Natural Products Expo East 2018 Roundup

Natural Products Expo East 2018 Roundup

Consumer demands are growing for natural products, and the team at GREIF (formerly Caraustar) is taking notice. We recently exhibited at the 33rd annual Natural Product Expo East in Baltimore, Maryland.

The conference provides an opportunity for vendors, buyers, investors, and entrepreneurs to share and learn about the demand for natural products and how it is spurring positive change for the environment and consumers. The Expo highlighted a variety of natural product markets such as food and beverage, personal care and home, and supplements and ingredients.

Natural products are ready to shine

According to New Hope Network, the U.S. natural products industry grew by 6.3 percent in 2017 and industry sales have more than doubled since 2007. Much of this growth is attributed to entrepreneurial brands that bring fresh ideas and new flavors to the table.

Some of the trends we saw included a revival of frozen foods as businesses seek to provide healthier, flavorful, and convenient meals with verified products that tell the truth about potential contaminants. We saw a lot of coffee products, especially cold brews, and natural energy products boosting businesses.

It’s not enough to just have a good natural product. Your product packaging needs to stand out.

Check out three savvy tips
to succeed in our free eBook.

Ask us about our paperboard solutions today:
Call 216-281-7000 or email

Many attendees utilized target marketing to draw awareness to their new product lines as well as their existing ones. We also noticed an increase in attendance by larger corporations that are working their way into the natural product market by acquiring other small businesses.

With more than 1,500 brands, we spent plenty of time mingling with new business owners and discussing how packaging could look for their new products. Most of the attendees we chatted with were looking for support on their new product lines and brands. We fielded a lot of questions regarding the structural design of packaging, creative packaging, production orders, and our digital print capabilities.

Ready your products for the market

There were many amazing products that already or soon will need consumer packaging to ready themselves for the retail shelves and eCommerce environment, and we are ready to help.

Whether you have an established natural product line, or you’re a young brand with new products, GREIF is ready to be your dedicated paperboard packaging partner. We can bring your company’s goals from concept to shelf life with flexibility and competitive pricing.

We served some of the largest players around and are ready to help small to midsize companies grow and meet consumer demands with our recycled packaging. Get in touch with us today.

Posted by Julia Briggs in eCommerce
3 keys to keeping it fresh in the food packaging industry

3 keys to keeping it fresh in the food packaging industry

Freshness in food packaging goes far beyond keeping cupcakes moist and cookies crispy. You also need fresh ideas that fuse elegant design, human-focused construction, and an earth-friendly afterlife.

An excellent starting point for fresh thinking is the 1.3 billion tons of food that goes to waste worldwide every year—one-third of all food production.

We can do better. A fresh approach to packaging can help brands:

  • Align carton production with real-time demand, reducing waste and obsolescence.
  • Make packaging easier to use and reuse.
  • Strengthen their commitment to recyclable folding-carton materials.

Refresh your perspective on food packaging with these tips:


Be bold and different with your packaging design, so your product can stand out online and on the shelf. Your design is the last message consumers see so it needs to make an impression. With online food sales gaining, your packaging also needs to withstand the distribution chain.

At GREIF (formerly Caraustar), we have a team of designers who can create innovative and exciting options for your product packaging to catch your customer’s eye. From structural design to creative to pre-press and printing options, we can create an end product that meets your needs.

Want more information
about packaging for
the needs of today’s
online buyers?

Check out these
three savvy tips
in our free eBook.

Case studies: Designing for our food-manufacturing customers

We sell premium packaging to boutique manufacturers who require a unique buyer experience—right down to the boxes:

  • A high-end candy maker had a nagging color-reproduction problem: They needed a rich black tone on the packaging sleeves that they could not get from other providers. They also needed precise production runs in small quantities that were impractical on a traditional offset press. Our digital press enabled us to create a folded carton with an aqueous coating that delivered the precise color tone our customer required. And we matched the precise quantities they needed, reducing waste.
  • A luxury cupcake maker needed more personalized packaging, precise color reproduction, and help with graphic design. Our in-house design team helped them get the exact colors they needed from the digital press, allowing them to add five new products to their portfolio, which helped boost cash flow.

Frustration-free shopping

Food packaging needs to account for how people buy. Though Americans buy only a tiny slice of their food online today, Amazon and many of its brick-and-mortar rivals expect online sales to become a growing segment of their business in the years to come.

As people become more confident about buying food products online, food brands will have to pay much closer attention to the strength and endurance of direct-mail packaging. Thinking only about the traditional store shelf won’t cut it much longer.

Customers want easy-to-understand claims and offers on product cartons. Strategic placement of expiration dates can help people consume food products while they’re fresh. Unique, thoughtful shapes can capture people’s attention and provide utility that encourages keeping a box rather than discarding it.

Packaging also should be easy to open. It shouldn’t be a hassle to get the products out of the box. Buyers should not feel their food purchases generate a pile of paper waste.

Environmental friendliness

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050, plastic will outnumber fish in the oceans if we don’t change our ways. At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly insistent on low-impact packaging that’s easy to recycle and reuse.

You don’t have to pour an ocean of money into earth-friendly packaging. You can start with a simple transition to recyclable paperboard packaging if it’s the right match for your products and consumers. Other approaches include developing packaging that’s too beautiful to throw away or making your cartons strong enough to be useful long after the food’s been consumed. Placing a simple “please reuse” message on your packages can make a world of difference for the environment.

At GREIF, we’ve been recycling paperboard products across four generations. Today’s technology helps us—and our clientele—reduce waste while printing on folding cartons that buyers find unforgettable. That’s about as fresh as it gets.

Related articles:

Can your packaging survive the new eCommerce distribution chain?

How voice-search assistants are impacting your brand’s future success

Posted by Julia Briggs in Brand, eCommerce
Can your packaging survive the new eCommerce distribution chain?

Can your packaging survive the new eCommerce distribution chain?

eCommerce is shaking up the safe, predictable world of product packaging.

For decades, almost all packaged goods made it from factory to warehouse to store shelf unscathed. Packages may have been crushed every now and then, and harried store clerks damaged products here and there, but the risks were well-known. Losses could be projected within reasonable bounds.

Picture the humble cereal box, shipped from the factory in a large paperboard carton holding a bunch of similar boxes. Shipping or warehousing damage to the big carton might degrade a few of the few boxes inside, but most would make it to the store shelf intact, where customers could bring it home in the same condition they found it at the store.

Now, imagine someone having the same box home-delivered from Amazon or Walmart. The potential for damage between the fulfillment center and the customer’s front porch goes through the roof.

So, as you adapt your product packaging to the realities of online retailing, you have to make sure it’s built to withstand the abuses of the eCommerce distribution chain. These are the top points to keep in mind:

They want it fast

Nobody likes to wait to enjoy products they have paid for online. That’s why people are talking about using aerial drones for same-day delivery. And it’s why online retailers prioritize speed at every point in the distribution chain.

Alas, the emphasis on ASAP delivery creates an incentive to cut corners in other areas. Online retailers might reconcile themselves to delivering goods with a certain number of dents, cuts, and bashed-in corners when the package reaches its destination. The question is whether you—and ultimately your customers—are okay with that.

Want more information
about packaging for
the needs of today’s
online buyers?

Check out these
three savvy tips
in our free eBook.


You’ve lost a lot of control

Shipping consumer goods in 12- or 24-pack cartons for store shelves provides built-in protection: The few products that may be damaged in transit cushion the blow for the many.

You lose that cushion with online sales. Your customers buy each product individually, and everything must be boxed up in ways most favorable to the shipper, namely, quickly and cheaply.

Instead of being packed snugly against another box of identical mass and dimensions, products of widely varying sizes and shapes all end up in the same packing box. Bottles of laundry detergent might be packed next to single-serve packages of potato chips.

Items meant to be shipped upright could be boxed up at angles you cannot predict, much less control. Items could spring leaks and contaminate an entire shipment, causing returns that somebody has to pay for—whether that is in cash or lost customers.

Consumers are paying more attention to packaging

Consumers want their goods in recyclable packaging. They also want brands to reduce the amount of packaging they use, both to simplify the process of unpacking and to protect the environment.

Meanwhile, you’re always on the hunt for more economical and efficient ways to package your products. These forces put brands in a bind: You want to simplify packaging while reducing costs and enhancing your bottom line.

But if your packaging cannot survive the rigors of the eCommerce distribution chain, you risk the ultimate marketplace irony—trying to please customers ends up making them unhappy.

Agility and creativity solve a lot of packaging problems

What worked in brick-and-mortar-retail has to evolve in the eCommerce era. The future will belong to the companies that find the right blend of packaging durability and flexibility that sustains their business while keeping the customers satisfied.

At GREIF (formerly Caraustar), we’re spreading the word on the potential for paperboard-boxed packaging to solve some of these online-shopping challenges. New technologies are expanding the possibilities of paperboard packaging, creating options that never existed before.

These innovations mean brands that have traditionally packaged their products in plastic, glass, or cans may be able to find workable alternatives in sustainable, recycled paperboard.

Of course, paperboard is not a cure-all: Packaging must suit the requirements of the product and the demands of the marketplace. Today’s push to online sales forces everyone to be more agile and creative.

GREIF has decades of experience with consumer product packaging with some of the world’s biggest brands. If there’s a paperboard solution to your eCommerce riddles, we can help you find it.

Posted by admin