The future of food packaging is retail-ready
Retailers may be the driving force behind retail-ready packaging (RRP), but brand owners and manufacturers are uncovering ways to boost sales and brand recognition through product packaging designed to be quickly stocked and attract consumers.
This approach has helped new food products compete against much larger companies. Often referred to as shelf-, display- or pallet-ready packaging, retail-ready packaging is defined as secondary packaging that allows products to move to the shelf or selling floor without the need to unpack. For brand owners, manufacturers and retailers, it’s an all-in-one solution serving as a shipping container and an in-store floor or shelf display.
Consumers are especially drawn to RRP. Unlike traditional retail packaging, RRP tends to be custom produced with high-quality graphics and placed in key areas of the store to attract new consumers.
Mass merchandisers, club stores and pharmaceutical retailers were early RRP adopters, and now a number of supermarkets and large box stores are following suit. Needless to say, RRP is gaining momentum: the U.S. demand for RRP is forecasted to total $6.2B in 2020–up from $4.8B in 2015.
Loretta Sebastian, Retail Packaging Specialist with Veritiv, says “From concept ideation to in-store execution, RRP helps save time and money at every touch point in the supply chain, helping create warehouse space and workforce efficiencies.”
Be seen, be purchased
When products are easily recognized in the back store room, associates can swiftly organize items by brand and/or product type, and place them in the right location within the store—exactly where consumers expect them to be. This allows consumers to identify products faster, which improves throughput of the product and can lead to more orders. Sounds simple: keeping products in stock and available can increase sales. Especially when it comes to impulse purchases.Product spoilage or dead stock can really cut into profits. RRP favors the first-in, first-out approach, a form of inventory management that ensures freshness and availability.
RRP also prevents product damage. Without the use of RRP, products tend to fall off shelves when picked by the consumer. RRP’s uniform nature also prevents adjacent products from falling, helping retailers reduce product damage and returns. “By design, RRP allows bill-boarding space and is front-facing so consumers can spot their favorite brand faster and place items into their shopping cart,” says Sebastian.
Less stress, less strain
When moving RRP, pallets are standardized and planograms are put in place so there’s no guesswork. So packers know how many cases per layer, number of layers per pallet, and case orientation—saving time, warehouse and truck space. This strategic approach may also lessen physical strain in wrists and hands, which could result in better ergonomics and fewer injuries. Material handlers can then load trailers faster, packages can be pre-planned and shipping costs reduced.
RRP makes it easy on the retail employee, too. Once the RRP arrives, it should be easy and safe to open (without the use of tools). Oftentimes an RRP case pack comes with an easy-to-tear strip requiring a minimal amount of physical effort.
Designing effective RRP starts by focusing on the retail employee and how they engage with the package. One-touch and two-touch requirements are used by retailers to eliminate the multiple touches that would normally be needed to stock each unit individually. One-touch includes moving an entire RRP tray or box at once, while two-touch allows two touch points by the retail employee from warehouse to shelf.
Packaging is no longer just a means for product transport. And RRP is proof of that. Manufacturers and brand owners are discovering that it’s one of the most important marketing tools available and can lead to better brand identity and higher sales.
For more information about Veritiv's retail ready packaging capabilities, visit veritivpackaging.com.
1 Freedonia Focus Reports. (2016). Retail-Ready Packaging: United States. Cleveland, OH.