May 2015
What's New in Supermarkets?

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

There is nothing more enjoyable than wandering the aisles of supermarkets and specialty food stores. These are the places where shelves are crammed full with colorful packages, tantalizing offers, dazzling assortments, and exotic flavors.


In these environments, however, attracting and holding the eye of consumers, demonstrating value and inducing sales is anything but easy. Since it's our job to make sure that our client's brand imagery and packaging perform well and provoke sales, we've got to stay on top of what's new.

After several days at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco and a recent sweep of retail environments in Boston, Maryland, Florida, California, Chicago, and most recently Paris for our European clients, I've had a good look at emerging trends and innovations in consumer packaged goods. The sad truth is that, while there are lots of brands testing the limits of existing manufacturing techniques, materials, structures and tactics, and investments in innovative design are becoming more commonplace, there are still plenty of opportunities for brand owners to distinguish their brands and gain a competitive advantage.

The most powerful brand presentations I've seen, while few in number, have been quite effective. Pom Wonderful continues to attract significant attention in the refrigerated juice section with its bulbous proprietary shaped bottle. While not as much of a show stopper, Crisco spray oils (in the baking aisle) also employ proprietary packaging and fresh graphics to attract attention. I've also noticed a growing number of shelf stable products including Libby's Farm Fresh Goodness vegetables, Campbell's Go Soups, and McCormick's Skillet Sauces embracing rigid pouches, as well as more inviting and emotionally appealing graphics, as a way to cut through the clutter and compel trial. Of course, head to toe shrink sleeve solutions continue to create wonderful design opportunities for product visibility and distinctive branding. In every situation I've encountered, and assuming the applied graphics are well conceived, including Cheribundi juices and Sweet Baby Rays barbeque sauce, the impact and value of shrink sleeve labeling is unmistakable.

As always, alcoholic beverage categories, especially craft breweries and small batch distilleries, are leading the pack in new product and brand innovations. It is our belief, however, that innovation and brand leadership is not linked to any one product, industry or audience. That's good news if you're seeking a leadership position for your company and its products. While the majority of brand owners are reluctant to change, and stubbornly adhere to tried-and-true methodologies, there are countless opportunities to break away from the herd and position your brand(s) well ahead of the pack.

If you want to assume a leadership position for your brand, and believe enterprise growth is a worthwhile pursuit, then begin with comprehensive research that identifies competitors, defines current industry dynamics, categorizes manufacturing options and recognizes untapped opportunities. In addition, look at buyer preferences, both wholesale and consumer, to identify what attributes will immediately resonate with each audience and favorably influence sales. The final step is making sure you have communicated, via the structural configuration of your packaging and its applied graphics, undeniable credibility, performance and value that exceeds all other offerings.

There's lots more that goes into research, design and manufacturing of effective packaging solutions. To learn how Studio Spear can help, give Jeff Spear a call at: 904 685 2135, or send an email to:


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

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