New packaging formats affect the secondary packaging process


Recent consumer trends, such as the demand for sustainable packaging options, convenient packaging, and the proliferation of SKUs, mean more packaging variety and more clutter on the shelves. For this reason, many manufacturers change their packaging configuration and incorporate value propositions into their secondary packaging.

According to a report by PMMI Business Intelligence, retailers today have four secondary packaging requirements:

· Ready-to-use boxes for easier product presentation

· Multipacks / various packs

· Biodegradable or recyclable materials

· Product traceability and safety

Ready-to-use cases

Ready-made display cases have seen growth in recent years in response to consumer and retailer demands, and while not a new concept, this growth is perhaps the most important for secondary packaging because it adds a new layer of complexity at the end of the line-strategy. Manufacturers who adopt ready-made displays should ensure that the bottom half of the case, which will remain on the shelf with the products, is properly marked and that the graphics survive the distribution supply chain in a ready-to-use state.

This growth may also play a role in the growing interest of brand manufacturers in automated visual inspection systems, which can help detect graphics and labeling defects before secondary packaging leaves the production line. With 75% of respondents saying they pursue out-of-the-box strategies, the challenges created by the popularity of this format remain a priority.

Other modifications

Beyond ready-to-use displays, many branded manufacturers are changing their secondary packaging to better meet the needs of their customers. The reasons vary by market, channel, and individual product, but trends are an industry-wide phenomenon. The format changes revolve mainly around the objectives of reducing materials, finding more sustainable packaging and improving the efficiency of line operations. With these goals in mind, manufacturers are changing their secondary packaging strategies such as: switching to ready-to-use or wrap-around cases (75%), replacing their corrugated boxes with shrink wrap (30%) , eliminating boxes in favor of rigid trays (45%) and adjusting the way they seal their corrugated cardboard boxes, either with glue or duct tape (50%).

Direct printing gains visibility

To mitigate potential labeling errors, including printing, inventory management, and application, manufacturers are now looking to print information directly onto secondary packaging. Direct printing is often a demand from retailers looking to improve inventory tracking and product identification, and 85% of manufacturers have indicated they are considering printing directly onto secondary packaging.


The main force behind the sustainable packaging trend is the consumer. In a recent survey of online shoppers conducted by CGS, 68% of participants said the sustainability of their products is a major concern. In addition, 59% of consumers surveyed by Globalwebindex said they would pay an additional cost for more sustainable packaging options.

As stated in the PMMI 2020 packaging sustainability report, Changes in packaging strategies are prevalent in the CPG industry, with manufacturers taking several different approaches to make their packaging more durable. Some of these initiatives include reducing the amount of waste generated by packaging (80%), designing fully recyclable packaging (89%), implementing reused packaging (36%), redesigning packaging to use more sustainable materials (56%), and by choosing materials from renewable sources (27%).

Returnable / reusable packaging

Although the use of returnable and / or reusable packaging has been limited, manufacturers are interested in the model, and 50% of participants said they are exploring returnable and / or reusable secondary packaging as a potential option for the industry. ‘to come up.

Returnable / reusable space has seen additional innovations in recent years, with the introduction of a variety of formats that specifically address the evolving structure of the GIC market. One example is the development of flexible returnable and reusable envelopes, designed to address sustainability concerns generated by the widespread use of corrugated cardboard in the e-commerce space. These targeted strategies will play a critical role as the retail and consumer staples sectors continue to explore the e-commerce channel.

Secondary packaging in the retail channel continues to be sustainable, printable and traceable


· Recyclable materials

· Reusable containers

· Good size

· Corrugated cardboard and film combinations


· Better quality inks

· Ready-to-print materials

· Easily scanned

· Label reduction


· Smart technology

· Readable coding

· Visual inspection

· Integrated supply chain

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Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, “Trends in secondary packaging”


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