Sainsbury Puts Square Cans onto Linear Shelves

Oct 28, 2002

By George Anderson

J. Sainsbury plans to expand its tests of its new square soup cans, says the
retailer’s packaging innovation manager, Terry Robins.

Speaking to,
Mr. Robins said, "So far feedback from the trial has been extremely positive.
All the stocks for our test cans sold out within the first week and there has
been absolutely no negative feedback about the cans so far. In fact a lot of
people thought it was a great idea, but trying to gauge whether or not they
were taken by the novelty factor or if they genuinely liked them as an alternative
to round cans will take longer to determine.”

Sainsbury began testing the square cans as means to maximize existing shelf
space. Mr. Robins said, “We estimate that the square cans save around 20 per
cent in shelf storage space, which means that there is more room on the shop
floor, the storage bays and for the transportation process. As you can imagine
all of this translates into fairly substantial savings in our operating costs."

Moderator’s Comment: Two questions:

  1. Do retailers (in general) pay enough attention to
    the packaging of their private label?

  2. What other retailers, besides Sainsbury, are adept
    at communicating to consumers through their private label packaging?

We’ve always liked Target for its high-quality ingredients
and clean packaging consistent with the chain’s overall marketing and merchandising.
There is an excellent article in the October 2002, Private Label Buyer
written by our pal Warren Thayer on how CVS is changing its packaging and the
way it does business to try and expand its store-brand’s visibility and sales.
Anderson – Moderator

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