Wells' Dairy introduces new shelf-ready shipper, which converts to an attractive point-of-purchase display

One of three Tray-Pak Packaging systems at Wells’ Dairy’s yogurt filling plant.
Transforming a standard shipper into a presentable shelf display has always been a challenge for retailers. It is time consuming, occasionally damages product and the end result is an irregularly cut display tray with dangling pieces of corrugated.

During the past couple of years the need for innovation in this area has become an increasing concern by many of America's mass merchandisers. The traditional corrugated box or tray was not meeting the challenge of a shelf-ready display.

Wells' Dairy, Inc., Le Mars, Iowa, makers of Blue Bunny brand dairy products, has a long tradition of bringing innovation to market. When one of its massmerchandising customers emphasized the need for a new style of shipper for 6- and 8-oz Original and Lite 85 yogurts, the company listened. According to Brad Schulz, plant manager at Wells' Dairy's Omaha operation, "The common denominator with our mass-merchandising customers was a need for a shipper that provides an effective and attractive shelf-ready display tray, but one that did not require any cutting of corrugated."

After reviewing several options, Wells' Dairy presented its customer with a package alter-native created in conjunction with Delkor Systems, a packaging equipment manufacturer based in Minneapolis.

"We looked at several options and designs and, working back and forth with Delkor, we came up with a design that we thought would satisfy our customer," says Schulz.

The Tray-Pak package has a variety of designs to accommodate a wide range of product types.
The customer really liked the package concept, which consisted of two smaller shelf-ready trays linked by a top pad and encapsulated with film. "In distribution, the package performs just like a standard tray or box, but can be easily opened to provide two attractive shelf-ready displays," says Schulz. "The speed-to-shelf of the Tray-Pak® package accomplished one major objective, but the conversion from a one-way shipper to an attractive point-of-purchase display without any cutting of corrugated was the clincher."

After completing a successful in-store Tray-Pak test, Wells' Dairy received the green light to proceed. Delkor's Tray-Pak system automatically forms the trays and loads the yogurt containers. It then places the top pad and finishes with film encapsulation. The trays are sized to fit the bottom taper of the yogurt cups so that the completed dimension of the shipper is the same as the lid-to-lid dimension of the yogurt cups.

"By doing this, the pallet density of products such as 6- or 8-oz yogurt cups is increased by approximately 8% as compared to standard trays and boxes, resulting in a comparable 8% savings in distribution costs," says Delkor president Dale Andersen.

The first Delkor Tray-Pak packaging system for Wells' Dairy's 6- and 8-oz yogurt cups was installed in 2001. The package was well received by the marketplace and soon the company installed a second Tray-Pak line in 2002, followed by a third system in 2003.

Patent-designed one-way shippers quickly convert to display-ready trays.
Doug Wells, COO, Wells' Dairy, says, "I am a strong believer that our company must be attentive to the ever-changing needs of our customers, and if properly addressed, these challenges open the doors to new opportunities."

The Tray-Pak package has a variety of designs to accommodate a wide range of product types. In the case of tall plastic bottles, for example, the tray is designed so that one side of the tray is full height and the individual display trays are front-to-front in the completed shipper (see photo). The benefits of this version are three-fold. First, the shipper has greater distribution strength with one side of each tray at full height. For many products, this added distribution performance is necessary. Second, the display trays are positioned front-to-front so the important billboard on the display tray is protected through distribution. Third, the full-height tray backing provides a stable display tray for taller products.

Delkor Systems will debut the Tray-Pak Packaging System at Pack-Expo and at Worldwide Food Expo in Chicago. Delkor was recently granted a U.S. patent for its Tray-Pak package innovation. According to Andersen, "it is very rewarding to participate in the generation of a new packaging concept and see it through to full commercialization.

This article was contributed by Delkor Systems, Minneapolis, specialists in innovative secondary packaging equipment. For more information call 800/328-8908, or visit www.delkorsystems.com.