Founded in 1945 in Midland, Michigan, Scientific Anglers began with three men and a single vision – influence the way modern fly fishermen interpret and practice the sport. Scientific Anglers has become the leader of fly-line production through market innovation and development. Their focus dwells on forward progress – a vision and mission which consistently and constantly pushes the technological limits of fly fishing.
Scientific Anglers packaged their fly fishing products in plastic bags for decades. They believed plastic was critical because it was waterproof and reusable. When they planned the launch of their new Absolute Leader products, they considered the entire product package. SA is in an industry sensitive to sustainability. Both manufacturers and end user consumers are very concerned about leader and hook packaging floating in streams and rivers.
SA wanted to elevate their packaging to the next level, yet it had to meet the functionality and merchandising features of the current plastic packaging. While SA evaluated food-based bags and foils, they wanted an eco-friendly option. They realized that fully biodegradable paper was the better option, and as a company, they felt better putting that type of packaging into the environment.
JBM’s Innovation Team collaborated with Scientific Anglers operations and merchandising team to fully understand the functional and environmental requirements of the package and identify the “ideal state.” The teams explored and tested multiple paper stocks and printing applications. JBM’s longstanding experience in the seed market offered the unique solution of a window with printing inside of the packet. The window on the new packaging effectively displayed the color and clarity of the leaders inside, an essential feature for consumers. And the requirement for a metallic look and feel was met with two-sided printing with eco-friendly inks.
Building off of experiences with merchandising applications, a distinct tuck-in flap design allowed the flap to be easily opened and closed, while offering an effective built-in hanging feature for retail presentation. The new package design achieved the important end user criteria of being able to see and feel the product inside. Biodegradable window sheets allowed consumers to see the product, and the tuck-in flap offered the ability to feel the product without damaging the package.
The merchandising aesthetics were also elevated with the new packaging. SA began color coding their newly-branded products by species or environment. JBM printed multiple copies for every SKU in their product offering. Leaders, tippets, and fly lines are now organized by color to easily recognize what products are in each family.
Scientific Anglers received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the change from plastic bags to JBM’s biodegradable packages. “The new paper-based packaging blows the poly bag package away!” Since the product launch, the new packaging has been as much of the sales conversation as the products that go into it. SA found that some customers are adding it to their offering just for the packaging. That’s how impactful biodegradable packaging is!
At the 2019 International Fly Tackle Dealers (IFTD) industry show, in addition to receiving Best in Show awards for their fly line, leader and tippet products, SA received the Gear Guide Green Award for their Absolute Leader packaging from Fly Fisherman Magazine. This award highlighted the value of their new eco-friendly packaging.
This plastic-to-paper transition is estimated to remove over 500 pounds of plastic from the environment each year!