Bath & Body, By Design

Maesa Packaging designed these vibrant tubes for Payless ShoeSource. They are injection-molded, and utilize in-mold labeling technology, and a foil label, to achieve the nearly 3-D look.

Brands are taking different design approaches to bottles, tubes and jars, in an effort to convey product attributes to consumers.

Over the next five years, sales of bath and shower products are expected to reach $6 billion, according to Euromonitor International. The market research company says the category is expected to enjoy a constant value CAGR of 1% through to 2016. The body wash and shower gel segment is increasing the most—by 6% in both current value and volume terms, rising to $2.2 billion, according to the company’s latest report from June 2012, on Bath and Shower in the U.S.

So what’s propelling sales? Innovation—such as new scents and formulations for body wash and shower gel products that are stimulating consumers’ interest. The fact that innovative formulations and enticing scents have been encouraging growth may indicate that marketers and designers have been successful in conveying these product attributes to consumers—through the packaging.

Gender-Neutral—and Natural

The latest research by Euromonitor also finds that consumers are seeking out “healthier” personal care products. Male-positioned products are also driving sales. The market research company says that gender positioning within the bath and shower category is increasingly common, with men’s bath and shower products accounting for $641 million of the total bath and shower sales of $5.7 billion. These products also showed an 11% increase in share of overall value sales in 2011—up from 4% in 2002.

Barista chose clear bottles by McKernan Packaging to show off the color of its body sprays.
Barista is one brand with packaging that emphasizes both innovative scents and natural ingredients. Although its packaging is not designed to be male-specific, it is a gender-neutral design, with colors that are appealing to men.

Barista chose bottles, jars, and tubes in basic shapes, which is a trend, according to Gina Crespo, marketing and advertising manager, McKernan Packaging, which supplies the majority of Barista’s packaging.

“Many of our customers have been going for the basics,” says Crespo. “They’re interested in basic packaging, but dressing it up with various decorating techniques,” she says.

Barista uses realistic images of food and spices on its labels, to convey the products’ scents, such as vanilla almond, or coffee mint. The photos used on the labels “pop” against the simple, white packaging—conveying a feeling of “purity,” without the distraction of a container that is boldly colored or uniquely shaped. Since the formulations don’t contain any parabens, phthalates, or sulfates, the minimalist packaging helps to convey the brand’s “natural” message.

“We wanted our products to take center stage,” says Nancy Scuderi, president, Barista. “Our clear bottles maximize the impact of our coffee colored items. The smooth, white caps used on the clear jars provide contrast and sleekness—and our entire range has clean lines,” she adds.

Menscience Advanced Body Powder has a minimalist design. The package is part of Lombardi Design & Manufacturing’s line of stock powder shakers.
Menscience is also a brand with a minimalist design, but as its name implies, the brand’s target customer is strictly men. One of its products is a body powder, in a white powder shaker, with a black cap. “The container features a twist sifter for dispensing and makes a strong presence on counter, with modern lines and a tall decoration area,” explains Jack Albanese, sales engineer, Lombardi Design & Manufacturing, which supplies this package.

Many personal care brands have been utilizing Lombardi’s stock line of powder shakers, according to Albanese, for all types of body products ranging from hair powders to exfoliants. “We’ve seen a resurgence in the popularity of powders for bath and body,” he adds.

A Premium Look, at a ‘Payless’ Price

Another brand using photos on labels to convey enticing scents is Payless ShoeSource. Its tubes are flashy and vibrantly colored, however, and not at all minimalist in their approach to design.

Payless ShoeSource partnered with Maesa Packaging in 2010 to begin rolling out its beauty products, and its newest is a line of body lotions, with fresh, fruity scents. The vibrant tubes were designed to pop on store shelves. The colorful packaging is not what one might expect from a product line that is sold at such low price points—90% of the line is under $10, with many items at $2.99.

In-mold label technology was used to execute the design on the injection-molded polypropylene tubes, giving the packaging its shelf appeal. “This breakthrough technology allows the realistic, photographic quality decoration to cover 100% of the tube’s surface area, for a seamless look,” says Scott Kestenbaum, senior vice president, Maesa Group, which designed the packaging.

Eight-color graphics were reverse printed, and then laminated onto a foil in order to give the tubes extra shine, according to Kestenbaum. “The foil surface allowed our team to create the impactful graphics, which make the fragrance elements come alive, in near 3-D form,” he says.

Back to Basics

Suppliers are also recognizing—and responding—to the need for more economical packaging options.

“Marketers are going for a ‘clean’ design aesthetic, which can also mean cost-savings,” says Hiram Santana, sales manager, Olcott Plastics. “We’re also seeing a greater interest in basic shapes, such as our Style Line jars—and decorating techniques are being used to make these types of packages look prestige,” he adds.

The Style Line Jar by Olcott Plastics is made with less resin.
Some of Olcott’s customers have been switching from a classic, double wall jar to its less expensive Style Line jars. They are made using a proprietary injection molding process that smooths out the “hang over,” around the lid, according to Santana. “These jars require less resin to produce, and are lightweight. They’re more affordable and have a lower carbon footprint, but quality isn’t compromised,” explains Santana.

Santana says that marketers are looking at ways to save on packaging, but they’re not skimping on formulations, especially in the bath and body product category. “Companies are placing a greater emphasis on better formulations now. When budgets shrink, it was often typical for a company to tweak a formula, and leave out certain ingredients to choose fancier packaging. But now I’m seeing more companies investing more in the formulation—and choosing simpler, less expensive packaging,” he says.

As a greater emphasis is placed on formulations, one might expect more brands to follow Barista’s lead and choose clear packaging more often.

“Clear jars, which show the product inside, are definitely appealing to many brands,” says Rebecca Holland, marketing director, Kaufman Container Company.

Holland says that jars will always be a staple packaging option for bath and body products, and says Kaufman is also seeing a demand for standard shapes.

“Many brands want a clean, modern look, and will choose typical cylinders or round bottles and jars that are very sleek and symmetrical in appearance,” she says.

For this reason, Kaufman recently added new additions to its library of molds. New options include its two low-profile polypropylene “spa jars,” in 150- and 250ml sizes.

“These jars have a custom 94mm screw top cap, with a disc insert to keep the product in place,” says Holland. “There is also ample space on the lid for decorating,” she adds. The jars come in natural, which is clear, or can be ordered in custom colors.

Color often helps a basic bottle or jar to pop on a store shelf, and Alpha Packaging is offering a new “green” spray. “Conventional coloring sprays emit VOCs into the atmosphere, and have other issues, when they are applied to packaging. Our spray is UV cured, and doesn’t have any of those issues,” says Marny Bielefeldt, director of marketing, Alpha Packaging.

The spray doesn’t affect the recyclability of a bottle in any way, but its environmental benefit is at the time of application.

Other Trends

A return to basic shapes may be one trend for bath and body products, but suppliers are also seeing other packaging trends as well.

Bielefeldt says that Alpha Packaging has been fielding a lot of requests for wider bottles, especially from its bath and body customers. “Many customers have been asking for square or oval shapes, rather than typical round bottles. They want a slightly different look than competitors—and, a wider bottle may give your product more shelf space,” she says.

Alpha Packaging’s “green” coloring option for bottles is better for the environment than traditional sprays, because it doesn’t emit VOCs.
Alpha launched a stock line of oblong shaped bottles in 2011, and says they are becoming more requested among its customers now. “This line has really taken off in 2012,” says Bielefeldt.

Kaufman’s Holland has also seen an interest in packaging that’s more ornate, rather than sleek and modern. “We’ve seen a resurgence of more old-fashioned, vintage style packaging, which is a throwback to earlier times. We have gotten a lot of requests for apothecary containers, such as upscale versions of old classics,” Holland says. “When going for this look, the colors are a lot warmer with neutrals, ambers, and gold tones,” she adds.

Neopac, known for its Polyfoil tubes, says that it has been receiving more requests from customers launching shower products. “It’s not always due to the need for barrier protection—it’s because marketers like the shiny look, which can make a tube look more prestige,” says Boris Schaefer, sales manager, Hoffman Neopac.

A new innovation Neopac has been developing is a tube with a one-way valve system that prevents air from coming into contact with the product. “This may be more useful for skincare products, but there are also many natural bath and body formulations that may benefit as well,” says Schaefer.

In terms of decorating, Schaefer says he’s had many inquiries for tubes that are silver or gold—but no other colors. “It does seem like ‘simple and modern’ is a popular design direction,” he says. Some of Neopac’s customers, though, are also interested in its glitter effects. “We can use a colored foil, and then add glitter to a clear top layer,” says Schaefer.

Whichever design direction you choose, using the right packaging style to differentiate a bath and body line can be a key to success.

Sampling in the Shower

Arcade’s new ShowerPod makes it easier for consumers to use samples in the shower.

Consumers are turning to trial and travel sizes more often to spend less money and try new products, according to Euromonitor International. The sampling experts at Arcade are capitalizing on this trend, with its new ShowerPod.

ShowerPod is a round foil packet attached to a water-resistant laminated card, with a convenient “C”-shaped hook designed to hang in the shower, for ease of use. The paper hook is sturdy enough to support the weight of the card as it hangs. The pod contains 5- or 10ml, providing two to three uses.

Diane Crecca, senior vice president, sales marketing and business development, Arcade Marketing, says the team knew it would be a slight challenge to make sure the hook worked properly, but they all went home to try the first samples to make sure there were no issues.
Arcade’s BeautiPod has already been a success, but the ShowerPod’s water-resistant feature—and hook—make it ideal for bath and body products. “It’s perfect for shower gels, shave gels, and shampoos,” says Crecca. “It can be handed out in stores, or attached to magazine pages—it’s very versatile.”