Tag Archives: packaging

Pioneering Prunes – Sunsweet

On this episode of Ditch The Box we welcome  special guest Jeff McLemore of Sunsweet Growers Inc. Sunsweet is the world’s largest handler of dried fruits including prunes, apricots, mangos, and more.

Representing more than one-third of the prune market worldwide, Sunsweet processes nearly 70,000 tons of prunes a year! Not only have Jeff and Sunsweet mastered the art of making prunes more palatable, they’ve done it so well that Sunsweet is coming up on their 100 year anniversary. What a milestone!Sunsweet GrowersSo how does a company stay relevant and successful for so long? Jeff dishes on some of Sunsweet’s successful strategies. First of all, Jeff explains the importance of “mining information” (including performance, trends, and key insights) and utilizing the data points to efficiently push the company forward. His experience with data driven results goes back to the time he spent at Kroger.

Jeff was then drawn to the brand/product side of things and he found his home at Sunsweet. He is driven by his interest in advertising innovation, packaging, and buying patterns and their influencing factors. Jeff stress the importance of finding the right company culture to suit your personality.  Sunsweet is employee friendly , open to new ideas, and ever changing.

Sunsweet Prunes

PRUNES. What a challenging market to overcome. Sunsweet took something that has traditionally had this sort of unpopular stigma and made people want to buy in.  Jeff’s advice: “Do a lot of research, learn about the consumer, and look for the consumer that has the right mindset – that is looking for what we stand for.”  Once you find that right customer, being innovative, trying new things, and keeping a fresh look are keys to sticking around for the long haul.

Listen to the full podcast to discover how Sunsweet’s biggest innovation in the last 10 years, “ONES” – Individually wrapped prunes,  has helped lock in Sunsweet’s spot on retail shelves for another 100 years to come!

The New Consumer: MILLENNIALS


Joining us for the third time on Ditch The Box is Debbie Wildrick of MetaBrand. There’s a reason we keep having Debbie on the show…. she continually offers outstanding insight on an ever-changing industry. On this episode Debbie focuses on the new consumer: MILLENNIALS.

In Debbie’s findings, there has been a shift in the thinking and buying habit of the younger baby boomers. This shift has been one of preventative eating, retaining youth, and investing in health. Millennials have taken to this healthy mindset and it has seriously influenced consumer buying habits and demand. Another trend Debbie sees in the Millennial era is buying products based on EXPERIENCE. Now more than ever we are seeing packaging that attempts to create some sort of interactive experience with the consumer. After all, 80% of decisions get made right at the shelf. What’s the differentiation factor? Packaging. People look at the packaging of a product first, because it is the visual and verbal representation that delivers the message of the brand.

So what’s the takeaway? Debbie gives this advice: Natural and organic products need to step up and become more sophisticated and conventional products need to figure out how to merchandise to to the new consumer.

Fulfillment Services & Brand Loyalty

To truly “wow” today’s customers, companies must think far beyond simply delivering a superior product and providing decent customer service.

Embedding a total brand experience into the entire culture and delivery of a good or service will set today’s organizations apart in a highly competitive, crowded marketplace. To help brands achieve this goal, fulfillment services are becoming increasingly popular. Most customers are unaware that the brands they do business with are working with these “invisible partners,” which, in actuality, means they are operating correctly. Companies like USA Fulfillment offer behind-the-scenes, high-touch services to their clients, serving as a third-party supply chain solutions provider that helps producers build loyalty and turn their customers into loyal brand advocates.

On this week’s episode of Ditch The BoxUSA Fulfillment Logo, host David Marinac talks with Linda Dickinson, director of sales and marketing at USA Fulfillment, about successful ways businesses can work with a fulfillment services provider to manage their supply chain and generate positive experiences every step of the way.

Dickinson says her company is 100 percent employee owned, and brand loyalty is embedded in each team member’s DNA. The difference between a fulfillment company and a contract manufacturer is that fulfillment involves one segment of the supply chain – the very last part – and offers kitting, packaging, logistics, and warehousing for clients. These companies will store a client’s product and literature then pick, pack, and ship it once a customer places an order. They are totally invisible to clients’ customers and achieve this by keeping their clients’ branding consistent and fully integrating with their shopping carts and software.

Fulfillment services help brands get ahead by learning as much about their clients as possible and putting themselves in their customers’ shoes. They evaluate each client’s website, 800 number, level of correspondence, and experience placing an order and unboxing a product. They then will develop a formal presentation, which Dickinson’s company calls a “Customer Service Evaluation,” to review their thoughts and opinions about each of these areas and what their clients can do better. They then gather feedback from their clients’ customers and turn their overall customer experience into positive occurrences that build brand loyalty and loyal brand advocates.

Many companies start out doing the fulfillment work themselves, but as they grow, this process can become burdensome and time consuming.

As the day-to-day operations and other aspects of the business become more prevalent, it’s important for companies to partner with a fulfillment services provider that will nurture customers and provide the space and manpower necessary to interact with consumers and get products in their hands efficiently. USA Fulfillment uses high-touch service to produce the highest service levels in the industry. To do so, they commit to regularly monitoring and tracking their performance levels, including even smaller tasks like speed of answer, QC barcode scanning for order accuracy, and timeliness of order processing and deliveries.

Partnering with a fulfillment service will help companies manage their supply chain most effectively and build strong customer relationships as they grow and expand their product offerings. Customer experience must remain a priority during each step of the ordering process, and this responsibility shouldn’t fall into the hands of just one department in an organization. Fulfillment services help get goods to shoppers quickly and effectively while tackling any issues or answering questions carefully, accurately, and in such a way that helps the parent company form strong, lasting relationships with their customer base.

Dickinson says establishing that “wow” experience from the time a customer places an order, to when they unbox it, is key, but taking it to the next level and building upon the first impression of the brand and product will set companies apart and build brand loyalty.

Flexible Retail Packaging In North America

Ditch The Box Radio Show – 6/10/15

Flexible Retail Packaging

Smart companies know marketing is truly at the center of everything they do. Food marketing, especially, requires all participants throughout the organization to get on board and focus on delivering not only a quality product, but also a full experience to customers. On this episode of Ditch the Box, we dive into key points on protecting your brand, why flexible retail packaging can help convey the message of quality to consumers, and why brand managers, sales teams, and graphic designers should tune in and play close attention to the packaging of their company’s products.

Your product’s package is the voice of your brand, but do you know what it’s saying? When branding food, for example, packaging should tell a story. We all know the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but what’s the first thing customers see when they find your product on the shelves? Customers buy with their eyes, and your packaging should draw them in while sending a clear message about your product, your company and why people should spend their hard-earned money on that particular good. Flexible retail packaging is a solution businesses across the globe are recognizing as a valuable, visually appealing way to share their brand’s story.

In this program, host David Marinac discusses the six main points to successfully purchase flexible retail packaging. These include quality, factories, printing capability, virtual design offerings, shipping and supply chain. Your packaging supplier should prove the quality of their product with properly documented certification, and they should have domestic and overseas factories, trucks and shipping options. The company you choose should work well with a graphic designer to ensure the very best communication of your brand’s message, and the supplier should offer prototypes, 3D models and samples of the packaging you order.

David discusses how flexible retail packaging is not only a key tool for branding food, but it also plays a key part in protecting your product and providing a barrier that keeps products fresh and free from damage. A key takeaway from this episode is that companies must be innovative, quality focused and customer focused. They must embrace the 3 P’s: people, products and planet — and then worry about profit. Packaging cannot be overlooked any longer — it is an integral part in the marketing and branding of your company and product. Tune in to hear the latest industry news, food marketing trends, and surprising ways companies across the globe are communicating the message of their brand with packaging.