Cardboard tray system slashes bakers' costs and could reduce retail bread prices

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Out of the Box: Cardboard system can cut costs of plastic trays for bakers
Out of the Box: Cardboard system can cut costs of plastic trays for bakers

Related tags Bread

Replacing plastic trays with a cardboard system could allow US retailers to slash US bread prices while maintaining profit margins and lowering costs for manufacturers, says the maker of the new method Out of the Box.

The Toronto-based firm introduced its retail-ready corrugated trays to replace plastic trays in November last year. It claims the system is friendlier to the environment and will cut costs for bakers.

The plastic tray system

Co-inventor of the system Mike Juma, who previously owned a commercial bakery with his brother, told it could replace the expensive and inefficient plastic tray system.

“Traditionally, bread until today is delivered on plastic trays. The tray only serves the purpose of taking the bread to the distribution center. There’s no value to this tray other than transportation.”

Packaged bread is fed onto plastic trays, costing $15-20 each, and manufacturers pay for freight and storage.

“In Canada and the US, the tray must go through a wash cycle each time it goes back,”​ said Juma. “This is why bread in North America is selling for $3.”

He said plastic trays were adding almost 4% to the price of each loaf of bread sold in retailers.

Cost savings

Juma said that the OTB system would increase a bakery’s margin on every loaf of bread at no added cost.

“The truck never comes back to the bakery so our distribution costs are cut in half immediately, ​he said.

The OTB cardboard system also carries almost double the amount of loaves per palette compared to a plastic tray meaning fuel costs are cut even further.

otb truck
More loaves per truckload, says Out of the Box

Competitive bread prices

“These savings could be passed on to consumers,”​ said Juma. “Retailers are competitive on the price of staple items like sugar, milk and bananas, but not on bread.”

He said the OTB system would allow retailers to sell a loaf of white bread for $1.49 instead of $3 and maintain or even grow profit margins.

Green system and pros

The cardboard trays are completely recyclable and are compatible with automatic tray formers and box folding equipment, but Juma said some minor adjustment may be required.

“The entire process can be automated to fit an automatic commercial bakery,” ​he said.

The inventor added the OTB system could withstand 1,995 llbs per sq inch and could protect the product. The cardboard trays are also shrink-wrapped for further reinforcement.

Juma said retailers could stack the OTB trays on palettes at whatever height they required. Retailers may also encourage customers to pack their shopping in the empty trays, he said.

Juma and his brother were previously using the system for their commercial bakery. It took OTB six years to finalize a patent for the U.S and Canada and the firm began to sell to these markets in November 2014.

The firm has applied for patent protection across the globe. Juma said his firm was open to negotiating a license for a cardboard manufacturer in Europe to bring the system to the continent.

Related news

Related products

New Study: 2023 Productivity Benchmark Report

New Study: 2023 Productivity Benchmark Report

Content provided by QAD Redzone | 13-Oct-2023 | White Paper

On average, manufacturers in this QAD Redzone exclusive study achieved productivity increases that allowed them to make 5 days of product in just 4 days....

Related suppliers


Show more

Enviromental Impact

Posted by Brian Lenim,

Anytime any one reduces the consumption of water, plastics, detergents etc., there becomes a positive contribution to the environment and the effect is always positive. Please tell me what more studies need to be conducted to prove that the replacement of plastic trays in the baking industry with cardboard trays will ONLY benefit our environment? Lets not forget to mention all the other positive improvements the OTB system brings to the Baking Industry, retailers and ultimately you and I. The consumer who is always looking for lower prices!!!

Report abuse

This is the opposite of green washing

Posted by Salvatore,

In the article the author outlines that " The OTB cardboard trays carry almost double the amount of loaves per palette compared to a plastic tray meaning fuel costs are cut even further", is not that a benefit to the environment because less trucks are needed to deliver more product, and the cardboard is 100% recyclable" Why are you suggesting this is an example of greenwashing? If anything this will help benefit our environment very much.

Report abuse

Enviromental Impact

Posted by Steven Brown,

I must agree with the comments left before me, reduction in any material made from non renewable resources that are being replaced with recycled cardboard can only benefit the environment and reduce the environmental impact. Talk about thinking "Out of the Box"

Report abuse

Follow us


View more