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.