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Retail-ready packaging (RRP) driving flexible packaging adoption

Large retailers and club stores are pushing the trend towards RRP and flexible packaging, to simplify the stocking and shelving process by minimizing labor.

Retail Ready
Retail Ready

According to the “2019 Flexible Packaging Assessment Report” by PMMI Business Intelligence, retail-ready flexible packaging formats create efficiencies in the overall supply chain, and retailers are moving away from product design that uses peg bars to reduce labor time. Said one director of engineering for a food manufacturer, “Most retailers want to get away from pegs that they used to use for the pouches and just go with retail-ready trays.” Also, stores such as Safeway are using gussets with pusher trays to help products stand.

Consumers are also demanding retail-ready packaging and the convenience it offers, pushing manufacturers to create visually appealing flexible packaging that is easy to identify. RRP also makes it easier to pull orders from distribution centers, and reduces the likelihood of out-of-stock items – which could boost sales up to 3-5%.

Some of the features that manufacturers are looking for are easy to open, easy to place on shelves, and easy to replenish. Stand-up pouches, pouches with spout fitments and functional trays are well-suited to these demands, though according to the report, “Manufacturers claim that nearly everything is ending up on trays and that retailers are getting rid of pegs, as this minimizes labor. The convenience of placing trays on the shelf saves a lot of time.”

The downside to this innovation trend is cost. RRP has higher quality printing and substrates, and requires more time and expertise to manufacture. And though retail may be driving this trend, they do not necessarily absorb the added cost, due to the competitive nature of fast moving goods. The cost is then left to the brand owner, who must present the brand to the customers.

Said one senior project engineer at a beverage company, “All SUP are now in a shelf-ready package; the shelf-ready aspect really helps.  I like this trend because it involves less handling of the product and provides more control in how it is presented.  We have an opportunity to build more of our brand, and it is much less work theoretically for everyone at the store.”

Download the free Executive Summary of this report below. PMMI Members can download the entire report here.

Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, 2019 Flexible Packaging Assessment Report.

Learn more about flexible packaging solutions and machinery at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, September 23-25.


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