In response to the question, “Sustainability yes, but how?!”, Martina Hörmer, Managing Director Private Labels, REWE International, gave a clear answer. At the recent joint marketing event of Pro Carton and Propak Austria in Vienna, she made it absolutely clear that the opportunities offered by cartons are by no means exhausted.
REWE’s organic products brand, “Ja! Natürlich” (“Yes, naturally”) focuses on “Green Packaging” and shows excellent results. Since 2011, the packaging of “Ja! Natürlich” products has gradually been switched to environment-friendly alternatives. One of the most important questions is how to communicate this switch, how to get customers on board, in particular at the Point of Sale. Here are Marting Hörmer’s most important statements:
“Ja! Natürlich” is not only a brand for organic foods, but it also represents a green way of life. Customers largely want less packaging, no or little plastic, and they want reusable packaging which can be recycled.”
“In terms of raw materials this means that we work with renewable, regenerative materials. In 2011, we started with a step-by-step solution and meanwhile we have saved 200 tons of plastic. However, these issues cannot be taken for granted. Customers need to be made aware of the subject, and in order to be perceived effectively by customers, this requires information, education and transparency.”
“We have set ourselves a milestone: “No more plastic!” Packaging has to deliver a great deal. In our case it must distinguish the goods from conventional products; it has a protective function during transport and handling in the store. It is important for shelf-life, hygiene, labelling and storage. And: packaging is a sales person, it must convey everything about the product; in principle it needs to be a Jack of all trades.”
Of course, the initiative has also been supported by advertising, for example, advertisements, billboards or advertorials, radio spots and a banner with a decomposing cellulose foil bag made of wood pulp. Naturally, the POS also plays an important role: Customers need to be confronted with the issue, a continued focus over the years. Green packaging is very well accepted, customers notice it and appreciate it. Industry has also taken note and we have reached a high level of awareness in addition to receiving several awards.”
“We have by no means reached the end of the road, 200 tons is a lot, but there is still more potential. Each product range needs to be analyzed. We still have room for growth in many areas. In terms of implementation, we need a close exchange of ideas with manufacturers, suppliers, purchasing and resellers. You have to involve the entire chain to be truly successful in sustainability.”
The message was clear: there is still a lot of potential for cartonboard and cartons – an excellent opportunity for the industry to adopt creative ideas and become creative itself. Wherever it can be used, carton packaging is quite simply the best solution.
Pro Carton, Suzanne E. McEwen