The brief: To target the on-the-go food market, Asda launched a dressing for salads. It needed a convenient format for consumers and shift away from the traditional bottles. It also needed an easy to open format.
Brand: Chosen By You
Packaging suppliers: Undisclosed
UK launch date: June 2012
It’s a reflection of our busy society that the on-the-go food sector is on the rise. Supermarket giant Asda has been quick to spot that the nation’s workforce aren’t spending much time on food preparation and yet are splashing out on fewer sandwiches during their lunch hour – instead, they are choosing to take their own culinary creations into work.
Suzie Hardy, senior packaging development manager at Asda explains: “The trend towards on-the-go eating is mainly driven by customers having less time to spend on food preparation at home; but with less money in their pocket and not wanting to pay the high prices that some major on the go food retailers charge.”
Asda noted market data showing that 20% more people are taking their own lunch to work compared to a year ago, and that 44% of customers say that convenience plays a part in their lunchtime purchasing decision. And there’s the health factor – salad is a lunchtime favourite and customer demand, says Hardy, pointed towards more single-serve salad dressing options.
The result was a salad dressing sachet that forms part of Asda’s Chosen By You range. The dressing is in a single serve format and the packaging has been designed with convenience very much in mind.
“Asda customer listening groups have also identified that one of the barriers to shoppers trying new variants of salad dressings is the potential risk of disliking the product,” explains Hardy. “They are unlikely to purchase a full bottle for this reason. Delivering healthy options for customers is high on our agenda but just under half of Asda shopper’s rate waste as a big barrier to preparing healthy meals.”
She adds: “Having identified the key barriers to trying something new, we saw it as an opportunity to be the first retailer to create a single serve dressings solution which addressed the current trends for convenience, choice and taste as well as overcoming the barriers to trying something new and avoiding waste.”
Another factor was the opening. So often sachets can be tricky to open and contribute towards a frustrating experience. So the Asda team packed its bags for Düsseldorf and the Interpack exhibition in May last year. They found the inspiration they were looking for in the shape of a ‘snap and squeeze’ concept.
“We thought it was a great idea and were excited about the opportunity to offer something new and different that really works for Asda customers,” explains Hardy. “We brought the idea back with us but then needed to connect the producer of the packaging technology, a UK filler for the ‘snap and squeeze’ packs as well as our own supplier of salad dressings, English Provender Company, to bring the range to market.”
Once all the parties were on board a specification for the packaging was developed and the filling process was thought through. Trials were accelerated and consumers were an integral part. “They loved it and we knew we were onto something,” adds Hardy.
The pack is designed to be opened without the use of scissors or a knife. The user pinches the ends of the credit card sachet together and gently squeezes to break the seal to release the contents. The dressing can be drizzled over salads or released in a swirl for dipping. Hardy says that the result is “no fuss, no mess, no waste”.
She adds: “Mini bottles, tubes, and more traditional sachets do not offer the same convenience in a lightweight packaging solution. The snap and squeeze concept really excels in this area and ticks all the boxes for Asda customers.” The packs went into stores this summer and are currently available in Caesar, honey and mustard as well as balsamic vinegar.
Lucy Dunhill, buyer, cooking and condiments at Asda, adds that the product’s performance since launch has been positive. “Early signs for sales look good and they are already generating incremental sales for the category. The product opens up a new market segment and meets a consumer demand that was previously a gap in our offer. We are already looking at how to extend the range of flavours and considering potential tie-ins with our or fresh pre-prepared salad range. We are excited about the other potential applications .”