Is Corrugated Packaging Better Than Plastic?

pti2In the grocery industry, when you are looking to reduce costs, you may choose to consider a number of different factors, and packaging and shipping are usually two of the most important. What you choose to package your goods in, both for sale and for transport, and how you choose to transport those goods, can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Often one of the most important questions to ask when it comes to packaging and shipping, shipping especially, is ‘is corrugated packaging better than plastic’ – and why? Both options have benefits, not least of which is the fact that both are eco-friendly, but is one really better than the other?

According to a recent study done by the Corrugated Alliance, yes, corrugated packaging is better than reusable plastic containers. The study, which analyzed the total annual costs of shipping onions in corrugated packaging versus reusable plastic containers, found that corrugated packaging saves 10.4% annually.

Here is a summary of the study and how the study reached this number:

  • The test was to analyze the total annual costs to use corrugated containers versus reusable plastic containers (RPCs) to ship 40 million pounds of onions from the Pacific Northwest to Columbus, Ohio – a distance of 3540 kilometres.
  • Since RPCs require back-hauling to return them from the retailer to the next point of use, RPCs incurred over $1 million in costs for shipping, handling, and washing on the return trip. In comparison, corrugated packaging required no return costs, since they don’t actually make a return trip and are recycled at their destination.
  • This resulted in an annual savings of approximately $760,000 US (or 10.4%).

You can check out the study in its entirety here:

Great, that covers shipping, but what about packaging/displaying goods for sale? A study conducted in several European countries found similar results when it came to personal preference when shopping – 85% of consumers asked stated that they would be more likely to buy a product in paper-based containers compared to plastic containers, especially with regard to groceries and fresh produce. This preference seems to have a great deal to do with the fact that natural fibre based paper packaging products such as corrugated align perfectly with expectations for natural, fresh and safe products for purchase at retail.

You can read more about this study here:

Additionally, not only is corrugated packaging more cost effective, it is also safer. A new series of independent studies from the Center for Food Safety at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Food Science found that bacteria adheres and forms biofilms, including Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, on RPCs used to ship fresh produce, meats and eggs. See for more on this study.

When it comes to packaging and shipping, corrugated packaging just makes more ‘cents’ – sorry for the pun but it truly does fit here. Not only does it save in transportation costs, it also results in more sales at the retail level and is safer for the consumer.

Packaging Technologies Inc. provides high quality unique corrugated packing that not only saves money – it gets attention. Contact us today at 1-800-303-5883 for more information.

*Image via Adaptalift Hyster

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PTI designs and manufactures high impact graphic corrugated containers and Point-of-Purchase displays. Our talented design team combined with our award winning pre-printed boxes will make your product stand out from the crowd at retail.