Shorter flaps, thinner boxes, less color: inflation is changing the way products are packaged
If you’ve noticed that products you’ve recently purchased arrive in boxes, cartons, and other packaging that appear smaller, lighter, and decorated with less flashy colors, that’s because they actually are. .
Industry experts say adjusting packaging is one of the ways companies try to control costs.
“Packaging changes are being driven by both inflation and supply chain disruptions,” said Lisa Pruett, president of RRD Packaging Solutions, a leading supplier of paper packaging products. and printing and marketing services for more than 90% of Fortune 100 brands across all industries, including grocery. , cosmetics and health.
She said up to 81% of RRD customers had made changes to their packaging in some way in the past year.
Downsizing, also known as “shrinkage”, occurs when items such as toilet paper rolls or the number of cookies in a container begin to shrink in size or quantity – or both – due to of rising costs.
But brands are also cutting costs in other ways and not necessarily reducing the amount of product in the box or box, Pruett said.
Color changes, smaller flaps, thinner boxes
In product packaging, using one color palette over another can impact costs, Pruett said.
For example, the inside of a box containing a new lipstick tends to be white because the color conveys a more chic and upscale feel.
But the white “substrate,” or paper packaging surface, is typically 20-30% more expensive than opting for gray or brown paper made from recycled packaging materials.
In response to inflationary pressures, shoppers “could see brown or gray come to the fore as brands embrace lower-cost, more sustainable options, like recycled paper,” Pruett said.
Pruett also pointed to a major medical device manufacturer that switched to a paper insert instead of a plastic one to hold the product, which is both cheaper and more environmentally friendly. She declined to name the brand, citing confidentiality agreements.
Then there are some more subtle packaging tweaks being rolled out in grocery stores that will likely fly under the radar.
“Flaps on top of boxes get shorter, or the box itself is thinner,” Pruett said. “Two years ago, these changes may have been minor. Today, they are increasingly impacting businesses.”