The company spent a year and-a-half implementing the changes, including packs which now feature all five languages on the back of the product.
Stock movement flexibility
Speaking at Packaging Innovations 2015, Anup Pala, packaging technologist, Gü Puds said the firm wanted to merge all its packaging globally for stock movement flexibility.
“We wanted to future proof our packaging so that it was ready to hit the market straight away rather than through a long lead time,” he said.
“We redesigned all our packaging featuring five languages on the back of our products in December last year and those changes are being pushed through now.
“The changes have led to a reduced SKU (stock keeping unit) count from 100 to below 100 and if sales are low in one country and high in another we can move packs between countries and they get to the market a lot quicker.
“We have extra space on the pack of our packaging to drop in new languages, and we ensured brand values weren’t lost.”
Overcoming language barriers
Pala said the biggest challenge in the redesign was overcoming the language barriers in different countries.
“France and Germany prefer their own ‘selling face’ whereas the rest of Europe doesn’t mind and sometimes English adds a benefit to those markets,” he added.
“Sometimes we have a play on words with our products for example Gü-zillionaires' puds in the UK and gü york cheesecake in the US but brands like this don’t bode so well in countries like France because speculoos cheesecake is quite a premium biscuit which bodes well within that market.
“We found if we have one pack for all countries the language won’t translate as well ie gü york so we stuck with speculoos for France.”
Pala said as part of the R&D team’s research it had to understand the market it was targeting; the laws within each country, the different variety of food laws, and bar codes.
“In the EU we needed to be aware of the FIR (Food Information Regulations) guidelines when updating our packaging, understanding U S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and again those laws in Canada and New Zealand,” he said.
“We had to understand which country operates with which bar code because some are 12-digit or 13-digits, and then once we carried out our research we had to talk to our external stakeholders.
“We looked at which markets are best to merge together and which are better on their own. The hard part was collecting all the data. In the UK, France and Germany, the volumes and customer base allowed us to give them their own packaging then we grouped the rest of Europe together as one.
12-digit and 13-digit barcodes
“The US and Canada are right next door to each other but we found we couldn’t merge them because they have different rules for nutritional values printed on the packaging oor selling faces. In the US, the language is English, but in Canada it is English ad French.
“In Australia and New Zealand we thought we could merge the two countries with a European pack but we found differences in the bar codes, where we had to use 12-digit ones as opposed to 13.”
Pala said after a number of trials using seven languages then six on the packaging it decided on the ‘final cut’ of five because it was legally compliant, large enough for consumers to read and met company brand guidelines.
“There was no point in forcing so many languages on the back of a pack if it doesn’t adhere to brand guidelines,” he added.
“We have seen a 20% reduction with SKUs since redesigning the packaging and there is more supply chain flexibility because we can move from a slow to a high moving market without having to re-label stock.
“We have reduced downtime in the factory for packaging and our products are not taking up as much warehouse space. The next stage now is for our sales teams to tackle more markets.”