09 September 2016 //
by Toni Nigrelli-LaFleur
Increasing wood pulp and paper costs have affected the price of corrugate boxes for secondary packaging, and in turn have positioned shrink bundling and shrink wrapping as a more cost-effective solution. At the same time, however, consumer food packaging trends and retailer packaging demands have manufacturers weighing the costs and benefits of their primary and secondary packaging.
So what’s a food manufacturer to do? Eat the rising costs of corrugate and hurt the bottom line? Move to shrink bundling or shrink wrapping? Well, it doesn’t have to be an “either-or” type of scenario.
Before identifying one way food manufacturers can balance packaging cost concerns with consumer/retailer demands, let’s take a quick look at some of the trends that are driving packaging requirements:
Trends being driven by consumers require food manufacturers to:
- Create portion-size and/or single-serve containers
- Use sustainable packaging
- Use flexible packaging
Trends being driven by retailers are challenging manufacturers to:
- Reduce the ratio of package-to-product
- Reduce secondary packaging material
- Create retail-ready packaging
- Preserve package strength
- Create smaller pack sizes to accommodate retail space constraints
Product examples that we have seen where primary packaging and secondary packaging trends are at odds include to-go packs of cookies in small-portion-size containers, plastic jars or bottles of sauces and salad dressings, and pouches or flexible packaging. Many of these easy-to-handle primary package designs are great for consumers. However, the packaging is not stable enough to be shrink bundled or retailers require an easy-to-handle, retail-ready package.
The Tray Shrink-Wrapping Packaging Solution
One solution is to utilize tray shrink packaging, which provides the benefits of shrink wrapping while maintaining the stability of corrugate. Manufacturers can choose between a pad, u-board, or tray, depending on their product needs and retailer demands. The corrugate can help to increase pack stability, while a tray or U-board can provide additional area for graphics. The wrapped pack can then be stacked and easily placed on the shelf at retail.
As a result, manufacturers can address both consumer-driven primary packaging goals and retailers’ secondary packaging requirements. Additional benefits that can be achieved by using tray shrink packaging include:
- Reduced material costs
- Increased product and graphics visibility
- Easy-open packs with film perforation
- Ability for packs to remain intact after partial content removal
- Product stacking options
It’s important when addressing industry trends and retailer requirements to evaluate all aspects of the product, including the product itself and the primary and secondary packaging, and distribution. Communicating with all departments, including marketing, new product development, and engineering, to identify and prioritize primary and secondary package design goals can ultimately prevent these “either-or” scenarios.
Contact EDL Packaging and let us help evaluate your needs and create a secondary packaging solution that doesn’t compromise primary packaging goals.