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How Consumer Shopping Habits Are Impacting the Packaging Supply Chain

How Consumer Shopping Habits Are Impacting the Packaging Supply Chain

Today’s consumer demands convenience.  They want to get in, find what they want to buy and get out.  With more people choosing to live alone, there’s also an increased demand for smaller sizes, but single living isn’t the only driver of that trend.

When it’s convenience shoppers are looking for, they’re more likely to jump off the bus or metro and stop at the corner convenience store than they are to head to the grocery.  That means radically different packaging demands in the supply chain, due to different inventory practices and limited shelf space.

How consumer shopping habits are impacting the packaging supply chain is on the manufacturing level.  Let’s have a look.

The rise of convenience.

As already noted, consumers today are more likely to stop at a convenience store to quickly grab one or two items, than to go on a full-scale grocery expedition.  In the United Kingdom, convenience stores are slated to grow 22% in value.  This alone demands a radical shift in the way manufacturers approach packaging.

Because of smaller inventories, due to smaller storage areas and less shelf space, outlet-ready packaging needs to be downsized to meet the increased demand.  Packaging that works in a large-scale retail outlet isn’t going to be practical for a convenience store.

Smaller sizes mean a shift in manufacturing emphasis.  Machinery needs to change, or be supplemented, adding cost to the supply chain which is reflected at the procurement level.  Greater accuracy is required for smaller sizes, as well as labeling which is still legible, but which has been adapted to the smaller product unit size.

The challenge for procurement/suppliers.

Often, suppliers are meeting the challenge presented by changing consumer habits by passing the cost of adaptation on to procurement.  This is short-term thinking, as the market shift will eventually fade in the face of increased focus on a secondary market.  In other words, investments will balance themselves out, over time.

Suppliers should also be aware that meeting this challenge is an opportunity to change packaging to better reflect the sustainability requirements of modern consumers.  In other words, less is more.

Acknowledging the changes publicly is a chance to engage with consumers, advising them that smaller, store-ready packaging is addressing their demand for less packaging, more practical packaging and less frivolous packaging.

Answering that need may even help to mitigate the added cost of production involved.  In every challenge, there’s an opportunity.

How consumer habits are impacting the packaging supply chain may be an invitation to some creative thinking to address shifting consumer attitudes concerning sustainability and waste.

CenterPoint Group – collective procurement professionals.

For 10 years, CenterPoint has been leveraging the collective resources of members to create conditions for material cost reductions on everyday purchases for businesses like yours.

At CenterPoint, we believe in the power of numbers and how we can do more together than we can independently.  From cell phones, to wi-fi, to office supplies, our resource pool is a collective procurement solution that saves you money.  Contact us for a free analysis.

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