A New Twist in Labeling

A box with a window gives consumers an expanded view of a new DHA supplement.


The nutritional benefits of DHA might just be too vast to include on a traditional label. Short for docosahexaenoic acid, DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that has demonstrated certain benefits to the cardiovascular system as well as to the central nervous system (CNS). According to Jim Donovan, president of NuTru Inc. (Lincolnwood, IL), DHA can help consumers achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, increase concentration, and improve sleeping patterns.

So when NuTru was developing its DHA product called O-Mega-Zen3, introduced this past October, Donovan knew he needed a lot of labeling space to explain DHA's benefits. "Our dual approach to marketing demanded more space," Donovan says.

NuTru also needed to explain to consumers why diet supplementation of omega-3 is necessary. Omega-3 can be consumed by eating eggs, fish, and animal organ meat, but due to an increased consumption of highly processed fast food, the average American's diet is omega-3 deficient, says Donovan. "We wanted to give consumers information on this little-known acid," he says.

NuTru also wanted to explain the source of its product and its "unique" formulation. Rather than take omega-3 from deepwater fish, which could be contaminated with mercury and DDT, NuTru chose to use Pacific algae grown in a bioreactor vessel, much as yeast is grown, and to extract oil from the powder resulting from processing. Also, "O-Mega-Zen3 is not based on genetically modified organisms, and it is encapsulated in a vegetarian capsule," Donovan explains.

In addition to conveying these product benefits, sources, and manufacturing information, NuTru also had to include detailed information on ingredients as well as certain statements in order to meet FDA regulations. NuTru found that it needed more space than the average label typically provides.

Donovan says that NuTru originally considered packaging O-Mega-Zen3 in a blister package, the same style of packaging used for its other product lines. "But we couldn't get all the information needed onto the blister packs," he explains. "We needed a large amount of labeling space."

But Donovan wasn't looking for a large package. "We wanted to keep the package small to save on shelf space," he says. For help, he turned to Larry Salani of Salani Design Inc. (Park Ridge, IL), a graphic design firm specializing in pharmaceutical and nutritional packaging.

"We are very aware of FDA requirements for label content and the lack of space we have for text and graphics when designing the boxes and labels for this industry," says Salani. He suggested that NuTru try the Lingual-Twist, an innovative patent-pending paperboard box his firm designed to solve space problems. It was originally conceived to help firms print multiple languages on one package, hence its name.

To print the box, Donovan and Salani hired Lyle Howard Co. (Arlington Heights, IL). The box, which is sealed around a standard bottle and is not intended to be opened, is designed so that the cap of the bottle protrudes from the top of the box. "Just squeezing the sides of the box against the bottle allows you to unscrew the cap easily," Salani explains. One side of the box has a die-cut window that allows consumers to see the entire bottle label by turning the bottle cap. "This way, the consumer can see all the information printed on the bottle label as well as that on the box, since the bottle stays within the box permanently," he adds.

Donovan says that the Lingual-Twist "enabled NuTru to focus our labeling on both cardiovascular benefits and CNS benefits." His wish to keep package size down was also answered, and he believes that the compact size may help his firm do more than just keep costs down. "The compact packaging is also very eye-catching and easy to pick up." NuTru hopes that consumers do just that.

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