- Published on Thursday, 04 October 2012 08:06
- Written by Des King
JAPAN - Whether it’s made out of cartonboard or corrugated, retail-ready packaging designed to dovetail the contrasting requirements of transit and in-store display and distribution is undergoing something of a re-assessment.
With at least three major suppliers: Crown-Package (East Hall 2 / 29); OJI (East Hall 2 / 62); and Rengo (East Hall 1 / 28) all prominently displaying new retail-ready packaging solutions (RRP) on their stands at Tokyo Pack 2012 (2-5 October, Tokyo Big Sight), there is every indication that brand owners and retailers are being encouraged to re-evaluate the format.
Hitherto, adoption has often faltered largely due to the assumption that endowing a basic brown box with shelf stand-out appeal is certain to incur a significant uplift in cost. However, this is a perception that’s rapidly changing, says Oji Paper packaging innovation center general manager: Mr Yutaka Ito.
“We’ve been developing a number of ways in which cost can come down whilst quality actually improves; a win-win proposition that’s attracting a lot of interest,” explained Mr Ito.
“Regardless of flute specification all of our board weights are now a uniform 140gsm / m², which is a 30% decrease on the previous structure, and we’re also showing that lower-priced brown (kraft) paper in combination with a coated liner works just as well as virgin board in achieving the same degree of extended shelf-life. On top of that, the savings achieved are enabling us to produce top-quality mineral-free water-based flexo-printed images. This is no longer about boxes, but about revitalising a category.”
Far from being a solution aimed solely at the supermarket retail model, OJI has also geared its production to be equally adept in managing short runs more appropriate in meeting the requirements of Japan’s thriving convenience store market, with some stores handing anything up to eight separate deliveries each day.
If the rate of adoption across the convenience sector meets expectations, then there must be a strong potential for customised RRP – an opportunity perhaps for digitally-printed applications to make their presence felt should the Tokyo 2020 bid be successful.
Whilst OJI is mainly offering liner-board that is subsequently corrugated, close competitor Rengo has new applications manufactured in both carton and corrugated; printed in offset and flexo respectively. ‘These boxes used to be single-trip disposable items, but brands are now seeing a value in twinning two distinct operations that also benefit both the retailer and the consumer,” notes Rengo paperboard business unit overseas operations assistant manager Mr Kazuo Nishikoba.
“We’re making these structures as easy to open and display as possible; for example, a coated duplex board easily opened through the addition of a simple tape mechanism. It’s still early days, and whilst RRP probably represents barely 1% of this division’s annual ¥5 billion (US$49.2 million) turnover, we can see it becoming a significant part of our business going forward.”
Rengo’s lightest grade is a 0.8micron E flute structure incorporating a single-layer cartonboard liner, printed in 4 colours on either a Komori or Mitsubishi offset press.