Monday, June 2, 2014

Which Supermarket Trends Are Resonating Most with Customers?

According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, the top supermarket chains aren’t necessarily the biggest ones. The Supermarket Buying Guide found that customers preferred retailers such as Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Publix, and Costco from a list of 55 major grocery chains in the United States.

Among the lowest rated brands, Walmart Supercenter saw complaints ranging from lack of open check-out stations, employee attitudes, out-of-stock items, and confusing store layouts and pricing. About 80% of customers had at least one complaint about the mega-store. However, Walmart did receive high marks for overall low prices. Considering 43% of survey respondents have chosen to leave a grocery chain specifically because of price – this is a positive note for Walmart.

The report also included tips for consumers to help save money at the register. While many of the recommendations are well-known, it seems that few people actually take advantage of them. For example, coupon clipping has become a well-publicized activity, yet only 2.8 percent of coupons are redeemed according to NCH Marketing Services. Other tips included joining loyalty programs for special discounts, opting for private label goods (store brands), and looking at the unit price rather than the actual price listed on the package – which will help you get the most value.

The report also promoted online grocery shopping, which has been gaining attention as of late. Amazon Fresh, for example, has been rolled out along the West Coast as a new alternative for buying perishable food items. Other chains are jumping on the bandwagon as well, though many require a minimum purchase for online customers. It will be interesting to see where the online grocery shopping trend goes from here as more new technology and delivery options become available.

Which supermarket trends do you see taking off in the near future? Let us know by getting in touch via Twitter. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Flexible Food Packaging Sees a Surge in Demand

According to an article in Food Production Daily, demand for flexible packaging is expected to reach nearly $100 billion by 2018. Flexible packaging for the pharmaceutical and food sectors are leading the charge, with major brands increasingly making the switch from rigid containers to their flexible, film counterparts.

A trip to the local supermarket will reveal flexible food packaging options in just about every aisle. Take this packaging-type for a test drive and it will be no surprise why. For softer foods that typically require a spoon, flexible pouches offer a more user-friendly alternative than the traditional plastic cup. The new Mott’s Snack & Go applesauce pouch is a perfect example. Whereas before, applesauce either needed to be eaten with a spoon, or else awkwardly drunk straight from the cup, now, customers have an option that’s easier to transport and can be enjoyed with minimal effort and no utensils.

Having the ability to re-seal leftover food in the original bag or container is another appeal of flexible packaging. For products that are not typically eaten during one sitting – like shredded cheese, candy, and other snack items – a zipper-like closure can keep the food fresh for next time. A box, on the other hand, can be difficult to keep closed once opened, and usually cannot re-create an air-tight seal.

Overall, the main driver behind this flexible packaging revolution is convenience. Consumers want food that is easy to transport, eat, and store. Flexible packaging offers all of these benefits and more.

To learn about the bags and other flexible packaging options we’re capable of producing at General Plastic Extrusions, please feel free to visit us online. If you have any questions, we’re always happy to provide an answer, so don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

U.S. Manufacturing Gets an Added Boost from General Motors

2014 is off to a good start for American manufacturers, as numerous reports come out projecting a rise in production and hiring. Adding to this optimism, General Motors has announced an investment of nearly $1.3 billion to five manufacturing plants across the Midwest.

This investment will retain and create about 1,000 jobs in the region. The investment will also provide for plant upgrades, allowing the facilities to better produce new fuel- efficient engines and transmissions. The locations benefitting from this activity are in Detroit, Flint, and Romulus, Mich., Toledo, Ohio, and Bedford, Ind.

The resurgence of the General Motors brand is not only good for the automotive industry, it’s also an indicator of the overall health of the American manufacturing industry. With additional production taking place on the GM assembly lines, other companies and industries stand to benefit from related demands as well.

For example, manufacturers who build automation and conveying equipment might see increasing orders from expanding factories that need to cope with rising production requirements. Similarly, flexible packaging manufacturers can also see an up-tick from producers who need additional protective film and bags to ship products across the country and overseas. Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) packaging in particular can be very useful in protecting automotive components from damaging corrosion during warehousing and shipping.

We’re excited to see how the U.S. manufacturing landscape will continue to develop and grow in 2014. If you need additional plastic film and bags to support increasing production this year, be sure to contact General Plastic Extrusions to request a quote.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Importance of Antistatic Packaging During Dry Winter Months

The cold, dry air of winter is the culprit of a number of minor maladies; from chapped lips, to dry skin, to the occasional zap of static electricity as you open your car door. But these discomforts aren’t the only concern. For manufacturers, distributers, and suppliers of sensitive electric components and semiconductors, seemingly harmless static electricity can damage products.

 To counteract this issue, it’s important to make sure all electrical products are protected by a layer (or two) of antistatic packaging. The packaging is either silver if made of metallic PET film, or pink if polyethylene is used for production. While both materials can be used to make sheets or bags, polyethylene offers some versatility as the packaging can take the form of bubble wrap or foam, as well. So if a metallic film is used as the primary packaging around an electric component, a pink polyethylene layer of bubble wrap can offer added protection not just from electrostatic, but from physical damage as well.

But the physical form of the packaging is not the only consideration to keep in mind when selecting an antistatic material option. The pink polyethylene bags are effective in an Electrostatic Protected Area (EPA), while metallic, silver bags can be used outside of an EPA so long as the material is not creased or punctured, which would render the film useless against static electricity.

General Plastic Extrusions is a custom manufacturer of polyethylene bags, tubes, and sheets. We are an experienced supplier of antistatic packaging solutions, and will work with you to determine the best material for your needs. For more information, please feel free to contact us and follow us on Twitter for additional industry updates.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Commitment to Quality in the Food and Beverage Industry

With all of the recent news surrounding contaminated and unsafe food hitting store shelves, it is more important than ever to ensure that proper food safety standards and requirements are in place. One option for monitoring food safety is quality certifications such as the SQF code.

SQF certification is administered by an independent agency, Eagle Food Registrations, Inc. In order to be certified, companies must submit to regular audits that check for overall cleanliness and quality in manufacturing facilities.

General Plastic Extrusions, a Wisconsin-based food packaging manufacturer registered for this distinction and is SQF Level 2 certified. The certification covers our range of food-grade packaging materials and flexible film products. To keep this certification, GPE must undergo annual audits to make sure we are maintaining a safe operation for food packaging and film.

Having a food packaging provider that is SQF certified to Level 2 helps food manufacturers in the selection process because they can rest assured that the packaging will not impact their product integrity. Keeping food safe from outside contamination is vital to building consumer trust, and will help the success of the brand. Within the food processing supply chain, there are many areas of vulnerability. This is why it’s so important to choose a food-grade packaging provider that is regularly audited for quality and cleanliness.

For more information on GPE’s commitment to quality in all areas of our flexible packaging operations, please visit us online. Feel free to follow us on Twitter for additional industry updates and company information.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Transporting and Storing Metal Components and Equipment

Anyone who depends on metal parts for their manufacturing operations, or even in everyday life, can understand the risks of corrosion. Rust is a very common problem that can derail processing and lead to downtime. For manufacturers and retailers receiving products from overseas, or who need to warehouse products for any period of time, finding a way to reduce or eliminate the threat of corrosion is a necessity.

Now that colder weather has arrived across much of the United States, many people might not be thinking about the impacts of warm, humid conditions on metal parts and components. But in a globalized economy, you also have to think about conditions in the countries where materials are being shipped to and from.

Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) packaging is ideal for high precision machine metal applications, shipping and storage of ball bearings, and other vulnerable metal equipment components. The bags and tubes are waterproof, so a little rain or other humidity during transit and warehousing won’t impact the materials inside. Whether they are being shipped across long distances in tropical locales, or simply being stored for long periods of time until they can be used, VCI packaging can protect small metal parts and larger equipment from corrosion.

In addition, this packaging option is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, making it the perfect solution for companies that are committed to sustainability. It also leaves no powder or residue on the products being protected, so they’ll be ready-to-use as needed.

For more information on VCI products and the metal components they can protect from corrosion, feel free to download a brochure. For additional information or comments, you can contact us online.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

General Plastic Extrusions, Inc. Expanding Co-Extrusion Offerings

General Plastic Extrusions, Inc, located in Prescott, Wisconsin is in the process of expanding its Co-Extrusion capacity and capabilities. Currently General Plastic manufacturer’s 5-layer, 3-layer, and mono layer bags and films. The addition of the new line will bring capabilities to produce 7-layer blown film structures. General Plastic has partnered with Alpha Marathon to manufacturer a custom line that will meet the needs of General Plastic’s current and future customer base. The line is anticipated to be completed within the next 60 days.