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Unilever Foods cuts costs with packaging solution from LFH

• Household goods giant adopts LFH tailored colour harmonisation solution for food packaging as part of optimisation and cost-reduction drive within its portfolio

• LFH's system reduces 100's of colours in use, down to just 6, with no loss of quality

Unilever have partnered with LFH, a leading independent European branded packaging consultancy, to develop a groundbreaking colour harmonisation process which is set to revolutionise the household goods giant's food approach to printed packaging.

The new system, known within Unilever Foods as Rainbow, is LFH's own Chapter 1 patented solution which has significantly reduced printed packaging costs with Spreads & Cooking Category, Europe (SCCE) on an on-going basis.

Gijs van Schoot, Supply Manager Packaging says Unilever is constantly striving to reduce complexity from its business and to remove costs where possible – particularly in the area of printed packaging.

A core working team was established to evaluate the opportunity; with van Schoot on the procurement side working alongside Matthew Daniels, Unilever Foods Best Practice Manager and with support from marketing; Nils van Dam, SVP SCC & Dressings, Europe.

From a Unilever Supply Management point of view, complexity reduction was a proven method to take cost out of the system and from understanding the situation. It became clear that for SCCE the savings could be obtained by reducing the complexity in the number of colours.

On behalf of Rainbow team, Unilever approached Graham Hawkins, Production Director at LFH, to pursue the use of LFH's hybrid colour harmonisation solution, now called 'Chapter 1' and used for other clients including Unilever's Home Care brand called Cif some years earlier. The key objectives of the project were to reduce complexity, reduce material waste and costs.

Following the audit, LFH found that over 100 different colours were being used in combination for Spreads & Cooking Products Category. Having reviewed the findings of the audit, LFH set about creating a tailored and fixed colour palette, based only on a common six colours to recreate the hundreds of packs in the category.

“Together with the potential from a commercial point of view it was a no-brainer to progress project Rainbow for implementation” says Van Schoot. “Revolutionary is a strong word to use but in that's exactly what we're talking here – cost savings as a result are set to be significant, to say the least.”

Hawkins added: “We're very proud of what we've been able to achieve alongside Unilever. We spent a long time perfecting a solution which will provide Unilever Foods with not only future cost-savings, but also environmental benefits in the long-term.”

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