The Reusable Packaging Association, a nonprofit trade organization, has seen significant advancements in transport packaging over the years, as more and more companies look to reusable packaging systems for their perishable items. Within the deli sector, reusable packaging has become a very attractive option for companies looking to maximize product protection and quality of food items and display them in shelf-ready containers or trays. I sat down with Tim Debus, President and CEO, to find out more.
“In many cases, retailers and third-party suppliers are making direct-to-store deliveries of fresh foods on a daily basis, particularly sandwiches and deli products. To bring in these products, suppliers are using reusable packaging systems involving totes, containers, and dollies,” Tim begins, clueing me in to the reasons behind the industry’s recent growth in the deli sector. “The market attraction toward prepared, ready-to-eat foods is freshness and quality. You want to make sure that when you’re shipping a perishable food item, it’s going to arrive at the point-of-sale in the best condition possible. Reusable packaging offers the strength and stability to ensure product protection during transit and handling while optimizing ventilation and temperature control in cold chain environments.”
Reusable plastic containers (RPCs) are developed and used expressly for this purpose at retail supermarkets: they’re ergonomically designed for ease of movement when they’re shifted onto carts, dollies, and shelves; they’re durable; and they’re often display-ready or shelf-ready for one-touch handling. Reusable packaging offers significant time savings for store associates enabling more time spent on the sales floor and with customers.
“In many applications, the open-top reusable container goes right onto the shelf without the need to open it,” Tim tells me, highlighting the appeal of a retail-ready item.
In addition to RPCs having a greater presence in specialty food, Tim told me about the industry’s Switch, Save + Sell. campaign. The campaign involves a new website, switchtoreusables.org, which is a hub of information about the performance and advantages of reusable packaging. The site now focuses on fresh food items for retail applications including produce, eggs, and meat, but it’s an excellent source of marketing information useful to deli managers and decision-makers.
Stick with us here at Deli Market News for the latest on innovations and shrink-saving trends in the deli space.