Hershey is launching an innovative new packaging approach that the company developed in 2016 to reduce corrugate waste, lessen its carbon footprint and improve sustainability efficiencies across the supply chain.

The new design for Hershey’s packaging and display ready case (DRC) model at the retail level includes less packaging and uses 32 percent less material, including 3.12 fewer pounds of corrugate.

This reimagined approach also helped save significant costs, reduced retail customers’ display setup time by 62 percent and even improved safety.

Greg Gressel, director of disruptive supply chain at The Hershey Company, recently took some time to talk about why the new packaging is unique, and why the candy company is so committed to sustainability.

FE: What makes the new packaging unique?

Gressel: Hershey’s new sustainable packaging approach makes packaging simpler, less cumbersome to ship and easier for retailers to work with. In 2016, Hershey’s new packaging used 3.12 million fewer pounds of corrugate – which is equivalent to 24,000 trees saved, 184 trucks taken off the road and 1,340 metric ton reduction in CO2. We now use 32 percent less material, all made from 100 percent recycled corrugate.

Some of the new design features include:

  • One-piece design with no cover packaging
  • Integrated stacking “shelf” for more stable end-cap execution
  • Patent-pending easy-open window without perforation
  • Elimination of the center divider for better presentation
  • “Late stage box differentiation” through labels versus pre-printing
  • Enhanced print and digital design

FE: Why is Hershey incorporating sustainability into these designs?

Gressel: Minimizing the environmental impact of Hershey’s operations, addressing the challenges of climate change and prioritizing the health and safety of our employees is important to us. Therefore, last year we put forth a new set of goals and environmental commitments for the next 10 years, known as our “25 by 25” goals. These goals include reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use, waste and packaging material by 25 percent by 2025.

Another important sustainable measure we wanted to address was reducing the amount of waste we generate by 25 percent and reducing the amount of packaging material we use by 25 million or more pounds. From our packaging engineers to our graphic designers, we strive to avoid redundancies, use sustainable materials, and minimize expendable printing and the use of ink.

Additionally, in 2016 we established a Pulp and Paper Policy to underscore our commitment to protecting natural resources, including our target of using at least 80 percent recyclable materials – by weight – in our packaging.

FE: How are these packages better for shelf display?

Gressel: Display-ready cases was a major reason why we shifted toward sustainable packaging and to make our packaging design more efficient. This makes packages simpler, but also easier for retailers to unload and position in the store.

FE: What brands will this be used for?

Gressel: By the end of July, we will have converted all Chocolate Packaged Candy (CPC) Brands that are in Display Ready Cases, both Seasonal and Everyday products.

For more information: Visit www.hersheys.com.