Maple Leaf Farms, Leesburg, Ind., transitioned to vacuum skin packaging for all retail raw duck breast and duck leg products. The new packaging, which is a Maple Leaf Foods packagingculmination of a 3-year research and development effort, offers a myriad of benefits to consumers and retailers.

Research conducted by Brand Amplitude shows strong consumer acceptance for the new packaging. Seventy five percent of consumers preferred the visibility of the new vacuum skin pack in a side-by-side comparison with the existing carton. These results were consistent across age group, gender, duck purchase frequency and Maple Leaf Farm customer vs. non-customer. And, the vacuum skin packaging outperformed the carton on all positive descriptors—taste, health, premium product and gourmet product.

“The new packaging provides a means for consumers to examine the entire product, which is an important factor when purchasing raw food, particularly high-end proteins,” says Cindy Turk, director of marketing.

The new packaging technology offers numerous benefits, including:

• A clear view of the entire product, so consumers can inspect quality and size.
• “Easy peel” corner for convenient package opening.
• Cooking instructions under the flip-up label.
• Reduced packaging materials by 17%.

For retailers, the new packaging creates a more appealing presence on the shelf and offers multiple display options. For example, the products can be displayed upright in customized trays or on a pegboard for multiple display possibilities. The new vacuum skin pack duck products can also offer retailers a point of differentiation and excitement for their customers.

Product enhancement
“This packaging change has been the catalyst for additional product enhancement,” says Turk.

Vacuum skin packed duck breast is available in three varieties—Plain, Roasted Garlic and Honey Orange. Marinades are all-natural and gluten-free with no artificial flavors or preservatives. They come fresh or frozen in 7.5-ounce duck breast packages, nine per case. Duck Legs, not leg quarters, are all-natural with no marinade. This updated cut is packed two legs per 16-ounce package, six per case, also available fresh or frozen.

The nationwide rollout of the new packaging begins in July and will include traditional grocery stores, specialty retailers and meat markets. Maple Leaf Farms will support the new packaging rollout with $2 off instant coupons to drive consumer purchases. Custom display trays, recipe booklets, vinyl clings and shelf danglers are also available to attract and influence purchases.

“Duck is gaining more attention as high-profile chefs are showcasing duck and consumers are learning that duck is a healthy protein option,” says Turk. “We believe the new retail packaging and product enhancements will expose more consumers to discover the benefits of duck.”