A Well-Packaged Produce Brand Starts with Packaging

A Well-Packaged Produce Brand Starts with Packaging

Packaged produce is a growing industry trend. The days of bulk-stacked, volume-packaged fruits and vegetables have passed. Consumers want healthier-for-them fresh, quality produce and healthier-for-the-planet growing, sourcing, and packaging. Retailers, adapting to these demands and other pressures in their markets, look for inventory unitization, longer shelf life, and less damage in transport and handling. Co-packers, upstream of the retailer and consumer, must adapt to these demands. While disruptive, co-packers know that in challenge, opportunity lurks.

Consumers are becoming savvier every day. Worldwide, traditional and social media reverberate with stories of environment cataclysm. Evocative and thought-provoking imagery reinforces these stories. Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II documentary showed viewers up-close the effects that plastic pollution has on wildlife. In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area off the coast of California and Mexico that teams with plastic and marine life, he showed turtles caught in netting and sperm whales trying to eat plastic sheeting. It’s footage that is hard to un-see.

Growing awareness is changing opinions and behaviors. Consumers, for example, are willing to pay more for sustainable, earth-friendly products. GlobalWebIndex, in its 2019 study of US and UK consumers, reported that 58% of consumers claimed that they would speak with their wallets. Their data, though, that earth-consciousness is only a top concern for 42% of the population. It competes with traditional shopping concerns like price (72%) and brand awareness (52%). Retailers are reacting to these shifting demands – they are launching sustainability efforts. Aldi, for example, has a goal to use only compostable, recyclable, or reusable packaging in its brand-exclusive products by 2025.

Smart food brands will seize the opportunity in this shifting consciousness. Between price and sustainability, in the consumer survey, was a well-known/trusted brand, a top concern for 52% of US and UK shoppers. With retailers demanding packaged produce, co-packers have the opportunity to create new brand trust. Using bright colors, consistent branding that expresses freshness, health, and taste is a great start. The brand identity isn’t just the graphics; it’s the message. Include in your messaging your environmental and sustainability story – tell the consumer how your growing, packing, and distribution process improves their world.

A great brand and brand message get you most of the way there. If you tell a great story and have a clear, crisp, inviting design and put it on single-use plastics, then you’re likely to confuse the consumer. You should match your message with your packaging. Using fully-recyclable, renewable, sustainable paperboard packaging from Greif CPG’s GreenTray tells your consumer that you match your words with your actions. You build authentic trust in the customer’s mind.

Greif CPG helps our customers build sustainable packaging success. We do this with our 6P onboarding process that puts your product, process, and people at the center of our collaborative packaging solution. If you’re looking to grow your sustainability story, reach out.

Posted by Julia Briggs in Brand, GreenTray, Produce / Produce Retailers
Use Your Packaging to Tell Your Sustainability Story

Use Your Packaging to Tell Your Sustainability Story

You package great produce, and you do it sustainably. That’s a remarkable story to tell your customers because sustainability is a top-of-mind concern for most consumers. In a 2018 report, Nielsen shows that 81% of survey respondents believed that corporations should help improve the environment – with Gen Z and Millennial respondents leading the way. Your customers want sustainability. 

Sustainability Defined

A 1987 United Nations report coined the term. They said sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It’s vaguely specific. So, it’s not surprising then that definitions for consumers vary wildly with some putting environmental concerns at the forefront while some place ethics and marketplace-behavior higher, among others. Sustainability is an abstract concept, so it’s easy for consumers to incorporate their causes and concerns in their personal definition. 

Ecolabelling, Confusion, and Opportunity

You may be saying, “But I already have a sustainability certification label on my produce. Isn’t that enough?” It turns out that you may care more about that label than your customers. A 2014 study shows that those labels do very little to sway consumer choices. Further, consumers tend not to understand what the labels truly mean. For example, people believed that Rainforest Alliance certification meant protecting wildlife in the rainforest when, in reality, it indicates that the certified company is committed to “promoting sustainable agriculture to help farmers while protecting the local environment.”

While there is confusion about specifics, your customers still care about your commitment to sustainability. We know this because shoppers reward sustainable brands. Consider that a recent study released by Unilever shows that over half of their global growth was fueled by sustainability-identified brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Dove, and these brands now represent over 30% of the organization’s global sales. Unilever knows this is good business, and they see that the market has growth potential – they estimate the global sustainable brand market at roughly $1 trillion. 

Look to Paperboard to Replace Single-Use Plastics

Retailers are working to remove single-use plastics from their produce section. As a produce packager, you’ll likely need to make some changes. You could sell your produce in bulk. But, retailers have come to enjoy the benefits of packaged fruits and vegetables like single-unit-packs, damage prevention, and stackability. To meet both retailer demands, you can start using paperboard packaging. Paperboard presents you with an opportunity, one to showcase your sustainability message. For example, when you use Greif’s GreenTray, you are using sustainably-sourced, responsibly-recycled post-consumer paperboard for your packaging. Pair that with your other efforts like sustainable growing, ethical harvesting, and energy reduction, you’ll have an authentic and convincing story to tell.

Using single-use plastics to deliver your produce to market can lead to consumer confusion, as well. People shopping for organic fruits and vegetables look for sustainable, low-waste options. Consumers who see organic produce that’s wrapped in hard to recycle or non-recyclable single-use plastic question whether it’s truly “organic.” The packaging you choose communicates value to the consumer, and as a co-packer, you need to consider how those choices are perceived.

Greif and GreenTray can help you stay ahead of consumer and retailer packaging demands. Contact us today to start your journey towards sustainable, safe, responsible paperboard produce packaging.

Posted by Brian Harrington in Brand, GreenTray, Produce / Produce Retailers, Sustainability
What’s hot in paperboard packaging?

What’s hot in paperboard packaging?

What’s hot in the paperboard packaging market? A lot. It’s our job to know the wants and needs of our target markets. Consumer shopping trends are changing, forcing businesses to adapt quickly and efficiently.

Paperboard packaging provides retailers, supply chain managers, and consumers endless, unique designs. It’s no wonder the market is growing.

Here’s our insight into what trends are hot in paperboard packaging:

1. Sustainability

Is your product’s packaging headed straight for the landfill? Whether you know it or not, your packaging may not be living up to the sustainability standards your customers want, and that’s critical. Consumers want to know you’re helping the environment, and they’re willing to pay more for products and services that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

In fact, according to a 2017 Sustainable Packaging Study, 92% of respondents say packaging has never been more important. While of course, product quality is essential, packaging may be the first step for manufacturers to capture their audience. It needs to protect and store products, and ideally, be reused.

Also, brands need to review their supply chains to understand if all elements of production are meeting sustainability standards. The more transparent your business can be when looking internally and externally at suppliers, the more holistic and sustainable your brand will become.

Corrugated and folding cartons are now seen as a sustainable packaging option as paperboard is inherently renewable and recyclable,  but the struggle is getting the word out to consumers. Providing information on your packaging and on your website about your company’s efforts can go a long way toward creating loyalty.

2. Digital

High-quality printing on paperboard packaging is more than just a trend, it’s becoming the standard. Digital printing is redefining the future of label and package printing and taking over.

It provides short-run flexibility as run lengths can shrink even as volumes increase. As shorter runs become common, the economics and workflows of traditional offset printing can limit productivity and profitability.

Digital printing on paperboard packaging can offer versatility, greater automation, and reduce waste. Telling the difference between digital and traditional printing is becoming more difficult, and the ability to digitally print can help companies personalize designs for their target audiences.

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3. Luxury

Upscale items, no matter how big or small, are taking designs to new heights to excite customers. The luxury packaging market is expected to grow by 4.7 percent during 2018-2023 with travel and online retail fueling the demand for packaging solutions.

Manufacturers are looking for new packaging innovations to enable their products to shine on the shelves and online. Packaging needs to have high-quality finishes, decorations, and innovative shapes. It also needs to be sustainable, as more product manufacturers are investing in biodegradable and environmentally friendly packaging like paperboard packaging to appease consumers.

4. Multi-Use

Packaging can do more than just carry, store, and protect a product. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 45 percent of materials in landfills in the U.S. come from food and packaging containers. This fact can help push designers to create versatile packaging that can live well beyond consumer consumption.

By making packages multi-use or dual-use, brands can help the environment and become useful for customers. With the growing eCommerce market, artisan and products with personalities can cater to our specific individual needs. We expect more than just a one-dimensional package.

Packaging can create a larger story and connect consumers with depth and value. For example, your paperboard packaging can be converted into food or non-food usages such as take-out boxes, provide engagement through QR codes, or create activities for children. Now, more than ever, it’s time to be innovative and sustainable.

5. Convenience

Packaging should always help provide consumers convenience, and the consumer today is very different than consumers of the past. Millenials lifestyles are busier, but they’re also looking for healthier options. Everyone is on the go, so product consumption should be delivered fast and easily disposable.

Great packaging will make sure there is convenience across the entire supply chain, from the warehouse to transportation, to online distribution.  Paperboard packaging should be easy to stack, interlocked, and provide higher storage capacity. This offers customers the chance to stock up on on-the-go products that make their lives easier.

Get on board with paperboard

Businesses can’t afford to ignore the trends we’ve listed. If brands want continued growth, they will need to be flexible to keep customers satisfied. Paperboard packaging has excellent potential to solve many packaging problems.

With digital technology innovations and increased demand in sustainable practices, it’s an option worth exploring, and we’re happy to explore those options with you. The GREIF (formerly Caraustar) team are experts in making sure products stand out on the shelf, and flexibility is essential to us. Whether the market is dry or frozen foods, candy, and confectionary, private labels, or natural products, we’re here to help.

Related articles:

How GREIF helps clients avoid the 3 gotchas in the private label packaging maze

Natural Product Packaging 101

Posted by Theresa Attalla