Americans are eating more eggs than ever (about 267 per person per year, according to the USDA), yet eggs are losing shelf space in grocery stores to other products, the American Egg Board says. The AEB says lackluster display packaging is to blame, and while that may be partly true, we could argue another type of packaging shares responsibility: transport packaging.
Few grocery store experiences are as frustrating to consumers as not being able to find a full dozen eggs without cracks or damage. The outside of the package can be bright, appealing and informative, but if the eggs inside are cracked, smashed and leaking, consumers aren’t going to buy those eggs. Transport packaging’s ability to protect eggs directly affects the condition of the product when it reaches consumers’ hands.
RPCs have a proven track record of protecting eggs in transit better than corrugated cardboard can, so why would any grocery supply chain still be using corrugated to transport eggs? Misconceptions around which transport models RPCs work with could be a factor.
Direct store delivery vs. distribution center
U.S. retail outlets sold 144 million 30-dozen cases of eggs in 2016, according to statistics compiled by the American Egg Board. Between half to a third of retailers use a direct store delivery (DSD) model that moves eggs directly from the producer to the store. Others use a distribution center (DC) model, which sees eggs first shipped to a distribution center and then ferried to individual stores.
DSD transportation of eggs typically costs retailers more than a DC model. Yet many retailers still opt for direct delivery, believing the model reduces breakage because it involves “less handling” of fragile product.
However, what eggs are transported in has far more impact on their quality when they reach the destination than how they are transported. Superior transport packaging does a better job of protecting eggs throughout the supply chain, whether they’re coming straight from the producer or moving through a distribution center.
RPCs are better in both cases
RPCs simply do a better job of protecting eggs in multiple ways:
- The rigid plastic construction of RPCs is more durable, eliminating the risks of crushing and tearing that come with using corrugated cardboard boxes.
- Enhanced ventilation allows eggs to cool faster, mitigating food safety risks and improving the quality of the egg. Because of the container’s ventilation, the moisture from eggs can evaporate versus being retained by the corrugated box – weakening its structural integrity.
- Sliding guiderails and uniform profiles ensure RPCs stack more securely, reducing the possibility of eggs moving during transit.
- RPCs, with their ergonomic handles, aide DC and store associates in better case handling practices, instead of tossing corrugated boxes as is often the norm.
- Tosca’s SmartWallTM design eliminates the need to hand-stock egg cartons, plus the dropwall creates a display that’s attractive to shoppers.
In fact, RPCs are so effective in protecting eggs that Walmart noted in its Sustainability Playbook that switching to RPCs from corrugated cardboard boxes allowed the retail giant to prevent the loss of 37 million eggs in the first year of use.
Some retailers mistakenly believe RPCs can only fit into a DC transportation model, but that’s simply not true. Regardless of which transportation model you use, the end result of using RPCs remains the same: more sellable product reaches stores. And, the benefit of eliminating thousands of pounds of corrugated from entering the supply stream is just another benefit RPCs provide.
Tosca can help you understand how RPCs can fit cost-effectively into either a DSD or DC egg supply chain, allow you to reduce damage and shrink, and ensure a high quality product is available for your customers — no matter which method you choose.
To learn more about how reusables create more efficient supply chains, click here.