Packaging manufacturers work to contain not only product but cost

07/19/2012 12:32:00 PM
Jim Offner

The unseen content in every package is its cost.

Manufacturers and produce shippers note, though, that it’s not completely invisible — they see the costs continue to rise.

Keeping costs under control is a major issue for both groups.

How do they do it?

Comprehensively, said Robert Verloop, executive vice president of marketing with Naples, Fla.-based berry grower-shipper Naturipe Farms LLC.

“Production costs continue to rise in all facets of the produce industry, and we are responding by looking at the cost of the entire system from our fields to a family’s table,” he said.

Verloop says an “integrated approach” is mandatory to controlling packaging costs.

“To that end we are continuing to sell more of our berries in larger clamshells, which are more efficient in material costs and handling, on a pound-for-pound basis,” he said.

Larger packs cut costs across the supply chain, Verloop noted.

“We take that into consideration as we discuss our long-term programs with the retailers and foodservice accounts,” he said.

How do manufacturers address cost control?

“We address material costs by constantly researching alternative materials and developing programs designed to reduce our customers understand the total cost,” said Mike Kennedy, president of the Willoughby, Ohio-based Kennedy Group.

A high-quality package will serve a dual purpose in cutting costs, said Kari Dawson-Ekeland, marketing director for adjacent markets with the food & beverage division of Elmwood Park, N.J.-based Sealed Air Corp.

“When you reduce that shrink, that’s one of the biggest things,” she said.

One way to do that is to develop a package that provides for proper respiration, she added.

“The other thing is looking at the correct gauge of the product to get the protection you need,” she said.

She also agreed with Verloop’s description of a comprehensive approach to cost control.

“When you look at minimizing material costs, how many cases can you get in the pallet?” she said.

Work in developing lower-cost films that don’t compromise quality and reaches high environmental standards is always a challenge, and the quest for the right combination is ongoing, said Ed Johnson, president of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Specialty Bags Inc.

“We’re working on ways to keep the cost down for the resin so we have a true compostable product we can sell,” he said.

Another way to fight higher costs is to develop means to use less raw materials, said David Grice, sales and marketing agent with Houston-based FormTex Plastics.

“We have engineers at our manufacturing facilities — that’s what they’re doing day in and day out, designing packages that use less plastic but are just as strong,” he said.



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JOEL KAUFMAN    
SPRINGFIELD MA  |  July, 26, 2012 at 02:22 PM

PRICE OF THE PRODUCT TO BE PACKAGED DICTATES PRICES NOT PACKAGING COST WHEN THERE IS A COLD SNAP DROUGHT AND PRICES GO UP 100% AS THEY OFTEN DO THE PRI CE OF THE PACKAGING STAYS THE SAME, THIS WHOLE ARTICLE MAKES NO SENSE

Miles    
July, 26, 2012 at 03:14 PM

The simple solution to this problem is to use better custom packaging. Custom food packaging design is specifically created to lower cost while protecting your product. You just need to find the right people to package it for you.

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