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A marketeer’s guide to great packaging


Impending EU legislation and improved awareness among consumers has encouraged brands to do more, and quicker. But environmental sustainability is complex; it raises questions across the entire supply chain about the impact on profits as well as meeting sustainability targets.

In our experience, best practice in contract packing naturally supports profitability and sustainability. Best practise arises when your marketing team works holistically with packaging and fulfilment experts, giving everyone full visibility of requirements and opportunities to contribute to the solution that will help you meet objectives.

For this article, we’ve enlisted one of our packaging specialist partners, The Cardboard Box Company, to help us look at best practice and what to avoid at all costs.

What is best practice in packaging solutions?

Brands achieve the best results when their marketing team works with fulfilment and packaging partners to get the best understanding of what they need from the very beginning, making sure these standard requirements get ticked off.

  • Easy to construct – if it’s fiddly to put together, labour costs at the production stage of fulfilment will be higher
  • Fit for transportation – design eliminates wasted space on pallets to keep costs down, and is robust enough for products to arrive in pristine condition
  • Meets marketing requirements – does it look and feel fantastic? Will it meet consumer expectations?
  • Minimises waste to keep the cost of materials to a minimum and help brands to meet sustainability targets
  • Eliminate single use plastics like windows and ties to meet consumer expectations and help brands meet sustainability targets

The role of a fulfilment partner

Your fulfilment partner is the glue that holds your end-to-end project delivery together. Granby liaises with every other partner involved and will take on the responsibility of making sure your packaging is not only suitable, but optimal.

  • We keep everything aligned and on track by working seamlessly with your team and first class packaging partners like The Cardboard Box.
  • We keep our eyes on the details so nothing is missed – for example, if the product changes, making sure this is translated onto the packaging design.
  • We take full accountability for the end-to-end fulfilment project. We chase deadlines, manage risks and ensure full visibility of project data.
  • We provide added value across all areas of your project, including helping your brand to accelerate environmental policies and meet sustainability targets.

The role of a packaging manufacturer

Granby draws upon the expertise of packaging partners like The Cardboard Box Company. They are seasoned innovators that we have developed a close collaborative relationship with over many years. What they don’t know about packaging isn’t worth knowing – so they are a really important link in the chain.

  • Identify suitable materials, judging them on strength, appearance, and the impact of the print process along other criteria. The Cardboard Box manufactures more than 35,000 box designs and more than 100 types of cardboard – quite a choice!
  • Design appropriate packaging that minimises wasted materials and wasted space during transportation.
  • Ensure the packaging can be assembled efficiently to avoid the brand incurring excess labour costs.
  • Test the packing to make sure it’s fit for purpose on all counts before it goes into production – avoiding expensive workarounds and potential recalls.

How best practice supports sustainability and profitability

In the last 12 months or so, our industry has seen a seismic shift in packaging away from the use of plastics in contract packing and promotional marketing projects. An EU ban on single-use plastics is coming and this will include brands in the UK, despite Brexit.

Contract packing example – eliminating single use plastics

Packaging for a toy was produced from recycled card with an open window – without the use of a plastic sheet – to help the company meet its sustainability targets. It was the one of the first times a product had been packaged like this and the idea received a positive response from consumers.

Added to this, a rise in pressure for our industry to adapt more quickly to change in this area has been influenced, at least in part, by the BBC documentary Blue Planet, which graphically revealed the damage wreaked by plastics in our seas.

Being sustainable is good business sense and fulfilment partners like Granby can make sure it’s profitable. If you’re interested in this topic, you’ll also like our recent article on how design innovation leads the way to sustainability and profit.

Contract packing example – the cost of flimsy packaging

Packaging for a luxury cosmetics gift was found at the production stage, when assembled with the products inside, to be too flimsy and the wrong size. The issue was solved by producing an insert, at additional cost, but the end result fell short of the desired aesthetic. Holistic end-to-end thinking could have avoided this.


  • End-to-end fulfilment manages the project holistically and achieves the best results.
  • Great packaging isn’t just how it looks and feels – it’s a complex piece of engineering.
  • Brands can accelerate and meet sustainability targets through better packaging.
  • Enlisting expertise means you’re not asked to sign off on something that’s rubbish.
  • With packaging, anything is possible – the technology is already here.

Thanks to Ken Shackleton, managing director of The Cardboard Box Company, for collaborating on this article. As well as working with us on all manner of contract packing solutions and promotional marketing projects, his company creates cutting edge one-offs and artworks that are truly inspirational – they made the Joker’s car in the image above out of cardboard for Red Bull’s Soap Box Race.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to chat about an upcoming project.

Photo by Olaf Pignataro

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