Size Matters on the Store Shelf

August 1, 2004
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Size Matters on the Store Shelf

A spray bottle for barbecue sauce offered ease of use. But it was too tall for the retail shelf, refrigerator door and home pantry.  
by Robert Mcmath
Putting barbecue sauce or a marinade in a spray bottle has always made a lot of sense. This package design eliminates the need for a brush or other application utensil, which can get quite messy and require thorough cleaning.
Bar-B-Q Buddies, introduced in the mid- to late-’90s, sought to capitalize on this concept.
The product came in a tall bottle with a separate trigger sprayer. A secondary paperboard carton held the capped bottle and sprayer.
The carton was too tall for shelves in the barbecue section of supermarkets. This relegated it to the bottom shelf near the floor or to the top shelf. In either case, it faced a big handicap by not being at eye level. Purchasers of the product faced the same storage issues in their home pantries.
After the user attached the sprayer onto the bottle, the product required refrigeration. But few refrigerator doors and shelves could accommodate the very tall bottle with sprayer.
The packaging had one more fault. Consumers could easily knock over the tall bottle as it sat on the counter or near the barbecue grill. It lacked a really stable base against its height as a ready-to-use spray bottle.
Mr. Mist to the rescue?
Mr. Mist Inc., Gordonsville, Va., has re-launched what it calls a “Spray Barbecue Sauce and Marinade” in a 16-fluid-ounce plastic bottle with a trigger spray-nozzle. The company claims to “deliver its flavor and protective moisture to grilled foods the most effective, efficient and thorough way—through a spray-mist.”  
Mr. Mist seems to have resolved the height issues. The bottle sits on the same store shelf as other barbecue sauces. And with the sprayer already attached to the bottle, the package does not require a secondary “box.” It also fits inside the refrigerator door. Packaging plans call for refill bottles and quart jugs.
With a new private label packer, the redesigned package and fresh capital, Mr. Mist is already gaining wide acceptance among retailers who saw it at the Fancy Food shows in Chicago in the spring and again recently in New York this summer. This time, all the necessary parts appear to be in place for success.
Marketers want a package that stands out on the shelf to catch the fleeting attention of passing shoppers. But they should be wary of its size to meet the constraints of retailers’ shelves and to accommodate storage and usage by consumers. BP

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