Just tell me straight, and don't try and con me...

SO, like most people, I get a lot of emails. An awful lot some days..... and that's not including the one's that our occasionally over-zealous filter deems should never see the light of day. I really do get allsorts: from people trying to sell me fresh fish by the tonne, to people offering the latest marketing gimmick that can read the buyers' mind or some such nonsense, a high proportion fall into the 'jibberish' category.

I mean, we make and sell food packaging. So it goes without saying that we probably don't want to buy food packaging.... but we also don't want to buy 30 tonnes of fresh tilapia, or 9 crates of Israeli onions. The apparent level of research done by some of these people before they add my email to their mailing list is negligible. It must be 'Google>fish>they must want to buy fish'. Or Google>Vegetables>Blimey, want to buy some onions...'

I also get bombarded by sales people offering me hotels for trade shows I am not exhibiting at. Why did you call? It's not hard to find a list of actual exhibitors...And how many emails a day do I get from people offering me lists. Lists of lists. Lists of people doing a job, by job title. Lists of job titles. Lists of medical buyers. Lists of packaging buyers..... add it to the list of people added to my junk files. And then a week later you get 'did you see my email' or I haven't heard from you'. Yep, there's a pretty good reason for that. It's because I am not remotely interested and you should never have emailed me in first place.

I'm sure there was once a time when if someone emailed you, it was probably someone you knew; when you'd open your inbox in the morning and not have wade through a cyber equivalent of the dump-it site. Where there's muck there's brass I was always told, well it's the same with your inbox, and you're always worried you that might delete without even reading something that was actually genuine.

But the real bane of my email life is people who offer something - seemingly free - but there's a catch. 'We'd like to run an article, there's just a £90 reproduction fee for the photo'.... what's that all about? Seriously, it's just a £90 advert. Or 'we'll approach your suppliers for advertising support'.... no, it's just an ad feature. I used to work in the newspaper trade, I'm afraid I can spot it a mile-off. And the worst, 'we visited the show, and our editor chose you as one of the top 10 exhibitors'.... no, you've just targeted every-one and are waiting for the first 10 yeses. But no, thinking about it, the worst..... 'we've chosen you for a top award, give us £1,500 and we'll write about it'? What award, the one that you invited just to cream off a few quid from companies with money to burn. Seriously, does anyone actually say yes to this?....

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

Bake Off, dragons, and apples in balloons...

SO, Tuesday night and my Facebook feed's full of one thing - Bake Off. Of the Great British Variety. The previous few weeks the subject had largely been 'is it okay, since it moved to Channel 4' with the overwhelming feeling seeming to be ' I still like it, hooray, but is that wrong, am I being disloyal to the BBC?'

Now, it might be worth pointing out at this point that I never really watched the BBC version, but that was partly due to my aversion to Sue of Mel and Sue fame. At least I think it's Sue, never was quite sure, they're a bit like Ant & Dec in that you're never 100% certain which one's which unless you're a proper fan. And it largely stems back to their horrendous lunchtime programme, whatever it was called, Late Lunch, Rubbish Lunch, Disappointing Lunch, something like that.... on which she annoyed me immensely. 

Anyway, for that reason, it wasn't ever viewing of choice. Sometimes it was on in the background, occasionally the kids watched it, but it never happened. But I did, due to the sheer terrible choice on prime time TV on Tuesday a few weeks ago, start watching it.... and do you know what, I can vaguely see why people do enjoy it.

To be fair, some of the creations are incredible. They're kind of sculpting anything out of anything in a cake form. You want a lion cake with a coffee cake head and a walnut cake body, attacking a peppermint zebra, you got it....  clearly that didn't happen. But someone did create a remarkable-looking bag out of bread.

One programme I've always enjoyed is Dragon's Den... and this week the Dragons were presented with an innovative packaging solution. Two guys had created a packaging format which effectively used a thin film and filled it with air to create the packaging. They seemed to think it could be used for a variety of things, including food - they were deliberating the shelf-life of perishable goods for example. I guess I could see how it might work, effectively you're creating a vacuum around the product so no air gets in and no air gets out.

But the problem would be this.... who's going to buy an apple that's effectively trapped inside a transparent balloon? I can see how it might work for, say, a book that Amazon was despatching. Lightweight, little to recycle, and protects it from damage. But it's not going to work for a pineapple.... if you're interested, they didn't get the investment. As soon as they revealed to the Dragons that the machine to do the packaging was into the hundreds of thousands of pounds I'm afraid they got pretty short thrift......

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

  • Oven/BBQ cooking bags - Sira-Cook Supreme

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  • Absorbent meat pads - Dri-Fresh

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  • Absorbent pads for fresh fruit - Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold

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  • Oven/microwave steam-cooking bags - Sira-Cook Self-Seal

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  • Dividers for better food presentation - Sira-Form non-ovenable boards

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  • Absorbent pads for wet-cheeses - Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold

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  • Deli-bags for keeping food fresh - Sira-Flex Deli-Bags

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  • Multi-compartment microwave steam-cooking bags - Sira-Cook Smart-Release

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  • Nylon oven-roasting bags and films - Sira-Cook Siralon

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  • Absorbent fish/seafood crate liners - Dri-Fresh Sea-Fresh SP

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  • Absorbent oven-grill liners - Dri-Fresh Fat-Traps

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  • Thinking-Cooking - Sirane's own retail range

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  • Read our full food packaging catalogue online

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    Sirane's divisions - food packaging, medical, horticultural and industrial

    Sirane Ltd. Stafford Park 6, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 3AT. Telephone +44 (0)1952 230055