Direct-to-Mouth Products in Stick Packs Lifting Much More Than the Energy Market
Marlton, N.J., (January 18, 2012) Brand managers and packaging professionals looking for a jolt to existing or envisaged product lines should be paying close attention to a ‘new’ twist in stick packaging: direct-to-mouth (DTM) dosing.
Just like it sounds, the acronym DTM describes dry or liquid product formulations that are designed for consumption without the need for premixing. The consumer simply opens the stick, and pours the contents into their mouth.
Applicability for DTM goes far beyond the first notable example, the ubiquitous ‘Pixie Stix’, the colorful granular candy that’s been around for years. The Energy category is becoming well represented with DTM products, along with OTC line extensions from Reckitt Benckiser and GSK (cold and flu remedies). Swiss firm Mepha manufactures the Atrequin brand in the Pharma category, a malaria treatment for children.
There are a number of notable forces driving the DTM product and category expansion:
- Portable and travel friendly
- Easy to use in seconds
- Eliminates the need for a secondary mixing step
- Eliminates the need for a glass, bottle or spoon
- Can be designed for immediate or time release effect, or both
- Allows for robust dosing and appealing flavors
- Minimized materials usage and post-use waste stream
Encaff Products is among the growing number of companies riding the wave in a substantial fashion, as their line of DTM energy sticks gains traction in both the USA and overseas. Encaff’s President, Dan Leonardi, whose earlier career includes 30 years with CPG giants Pepsi and Kellogg’s, states: “We’ve developed a major breakthrough in caffeine technology that enables us to offer a truly unique, great-tasting and effective product. The direct to mouth stick delivery system maximizes our value proposition to consumers, capitalizing on the portability benefits.”
The rapidly expanding list of commercial success stories for Encaff’s caffeine sticks includes Best Buy, Tom Thumb (Kroger Division), Duane Reade, and Casey’s General Stores. And the list appears poised for future growth with distribution coming at leading retailers like Race Trac, Home Depot FUEL and Kum n Go. “7-Eleven and the military are very interested in our technology”, Leonardi says, “the features and attributes of our product really resonate with key potential users, including combat troops.”
While the outlook for additional growth in all categories appear very good, the DTM/Stick Pack platform offers potentially game-changing advantages in the OTC and Pharma arenas. An orally dissolving tablet (ODT) typically allows for about a 200mg formulation, far less than the 1000mg offered by the DTM stick platform. A head-to-head comparison further illustrates the advantages of the stick platform as it eliminates the need for unwanted additives:
• Active ingredient Active Ingredient
• Filler/diluent Filler/diluent
• Binder Flavor/color
As a result, consumers will increasingly be given the option of choosing products that taste better and dissolve faster while offering both immediate and time-release effects.
Today, much of the market’s attention is focused on dry products and applications, but the same benefits listed above can also be applied to DTM liquids. If Go-Gurt is any indication, consumers appear to be highly receptive to on-the-go products that offer benefits and taste good. The same wide range of applications, from confectionery to Pharmaceutical, is expected to be in play.
So, just when you thought stick packaging was being utilized in every conceivable fashion by brand managers and packaging engineers, an entirely new portfolio of uses and applications appears on the horizon.
Where will the answer to the next major packaging format challenge you encounter be found? It may very well be on the tip of your tongue.
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- Edward Delia
- Delia Associates
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