Down To The  Last Drop?

September 1, 2006
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Down To The  Last Drop?
By Robert McMath
Years ago, mustard manufacturers had a clever way of looking at their profit margins: “It’s not what you use; it’s what’s left in the jar!” At the time, mustard was sold in a glass jar with a base that was wider than its neck, making it difficult for consumers to access all of the jar’s contents.
And then came a plastic bottle suitable for packaging acidic products like mustard and ketchup; this advance allowed for the introduction of plastic squeeze bottles designed to make it easier for consumers to dispense the product. A number of relish and mayonnaise brands also went into these squeeze-type dispenser bottles.
But regrettably, while these bottles make it easier to dispense the product, they don’t make it any easier to access every last bit. I believe this packaging concept needs more work.
As it stands, air gets inside a squeeze bottle as it gradually empties, partially drying out the mustard in the package. This, in turn, makes it increasingly difficult to dispense. Add to that the fact that there is no way to get a knife or other utensil into the opening to dislodge the mustard that remains in the bottom and on the sides of the squeeze bottle.
Remembering the old saying about the “profit” for the mustard manufacturer, well, consumers resent paying for something they don’t fully use. (And my wife resents my incessant banging on the kitchen counter to get the squeeze bottle to expel the last drop.)
There is another old marketing saying that I hold in greater regard: “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” To me, marketers should work to continually enhance their innovations. In this competitive climate, you’re never really done with your packaging improvements—especially if your customers are still fighting to get their money’s worth out of your “innovative” bottle.
The author, Robert McMath, has been a marketing consultant for more than 30 years. Through  NewProductWorks, he has advised major companies. He is the author of What Were They Thinking, a book chronicling the whys of product successes and failures. Contact him at 607.582.6125 or rmcmath@cs.com. Visit www.NewProductWorks.com

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