Corrugated packaging companies are successfully engaging with retailers to help deliver highly functional supply chains that take into account shifting demographics and changing consumer shopping habits, says the Confederation of Paper Industries.
The importance of collaboration between retailers and suppliers was highlighted by Tesco’s Packaging Manager Paul Earnshaw at a corrugated industry conference last year. He said that the supply chain is ‘complex and tiered’ and the challenge for corrugated is to “put the consumer at the centre of everything it does”.
Corrugated packaging sets a benchmark for versatility as it can be adapted to fit almost any shape and size, making it a vital logistics partner for a variety of reasons. It can address downstream issues, such as environmentally friendly serving trays for fish and chips, as well as providing a transit, display and storage solution for a huge range of products.
However, the growth of smaller households, online shopping, click and collect, the switch to convenience outlets from out of town stores and the increasing popularity of the discounters is where corrugated’s flexibility comes into its own, as they all require packaging outcomes that reflect their own individual brands and customer expectations.
For instance the number of single households in the UK is rising at a huge rate and is already the biggest consumer group – a shift brand owners must address. By developing smaller pack sizes, the corrugated industry is enabling the sale of the range of portions needed for smaller or single households and at the same time helping to reduce consumer food waste.
In addition to meeting the demands of multi-channel retailing, Corrugated’s space efficiency brings benefits to the environment. One packaging supplier worked with Tesco to reduce the diameter of the cardboard core of branded toilet paper, helping cut the carbon footprint of the supply chain by saving both thousands of road miles and tonnes of plastic wrapping.
Andy Barnetson, CPI’s Director of Packaging Affairs, says, “The UK corrugated industry’s innovative instinct and flexibility is helping brand owners and retailers take advantage of the opportunities presented by a fast-changing retail landscape. Adaptable packaging benefits both the environment and consumer by reducing waste.”
Corrugated already protects, is merchandisable and the most recycled packaging medium. Investment in digital printing allows corrugated to align with customised and other personalised packaging formats, while High Quality Post Print has transformed the material into multi-functional, colourful Shelf-ready Packaging.
Functional SRP that protects in transit and offers a marketing communications medium particularly benefits the discount stores like Lidl and Aldi, which are big users of corrugated as it offers eye-catching designs and efficiency of shelf replenishment.
Andy Barnetson says, “Corrugated’s versatility makes it a vital logistics partner in the 21st Century supply chain. Its importance to many UK food businesses and popularity with consumers for grocery shopping are further indicators of the material’s vital place in today’s society.”