Category Archives: Business

Will You Make Your Next Trade Show Visit Zero-Waste?

An important part of the calendar for packaging professionals is attending trade shows.  it gives us a good opportunity to catch up with our industry colleagues, find out what is new from the exhibitors and to attend seminars given by industry leaders.  At the time of writing, it is just under two weeks to the next big Packaging trade show – Packaging Innovations, co-located with Luxury Packaging on 11th – 12th Sept 2019 at Olympia in London. 

Trade show tatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re anything like me, you’ll come away with a couple of plastic carrier bags full of leaflets, brochures, pens and, to be frank, useless plastic tatt, which ends up languishing in a corner of the house.  I have a drawer full of average quality pens, lanyards that are too good to throw away and no end of plastic carrier bags, and even worse reusable carrier bags, with an industrial company logo that I wouldn’t want to be seen with in normal life cluttering up my kitchen.  At least the leaflets and brochures can go into the recycling when I’m done with them!  That was until February this year when I made the change at Packaging Innovations in Birmingham.  I now try to make my visits to trade shows zero-waste, it’s not that hard, it just takes a bit of remembering stuff.

This was my kit in Feb –

Trade show reuse kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lanyard – I was fully prepared to look a bit odd wearing last year’s lanyard, as it turned out, they were exactly the same.  Tbh I was a little disappointed that no-one could tell I was reusing an old one! 
  • Reusable bag, the older the better. Back in February I challenged my Linked-in contacts to do exactly that. Below is me with my collegue Dr Peter Cox from the Plastics Consultancy Network – mine was from just 2018 – Peter won with one from the 1980s!  It should be cool to use old stuff.  
  • Keep-cup – meeting up with colleagues for a cuppa means I must get through at least 4 cups a day – that means taking a reusable cup saves 8 unrecyclable paper cups from landfill/ incineration = smug feeling. 
  • Pen – I take my own(and a notebook) so I’m not tempted to take a free one.
  • Hankie – meant I used fewer single-use napkins
  • Business Cards – These are hard to give up, and unless your company specialises in zero-waste solutions, it seems really rude to refuse one.  I am also fully aware that mine are laminated on both sides which made them difficult to recycle.  Next time I order some I’ll change that.

Comparing old bags!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So did it work?  On the whole, yes I think.  I came back with a few free copies of Packaging News to give to colleagues, a couple of samples of novel materials and not much else.  At this particular show you’re given an RFID tag in your badge which means you can ‘check-in’ at stands, the exhibitors then send info over email, so no brochures/leaflets required.  I was, however, disappointed to see that I was only one or two people using reusables in any way – and was especially disappointed to see the number of single-use plastic water bottles being left on the tables at a certain NGO’s stand who should have known better! 

A report prepared by ThePackHub and recently published by the Packaging Innovation organisers Easyfairs highlighted that 43.2% of industry stakeholders are investigating reuse or refill options for their products.  If that includes you, will you put your money where your mouth is and join me on 11th-12th september (or whichever your next visit to a trade show is) by trying one or two of the waste-saving options above?

I plan to be at Olympia for the full two days – I’m especially looking forward to the discussions on compostable packaging, and will be on the IOM3 stand (H44) around about lunchtime on the 12th as part of the The Packaging Society‘s Packaging Surgery.  If you see me, show me your reuseable bag (or tweet me at @GreenwoodPkg) and I’ll buy a cuppa (in a reusable cup) for whoever has the oldest one, can’t say fairer than that!

 

 

 

 

Sarah Greenwood MSc(Eng) FIMMM APkgPrf is a Sustainable Packaging specialist.  She is currently leading a proof of concept study at the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield on reusable packaging. This is part of the UKRI funded project Plastics: Redefining Single Use . She is also an independent consultant www.scgreenwood.co.uk #plastics #RedefiningSingleUse #Reuse

lots of people's faces

Networking for Packaging Professionals in the North of England

Northern Packaging Professionals!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy meeting up with industry colleagues at packaging shows and events, but find that living in the North of England it is usually a long way to travel.  For some time now I’ve been thinking of starting networking sessions for those of us working in the North of England – the facebook group UK Packaging Professionals Discussion was created as a starting point.  I’ve spoken with a lot of people in the course of this year. After careful consideration I’m excited to let you know that I have agreed to chair the northern branch of The Packaging Society – NEPkgS.  I’ve been a member since I started the Diploma in Packaging course in 2004 and although there are excellent events planned by TPS in London and Nottingham, have been disappointed by the level of activity here in the North.  The only way to fix that is to do something about it, and with the help of my occasional colleague and associate Steve Jackson will be organising the first of, hopefully, many meetings in the North of England soon.  You will not have to join up to attend – we just want to get as many people together as possible.

The North of England Packaging Society covers all of Yorkshire, and the North West and North East up to the Scottish border.  Ideally, I’d like every packaging professional in the region to be within an easy drive of at least two events a year.  This is a big ask – we’re effectively starting from scratch so this is where you come in.

Please get in touch if you;

  • Have ideas of who you would like to see speak, where you would like to visit or know a great place for a social
  • Are interested in hosting an event /tour at your workplace,
  • Would like to speak at an event
  • Help us organise an event near you

Events could be a simple meet up for networking drinks, a talk by an industry expert, a visit to a manufacturer – anything packaging related.

If you are already a member of TPS, keep an eye out for emails and newsletters with details of the new events (it’s also a good idea check your preferences for communication are up to date in your IOM3 login, if you use it).  Events should also appear in the events section of Materials World magazine.

Non-members can join the UK Packaging Professionals Discussion Group on facebook (completely independent of TPS, but run by myself and a few others), connect with me on Linked-in or subscribe to my monthly newsletter to be notified of new events.

If the last few months have shown us anything it is that us packaging professionals need to stick together, we do a lot of chatting online, but it would be good to do it in person!

Cheers,

Sarah

07826 791 045

Minty Feet

Classic Packaging – The Body Shop Boston

It is hard to describe exactly how exciting The Body Shop was when my school friends and I first discovered it as teenagers in the 80s.  Up until that point the most interesting event our health and beauty world had been the introduction of a Miss version of Matey bubble bath.  To us, luxury bathing products were either dubiously coloured bath salts in a jar or foil-wrapped bath cubes from the chemist or the Avon lady. 

That all changed with our discovery of the Body Shop – a whole shop devoted to cosmetics, with its risqué name (this was the 80s afterall), exotic, cruelty-free products and in-store social justice and environmental campaigns, it was the epitome of cool.  We swooned over Morello Cherry Lip Balm and Coconut Hair Gel, both in glass jars with black thermoset plastic lids, colourful shrink-wrapped soap bars and elegant bath pearls in plastic cartons.  There was a gift-wrapping station (no ready-made gift-packs then), an apothecarian perfume shelf, and before I get completely consumed by a Dewberry scented mist of nostalgia, hair and body care products sold in round semi-opaque HDPE bottles, the Boston.  These came with a black screw top and you could get them refilled once you’d used up the contents.  For me, these simple bottles defined The Body Shop and what they stood for.  Here is their story –

 

Humble Beginnings

According to her 1991 autobiography, when Anita Roddick opened the first Body Shop in Brighton in 1976, she wanted to sell no-nonsense cosmetics without using what she saw as elaborate, unnecessary packaging or by making exaggerated claims about their effectiveness.  She chose the round off-the-shelf Bostons as they were the cheapest option.  Citing her own frustration at not being able to buy small amounts of cosmetics, she bought them in a variety of sizes.  Selling the products in multiple sizes also had the advantage of making the shelves look fuller (the business launched with just 25 different products).  The bottles were labelled with generic stickers branded with a £25 logo, the product title being written on by hand.   Further information was supplied on postcards and from Anita herself.   A refilling service was offered as she said there was not the money to buy enough bottles – customers could even bring their own containers to be filled.

 

Teenage Dreams

WOuld you use 20 year old moisturiser?

HDPE Body Shop Boston with unusal pink label – this would normally been Body Shop Green

By the time I was frequenting the Norwich store in the late-1980s, refills could only be made in their own bottles, and only for the original product for safety reasons.  Labels were now printed with the product with a simple design with the Body Shop logo and green background name.  Like most other cosmetics companies at the time the labels were made of paper and would rub away from the bottle when exposed to wet bathroom conditions.  Although there was not much difference between the packaging for different products, the shop assistants, testers and information available in store were used effectively to provide information to the customers.

 

Reuse Refill Recycle

Original 80s / 90s Body Shop Against Animal Testing Badge

Campaigning formed a large part of the company’s identity.   From animal rights, acid rain and preservation of the rainforests, to packaging, which included opposition to the use of CFCs in aerosols, and a Reuse Refill Recycle Campaign. In 1990 they were the first retailer to introduce a system where the bottles could be returned for recycling if customers didn’t want to refill them.  This was absolutely groundbreaking – there were no doorstep collections other than general refuse back then.

 

The End of the Boston?

mmmm pink grapefruit

New Body Shop bottle shape, 250ml with Boston miniature, 60ml

Over the years they stuck with the shape, making changes by using an embossed screw-cap, using high clarity PET versions and changes to the label design.   But in 1999, when sales stated to decline, it was decided to introduce more packaging differentiation and new styles were introduced.

Now the company that has managed to ‘own’ a generic packaging item, have moved almost completely away from their once-beloved Boston. The Body Shop was sold to L’Oreal in 2006, who in turn sold it on to Natura in 2017.  During this time, a new bottle shape was introduced without fanfare.  Stylish and modern it compares with those of competitors like Neal’s Yard and sets them up for the modern retail environment.  The Boston is now only used for miniatures. 

The refilling service ceased in 2002 due to lack of demand (ref WRAP).  Since then it has become easier to recycle plastic bottles; most local councils now accept plastic bottles in kerbside collections for recycling.

 

The Future

The Body Shop now has ambitious new targets set in 2016 to become ‘the world’s most ethical and sustainable business’ under their ‘Enrich not Exploit’ strategy.  Fossil fuel reduction is now the focus – a target of 70%, and a commitment to packaging innovation. 

I have to confess, apart from an emergency lip-balm purchase, I’ve not shopped in the Body Shop for years – there isn’t the sense of fun there now that there once was (although yes, I admit I’m no longer a teenager!).  Looking at the old Boston and new bottle side by side, going back to the old shape is clearly a retrograde step.  However, with the current rise of Zero Waste shops, and new owner Natura at the helm, I wonder if the time could be right now for them to have another go at the refill system, even just on one or two products, and bring back the magic that the Boston once held, if not the bottle itself. 

Did you used to get your bottles refilled at the Body Shop? (or did you do the refilling?)  What was your favourite product? Do you think they should bring back refills?  Let me know in the comments section below. 

 

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to read more – visit my blog or join my mailing list to be notified of new posts.

For help with your packaging development – get in touch or call 07826 791 045 to find out how I can help.

Sarah Greenwood

Henderson's Relish old v new

How to use Packaging to Grow Sales – Henderson’s Relish

Henderson’s Relish is a dark, spicy table sauce which has been produced in Sheffield since 1885.  Although much loved in its home city, up until a few years ago it could only be found on sale in Sheffield and North Derbyshire.  Thanks to a business expansion programme, which included moving to a new factory in 2013, availability has now increased to the rest of Yorkshire and beyond.  Improvements to their packaging have played an important part in this.  Below I explain how the company has made the most of new branding and label layout, a bespoke glass bottle and the introduction of shelf-ready packaging. If you are interested in how to increase distribution and sales of your product using packaging, read on (Disclaimer: I have not worked on this, I just think they have done a really good job!  Please get in touch or call me on 07826 791 045 if you want help with your packaging development though).

 

1. Graphic Design and Label

Old Henderson’s label wrap-around

 

New Henderson’s label wrap-round. It makes more use of the space available than the old version

To most Sheffielders, the sight of a clear half-pint bottle filled with a dark brown liquid and with a bright orange label is unmistakably Henderson’s Relish.  Until their rebrand in 2015 the label design had remained pretty much unchanged for decades.  There was no logo as such – the bottle pretty much being its own logo and the type was simple capitals, reminiscent of old-style letterpress printing.  All pack information, including awards and the barcode, was visible on a single face.   The result was that it looked rather cluttered – OK if the product is on sale in a local butchers, but far from ideal for supermarkets and convenience stores, where the packaging needs to do the selling. 

For the new design, they have introduced a Victorian style font, sticking with uppercase letters.  The strokes of the letter Rs extend below the baseline, turning the product name into a logo.  The white Yorkshire rose now sits above the text, showing the brand’s provenance, white highlights on the lettering complement the rose.  Founder Harry Henderson’s signature has been added  to the base of the label and a subtle background texture breaks up the solid orange background.

The layout of the label is much neater.  Although shorter, it has been made bigger so it  wraps further around the bottle, and front and side panels have been introduced.  The barcode, accolades and newly added nutritional information are now hidden on the sides of the bottle rather than the front, creating a much neater appearance. 

 

2. Bottle

Embossing on the shoulder of the new Henderson’s bottle

Even the base is branded on the new Henderson’s bespoke glass bottle

Although Henderson’s used bespoke embossed bottles in their early days, more recently they had been using a generic half-pint bottle.  They returned to their roots in 2017 with a bottle produced by nearby leading glass manufacturer Beatson Clarke.  ‘Henderson’s Relish’ is now proudly positioned in relief on the shoulder and even the base.  This gives a real feel of class – in order to have bespoke bottles for your brand, there is a significant minimum order quantity and the associated tooling costs.  To someone who has not come across the brand before, this says ‘we are here, we are reliable and we are going to be around for a long time’. 

The glass itself is 30% recycled, 10% is from locally recycled glass – a great story which reinforces their Made-in-Yorkshire credentials.

 

3. Shelf-Ready Packaging

Hendersons SRP

Along with other requirements, major retailers will often not list a product unless the outer packaging meets their specifications.  They will have strict guidelines on the type of packaging and how it is labelled and palletised.  It is common for them to insist on shelf ready packaging (SRP or RRP), outer packaging that can be opened quickly and place directly on the supermarket shelf without the need for decanting.  Originally in an ordinary brown cardboard box with cardboard dividers to protect the bottles (like a crate of wine), the dividers have been done away with and the top portion of the box is easily ripped away to reveal the contents inside.  This SRP is printed in Hendo’s Orange, and they’ve jumped on the opportunity to add serving ideas and their gluten-free and vegetarian credentials to the part of the packaging which stays on the supermarket shelf, turning it into a valuable marketing tool. 

 

So what next for Henderson’s ?

Combined, the above changes have transformed a very ordinary-looking local hero into a product that looks worthy of any upmarket supermarket or farm-shop shelf.  Over the period that most of these changes were introduced, sales increased by 30% (Sheffield Star, October 2016). Clearly this hasn’t been entirely down to the packaging, for example Henderson’s are very good at taking advantage of publicity opportunities, Hendogate, for example, and futher establishing the brand by producing special editions.   When the new design was launched In 2015 their aspirations were just to conquer Yorkshire.  Now they have invested in a new bottling line and are planning to go global (Yorkshire Post 2017).  The changes to the packaging that have been made over the last few years have set them in excellent stead for this. 

 

To see how I can help your business grow using new packaging, check out the case studies and services provided pages on my website.  For more information, contact me here, call me on 07826 791 045 or subscribe to my monthly newsletter

Private Label or Retailer Own Brand Packaging

Retailer Own Brand – What You Need to Know About Packaging

If your company plans to supply products into Retailer Own Brand (or Private Label) and you are responsible for packaging, then this blog is for you.  Below is an essential check list of things you need to know, including what resource you will need, what to ask for from the retailer and what information you can expect them to ask you for.   (If you are looking to supply your own branded products subscribe to my mailing list to be notified when my next blog comes out).

 

Resource

Retailers work to very strict timescales so it is vital that you have enough resource to cover the work during the period to the launch date. There needs to be someone available to look after packaging sourcing and specification, e.g. a Packaging Technologist and also to manage the artwork process, an Artwork Co-ordinator.  Depending on your set-up, these roles can be done separately or combined into one position.  (If you do need extra resource – read this case study to see how I can help you). 

Retailers usually require a 48 hour turnaround on artworks, 24 hours on amends.  As several people within your business could be needed to check the artwork for accuracy– typically Technical, Product Development and the Packaging Technologist, it is vital that they, or a deputy, are made available to check artwork in order to keep to the project timescales.

 

What to ask for from the retailer;

Packaging Guidelines

Many of the large retailers publish packaging guidelines on their supplier web-portals, for which you will need a login and password.  These could include guidance on material grades, shelf-ready and transit packaging and an approved packaging supplier list.  I’m a big believer in continuing with your existing suppliers (see How to find a packaging supplier) but don’t dismiss the suppliers from the approved list straight away, the retailer might be able to get you a good deal. 

 

Login to the Artwork Approval System

You will need a separate login to their artwork management portal and the contact details for the artwork account manager – artwork management is usually sub-contracted to a specialist company.  It’s a good idea to put them in your speed dial – you‘ll be in contact with them a lot!

 

The Critical Path

Once you’ve supplied your FTP date (See below) You’ll be issued with a number of key dates that need to be met to keep the project on track, including pack copy submission dates and when the artwork is due to be issued for approval, etc.  The key dates could be at odds with your company’s product development timings, especially if you use a gated product development process. This is something you will just have to find ways to work around.  My experience of 6 years of working on ROB was that the two processes never matched!

 

 

What the retailer will ask for from you;

Mock-ups

If this is a completely new product, then you will be asked to provide an unprinted mock-up, including all packaging components.

 

Cutter Guide (primary pack)

This is the line drawing that either you or your printer have issued to have the artwork added onto.  It should show the position and orientation of panels, position and size of the BB area, etc. Chances are you might still be developing the packaging at the time the cutter guide is requested – this is where your artwork account manager comes in – they might be able to buy you a little time or allow you to submit a provisional cutter guide – it is really important to keep on top of this though, I’ve seen someone (not me!) lose track of this which cost a lot of money to fix.

 

Printer Details and a File To Printer (FTP) date

Your printer will be included in the artwork approval process and artwork will be sent to them directly once the artwork is signed-off.  You provide the FTP date working back from when you need the packaging on site, the printer’s lead times and a bit of wriggle room, etc.

 

Pack Copy

Your technical and NPD team will supply this through the retailer’s specification portal.  Artwork timings depend on these being supplied at the right time, so it is worth keeping in close contact with them on this.

 

Simple Packaging Specs and Recycling Information

Retailers vary enormously in the amount of information required. E.g. for outer cases, some are happy with ‘B-flute SRP’, others ask for the full spec!  It helps to have this information ready at your fingertips.  You could be asked to provide the OPRL labelling information for your lines (ask the packaging team at your retailer if you don’t have a copy of the OPRL guidelines).

 

New Line Form Information

Case count (number of products per case), size of outer case in mm, number of cases per pallet, number of cases per layer, and number of layers, weight per case and height of pallet.  These are usually required early on, so if the product is still in development stress that the values are provisional and UPDATE your sales manager (or whoever is responsible for filling in the new line forms) as soon as you can. 

 

The above just touches on what you need, but hopefully I’ve given you an insight into what is required from a packaging perspective when you start supplying your product into Retailer Own Brand.  There is a lot to consider, but as long as long as you stick to the checklist above, you’ll be winning.

Good Luck!

 

Have I answered your questions?  If not put your comments in the section below and I’ll do my best to answer.

You can join my mailing list for general information on packaging (emails sent out about once a month)

Cheers,

Sarah

The Big Plastics Debate – Who Won?

The Packaging Innovations show at the NEC, held at the end of February could, at a pinch, be described as the Glastonbury of the packaging world.  Alongside supplier exhibits, there are plenty of opportunities to meet up with colleagues and attend talks and discussions from professionals in the industry. 

 The BBC’s Blue Planet, the UK Government’s 25 year plan and Iceland Foods’ announcement that they intend to go plastic free on their own brand products by 2023 has ignited an enormous amount of debate throughout both industry and the general public.

Rightly so, the Packaging Innovations organisers, Easyfairs leapt on this opportunity and planned as the headline event ‘The Big Plastics Debate’ a session of talks and a panel discussion with key industry players.

Martin Kersh from the Foodservice Packaging Association spoke on legislation.   The stand out points for me were;

  • The Packaging Industry’s frustration with the public’s understanding of the issues (using the anti-straw campaign as an example),
  • A call for legislation reform to encourage the incorporation of recycled material into packaging, and
  • For all brand owners to join a packaging waste compliance scheme, not just those above a certain turnover.

Ian Schofield shared Iceland’s vision for their own brand products.  The retailer says they have listened to their customers and by eliminating plastic are giving them what they want.  Interestingly he is avoiding the use of bioplastics marketed as compostable or biodegradable.   He acknowledged that it wouldn’t always be easy, but Iceland have made a strong statement of intent and they are sticking with it.

The discussion panel, which took questions from the floor included Ian Ferguson from the Co-op,  Nick Brown from Coca-Cola and Kevin Vyse from M&S.   Slightly disappointingly, it was a very well mannered affair.  You can view the whole session here on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zib38FsFjU

 

So who won the debate?

Interestingly the retailers and brand-owners seemed to have more in common than differences.   They all (naturally) want to keep food waste to a minimum, in which plastic plays an important part, move away from plastic where possible and increase the recyclability and recycled content of the plastics they are left with – Iceland’s first step for frozen food bags is to move away from laminates to more easily recycled monolayers;  Coca-Cola intend to dramatically increase the use of recycled content of their bottles over the coming years.

In summary, it was an interesting couple of hours.   It would have been good to see more variety in the panel – maybe someone from Surfers Against Sewage or Friends of the Earth and the British Plastics Federation who have been very vocal on the subject , but it was a good start, and it will be interesting to see how much progress has been made this time next year.

Do you think the packaging industry is doing enough to combat plastic waste? Add your comments below.

If you need help to reduce plastic packaging from your products, contact me to find out how I can help or call me on 07826 791 045.

You can join my mailing list for general information on packaging (emails sent out about once a month)

Sarah

How to Find a Packaging Supplier

A Beginners’ Guide.

Whatever format of packaging component you are looking for; printed or unprinted, cartons, bottles, flexibles or rigid plastics etc, finding the right supplier isn’t always easy.  Whether you are working in an expanding start-up or an established business, here are some tips to help you find the right packaging supplier;

 

Making a Start

Before talking to anyone it is a good idea to have an idea of volumes i.e. how many units of packaging you will require a year in thousands.  This could filter out a lot of potential suppliers – some have high minimum order quantities, others will specialise in smaller quantities.  If your requirement is for anything under 1000 units, it will almost always be cheaper to go for ‘off the shelf’ options.  It is also a good idea to be clear at this stage what requirements the packaging may need to conform to in addition to standard packaging regulations – e.g. BRC accreditation if you are in the food industry.

 

A Google search will provide many packaging suppliers, but how do you find out which ones are right for you?

Creating a Short-list

Searching on Google will return more than enough candidates, but how do you identify who is most suitable for you?  The most reliable way is to ask someone for a recommendation (us Packaging Professionals are good for that!).  The next best thing is to check out online directories from the relevant trade associations – The British Plastics Federation or British Glass for example in the UK.  If you don’t need to find someone straight away, packaging trade shows are a good idea, like Packaging Innovations in the UK.  Visiting a trade show is a really good opportunity to talk to a lot of suppliers in one day.  Be aware though that many suppliers choose not to exhibit so you could miss out if you rely on trade shows alone. 

 

Narrowing it down

Once you’ve got your short-list, it’s time to contact the potential suppliers for an initial telephone discussion.  You’ll find out quickly if they are a suitable fit.  If so, the next stage is to invite two or three to provide a quote and to arrange to meet up for a face to face discussion.

At this stage it is tempting to go with whoever provides the cheapest quote.  Beware – this could end up being a false economy without considering the following;

Use this checklist to help you choose a packaging supplier

Samples

Sales managers will almost always bring a set of example packaging for you to look at to see the quality of their products.  It is essential to handle the samples to get a feel for the substrate as well as checking print quality.  As part of the development/quotation process they will provide mock-ups (usually unprinted) to your specification.

 

 Lead Times and Stock Holding

Can you accommodate the longer lead times associated with sourcing from continental Europe or the Far East? If a fast response is required, it may be worth sourcing from within your country even if the unit price is higher.  If space is at a premium on your site, ask if they are able to hold stock on your behalf in their warehouse. This could be a useful service, especially if included in the price.

 

Customer Service

Are they easy to contact to place an order? If there is an issue with quality how quickly can they be on site to address it?  Do they offer technical support for line trials or training for your colleagues on the packaging materials used? How fast can they turn around development samples? Fast responses to all of these are vital in an FMCG environment.

 

Specials

What do they offer in terms of special finishes and materials? e.g. foil-blocking and bio-based substrates.  Do they offer any other value-added services?  You might not need these now, but it could be useful to be able to offer these to your brand manager/ customers in the future.

 

Innovation and Development

What creative solutions can they offer?  Ask to see previous projects.  Do they keep on top of developments in their industry? Are they able to offer cost-saving ideas or more sustainable packaging solutions?  What are their development facilities like?  Again, these are useful for your supplier to have within their capabilities before you need them (who know what the next consumer trend will be?)

 

The Future

Once you’ve met with your potential suppliers and asked the questions above, you’ll have a good idea which companies you want to work with.  A small trial order will confirm their credentials and hopefully be the start of a wonderful business relationship!

 

If you need help to find a packaging supplier, contact me to find out how I can help or call me on 07826 791 045.

You can join my mailing list for general information on packaging (emails sent out about once a month)

Sarah

Nov 2017 – Garçon Wines, BBIC and Instagram

Garçon Wines

I’m delighted to have been included in the BarnsleyBIC autumn newspaper Business Matters with an article on my work with the fabulous Garçon Wines.  The newspaper is available in print form at various locations around Barnsley and available online here.  I have been using BarnsleyBIC as a base for my business for over 3 years now – it is great to be part of a wider business community.  Here’s the article;

Garcon Wines letterbox wine bottle

Flat bottle idea matures nicely

Sarah Greenwood, Packaging consultant at Sarah Greenwood Packaging and one of BarnsleyBIC’s Virtual tenants is currently working hard with award winning inventor of slim-wine bottles Garçon Wines.

Sarah is a packaging technologist with a background is physics and polymer science which gives her that edge when working through the technical limitations of packaging.  She is currently helping them develop bottles slim enough to fit through a letter box yet tough enough to withstand the postal system without the huge amount of protective packaging needed for a standard glass bottle. 

“The project is very exciting, it really is cutting edge and shows real innovation” said Sarah.  The whole project is still in development but keep an eye out and watch this space.  With Sarah’s experience in the packaging industry, we’ll all be getting our wine through the letterbox in no time.

Find out more by visiting:

www.scgreenwood.co.uk

 

Instagram

Photos from Instagram – T2 tea carton, Lyon’s coffee tin, novelty brushes

In other news, I’ve recently joined the millenials and have set up a business account on Instagram.  Like many other packaging professionals, I’ve always got an eye on the packaging around me in my everyday life, and this is a record of that.  I post pictures of innovative packaging, repurposed packaging and, well items I just like the look of.

 Check out my profile – sarah_greenwood_packaging.   If you’ve not used Instagram before, give it a try.   It’s giving me lots of ideas so keep an eye out for more blogs from me in the future!

 

For help with Packaging Innovation, or any other help you require with your packaging – please get in touch.

Cheers

Sarah