Since 2008, 49% of manufacturers in the food and personal care sector have reduced used of corrugated packaging, according to PMMI’s November Secondary Packaging report. However, 21% have increased use - 9% in the food sector.
Donna Ritson, president of DDR Communications – the firm behind the research – said there were a number of drivers behind this.
“E-commerce is huge and it’s driving a greater use of secondary packaging,” she told press at a conference at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago today.
Virtual shopping, she said, would rise 20% this year, according to data from eMarketers.
“Secondary promotions and displays also lead to an increase use of corrugate,” she added.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com after the conference, Ritson said increased use of corrugate in the snacks sector was mainly a practical matter.
“What’s really important in snacks is the protection of secondary packaging because most snacks are in flexible packaging and snacks being snacks are breakable. That’s where you’re seeing increased usage of corrugate material,” she said.
“There’s this interesting phenomena of where everyone is downsizing and reducing corrugate, there are times where manufacturers need more corrugate – they need that box. And particularly in snack foods, that RSC [regular slotted carton] box is not necessarily going away.”
In addition, snack makers were using more corrugated material for in-store, end aisle display boxes, she said. “Those stands are reusable, so they need to be sturdy and attractive to the consumers.”
Innovation in corrugated
Ritson said there had been a lot of work done to improve the sustainability of corrugated material in packaging. Recycled additives and fibers were being used, for example, and light weighting continued to be a priority.
However, manufacturers faced continued challenges over cost, she said.
According to the PMMI report, the cost of corrugated boxes would rise at an annualized rate of 3% through 2017.
“The big decisions are around the rising cost of oils and the rising cost of paper – everything is rising, so that’s the big conundrum at the moment,” Ritson said.