With an increasing demand for ready retail packaging (RRP), a new report from PMMI suggests manufacturers are ready to invest in specialized equipment in order to keep up with industry growth.

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, released the findings of its “Retail Ready Packaging: Research and Analysis” in a recent report. (Click here to view the infographic.) For the study, researchers with PMMI conducted interviews with brand owners, machinery manufacturers and retailers to learn what’s behind growth in the market for retail ready packaging (RRP).

PMMI representatives say the expansion of RRP is being driven by retailers, primarily large-box stores and supermarkets, whose influence stems from sales volume. This was particularly true in developing markets, such as Asia and Africa which grew significantly in 2012 though they are not the largest RRP markets.

“Urbanization, population and economic growth are significant drivers for RRP,” says Paula Feldman, director, business intelligence, PMMI, “especially when they are accompanied by an increase in the number of supermarkets and large box stores. RRP enhances shelf appeal and supply chain efficiency, so retailers often see it as a must-have, and use their considerable leverage with manufacturers to make it happen. As they adjust their packaging requirements, manufacturers must continue to innovate to stay competitive.”

According to PMMI, those interviewed for the expressed willingness to invest in specialized packaging machinery for RRP—if it would mean reduced costs in the long run—but also preferred limiting investments to components that would simplify and streamline particular points on the manufacturing line.

Of those interviewed, considerations of lifetime cost, labor costs, flexibility and reliability weighed heavily on their purchase decisions for RRP equipment. Additionally, there was concern knowing that packaging requirements are apt to differ from one retailer and another, and between an individual retailer and the market at large.

While a purchase can put manufacturers in the position of absorbing equipment costs, 79 percent of interviewees said they are confident these investments will grow.

According to the study, material preferences for RRP were mixed. Most favored rigid formats for durability and appearance, while 67 percent reported they would opt for flexible materials for cost savings.

RRP and other packaging and process solutions will be discussed at PACK EXPO International 2014. This year’s event will be held in Chicago from Nov. 2-5. The 2014 event will feature the return of The Brand Zone, dedicated exclusively to material and container innovations — including materials and formats for high-impact RRP. The pavilion, located in McCormick Place’s Upper North hall, will showcase a broad range of substrates such as paperboard, rigid and flexible plastics; glass and metal packaging, and printing and ink solutions. 

Registration for PACK EXPO International can be completed at packexpointernational.com or pharmaexpo.com.