Roman Forowycz, chief marketing officer at Clear Lam Packaging, Elk Grove Village, Ill., noticed late last year the beginning of an increase in retail-ready packaging.

“Processors and retailers are moving toward retail-ready cases to simplify the shelf restocking process and reduce costs,” Forowycz said in an e-mail. “When developing new packaging, designers are now taking into account how the primary package will sit in a retail-ready case. More smooth rectangles and squares are being used to try to eliminate empty dead space caused from round or oval containers.”

CrunchPak, Taylor Farms and Pro2Snax are a few that have recently had retail-ready displays on shelves in Wal-Mart produce departments.

In addition to making life a bit easier for retailers, retail-ready packaging also lends itself to branding. Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing, Columbia Marketing International, Wenatchee, Wash., said two-box and five-box apple shippers give retailers an easy setup and built-in advertisement.

“All the retailer has to do is to take the display out on the show floor and pop it up, so within a minute or two they’ve popped open this display and set it up and they have an instant selling display that creates a billboard for the product at the shelf level,” Lutz said. “Those are extremely powerful selling devices, calling attention to unique products that are out of the mainstream for consumers.

“The challenge is that oftentimes we run into sort of the mainstream retailers that have what they like to call ‘clean floor initiatives,’ and in those clean floor initiatives they really discourage secondary off-shelf displays,” Lutz said. “...We know they work and we know when we get them used in-store it really boosts sales, but there are also individual chains that have policies that make implementation difficult, so that’s the only challenge to those instant displays.”

Sam Monte, director of operations at Riverside, Mich.-based Monte Packaging, said his company has seen the retail-ready trend as well. He views it as an extension of the growing emphasis on convenience.

“We’ve seen that a lot, whether it’s display-ready boxes or we talk a lot about the grab-and-go pouch bag,” Monte said. “Anything that’s convenient for a consumer at a retail level has become more and more popular.”