RPCs are retailer driven, and customers range from small to large supermarket chains that find that the containers help ensure good arrivals while holding down supply chain costs, reducing waste and carbon emissions and saving labor, he said.
In some cases, RPCs double as retail display units, as do an increasing number of today’s produce bags and boxes.
While some grower-shippers prefer to project a natural, environmentally friendly image with one- or two-color printing on brown kraft boxes, others choose to create a more elegant white or black box with multi-colored printing and intricate artwork, said Don Reggio, marketing manager for corrugated packaging for Rock-Tenn Co., Norcross, Ga.
“It’s all about marketing position relative to their competition, their product category and what’s in the marketplace,” he said.
Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash., uses display boxes to call attention to its specialty apples, like the Piñata and SweeTango, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director.
Bags, too, have become useful marketing tools.
Rainier Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash., designed apple bags that match its display cartons and subtly get across the message that “apples are good for you,” said Suzanne Wolter, marketing director.
Onions Etc., Stockton, Calif., practices “kitchen counter merchandising” by including recipes and ingredient shopping lists on bags of onions, said Derrell Kelso Jr., president and chief executive officer.
One recipe, for example, calls for a grapefruit, sweet onion and an avocado.
“It explodes with color,” Kelso said.