Contract Packing – Not Just What It Says on the Tin

general 21 August 2018

Contract Packing, often referred to as Co-Pack or Customisation, has undergone a rapid evolution in the noughties. In 2018 packaging customisation has come into its own, providing a myriad of value add services.

What’s new I hear you ask? Well, the most prevalent packaging inspirator has arguably been the progression of the gifting sector. With social media one-upping becoming a modern-day sport, gifting has been redefined, becoming more extravagant, ostentatious and personal (perfect fodder for Instagram, in other words). Standard boxed gift sets are making way for bespoke hand assembled packages, and beauty influencer exposure mean the rise in self-gifting in the form of ‘surprise boxes’ has skyrocketed. This means the demand for by hand kitting has increased, which is a sigh of relief in the form of human collateral for an industry gravitating towards AI.

The design of packaging now evolves even more rapidly; media led consumer trends mean jumping on the bandwagon quickly to remain relevant. Full project management of a quick branding turnaround is often required from contract packers, including product design through to the entire orchestration of production schedule based on analysis of the project goals. The recent capitalisation on the internet catalysed unicorn trend is a prime example; the mythical creatures are now emblazoned on seemingly everything, from food and drink packaging to shower gels and cosmetics (again, largely down to the Instagrammability of the lustrous little things).

Sustainability elements have emerged as essential, which has changed the procurement game for contract packers. No longer just a ‘trend’, being eco-friendly is fast becoming the norm for many in the consumer product industry. Take L’Oréal’s new brand ‘Seed’; it’s shower hardy, entirely paper packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, and is both recyclable and compostable itself. This could mean advances in machinery or entire solution-based machine repurchases will become vital to accommodate changing requirements.

In addition to trend led evolution, quality demands have become stringent, with standards such as BRC Accreditation compulsory. The already competitive outsourced packing marketplace has become fierce.

AKW specialise in comprehensive BRC A grade contract packing solutions, including flow wrapping, batch coding, reworking, gift kitting, remedial rework and much more, as well as offering in house warehousing and logistics solutions. To find out more, visit or email us on [email protected] to find out how we can make your 3PL experience better!

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