find barcode made for an efficient point of sale experience for both the in-store employee and customer.
Projects like this, where we’re helping clients overcome the odds and address difficult challenges, are the reason for our longevity and reputation as a solutions provider. What hurdles could we help your team with?