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Pack It In—A New Look at Packaging

By: Elizabeth Boch
Posted: November 5, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Also: Keep it simple. The simpler the packaging and the design, the cleaner the look. The cleaner the look, the easier it is for consumers to determine what they are buying. How many times have you been turned off by packaging that’s too involved? Consumers equate simplicity with high quality and are more apt to see the claims as credible. Let the product speak for itself. Keep it simple.

Delve Deeper: What’s Under the Surface

Once a packaging design has been chosen, don’t forget what arguably is the most important aspect: its functionality. A pretty outer pack means little if it can’t survive its shipping route. The truly green product will cost less to produce as a result of waste reduction, so review ways to reduce or alter your packaging.

Packaging, both inner and outer, must be durable, flexible and light. Ask your quality assurance department to list the most common problems associated with your product: Does it tend to lose its scent because the current packaging is too porous? Maybe it takes on the scents of other products stored near it. Maybe damages are down, but less and less items are fitting on a pallet, and that’s increasing transportation costs.

Take a look at newer, alternative packaging. Is it possible that your bath salts could be packaged in the zip box, a combination carton and zippered pouch design instead of the plastic screw-top canister? That could increase pack-out. Consider eco-friendly and naturally lighter tubes offered by suppliers such as Alcan Packaging. Talk to the experts. Both your operations team and a third-party logistics provider specializing in your product will have suggestions. And of course, any sustainable changes you make ensure a higher rating on retailers’ sustainability scorecards.

Logistics: Review the Total Package

So you’ve got a more natural look and a sustainable structure. Now what? Consider the entire product life cycle, and that means finding a transportation and warehousing provider that can safely ship and store your product. According to the “2010 Logistics Benchmark Report” by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, brands are feeling the squeeze, having to increase performance to record levels as a result of the tight economy and retailer demand. Freight costs increased 11% between 2008 and 2010.