Heinz innovates and standardizes with PantoneLIVE to maintain brand color throughout product line
Since the early 1940s, Heinz Beanz has been a staple of the British public. Produced by the U.K. subsidiary of U.S.-based H.J. Heinz Co., Heinz Beanz was chosen in 1998 as one of the brands that best represented the final 10 years of the millennium. Every day more than 1 million cans of Heinz Beanz are consumed in the U.K. – that’s approximately 485 million cans per year.* In 2005, Heinz Beanz was voted the “most loved brand” in Britain. What’s more, Heinz Beanz are consumed in more than 60 countries worldwide, including Russia and China. Such a history and reputation makes Heinz Beanz a truly iconic brand. Yet, as with any well-known brand, protecting its unique identity is critical, and brand color is integral to that objective.
Results of a recent survey fielded by the Pantone Color Institute®* bear out how important color is to consumer decision making. The study showed that color and packaging aren’t just important; they affect perceptions about product quality.
The majority of adults agree packaging is an important part of any product. Half of adults agree higher quality products have higher quality packaging. More than two-thirds of adults agreed they take color into consideration when making product purchases and the majority agree packaging is an important part of any product. More than one-quarter agreed that colors help inform them about product quality and half agreed that higher quality products have higher quality packaging. What’s more, adults avoid purchasing and doubt the quality of products with packaging discoloration and two-thirds will question the quality of a product they are interested in purchasing if the packaging is discolored.
What does this mean for brand owners? It’s critical to get a brand’s color right!
Heinz continually innovates its product packaging to accommodate changing consumer lifestyles. Most recently, for example, Heinz U.K. introduced a resealable Fridge Pack for Heinz Beanz that uses a gravure shrink pack, as well as single-portion pack Snap Pots that use a litho carton. While packages may change, one thing needs to stay constant: the brand color.
With each new package design Heinz faced a new challenge. Different substrates and printing processes made it difficult to achieve consistent color and layering substrates exaggerated the differences. For example, with four- and six-can multi-packs of Heinz Beanz, with paper labels on the cans, encased in shrink-wrapped film, it is difficult to manage color across the different substrates. The result, the trademark Heinz Beanz turquoise sometimes printed turquoise and on other materials printed bluish green or even greenish yellow. Reproduction of Heinz turquoise across these different materials and processes was inconsistent – a huge issue for any brand owner today that can have significant cost implications.
Pantone, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards, Sun Branding Solutions, an integrated packaging brand management agency, and Gilchrist, Sun Branding Solutions’ branding and design implementation division, as well as the SmartColour team from Sun Chemical, worked with Heinz to conduct a color audit of the Heinz Beanz color palette to identify all of the colors that had been in production for the Heinz Beanz signature turquoise.
Using X-Rite instruments, including the SpectorEye, a handheld, portable spectrophotometer, which offers the colorimetric functions needed to accurately measure and control special colors, along with all the densitometric functions needed to quickly and easily monitor and control color on press, the audit determined that Heinz labels appeared as a color match for shoppers the majority of the time. As today’s packaging has expanded beyond traditional labels, the challenge came with other “modern” materials including flexo and gravure printed shrink film and litho printed carton board where the all-important turquoise was never within Heinz’s specification. This is an example of a challenge all brand owners face and is indicative of serious issues with color harmonization at the point of sale (something Heinz faced where individual cans are displayed alongside multipack versions). To eliminate this issue with Heinz Beanz, the company turned to Pantone and Sun Branding Solutions to help them bring consistency and control across all materials in the production process and make certain that its brand color was right every time, on every possible packaging material.
Getting It Right, Every Time
Heinz selected PantoneLIVE™ to help provide the consistency and control they needed. PantoneLIVE is a dynamic ecosystem that leverages Sun Chemical SmartColour technology and color data foundation, allowing brand owners to manage and maintain their color assets via a cloud-based repository. The PantoneLIVE portal lets brand owners store and share key color assets so they can manage and communicate colors accurately – to any supplier around the world.
“The benefits of using PantoneLIVE are clear,” says Nigel Dickie, director of corporate and government affairs for Heinz. “The digital tools gave us unprecedented control and consistency from different print processes and materials. Across all of our packaging formats we saw a reduction in color variance of 50 percent and saved time by establishing one color target that can be applied to all our Heinz Beanz designs. The results with our Beanz packaging have been so remarkable – that we plan to extend PantoneLIVE to additional product lines, including Heinz soups and Spaghetti Hoops.”
PantoneLIVE provided Heinz the color control they were seeking. Heinz was able to maintain its color palette for Heinz Beanz and determine an optimal, true brand color for accurate printability and print accuracy across a variety of substrates, leading to consistency from design to pre-press to print.
PantoneLIVE also allowed Heinz to digitize its processes to achieve speed to market efficiencies by using digital tools to determine how brand colors will appear on store shelves, which makes Heinz products recognizable for consumers. Additionally, PantoneLIVE helped Heinz organize its library of colors, including flexo, gravure and litho base color ranges.
What’s more, PantoneLIVE uses CxF (Color Exchange Format) as the file format to contain all the associated color metadata that needs to be communicated to solutions throughout the supply chain, which helps Heinz communicate color expectations and correctly measure and determine tolerances for its supply chain partners. This also instills best practices and protocols to ensure expectations are being met throughout the process with measurement and verification based on scientific, spectral data rather than relying on subjective, visual evaluations and costly adjustments on press.
Accelerated Speed to Market for a Limited Edition
In September 2011, Heinz rolled out a new package design for Heinz Beanz to support the U.K.’s “1 of 5 a day” healthy eating program, a campaign to encourage the consumption of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. This was the first graphic change to the label since Heinz removed the word “baked” from the front of packs in 2008. The new design retained the iconic Heinz turquoise, keystone shape and baked beans image, but replaced the word Beanz with the “1 of your 5 a day” statement to remind consumers of the health benefits of Heinz Beanz. The image appeared on three types of packaging: Heinz Beanz 415g tins, Heinz Beanz Snap Pots and Heinz Beanz multipacks.
Sun Branding Solutions played a key role in getting the new campaign packaging design to market quickly, and the agency’s Gilchrist division facilitated the implementation of PantoneLIVE, an innovative approach to resolving this universal problem with Heinz. PantoneLIVE helped Heinz eliminate the time consuming process of establishing visual color matches for all the pack formats, reducing the time from design to store shelves and allowing Heinz to take advantage of the healthy eating program.
Using PantoneLIVE brought increased control to the entire packaging process, reducing color variation by 50 percent across Heinz Beanz product packaging. The improved control has the added benefit of improving quality and brand.
Additionally, the speed with which the Heinz “1 of 5” product line was brought to market using PantoneLIVE demonstrates that the company can have new packaging designed, mocked up and produced in considerably less time than before; reducing time to market for a new package and creating considerable additional revenue for the company. Add to that the savings in overall production costs because the packaging is delivered right the first time, and Heinz expects to see positive impact against the corporate bottom line.
*Omnibus survey of 1,000 consumers fielded by the Pantone Color Institute, December 12-14, 2011. Completed interviews are weighted based on information from the U.S. Census to be representative of the total U.S. population of adults age 18 years and older.