Everywhere we look, there’s a new product that promotes a healthier lifestyle. Infiltrating the consumer psyche, food and drink producers are capitalizing on increasingly health-driven and socially responsible shoppers, striving for a piece of the consumer healthcare pie, which is expected to grow by 50 percent to almost €682 billion over the next five years.
One company with the foresight to predict such expansion was UK-based snack producer Graze. Nine years ago, seven friends set up an online subscription business which looked to create snacks that showed off health’s more pleasurable side. Having undergone considerable growth, Graze today has moved into physical shops in the UK and is on sale in more than 5000 stores, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots as well as American retailer Wallgreen’s.
Horatio Cary (innovation engineer) of Graze comments:
People want healthier food choices, although it’s a sector that’s becoming increasingly congested, at graze we are constantly searching for the best balance between healthy, tasty and interesting snacks by making good exciting.
It’s true, consumers trust iconic brands with an established track record – but a recent study by BrandSpark International found that younger, more innovative companies can engage further with consumers and build trust by clearly setting out its mission and beliefs.
Our success is driven not just from providing great-tasting food, but also by working hard to make sure the positioning, packaging format and packaging materials all work hard to encourage customers to choose to graze.
The complete package
The packaging of a product should never be underestimated. It gives companies the ability to differentiate from competitors and can also be an effective marketing tool. Graze called on Kliklok, now a Bosch Packaging Technology company, to keep the artisan look and feel and to uphold the brand’s identity of a craft, environmentally-friendly producer of fresh and healthy snacks.
The very nature of our business demands constant innovation – it’s at the heart of everything we do from our ingredients to the way we present the final product to our customers. This is where we have an advantage over large FMC companies because we own our packing facility & have a large direct to consumer business on which we can test new ideas & products.
The relationship between Graze and Kliklok blossomed in a meeting at a small trade show in Birmingham, UK, back in February 2009. Kliklok exhibited a carton closing machine which appealed to the company’s interest in packaging which makes a positive impact on the environment.
One of the initial challenges for Graze was working out the best way to get products to busy consumers with an on-the-go lifestyle. It was after the encounter in the West Midlands when both companies worked together to design a carton style that could be formed on Kliklok’s JR carton former.
The Kliklok JR forms the cartons from a flat blank. For the Graze pack, a customised tooling mechanism creates a ‘turn over end’ style carton, which means its side walls are automatically folded over to provide a double thickness for rigidity and strength. This uses no glue, saving additional cost and energy. After forming, an inner compartmented panel is placed into the open carton, filled with the chosen snack products, before closure. To date, Kliklok has installed 14 JR machines in the UK for Graze.
Our customers demand that their interesting and healthy products are appropriately packaged, so that goods can be transported with ease and posted through letterboxes. At every stage of the processing cycle, right through to the consumer receiving the product, the food inside is kept safe and protected from damage.
Something that palpably resonates is the true nature of collaboration between Kliklok and Graze. Cary says:
The Kliklok team has years of experience and expertise to fully understand the unique needs of how Graze packaging needs to perform. We’ve designed our packaging to take great care of our products as they make their way to our customers. We worked with Kliklok to design a bespoke packaging machine that enables us to use as little carton board as possible and no glue at all – the card itself comes from sustainable forests and is one hundred percent biodegradable and recyclable.
Grazing into the future
When the inevitable branching out into the U.S. took place, Graze wanted a larger carton size which was outside the size range of the JR. Kliklok worked collaboratively to create a larger carton with a similar look and feel to the UK version, but also with a turnover end style. The chosen machine was the Kliklok SRWS, which is a bigger, wider version of the JR, and the invention didn’t stop there. 2015 saw a new initiative from Graze – individual portions of nuts, fruit and snacks in a single plastic punnet, packaged in a wraparound cardboard sleeve – ubiquitous in supermarkets, their formats and styles continue to capture the imagination of health-conscious shoppers in UK and US supermarkets.
As with previous projects, the rustic appearance and sustainable credentials of the package was a key element to the brief. Kliklok supplied a high speed, high specification wraparound cartoner – known as the ELITE. Custom built with a nine inch pitch configuration as opposed to the standard twelve inch pitch, the machine is able to run at speeds of up to 240 sleeves per minute – increasing product output.
It’s a crucial challenge for us as a company to keep innovating and staying ahead of consumer trends. Kliklok have helped us enormously on our journey and have developed three bespoke machines (we have bought multiple versions of each machine) for graze which have helped us create packaging formats which have helped to delight millions of customers.
It’s clear the signs are looking positive for Graze. Adapting to the market with the ability to bring a multitude of products on-line within a short time, its partnership with Kliklok and dedication to creating a pipeline of new product development, it’s no surprise the company has experienced double-digit percentage growth in sales, and continues to be at the very forefront of consumer trends.