By Isaac Fletcher, contributing writer, Food Online
Food producers can attract customers and make products more desirable to retailers by adopting several important principles
The Five Easies of Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) may sound familiar. They are a set of guidelines that were designed about 10 years ago to help retailers and suppliers focus on the functional requirements of RRP. More recently, the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) expanded upon this list to create the Eleven Easies of RRP to illuminate how manufacturers can get RRP right.
From the supplier side, there are two important guidelines: (1) easy to pack and (2) easy to transport. Easy packing can help reduce packaging costs and easy transportation can help better utilize space, which makes transportation more efficient and further reduces costs. From a shopper’s perspective, RRP needs to fulfill two functions — the products should be (3) easy to find and (4) easy to pick. Easy to find means a customer can easily identify the product on the shelf in its specific category, saving the customer from spending time searching. Easy to pick entails the customer being able to physically access the product and place it into his/her shopping cart.
To the retailer, RRP needs to be (5) easy to recognize and (6) easy to identify. Store staff needs to be able to quickly recognize a product in the store room and effortlessly identify it in hand. This breaks down to clear and rapid recognition and identification of brand, product type, and product variant so that it can be placed in the right location within the store. Once in hand, the RRP must be (7) easy to open, which simply entails reduced opening time and ease of tearing so that the need for a box cutter is limited.
When it comes to putting the product on stores’ shelves, manufacturers should strive to make the product (8) easy to fill and (9) easy to stock. Easy filling equates to a product being able to fit evenly and uniformly on a shelf or in-store display, and displays multiple layers of the product or is easily stackable. Easy stocking is about quick placement onto a shelf or into a display with as few movements as possible, which sometimes means “one-touch” stocking — stocking an entire tray or box of product at once — rather than moving each unit individually.
RRP should also make the product (10) easy to rotate, adding value to products with a short shelf life by making it practical and efficient to replenish new stock behind old stock. Effective RRP facilitates first-in, first-out inventory management reduces waste and increases sales. Lastly, when all is said and done, RRP should be (11) easy to dispose by being easily dismantled and recycled. By incorporating as many of these guidelines as possible into the design of RRP, manufacturers can ensure that packaging is as easy to transport and that it is as retailer and customer-friendly as it can be.