06/07/10 — Mt. Olive Pickle unveils new jar labels

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Mt. Olive Pickle unveils new jar labels

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on June 7, 2010 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A famous Mount Olive icon is significantly changing its appearance for the first time in more than 40 years.

Mt. Olive Pickle Co. products are hitting store shelves with new labels this summer as the company phases out the old-style green-on-green paper label and moves to a clear, two-piece label.

The label update was a major financial undertaking for the company. Mt. Olive Pickle Co. spent about $2.5 million on capital equipment to put the labels on the glass jars, and the new labels are twice the cost of the old ones. The company had to tweak the design on roughly 230 different labels on all of the products it sells.

The company did not perform any focus group tests on the new labels, but did use data from previous focus groups to help create the design.

The new labels are meant to show off more of the product in the jars and make the Mt. Olive pickles stand out on shelves, President William Bryan said.

"We're always looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from other products," he said.

The new label was design-ed by Coyne and Co. of Kernersville, but was initially based off of a design proposed by a salesperson in Gastonia.

Company executives hope the new, sleeker style of label will give pickle sales a boost in markets where consumers are less familiar with the brand, without alienating people who have bought Mt. Olive pickles for many years. The company did not want to change the design to completely veer away from the older style, and kept the black flag and bold-font "Mt. Olive" logo as part of the new look.

"Core markets will know what it is," Bryan said.

Mt. Olive pickles are the best-selling pickle product in the southeastern United States, but are not as well-known in all parts of the country. The company is mainly competing against Vlasic for sales in the rest of the U.S.

Pickle company production planner Mike Carter was one of the people who worked through the process. It took months of back-and-forth discussions to come up with the final version of the label, Carter said. The entire process took about a year.

"We experimented with different label materials. We felt the clear label really gave the product more of a pop," Carter said.

The font, colors and size of the labels have also been adjusted. It will take a few months for the company to sell off all of its stock with the old labels, so consumers might see a mix of the old and new styles on store shelves for a while yet.

The change is not the first major redesign in the company's history. In the early days of its operations, the company promoted several other brand names before settling on the Mt. Olive trademark. The company also had to tweak the label to comply with federal nutrition fact requirements in the 1990s.

It is coincidence that the new labels were unveiled at the same time the company is also retiring its former mascot, Mr. Crisp, and adopting a younger-looking mascot dub-bed Ollie Q. Cumber, Bryan said.