The Packaging Federation estimates the UK packaging manufacturing industry to be worth £11 billion annually. With literally thousands of new brick-and-mortar businesses launching each year, in addition to the booming of the online retail market, this is hardly surprising. In fact, while the number of letters dealt with by the Royal Mail is quickly declining, the company is delivering more parcels than ever before.
Obviously, the more packages delivered, the more room there is for customer complaint. Non-profit organisation Consumer Reports recently asked its readers and Facebook fans to share their bugbears specific to the packaging of goods rather than the items within.
The top four complaints (in no certain order) follow, along with handy advice from established Coventry-based packing materials firm, Kite Packaging.
With discussions regarding earth-friendly solutions across all industries becoming increasingly prevalent, it’s hardly surprising material waste was highlighted a concern by Consumer Reports’ respondents. Specifically, disgruntled consumers described ”golden cocoons”: parcels comprising endless protective packaging – such as bubble wrap or boxes within boxes – in which a comparatively small item (valuable or not) is placed inside.
Unwrapping endless layers to find a tiny item is quite the anti-climax, not to mention very wasteful!
Also referred to as ‘clam shell’ packaging, this packaging solution sees goods closed within two halves of clear, tight-fitting plastic (similar to the image above). These ‘shells’ are ideal for showcasing a product from all angles in store and for theft prevention. However, shells are often incredibly difficult to open, which irks consumers greatly.
Opening shells can even be dangerous should tools such as razor blades or knives be employed. The plastic itself can also be sharp when cut if it’s a particularly tough variant.
A product surrounded by lots of air is known as a ‘black hole’. A very simple example is a cereal box containing 400g of cereal when it is easily large enough to hold 900g. While the empty space of a delivery package might be filled up with bubble wrap or polystyrene, the same cannot be done with packaging that is actuallypart of the product.
To clarify, filler could be placed around a box of cereal for delivery, but opening the box itself to fill the empty space (or black hole) within would be classed as tampering – who wants to find shredded paper atop their Cheerios? The answer to this problem lies with product manufacturers, not those merely delivering goods (though arguably parcels including lots of empty space could also be placed under this category).
The fault of this complaint again lies with manufacturers. In order to keep the cost of multi/super-sized packs low, the contents are decreased nominally. For example, one Consumer Reports respondent detailed how a jumbo packet of nappies once contained a total of 72 but was discreetly reduced to 70 to keep the same RRP in the wake of increased production costs (and in order to not irk customers).
As one of the top four consumer packaging complaints, however, this tactic is not going unnoticed!
When asked for comment on the report’s findings, a spokesman from Kite Packaging – helpfully stated:
“We are fully committed to minimising the environmental impact of the materials we sell. Not only does Kite Packaging use recycled and environmentally friendly materials in the large majority of packaging solutions, but we also encourage our customers to make informed choices for their business or personal needs. We list the dimensions of all materials in our catalogue, and even provide a box size finder to help determine an ideal answer for the delivery, or storage, of different goods.”
In addition to checking the required dimensions of materials, Kite Packaging has also advised that businesses can please their customers through packaging by ensuring: