The UK retail landscape is changing dramatically as the once loyal customers of the big four supermarkets become much more flexible in their shopping habits due to the rise of the discounters, online shopping and the increasing preference for topping up with the essentials at their local convenience stores.
Growth of the discounters in the UK has made a huge contribution to the seismic shift in the grocery industry and mirrors their continued march across Europe – according to Kantar Worldpanel, Aldi and rival discounter Lidl now make up 9% of the British grocery market, up from just 5.4% in 2012.
A significant factor in their success is quick stock turnaround, which is where the versatility of corrugated Shelf Ready Packaging (SRP) comes into its own, says the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).
Discounters require functional packaging to make optimum use of shelf space and are big users of corrugated SRP – whole cross-sections of food and household goods are attractively displayed in the material. Multi-purpose packaging that speeds up the process of getting goods on display once delivered to the store is essential for maintaining footfall to the tills.
Replenishing stock quickly is vital for all retailers, as nothing is noticed more by shoppers than empty shelves. Getting goods out on display with the minimum of fuss makes for efficient in-house logistics.
The UK Corrugated Industry has invested heavily in designing boxes which save on storage space and cut costs. It is also incorporating easier opening features, such as perforations, to give quicker access to products. These innovations are making corrugated SRP a highly functional element throughout the discounters’ supply chain.
To help keep their costs down discounters restrict the number of similar products which allows them to reduce store sizes. Corrugated SRP is even more important in the compact store environment because there’s a far quicker stock turnover. It’s an adaptable packaging material which not only provides protection but also vibrant and innovative packaging, which could sway the purchase decisions many consumers make.
CPI’s Director of Packaging Affairs, Andrew Barnetson, said: “Corrugated Shelf Ready Packaging is streamlining discounters’ logistical operations. It reduces handling and waste and has a positive impact on branding. Their success is being aided by striking designs and the efficiency of corrugated SRP during the shelf replenishment process.”
Corrugated SRP will continue to evolve to keep pace with the market forces that are driving retail dynamics. Innovation is at the core of the UK Corrugated Industry – its versatility making it a vital logistics partner for supermarkets, something the discounters are keen to capitalise on.
The Corrugated Industry’s continued investment in, and drive for, innovative and sustainable packaging solutions are making a valuable contribution to the fast-changing retail landscape in the UK.