Have you spotted them yet, the blunt paper notices in your supermarket to let you know some of the products don’t contain sunflower oil anymore, even though the packaging still lists it as an ingredient? An ad-hoc solution to avoid a violation of the strict regulations on food labelling but obviously not a long-term approach. We can already hear the legal teams approaching and insisting on formal pack updates to be on the shelves the day after tomorrow.
Whether it’s due to supply chain issues or promotions for a healthier lifestyle (cf. non-HFSS initiatives or Nutriscore), it seems packaging needs to be updated all the time these days.
How do you handle these projects efficiently and quickly?
Here are five key steps to keep in mind when you start a new project for regulatory changes:
1st STEP: Go for speed in execution
Roll out the master concept across the entire portfolio. If you did your homework on steps 1 and 2 the need for creative input is limited, so you can delegate this part to an artwork production agency. They are adept at handling large volumes with low turnaround times and operate like a machine, focusing on speed of execution and right first-time quality.
2nd STEP: Keep your eyes on the marbles
Monitor the process of your artwork updates with a smart online validation platform. No need to overload your mailbox with heavy PDF files or links to a Sharepoint jungle when there are numerous user-friendly tools available that combine feedback from all proofreaders in a single view and track approval status on SKU level on a handy dashboard.
3rd STEP: Come prepared
Make sure you have an overview of the complete portfolio and collect the latest version of all artworks. No use planning a big changeover with only a partial view of the real estate you need to cover, let alone basing yourself on old files. If your print-ready data is stored at the print supplier, start the conversation about retrieving it well in advance – they may be reluctant to release what feels like their property.
4th STEP: Work out hierarchy and priorities
Assess the hierarchy and priorities. Define which packs can function as a master. Mind you, this is not necessarily the pack that generates the biggest sales volume but the one that allows your creative agency to develop a concept that will work on the variants as well. Once the master is validated, test a few alternatives for the rest of your packs. At this stage it’s key to stress to all stakeholders that your common goal is to fix the concept for the duration of the project and move into a formal design freeze.
5th STEP: Don’t bite off more than you can chew
A regulatory change demands swift action to get the correct packs out into the market again as soon as possible. Sure, it’s tempting to combine it with a supplier switch or a recipe reformulation and believe this is going to save on agency fees, but in most cases it leads to more delays in getting the project under way with longer approval times. Better to take small steps that keep you moving forward.
Need help setting up your project, or formulating a crystal-clear briefing to get your updated packs on the shelf in record time? Give us a shout or contact us and we’ll be happy to show you the way.