How Can Packaging Help Products?

I bought a couple of Virginia’s ready-to-cook breaded shrimp products because I was attracted to their packaging, which stood out in the freezer section of the All Home supermarket near my house.

I have never seen their shrimp products before as I know of Virginia Farms as a producer of swine and chicken products in Cebu. I wondered if they were trying to diversify their offerings to include seafoods as part of business continuity planning against swine flu and similar diseases that stuck the swine industry.

I also thought about the convenience of ready-to-cook breaded shrimp products and how they would affect or maybe even enhance the value proposition of Tokyo Tempura kiosks selling breaded shrimp tempuras, as well as their more recent home preparation kits where consumers would have to do their own batter and flour mix provided by them. (Our first and last home mix was a total disaster. Our fault!)

After inquiring on Facebook to satisfy my curiosity, it turns out they weren’t the same brand after all– Virginia Farms and Virgina Foods split some time ago and are now under different owners.

That aside, I love doing grocery chores for my family. I volunteered to take over this chore from Chiqui a few years ago to save her at least 100 hours a year in order for her to pursue her second masteral degree (in Anthropology). It keeps me updated on what’s happening in the marketplace and it allows me to keep my sanity during and after my WFH routine the last five months in lockdown. I still have to go out and buy my maintenance meds monthly anyway, as there is still no known automatic delivery service of the monthly meds I have been taking since 1995. I still need to show my prescription list physically every time I visit a drugstore. Totally primitive! To help protect me, Chiqui alternates my grocery outings with ordering online.

Packaging is like the silent salesman inside a store, and a critical one during this pandemic when there are no promo girls to offer product samples or introduce consumers to new products.

Packaging forms part of the external cues that influence consumers to make a preliminary decision if the quality of the products is good. Quality, in turn, constitutes part of internal cues. For food items, internal cues include taste, texture, raw materials used, manufacturing processes, manufacturer reputation, and the like.

In the midst of almost bare or simple packaging in the freezer section of supermarkets, Virginia Foods’ packaging helped them stand out and sell without advertising, popular branding (compared to Purefoods and CDO for instance, at least in the Luzon area), promo girls, and sampling. First, by relying only on good old value proposition, packaging, then on pricing, followed by bundled promotions (buy one each of any two new products and save) and lastly on the product itself. I even ended up buying the shrimp nuggets despite my initial impression thinking they came from a brand not well-known for seafood.

The packaging, price and promotions will trigger a product trial, but it is the product performance, given availability, that will determine the indispensable repeat purchases needed to solidify a relationship with consumers. This can be interrupted with the presence of compelling substitutes and direct competition. The constraints of using packaging as a purchase trigger is that it over relies on point-of-sale display as well as impulse by qualified shoppers (on my end, the Virginia Foods shrimp was not in my shopping list prepared at home). Had it been a housemaid buying, she would likely not have the purchase discretion and range I bought.

I like shrimps and seafood in general. We served the shrimp nuggets for dinner. I bought these products knowing my daughter-in-law Monic avoids eating animal meat, something my youngest son Calel in turn enjoys. We finished the entire plate, as I asked for a few pieces, although Monic initially thought it tasted like the more popular breaded chicken nuggets.

But the shrimp nuggets were fun to eat! Next on our list to try would be breaded crispy shrimp.

(Disclosure: This short article about packaging is meant to educate and not to endorse. I have not been contacted by Virginia Food Inc. to write for them nor got compensation, in cash or in kind, for this article. The products were bought and paid for by myself.)

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Last Call: Josiah Go will be running his 104th Marketing Strategy and Plans (The Best of Marketing Decision Making) Zoom seminar in September 2020, and will run the 36th Market-Driving Strategy (Exploiting 9 Underserved and Unserved Markets) seminar in October 2020.

Learn more at https://mansmith.net/program/3794/live-via-zoom-josiah-go-s-104th-marketing-strategy-and-plans-the-best-of-marketing-decision-making if interested. 

As a bonus, 10 marketers or entrepreneurs whose companies are still far from their normal sales volume can qualify for a 50% Bayanihan subsidy granted by sponsor Waters Philippines!

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