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User-friendly package delivers needed burst for diabetics

Single-serve flexible pack of liquid sugar debuts that's easy on the eye and easy to open.

When diabetics suffer from a hypoglycemic reaction due to insulin use, they need carbohydrates--and they need them fast. Typically, glucose gels are packaged in medicinal-looking tubes, but when PBM Products LLC, Gordonsville, VA, launched GlucoBurst it wanted an eye-catching package that was easy to open. PBM Products is a manufacturing, distribution, and marketing company specializing in consumer food, nutritional, and pharmaceutical products.

The single-serving, flexible foil pack contains 15 g of sugar in clear liquid form. Indentations on either side of the neck allow the user to quickly tear the package open and squeeze out the contents. The company preferred not to divulge any structural details about the pack, nor the filling process and equipment used.

According to Bill Rodman, product manager, athletic gels on the market provided inspiration for the packaging. "We developed the packaging so that it's easy to carry, open and dispense," he says. "When these people have a hypoglycemic event, it's hard to think, and they can be limited in terms of what they're able to do. The less they have to do the better, and the faster they can get the carbohydrates the better."

The company also wanted to create a fun package that would reduce the stigma of taking medication for children. "If you're a child at school, and you pull out a tube, other kids tease you," says Rodman.

Currently, the product is available in naturally flavored arctic cherry. "We called it arctic cherry because it's a clear liquid, and it has a cooling effect on the tongue," says Rodman. To create a colorful, appealing package, the company turned to its graphics department, which chose red for the cherry flavor and blue to depict the arctic. The swirling design was also used to convey an arctic effect.

A gusset in the base of the gel pack creates volume and allows it to stand upright. The foil is preprinted and shipped from the supplier to a third-party company that manufactures and packages the product and conducts microbiological testing. The packs are sold in three-count boxes, which can either stand on a shelf or hang from a tab at the top of the carton. The product is visible through a cellophane window in the exact shape of the gel packs. Shelf life is 18 months.

PBM Products began distributing GlucoBurst nationally in early 2006 to a variety of retailers and medical wholesale distributors. The three-pack sells for $6.99.

By Kassandra Kania, Contributing Editor
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