What could out of the box thinking deliver for the drinks industry?￼
It’s no secret that the price and availability of board have presented challenges across the packaging supply chain over the past few months. With raw material processing and board production still recovering from the hiatus of the pandemic, ongoing transport and stockholding issues, and higher demand than ever, there has been a need for creative thinking. In some cases, this has even meant re-thinking the brand’s packaging strategy.
One potential option is for drinks brands to package only premium and seasonal lines with cartons, rather than the whole range, which could have clear commercial and operational benefits.
Firstly, and most obviously, it would enable a reduction in packaging costs for volume products. As production prices rise, due to the increased costs of ingredients and energy, the decision to ditch the carton may deliver product pricing advantages that counter any loss in shelf appeal. For products targeted at the regular drinker, rather than gifting or occasions, price point and availability carry considerable consumer loyalty.
More strategically, it would allow enhanced tiering of product offerings. By losing the carton on ‘commodity’ products, premium products intended for gifting or higher end choices are instantly elevated to something more special. Consumers who may previously have chosen a lower priced product as a gift are more likely to upgrade to the more expensive, boxed bottle. Meanwhile, those who are simply buying for their own consumption will be less concerned with the lack of packaging, and more focused on price. As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, pricing for regular purchases is increasingly important.
Concentrating the use of carton packaging on premium, gifting and seasonal lines also enables better resource planning. If board supply chain challenges continue, channelling available supplies into higher value, higher margin products seems a sensible move.
At Herbert Walkers, we have extensive experience of creating cartons for the drinks sector, including gifting packs, seasonal products and premium lines, with luxury foiled and embossed finishes. There is wide-ranging opportunity to use printing, finishing and interesting formats to achieve stand-out on shelf in this segment of the market and we work closely with both brands and their design agencies to optimise the design while ensuring the carton is commercially viable.
For many drinks companies, the carton continues to be an important part of their products’ value proposition and part of our role is to work with them to mitigate the price volatility and supply chain challenges the global market is experiencing at the moment. As part of that commitment, we have been offering a procure and store service to customers, enabling them to buy board in advance to secure availability and lock in the price point.
Ultimately, our role is not to advise our customers on their packaging strategy, but to collaborate with them to achieve their packaging goals for their products – and that’s a principle that’s just as true for food, confectionary and cosmetics as it is for the drinks industry. It’s our straight-talking approach, innovative one-stop-shop capabilities and technical knowledge that enable us to advise and add value, no matter what trends emerge.