Package Deal

13 09 2012

My kids love their Caprisuns. I buy them by the boxful. I hand them out like candy. And I find the foil pouches all over the house.

Yeah, we’ve got some work to do here. Self-monitoring is not high on their list, apparently.

But could you8 imagine a day in which the parents were the ones leaving the pouches all over the place? Don’t dwell too long on this, for the answer is a resounding Yes.

Perhaps you have already seen them in supermarkets, liquor stores and convenience store. Little foil pouches like those from Arbor Mist are now making alcohol consumption as easy as poking a straw.

Now get that picture out of your mind adults driving down the road with a pouch of booze.

In a strange kind of way, though, the wine (liquor, etc.) is not the product. It’s the package. The convenience. Non-breakable. Easily chilled. And oh-so-portable.

While not everyone is keen on them, the industry is certainly abuzz, with sales of $154 million in a recent 12-month period. That’s a lot of booze.

The beverage industry is filled with examples of packaging innovations as well as duds. Back in the early-1980s, Pepsi, Coke and Dr Pepper all tested resealable half-liter aluminum cans/bottles. It was a pretty cool idea until you actually tried to drink from it, for the hinged plastic lid had a nasty habit of rubbing your nose the wrong way. Retailers did not like them because they would not stack easily.

A few years later, Coke tested recyclable plastic cans (with shrink-wrap labels). It was the perfect gimmick…on paper, at least. Coke owned the company making the plastic cans, as well as recycling facility. The only problem with their plan was that it hinged on consumers politely returning their empties to the store so Coke could recycle them in perpetuity.

And no one did. End of experiment.

The jury is still out regarding the longevity of these pouches. Will they be just a short-term novelty, or long-term packaging concept? And what about the fact that yet another packaging variation requires some degree of extra handling and display?

I just hope the kids don’t grab one of these thinking it’s another juice beverage. We could have some problems then, with or without the straw.

Dr “Whine Cellar” Gerlich

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