Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates. Reese’s Miniatures. Twizzlers Twists. What do they all have in common, other than being iconic treats? Packaging. It is an important but often overlooked factor in how these products are wrapped, shipped and displayed at your favorite retail stores. Since packaging plays such an integral part within Hershey’s product portfolio, it was time to optimize our design need. Don’t think packaging sounds complex? Let me explain.
If you read our 2016 CSR report, you might notice this image on page 13 in the unpacking sustainability section, courtesy of Celebrate Arkansas. On the left is our previous design. It had 450 unique trays and 450 covers for each tray, resulting in 900 different items that we had to track, design and manage. On the right of this image is our new simple packaging for Display-Ready Cases (DRC). With the new simple design, our priority was to reduce the complexity and transition to a more modular approach to optimize our offering. Now, we use six different sizes and reduced our materials from 900 to 72 components across the portfolio.
None of this would be possible without our team. Ninety percent of the redesign was done by members of our in-house package engineering team and graphic designers. We worked simultaneously with our corrugate suppliers to execute this new design.
As the retail landscape is becoming more complex, we needed to optimize our simple packaging design. We wanted a new design that would allow us to be flexible and agile. It also enabled us to create more sustainable packaging. Since making these changes, we’ve seen other positive impacts that I call the “complexity dividend,” including improved case graphics and easier setup. With our “standardized building block” cases, our retail partners just pop the window, stack the shelf and its ready to go.
Overall, in 2016, our new packaging used 3.12 million fewer pounds of corrugate and cut back on 32 percent of corrugate (cardboard) used, which is made from 100 percent recyclable corrugate. That’s equivalent to 24,000 trees saved, 184 trucks taken off the road for a year and 1,340 metric ton reduction in CO2.
But guess what, there’s more ahead! I can’t share much right now but know we are taking advantage of the wonderful technological advances that are available to make our products even easier to access in the future. We went into this journey to better manage our packaging complexities and because of it, we’ve built a more sustainable product that benefits several parties. We look forward to what the future brings.
For more information about Hershey’s simple packaging, visit www.TheHersheyCompany.com/en_us/Responsibility.