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FLEXO Magazine : November 2013
indUSTrY indICATOrS The bare necessities Packaging Helps Drive Granola Co.’s Sales, Growth by Charles Ardman There’s something for everyone in the Bear Naked Gra- nola success story: • Two aspiring and charismatic twenty-something entre- preneurs chasing the American dream • A product that touches the hearts, minds and taste buds of health-conscious consumers • A memorable and humorous name Achieving that dream took plenty of hard work. On the packaging front, it was Moonachie, NJ-based LPS Industries that was responsible for developing Bear Naked’s packaging. “beAr” beginningS The Bear Naked story began in 2002 when a chance meet- ing between two former high school friends from Darien, CT—Kelly Flatley and Brendan Synnott—resulted in an unex- pected but immediate business partnership. In the early days the pair sold their granola from a folding table at local flea markets, craft fairs and neighborhood grocery stores. Bear Naked was one of the first brands to package granola in a flexible stand-up pouch. “ We were initially contacted by Bear Naked’s co -packer at the time, with whom we had a long and close working relationship,” says LPS’ Vice Presi- dent of Sales Domenick Pasqualone. “A request came in for a small quantity of clear recloseable pouches. ” Little did long-time FTA member LPS know what was about to happen next. Soon after the initial small-quantity order of pouches, the co-packer placed a larger order on a rushed schedule with LPS. Labels for brand and product identification were later applied to the standing order. “Sudden demand is business as usual for us,” says LPS CEO Madeleine Robinson. “ We see it time and time again.” eXPLoSive SuCCeSS & PACKAging needS Before long, Flatley and Synnott’s persistence resulted in their first big break—shelf space in Stew Leonard’s , a Connecticut-based supermarket chain. Several months later, Food Emporium signed on, adding its 40 stores throughout the New York metro market. The unique packaging format made the brand a standout on store shelves and soon, began spreading the word about Bear Naked Granola. Two years later, with clients including Target, Costco and Kroger on its roster, Bear Naked was faced with a new set of packaging challenges. First came filling mass production or- ders to satisfy an expanding distribution network. The volume required the co-packer to move to form, fill and seal produc- tion and LPS responded by supplying rolls of webstock and spools of extruded zipper to ensure perfect bonding with the webstock, removing a potential problem in production. As shelf life requirements made it important to extend product freshness from weeks to months, a change in film material was required to provide sufficient barrier protection throughout the life of the product. “ To further preserve product ANYTHING BUT A “BEAR MARKET” • Nielsen data says granola market segment grew from $129.5 million in 2004 to $208.6 million in 2008 • Packaging orders rose from 1,000 to 15 million impressions annually • Went from being sold outside flea markets to Stew Leonard’s four-location chain to more than 10,000 retail locations • Sales approached $65 million annually in 2005; company later sold to Kellogg in 2007 for undisclosed amount integrity, we worked with the co-packer to identify the best so- lution, and developed a stronger lamination to meet preserva- tion requirements,” Pasqualone says. The first five months of 2005 brought the fastest growth of the brand to date, as Bear Naked reached distribution in more than 10,000 retail locations. The company was manufacturing 30,000 12-oz. bags of granola per day with sales approach- ing $65 million annually. As demand continued to skyrocket, it became increasingly evident that a printed package with new graphics was the next evolution of its stand-up pouch. The final design reflected the purity of Bear Naked’s ingredients and ap- pears on the company’s packaging to this day. During this time, LPS continued to serve the granola manu- facturer’s packaging needs in several important ways: • Providing technical assistance for the execution of the new artwork • Working with manufacturing partners to help facilitate the conversion from applied labels to the printed graphics • Manufacturing and supplying the printed rollstock for multiple SKUs, multiple graphic schemes and sizes “We had the capabilities and the capacity, which helped to strengthen an already great relationship. As they continued to grow, we continued to respond,” adds Pasqualone. Within a span of five years, orders to LPS increased from lots of 1,000 to 15 million impressions annually. While Flatley, Synnott and their entire team tirelessly drove the brand to national sales prominence, an equally important team of food contract manufacturers, retailers, distributors and flexible packaging manufacturers demonstrated the resourc- es and capacity to grow with them. The formula paid off handsomely for the granola company in late 2007 when the Kellogg Co. acquired Bear Naked for a substantial sum. “LPS shared in the passion for the brand, doing whatever we could to support its growth and success,” Pasqualone says of his company’s work with Bear Naked. “We remained a valued packaging partner for many years following the acquisition. Today, thanks to the iconic package we helped introduce, we continue to receive frequent inquiries for stand-up pouches from organic and specialty food companies.” n About the Author: Charles Ardman is vice president of mar- keting at LPS Industries. 22 FLeXO NOVEMbEr 2013 www.flexography.org www.flexography.org NOVEMbEr 2013 FLeXO 23 Flexo Magazine 7” x 4.875” We can help you brighten your future. Let us show you how. www.quadtechworld.com QuadTech Color Quality Solution Automated and precise in-line color control delivers essential packaging color quality. In-Line Spectral Data Ink Formulation Data Ink Dispensing System CxF Data File L*= 86.3 a*= 97.9 b*= 86.5 CXF The future has arrived for packaging printers! The world’s first in-line color and ink control for packaging presses is now available. The QuadTech Color Quality Solution enables automatic sharing and processing of color data between in-line color control and off-line color measurement industry leaders. Color quality stays within targets and consistently high while downtime and waste are reduced dramatically. bear Naked Granola’s clear pouches were a major differentiator and helped drive the brand’s rapid growth. The success of the clear pouch has led to additional business for LPS Industries, with several specialty food companies specifically asking for it for their products.