For Barilla, pasta sauce has consistently been a best seller on Amazon. While that’s great news on the sales side, packaging costs, both material and labor, were significant and needed to be reduced. As e-commerce sales grew over the last several years, the packaging costs took a hit, requiring Barilla’s packaging engineers to think differently, but more importantly to align with their Good for You, Good for the Planet goal. Their challenge was to find packaging that would protect multiple jars of pasta sauce, meet Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging standards, and pass the rigorous ISTA® 6A testing standards.
Phase 1 – An Origami of Corrugate Inserts
Following their company’s commitment of ‘Good for You, Good for the Planet’, Barilla chose to use 100% recyclable corrugate packaging to protect their pasta jar shipments. While that solution satisfied their sustainability goal, it was unsustainable in terms of operations. The problem was two-fold. Material costs were high because the corrugate insert consisted of 7 – 8 pieces to adequately protect and pass the Amazon ISTA 6A Packaging test of the multi-jar pack. The second issue was the labor required to fold and position the inserts and jars within the package.
Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging program served as the model and timeline to transition to a more user-friendly, sustainable packaging solution.
Phase 2: Great Northern – Fiber Interior Packaging
After looking at other products shipped in glass containers such as cooking oil and wine, the Barilla purchasing team identified molded fiber as a potential alternative. The purchasing contact had an existing relationship with Great Northern, and reached out to learn more about its Fiber Interior Packaging business unit.
“Great Northern’s Fiber Interior Packaging solution checked all the boxes for us. It removed the complexity from the packaging and replaced a significant amount of corrugated material. Before, 7-8 parts were required to build a 4-pack of pasta sauce. With the new Fiber Interior Packaging solution we’re down to two packaging components, including the outer box. We instantly saw a reduction in material cost. This is such a labor friendly option and it takes fraction of the time to assemble compared to the previous version,” explained Yeswanth Ramasamy Srithran, Operations Project Manager – Barilla.
“One of the biggest benefits of the molded fiber solution is the labor savings, commented Rob Swannell, General Manager – Fiber Interior Packaging. “It’s a drop and go solution where the pasta jars can be placed in the inserts within a few seconds. There’s no extra materials or configuring.”
On average, an e-commerce package receives 20-30 touches, so packaging must keep contents from shifting, especially in the case of glass pasta jars, which could break if not packaged correctly.
Swannell explains, “The Fiber Interior Packaging inserts keep the jars securely in place and keep them from shifting in transit. Now this company can have confidence that its pasta sauce jars will arrive at the customer’s doorstep in great condition.”