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Shelf-ready dilemma for suppliers

Almost half of the suppliers surveyed in Food Manufacture’​ latest on-line poll claimed they had been unable to build a business case for introducing shelf-ready packaging (SRP).

While 52% claimed they had secured a good return on investment through the introduction of more retail-friendly cases, trays or merchandising units, 43% of respondents said they had not.

One supply chain director at a leading branded manufacturer said he did not expect to see a return on the “significant” sum his company was spending on modifying its packaging equipment in order to switch to SRP.

Instead, he said, it was being justified on the grounds of being necessary to “remain competitive and maintain good customer relationships”

While rapid progress had been made in switching ambient packaged groceries into branded, perforated cases that could be slid straight on to shelves, it was proving tougher to develop SRP for hanging products like bagged sweets, very small items and frozen food.

Tesco, which is aiming to move 10,000 product lines into SRP by the end of this year, had seen encouraging sales increases in categories that had made the switch, including chilled pizzas, eggs, nuts, cheese, yoghurts, pre-packed cakes, bread, water, crisps and fish, said consultancy IGD.

Tesco’s food supply director Joe Dybell said: “The majority of our suppliers can see the benefits [of SRP], although there are some that are finding it more difficult to make the sums add up.”

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