Profitable Pouches

Pilgrim’s Pride, Pittsburg, Texas, makes a hit in the deli case with innovative packaging. Dan Emery, vice president of marketing, talks about the initiative with The National Provisioner.

NP: How do you use packaging to differentiate your brands? How did you develop your packaging?
DE: When talking about the deli, the customer determines the packaging [product] will go in. We try to steer them in the direction of innovation. The Hot N Handy Pouch, made by Robbie Manufacturing (Kansas City, Mo.), is superior to the hard plastic that so many delis use. Hard plastic costs more money, the handle falls off and there are a number of difficulties. It’s in a grocery/deli’s best interest to convert to the Hot N Handy packaging.
NP: What were the challenges related to the packaging selection? How did you resolve those challenges?
DE: Nothing that was too hard to overcome. We had to train deli personnel how to load the packages. We introduced the Hot N Handy packaging in combination with deli operators. Some [of them] are reluctant because they like the old ways and are resistant to change, but in the end we complied and went with what the customer wanted.
NP: What did you hope to accomplish in selecting the chosen packaging?
DE: Robbie Manufacturing brought this packaging to us. It does serve as more consumer-friendly packaging. It sets it apart from everything else in the deli case. It’s a definite advantage over plastic.
NP: How does your packaging stand up concerning consumer appeal?
DE: Pilgrim’s Pride has been using the Hot N Handy packaging for two years, primarily for our deli logs, smoked drumsticks and deli meats. The Hot N Handy package gives us lots of versatility. We’re always looking for different combinations to make it easier for consumers and our customers.
NP: How does your packaging address such concerns as freshness, food safety, ease of opening and convenience, among other benefits?
DE: There are so many ways to innovate your products, and packaging is one of them. There are nearly as many packages as there are products. As for plans to extend the Hot N Handy packaging to other Pilgrim’s Pride products, we always have our eyes open to make packaging have consumer appeal. It helps improve consumer satisfaction and retailer performance, and this is just one way to do that. NP