Pick n Pay nuts2

The packaging story behind Pick n Pay’s new nuts and dried fruit range

The power of teamwork to transform ideas into products that say ‘buy me’, is truly evidenced by the collaboration of Didget Printing, its sister company Trempak and long-time client, Jab Dried Fruit, on a project for Pick n Pay.

Customers are now spoilt for choice with the striking and comprehensive new range of Pick n Pay nuts and dried fruit, in pack sizes to suit every occasion. Both stores and customers are exhibiting great acceptance, with volumes far exceeding those achieved with the old style silos.

Behind the scenes, the project was a digital and flexo triumph, breaking new ground in innovation, flexibility and partnership. As part of the new look Pick n Pay stores and brand identity, the silos, from which customers bought loose-sell dried fruit and nuts by weight, were being phased out. Jab Dried Fruit, as the major supplier, was tasked by Pick n Pay to formulate a workable prepack solution for the range.

Timelines were extremely tight, says Trempak and Didget sales director Lynda Finke. ‘Initially, we had just five days from submitting our design proposal to signoff delivery, production of samples and setting up a trial display with shelf talkers, lighting and point-of-sale boards for client perusal at the Pick n Pay Innovation Day.’

Once the direction of the new look and feel of the range was agreed, Pick n Pay extended the scope of the project to its existing packaged line, creating a range of 85 variants, and to take the range to market coinciding with new store openings.

In the run-up to the in-store trials, the development team was given fewer than three months to deliver a revised range, specifications and artwork design for the new look, which was part of a broader artwork design change to all Pick n Pay and No Name housebrands. In addition, Didget/Trempak was tasked with coordinating the project with the flexo printers printing 35 of the 85 variants supplied by the other three dried fruit and nut suppliers.

Didget printed full production runs for 46 variants on its HP Indigo WS6600, whilst Trempak printed the 900g packs flexographically, as they were too wide for the digital press. The result had to be a family of packs, with the two styles of printing producing results so similar as to be indistinguishable.‘Trempak and Didget aced this one,’ says Lynda.

The project marked two breakthroughs: the first Pick n Pay packaging design project not to involve a specialist design agency and the first Didget full flexible packaging run. ‘It was possible through the HP WS6600 investment, which we made to advance our digital print capabilities,’ says Lynda. ‘We had already had several very successful runs of products such as short-run labels, shrink sleeves, pre-production samples and speciality applications such as security coding. The technology has consistently delivered the promised higher throughput, unmatched gravure-quality print and advanced colour matching capabilities.

‘This first packaging run was a milestone and it has paved the way for more innovative developments, particularly in the manufacture of full production runs and use of variable data. We now have a host of new capabilities to offer clients.’

Once the final artwork for the Pick n Pay project was signed off, the team had just five days to get the product in-store – in this case, the new concept Pick n Pay store in Blue Hills, Kyalami. The finished products exceeded all expectations, says Trempak marketing manager Brenda Harris: ‘The flexo and digital packs we produced were an almost perfect match,’ she says.

Although ultimately more expensive than flexo printing, digital has a definite niche in packaging production, adds Lynda. By removing the plate-making stage, it greatly reduces time-to-shelf and allows immediate reaction to legislative requirements and promotional information, not to mention the upfront investment in origination.

‘Digital printing allows brand owners to change designs and colours at will, add information required by legislation, include tailored promotional messages and print on demand,’ she continues. ‘The Pick n Pay project executed using flexo printing would have involved an upfront investment of R3-million, including origination and higher stock levels. We completed it at under R700 000 and were able to deliver on deadline.’

To date, the product range has been rolled out to 150 stores countrywide, says Cindy Jenks, Pick n Pay general manager: technical division: ‘Our store managers are extremely positive about the new offer,’ she comments. ‘It delivers to their customers a comprehensive range at extremely competitive prices, and is fundamentally easier to manage than the previous loose-sell product.’

She explains that the motivation for the relaunch was dissatisfaction with the sales and margin growth of loose sell nuts and dried fruit. ‘We decided to convert both the existing prepack and loose sell offer into a range that would satisfy customer needs across several categories, including snacking, baking and healthy eating.’

Being able to launch all 85 product variants simultaneously optimised visual impact, thus driving sales, she adds. Once sales volumes are assessed, the heroes of the range will switch to the more cost-effective flexo option. The smaller niche variants will remain digital to accommodate small, on-demand runs, to offer a comprehensive relevant range whilst optimising stock investment levels according to rate of sale.

Consensus is that this pioneering project lived up to promise. ‘Trempak managed the artwork change efficiently, ensuring that the printed stock reached the packers in time to meet launch dates,’ says Cindy. ‘We are satisfied with the rollout and, where digital printing is cost effective, we will certainly consider it in future.’

Concludes Lynda: ‘The phenomenal success of this project has opened the door to a world of opportunity for brand owners – it positions packaging as a new powerhouse in the marketing mix, changing perceptions and overcoming previous limitations. ’

Source: PACKAGiNG & Print Media Magazine, Sept 2015 issue: see more here