Lean and green: effective ways to cut down on product packaging

As the cost of product packaging continues to rise, increasing numbers of small businesses are looking for ways to cut down on the amount they spend on product packaging. Reducing the amount of packaging you use is not only a great way to slash costs; it’s also an effective way to demonstrate your environmental credentials too.

Most businesses use a contract packing service to handle their product packaging and even if you have been using the same service for years, it’s possible to drive the cost down. A good place to start is by visiting a contract packing company in person and asking for information on any specialist services they might offer and by viewing their packaging production line ‘in action’ you’ll be able to carry out a first-hand inspection on the quality of their services. By watching how things are done, you’ll be better able to gauge the efficiency of the operation and if you’re not happy you should take your business elsewhere.

If you do decide to try a new contract packing service, it’s important to carry out an inspection of the production line and, if you’re happy, just offer them a few small jobs in the first instance.

Any contracting packaging company worth its salt should be able to offer suggestions on how you could cut the cost of your product packaging. A meeting to talk through and review the specifications of your packaging is essential and you should make sure that everyone who needs to be involved is at this meeting. It’s well worth asking whether the contract packers have worked with a similar type of packaging before, and if they have, do they have any suggestions on how costs can be cut? The contract packaging will want to help if they can because new business is always in their interests and they’ll be keen to foster a close working relationship with you.

Leaving your contract packing company out of the development stage of your product packaging can prove costly. An unnecessarily complex packaging design, could, for example result in an inefficient, expensive packing run. By working closely with them from the very start you could make significant savings on the cost of packaging your products and then end result is more likely to be well-designed and user-friendly.

Don’t forget to look at other ways to reduce the cost and size of your product packaging. Some brands are choosing to ‘concentrate’ their products which means less packaging is required whilst simply changing the shape of packaging can help you make big savings. Provided you’re prepared to think outside the box (no pun intended!) and regularly review the design of your product packaging, you could make significant, regular savings on your packaging costs.

Specialist co packing services can help you improve your green credentials

golden-candy-box-1471313Over the last ten years the amount of packaging used on a range of products has been reduced significantly. Product packaging has been improved and developed with the aim of creating a ‘less is more’ approach, so making sure that you use the right product packaging made from recycled materials is a good way to reduce packaging costs whilst improving your environmental credentials.

Although reducing the packaging of your products might seem like a great idea in principle, the realities of cutting down on packaging can prove to be something of a challenge. However, a wide range of co packing companies now offer reduced packing services, designed to package products effectively with the minimum of packing materials.

Using less product packaging brings a range of benefits including the use of fewer raw materials, a reduction in transport costs, storage costs and greenhouse gas emissions. This is not only good for the environment; it’s good for your business too! The co packing sector has an excellent track record for innovation: the public now expects to see packaging resources used efficiently and co packing companies around the UK have risen to this challenge by developing new ways to cut down on product packaging.

Packaging plays a huge role in our daily lives. It protects almost everything we eat, use and wear on the journey from production, via warehouses, factories and shops through to our homes or offices. Product packaging is also important for increasing the shelf life of products and allows us to keep our food fresher for longer. There’s no doubt that packaging is incredibly useful – until we need to get rid of it.

According to a number of surveys carried out over the last decade, consumers believe that packaging is the main environmental problem in relation to the products they buy and use. When consumers are asked how this situation can improved, less packaging and more recycled, recyclable or biodegradable packaging are top of their wish list.

With this in mind, you’re likely to be wondering how you can reduce and improve the packaging of your products. The good news is that there are a wide range of simple steps that you can take to reduce product packaging and that any reductions you make will also lead to savings on packaging costs. For example, one of the world’s biggest fizzy drinks manufacturers reduced the weight of their soft drinks cans by just 5%. Now this might not sound like much but it’s interesting to note that this enabled the manufacturer to reduce the weight of their packaging by a staggering 15,000 tonnes across Europe alone.

It’s not just reducing the amount of packaging that can make a big difference as making simple changes to the design and shape of packaging can really help too. A well-known frozen pizza manufacturer changed the design of their pizza boxes to improve the way the boxes could be stacked. Again this seems like a small step that’s unlikely to make any difference at all, but you’ll be interested to discover that this enabled the company to cut one million transport miles per year.
Although simple changes to the way in which a product is packaged can help you save time, money and your impact upon the environment, it’s important to work with a specialist co packing company to find the most appropriate solution.

Choosing packaging and labelling to ensure food safety and quality

If you sell a fresh product, you’ll know how important it is that it’s fresh and safe to eat when it reaches your customers. Packaging plays a vital role in ensuring food safety and quality so when it comes to thinking about packaging your food product, it’s important to spend time looking at the different options available.

The packaging that’s used to contain food and drink is covered by strict legislation so if you’re setting up a food or drink business for the first time, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the ins-and-outs of packaging and labelling. Food and drink products must be clearly labelled and the labelling you use has to be easy to read, easy to understand, permanent and easily visible. Certain basic information has to be included, as must a list of ingredients and, when appropriate, food safety warnings should also be clearly shown. The labelling requirements for products containing alcohol are covered by a different set of requirements.

If you’re selling your products in a catering business or for sale in a shop, for example cakes to be ‘eaten-out’ in a café, the labelling requirements are less rigorous. In this case you’ll need to include the name of the food, details of any genetically modified ingredients or food additives and, from 2014, information on allergens such as nuts. Additional information is required when selling meat products.

When it comes to packaging food you can either package your products yourself, or you could use the services of a specialist packaging company. Whilst packaging your own products can be a very cost effective option – especially for new businesses – however, it does have its drawbacks as it is time-consuming and because you must use packaging that is designed specifically for food, finding a suitable solution can be difficult. Remember that if you use plastic, cellophane or ceramics in your product packaging, there are special requirements which must be met. Using a packaging service, although it is usually the more expensive option, offers reliability, speed and peace of mind. It’s worth bearing in mind that whilst the initial outlay can be significant, most packaging companies offer discounts for larger orders so your costs could well come down in the long run.

Many food producers find it helpful to join a food assurance scheme as this is a great way to reassure your customers that your products meet certain standards, for example on animal welfare, quality or food safety.

If you’re new to the world of food packaging you may well be feeling a little overwhelmed by the legislation and requirements which cover this area of food production and sales. Choosing to use a specialist packaging company is the best way to ensure your products are labelled and packaged correctly. One last word of advice: before you choose a packaging company, don’t forget to ensure that their services meet the necessary hygiene and food safety requirements.