They are coming for your booze now with plain packaging

Christopher Snowden tweets:

This is the news that Indonesia is moving to implement plain packaging for alcohol, using the same arguments to support their laws as those used against tobacco products.

This weekend it was reported that Indonesia is stepping up plans to introduce plain packaging for alcoholic products. Should the country press ahead with its plans, the prediction by IP associations that plain packaging will creep into other industry segments may be realised sooner than expected.

The Jakarta Post and Food Navigator Asia both report that the Indonesian government is considering regulation that would require beverages with an alcohol content in excess of 20% to either carry graphic health warnings or to use plain packaging.   Read more »

The slippery slope of plain packaging worrying Pharma now

Finally some industries are starting to realise that if plain packaging for tobacco products comes in then the health fanatics and control freaks will move onto other industries…sugar  and food products being the next target.

The health fanatics and control freaks are already moving against “Big Sugar”. When I spoke at a recent conference about these control freaks and how they will use anti-tobacco tactics against food and beverage manufacturers there was scoffing in the audience.

I pointed out that even though they didn’t think much of tobacco companies that they were under attack in much the same way, and it was only just beginning. They needed to commit to opposing plain packaging gaining a toehold because if it did then it would expand into their businesses.

Now the pharmaceutical industry has woken up…they have seen that the food and beverage industry so far has failed to see…that plain packaging advocates (mostly state funded lobbyists) are coming for them too.

The pharmaceutical industry, as well as food and alcoholic drink manufacturers, could be under pressure from the spread of plain and standardised packaging, delegates at INTA’s annual meeting in Hong Kong were told today, May 12.

“Going too far will make things more difficult in the fight against counterfeit drugs. There are other things that can be done,” said Myrtha Hurtado Rivas, global head of trademarks, domain names and copyright at Novartis in Switzerland. Read more »

What is the Health Committee doing?


Sometimes you really have to wonder whether MPs actually think about what they’re doing.

Right now the Health Select Committee is having another bash at tobacco companies, this time wanting plain packaging. There’s a novel idea.

Slight problem though. In their desire to hammer Big Tobacco they’re creating a whole new world of marketing that exploits the whole plain packaging effort.

Doritos have come up with plain packaging for their Dorito’s chips. They’re keen as.

“Dominic Twyford, client director at Landor said the move would draw existing customers to the brand. “It will make existing customers feel like a part of the brand, mirroring the co-creation trend that is increasingly popular at the moment and attract new customers to try the brand,” Twyford added.   Read more »

A solution looking for a problem, or a genuine invention?

Dodgy “Unpackit Awards” misses the point

A few months ago a little, a seemingly irrelevant, group calling itself Wanaka Wastebusters received some sunlight after using $150,000 of taxpayer money to slag off New Zealand businesses for their Unpackit Awards.

While their funders at the Ministry for the Environment turn a blind eye and continue to chuck them bags of money, their Minister, Amy Adams is not quite as impressed, particularly after hearing they whored into $80,000 of public money for a birthday bash.

Anyway, they’ve spent the last few months lobbying themselves to pick out the Worst Packaging Award winner, and low and behold have launched themselves at Progressive Enterprises’ Countdown supermarkets scoring them a “D” with their fresh produce packaging.   Read more »

First they came for your fags, now they are coming for your food

534119_4519365494819_197737480_nFor all of you who thought plain packaging was a good idea to help stop people smoking, think again. Now they have won that battle they are after your food.

GRAPHIC images and plain packaging for junk food may be forced on consumers, as food industry heavyweights debate tough measures to combat obesity.

A panel of food science, nutrition and manufacturing experts will tackle whether tobacco’s plain packaging approach would help curb the state’s growing obesity epidemic at the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology convention today.

This follows February’s call from Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young to examine the option.

Institute president Anne Astin said junk food regulation was a “thorny issue of the future” that needs to be addressed urgently.

“If our health system can’t cope with the increasing incidence of lifestyle-related diseases, it’s something we will have to consider as an option. The levels of intervention need to become stronger. Ultimately, it may come to plain packaging.”  Read more »

Plain Packaging a gift to criminals

Print Week

The Maori party and other anti-smoking lobbyists want to force through plain packaging of tobacco…there are other moves from lobby groups to likewise force through plain packaging proposals in all sorts of areas…but let’s focus on tobacco.

There is no empirical evidence that it will work as is predicted, in fact there is more evidence to suggest that the opposite will occur. Plain packaging is actually an open invitation to the black market…and if you don’t believe me then have a good look at how criminals currently package methamphetamine and marijuana…you can’t get any plainer than a clear plastic baggie or a tinnie:

In addition to being heavy handed and without giving due consideration to previous regulation introduced into the sector, this legislation would give the UK a reputation as a bad place to do business, making it harder to attract investment. The proposal is also an open invitation to black market trade.

The tobacco sector is a prime example of this. A recent letter in The Times, signed by 23 former senior police officers, strongly reiterated the view that the introduction of plain packaging would encourage organised criminals to move into this area and sell these products to the unsuspecting public. Plain packaging would be far easier to copy and consumers would become less interested in whether goods were genuine or aware if they contained non-tobacco or even toxic substances.

It would not only erode volumes for bona fide producers and retailers (particularly small shops), but would also reduce government tax revenues, boost the criminal economy, stretch law enforcement agencies and present an increased health risk.

Additionally, by removing the sophisticated techniques used in tobacco packaging, price would be the only competitive factor in the market. So, ironically, these changes would have the effect of lowering selling prices, which could actually encourage levels of consumption to increase to the most vulnerable.

Young people would be able to access tobacco products with much more ease as the black market operates at car boot sales, unauthorised street markets, pub car parks and the like.

Furthermore, the proposals could also lead to an increase in intellectual property crime and counterfeiting due to the ease with which unbranded packaging could be copied.


The Egg Carton Tank

Now this is what I call art:

‘Eggs for Soldiers’ is a family event held every year at the Clapham Common in London to raise money for Help for Heroes. It’s basically about the sale of khaki green boxes of eggs, with 15 pence from the sale of each box going to the charity that helps wounded servicemen returning from war. This year’s event on the 4th of March will have two great things to look forward to – a national egg and spoon race, and a life-size tank made of no less than 5,016 egg cartons.

The tank, a replica of The Challenger 2, was created by British sculptor Stuart Murdoch. Along with the 5,000 odd egg cartons, he also made use of over 10,000 nails, 26 liters of glue, 15 liters of paint, 80 sq. meters of steel and 5,013 staples in the creation of this epic tank.