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Morrisons’ Best Bacon sizzles on shelf thanks to new packaging solution

Packaging Solutions

Farmers Boy, (Morrisons manufacturing), was looking to re-launch its Best Bacon product improving its Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) solution to attract shoppers in store. DS Smith was the perfect partner to help do this.

Historically, single use plastic trays have been the retail standard to keep products upright on shelf. Taking positive steps to reduce its use of plastic packaging Morrisons revised its packaging policy in 2019 to challenge the use of any plastic. The supermarket is also a signatory of the UK Plastic PACT and acknowledge increased consumer pressure to remove the use of single use plastic packaging.

In addition, Morrisons wanted to reduce supply chain and material costs and to improve the customer experience, aiding navigation for shoppers in-store and improving on-shelf availability in order to increase sales.

DS Smith had simultaneously been exploring a new RRP design using sustainable fibre based corrugated cardboard, which is 100% recyclable. When Morrisons saw the DS Smith Optishop Fin concept, it seemed like the perfect solution, so DS Smith became the development partner for the product.

The company’s design, technical, sales and marketing expertise was used to create a scalable on-shelf pack for supermarket shelves that can be assembled at high speed. The open nature of the new RRP design allows consumers to easily select a preferred primary pack without disrupting the remaining contents.

RRP is traditionally designed to be viewed face on. In contrast, this design has asymmetrical sides so branding can be seen well in advance of reaching the product, giving it additional call out and visual appeal.

Another clever but simple feature of the design is the fold over section, which provides inside print opportunity, removing the need for double face printing. This maximises branding opportunities and ensures that the on-shelf packaging aligns with the primary pack’s look and feel.

The team at Farmers Boy joined DS Smith colleagues at the Featherstone PackRight Centre, afterwards working collaboratively to conduct multiple lineside trials and due diligence, evolving and refining the design, ready for full scale manufacture. A stainless-steel assembly jig was also designed to achieve packing line efficiencies.

Katherine Whitham, procurement manager – packaging/manufacturing at Farmers Boy, explained: ‘The solution that the DS Smith team devised perfectly fulfilled our Best Bacon re-launch brief. For us, the primary pack is king, and it is vital that the pack remains upright. We are delighted by the visual impact of the RRP and how it complements the product and primary pack. We believe it will create shelf disruption, encourage sales growth and boost market share.’

Another significant element of the RRP is improved shelf utilisation and pallet fill, compared to the previous on-shelf packaging. Shelf replenishment time is reduced as there are no perforations to activate and it is simply removed from the transit packaging and placed straight onto shelf.

Used trays require no knock-down once shopped and are easily compacted back of store ready for recycling. This means the packaging is a real closed loop initiative, supporting Morrisons’ commitment to a circular economy.

Jo Cartwright, strategic account manager at DS Smith, concluded: ‘Optishop Fin has broken down generic boundaries and is considered as part of the product rather than secondary packaging. Our work with Morrisons demonstrates a real partner collaboration to deliver this innovation to meet the supermarket’s relaunch date.

‘The new RRP has helped increase sales, and importantly has addressed a specific market need and meets Morrisons' circular economy commitment.

‘We are extremely pleased that the 100% fibre based RRP is a first to market. It meets consumer expectations in creating an alternative to single use plastic, and is eye catching, increasing brand visibility within a strong category. This is an exciting moment for us, as the format works across multiple substrates, print and conversion processes, and so can be used across most FMCG products.’

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