1-lb carton set to churn bigger butter sales

Land O'Lakes' larger box is more appealing to consumers and big retailers.

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Prompted by changing demographics and time-starved U.S. consumers, Land O'Lakes, St. Paul, MN, is serving up more variety and convenience to butter packaging with a new stick configuration within its flagship 1-lb package sizes.

First there was its 1-lb package with full-length, quarter-pound sticks, introduced in the 1920s. More recently, half-sticks, 2-oz individually wrapped sticks of salted butter, debuted in a 1/2-lb SBS paperboard carton in 2006.

Now the company is offering the half-sticks in a full 1-lb carton, with each of eight 2-oz half-sticks individually wrapped in an exclusive FlavorProtect® wrapper. Unveiled in late 2005 as a replacement for waxed paper, the wrapper seals in the butter's freshness while keeping out other flavors. Printed with a logo and measurement lines, the wrapper can be easily cut and is microwave-safe.

Company spokesperson Brian Delgado says Land O'Lakes felt the move from a 1/2- to a 1-lb multicount size was a good idea due to smaller household sizes, and consumer demand for more convenience packaging. "The rationale behind the larger size is that consumers won't have to go back to the store quite as often," he points out.

Bigger butter benefits

It's expected that the larger size will gain wider—and larger— retail acceptance.

"Typically, you'd find the half-pound at convenience stores or other smaller-format stores, not typically in larger retailers," Delgado explains. "The product wasn't as widely available as we'd have liked, but we knew that the distribution of the half-pound size would have limitations. However, offering it in the one-pound format ensures the product will be available in a large number of major grocery retailers, making it accessible to a broader audience."

Delgado suggests that the 1/2-lb format was a test for the new 1-lb size.
"The half-pound size offered us a good opportunity to test the concept," he says, "and it seemed to test quite well."

The company acknowledges that the new format led to the purchase of new packaging machinery, though additional details were unavailable. The company credits Mackey Szar (www.mackeyszar.com) for the design of the package graphics.

The initial rollout in February encompassed 21 East and Southeast states supplied from the Land O'Lakes headquarters manufacturing plant. The rollout will spread nationally as more of the company's production plants become involved, says Delgado.

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