With global initiatives that aim to increase the customer experience, a topic that is on the rise, and bring your brand closer to the end consumer, Hershey has seen Smart Packaging as a powerful medium. The IoP Journal interviewed Marcel Sacco, General Director of Hershey Brasil, to find out the direction of these initiatives and to learn about the company’s vision on Smart Packaging trends, including in Brazil. The Hershey executive spoke about the benefits achieved in several campaigns using product packaging and the growing needs such as expanding the Consumer Experience, Ensuring the Authenticity and Safety of Products in addition to performing Identification and Tracking, operations that integrate and add up. Marcel Sacco also addressed the use of technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), QR Codes, Augmented Reality and Digital Printing. Read the entire interview:
IoP Journal – Recently, Hershey launched a campaign in which its brand was replaced by the word Heroes, a way to honor “health heroes”, professionals who save lives and who take risks in fighting Covid-19, to help others (Read more in Digital Printing and its effects on design). Has the use of packaging as advanced media, as in this example, already been a common practice of Hershey?
Marcel Sacco, General Director of Hershey Brasil: “We are evaluating several initiatives that are included in the Smart Packaging umbrella. Things like identification and tracking in supply chains, using technologies based on radio frequency identification (RFID), Digital Printing as a tool to guarantee the authenticity of products, and the promotion of sustainability, with a focus on reverse logistics, correct disposal and packaging recycling ”
Marcel Sacco, General Director of Hershey Brasil – In addition to the Heroes packaging, we also produce special editions of milk chocolate packaging to celebrate International Women’s Day. Her and She (pronouns, in English, meaning ‘hers’ and ‘she’), always present in the Hershey’s brand name. This was the starting point, in partnership with the agency BETC / Havas, to promote and value female talent. The action transformed the packaging into a gallery to promote the work of musicians, singers, illustrators, poets and writers and several other talented women. The QR Code was also used to publicize our certification by the Rainforest Alliance, as the only global chocolate company to certify 100% of the cocoa used. Through the codes, consumers had access to all the information and details of our Cocoa for Good program, which will direct US $ 500 million, until 2030, to guarantee the sustainability of the cocoa production chain.
IoP Journal – Do you consider that this could be a trend for the company’s next marketing actions?
Marcel Sacco – It is undoubtedly a way to communicate and relate to our audiences, as it allows individuality of themes and details of relevant content for each segment of consumers we reach. The two actions carried out recently had a very impactful result with our consumers, generating relevance for the brand.
IoP Journal – Are customized packages or should they be part of strategies or tactics for other campaigns?
Marcel Sacco – The view that packaging is powerful media is on the rise, especially with technologies such as QR Codes, Augmented Reality, proximity communication or Near Field Communication (NFC), Digital Printing, that is, in general, through interaction with the smartphones of end customers. We are aware of these trends and leading several actions in the direction of using these technologies.
IoP Journal – Has Hershey already considered getting closer to its consumers through these new features – and devices?
Marcel Sacco – Yes, in fact, we are already doing this. The International Women’s Day campaign featured special packaging that included HERSHE (the pronouns “hers” and “she” in English “) and QR Codes that directed the public to discover the work of several talented women. For example, through the QR Code, it was possible to listen to the songs of Bruna Mendez and Yzalú, musician and singer, by cell phone, respectively, whose faces were printed on the packaging next to one of the pronouns.
The special HEROES packages, designed to pay homage to the health professionals who work on the front line to fight the pandemic, have QR Code that direct to the campaign video.
At the launch of our Hershey’s Professional line, for the food service audience, we shared links to lives with our team of culinarians, generating interesting content and teaching application techniques for our products.
In addition, our packaging has a QR Code to access the brand’s e-commerce and information about the company’s sustainability actions, such as the Rainforest seal, COCOA Link and COCO for GOOD.
IoP Journal – Or: does the company intend to invest in technological resources to make its packaging more intelligent (Smart Packaging)?
Marcel Sacco – We are evaluating several initiatives that are included in the Smart Packaging umbrella. Things like identification and tracking in supply chains, using technologies based on radio frequency identification (RFID), Digital Printing as a tool to guarantee the authenticity of products, and the promotion of sustainability, with a focus on reverse logistics, correct disposal and packaging recycling.
IoP Journal – Does Hershey use Bar Codes or other technologies in its supply chains for Identification and Tracking?
Marcel Sacco – We are advancing on this front. Hershey uses the coding of batches of products produced and batches generated internally for raw materials and packaging materials to control, record and trace the consumption and supply chain to the consumer.
Marcel Sacco: “The view that packaging is powerful media is on the rise, especially with technologies such as QR Codes, Augmented Reality, communication by proximity or Near Field Communication (NFC), Digital Printing, that is, in general, by through interaction with end customers’ smartphones ”
IoP Journal – Are there any resources to guarantee the Authenticity of Products or is this not a current concern?
Marcel Sacco – There is a great concern with “food fraud”. The specifications of packaging materials and the technologies applied to them are of a high standard and difficult to reproduce (specification of packaging material, printing process, in addition to control over packaging files), since few packaging manufacturers have the ability to work with these technologies.
IoP Journal – In the pillars of Sustainability, Hershey stands out for having a certification proving that it does not use cocoa harvested by child labor. Are there other initiatives of this type, for example, regarding the disposal of packaging or reuse of materials?
Marcel Sacco – Hershey do Brasil works to reduce waste generation with projects and innovations directed and aligned with the sustainability theme, it is also recognized for being a ZWL (Zero Waste to Landfill) plant, or zero disposal in landfills, dealing with responsible manner 100% of its waste in the recycling and composting process, in addition to investing in projects that aim to implement reverse logistics actions for post-consumer packaging, through investments in waste pickers’ associations and cooperatives, collaborating to fulfill the recovery targets for recyclable materials in the business sector and with the expansion of recycling rates in the country.
Today, Hershey has an organic composting process inside its plant, transforming all waste from its restaurant into fertilizer, which is donated to the socio-environmental project “Quem planta reap” with an audience of 180 children in a municipal school in the city of São Roque, where environmental education works, planting vegetable seedlings and donating to post-harvest families.
IoP Journal – Are there other initiatives of this type under development by Hershey?
Marcel Sacco – Hershey joined the Plastic Cooperation Network early in its formation. The network’s mission is to encourage and engage the plastic industry in the search for effective solutions to expand the circular economy, being a channel of communication with society. Thus, we work together to increase the recyclability of plastic packaging and the availability of plastic waste for recycling.
IoP Journal – In the 1990s, when the internet started to be used with greater intensity and progressively, mass media, mainly TV, were still able to reach thousands of consumers in one stroke. Now, with hundreds of communication channels through cable TVs, millions of websites, social networks, groups of friends through apps and many other resources. How has Hershey sought to communicate with its consumers? Marcel Sacco – We are always attentive to the needs of our audience and constantly work to build a close relationship with our consumers. In line with consumer behavior, our communication vision is based on omnicality, in following consumers’ journey throughout their day. So we are in traditional media, but we have increasingly increased our presence in digital, from the presence in our channels on social networks, through our e-commerce to our digital advertising. In addition, we have increasingly used packaging as a means of communication. In addition to digital editions and the use of the QR Code, in the promotion “Hershey’s Que Viaaaaagem”, held in 2019, we promoted a simulation with augmented reality at the Walmart Pacaembu supermarket. The action was aimed at publicizing the promotion that gave a trip to Hershey Park, in the United States, as the main prize. In the Augmented Reality experience, the consumer was transported to the amusement park and was next to the Statue of Liberty.
IoP Journal – Are Smart Packaging solutions for transforming packaging into media being studied by the company?
Marcel Sacco – We already have connectivity to online shopping sites, recipes and information about the cocoa sustainability chain and information about the company.
IoP Journal – Is packaging already a resource for creating Hershey brand promotions for your end buyers?
Marcel Sacco – The “Hershey’s Que Viaaaaagem” promotion, held in 2019, promoted a simulation with augmented reality at the Walmart Pacaembu supermarket. The action was aimed at publicizing the promotion that gave a trip to Hershey Park, in the United States, as the main prize. In the Augmented Reality experience, the consumer was transported to the amusement park and was next to the Statue of Liberty.
IoP Journal – With Covid-19, several companies are concerned with the creation of packaging that can favor hygiene by consumers. In the GSMD’s Mercado & Consumo em Alerta virtual panel, held on May 6, 2020, for example, the presidents of Procter & Gamble Brasil, Juliana Azevedo; Mondeléz Brasil, Liel Miranda; and Carrefour Brasil Group, Noël Prioux; presented their respective views on the current scenario, post-Covid-19. In his comments, the packaging sector was remembered as the main segment for innovation in the areas of health and hygiene safety. Thus, it is clear that products that can be easily cleaned or active packaging capable of eliminating viruses and intruders have advanced to be a necessity today. How has Hershey dealt with these new challenges?
Marcel Sacco – This is a new area of opportunities for packaging and certainly the pandemic will accelerate the development of new benefits and differentials in packaging with a focus on ensuring greater safety in products with high turnover like ours. We are carefully evaluating with our partners and suppliers new technologies that will allow us to contribute to this challenge.
IoP Journal – Does the company intend to or already carry out studies in this area?
Marcel Sacco – We have been working in partnership with our suppliers to seek the most modern and effective in this regard, but with great caution. Our concern is always to offer proven technologies and benefits, which are not just an easy image resource. Everything we add to our product has to be proven effective.