Tag Archives: Packaging Consultant

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

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

Fresh cucumbers

Do cucumbers really need to be shrink-wrapped?

Retailers are under enormous pressure to eliminate plastic packaging altogether.  Do cucumbers really need to be shrink-wrapped with plastic?  Read on to find out…

OK, so most people know that if you keep a cucumber wrapped it will stay fresher for longer.  If you are curious like me about by how much, here is an easy experiment you can do at home to see what difference the plastic shrink-wrap makes;

 

Experiment

Get hold of 2 cucumbers of similar size and the same best before date.  Weigh them both using kitchen scales and remove the shrink-wrap from one and weigh the packaging.  Put both cucumbers in the fridge and continue weigh every day (more often if you like) until the best-before date.  On the best before date, weigh the cucumbers one final time, take a slice from each and taste.  (For one way to use up your cucumbers at the end of the experiment, try this recipe for cucumber soup from Delia)

Cucumber being weighed

Cucumber being weighed

Here are my results, weight of the cucumber plotted vs time;

Weights of wrapped and unwrapped cucumbers vs. time in home fridge at 4°C

Weights of wrapped and unwrapped cucumbers vs. time in home fridge at 4°C

The wrapped cucumber lost just 1g during the testing period, the unwrapped 12g – 3.5% of its total weight on the day of purchase (day 0) on the graph above. The unwrapped cucumber was still fresh but less crunchy than the wrapped cucumber.

 

What does this mean?

Shrink-wrap isn’t just a barrier to moisture-lossAfter harvest all fresh produce continues to respire (breath) – its carbohydrate reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere and releases carbon dioxide and water (see here for more info).  Shrink-wrapping reduces the amount of oxygen available so the cucumber’s respiration rate slows down, less water is lost and it stays fresh for longer.  (Note a number of factors also affect the respiration rate – the variety, ripeness of the cucumber when picked, wax coatings and storage conditions). 

These particular cucumbers came from Greece, so were picked, wrapped and labelled in Greece, loaded onto a truck, travelled 2000 miles including a trip over the sea to a UK distribution centre and then from the UK DC to the local stores.  This can’t take any less than 2 days.  Even with temperature controlled transport the temperature the cucumbers are kept at will vary. In many cases (as with these) they are sold and stored at room temperature, so respiration and water-loss will be greater during the time they are on sale.   The shrink also physically protects the fruits from damage during transit.

OK, so the home-experiment above was just a bit of fun (yes I know, I need to get out more). However, the Co‑op, regarded as one of the greener supermarket retailers for packaging, performed a rigorous trial across the whole supply chain in 2012.  Their trials showed that the shrink-wrap prevented waste by two-thirds (See this article from Sky News). Extensive scientific research has also been performed – see this report from the Journal of Food Science and Technology.

 

So what next?

Just 2g of plastic means that a cucumber can be as fresh on its best before date as on the day it was purchased, not to mention the protection it provides during a 2000 mile journey to our fridges.  This doesn’t mean the industry should not act in order to reduce plastic usage, but until they find a workable solution, the best thing we as consumers can do is to keep the pressure on retailers to reduce plastic packaging where they can.  What about the wrappers on soap bar and tinned tuna multi-packs – are they really necessary?

If you are a brand owner and want help in removing plastic packaging from your products contact me for advice or call +44 (0) 7826 791 045

Subscribe to my newsletter to find out more about packaging in general.

In the meantime I’m off to eat some cucumber soup!

Chilled cucumber soup in a teacup

Brand New Image!

GreenwoodPackagingLogoOrange_7408

So here it is, my new business name and logo. After working in Packaging Development on well-known brands for years, it’s been so exciting to work with a designer on my own branding.

Created by Steph Cronin of Black Bee Creative in Barnsley, my brief was for the logo to look professional but to avoid appearing too corporate – I work with large companies and also early stage start-ups so it needed to appeal to both.  The name has also had a makeover – ‘Greenwood Packaging Consultancy’ is now proudly relaunched as ‘Sarah Greenwood Packaging’.

I’m delighted with the result – I hope you like it too!

Sarah