PROBAR® Packaging Question

January 21, 2008

Related Topics: Community, What's Inside

Customer Daren David sent us this feedback along with a question. Perhaps some of you have had a similar question/concern so I wanted to post his question and the response that Jules Lambert, President of PROBAR®, sent back to him.

Q: *LOVE* your products. They are far and away the best barQuestion for PROBAR?s I’ve ever purchased; I can’t possibly think of going back to another bar at this point.

My only complaint is the excessive packaging – there’s probably an extra 40% of packaging around the bar that just ends up as landfill.

I’m sure there’s quite a bit of marketing/retailing reasoning in there, but it would be great to see such a “green” bar go all the way and reduce packaging.

Perhaps a reduced-packaging option for mail-order clients, or even a single large package/tin with multiple bars in it to reduce individual bar packaging waste.

This is really the only thing keeping your product from being “perfect” in my mind. Any plans to address this in the near future?

And now the response.

A: Thanks for the input and enthusiasm! It’s a common theme we’re hearing from consumers and we’re listening. In a recent conversation during a tradeshow with one of the execs @ Clif, we discussed the possibility of finding an eco friendly package and when it might happen. They’ve looked at all sorts of options, but have yet to find a film with enough shelf stability. I’m sure many options will be available in the future, but we’re still on the hunt.

As for the extra packaging…yes, it does help us present the message. However, the first three versions of our packaging were grossly oversized (more of a pouch) and we’ve scaled back almost 50% from where we were. I’m not suggesting this is worthy of a pat on the back, but we have made small steps in the right direction. With a bar as large as ours (30-40% more than most bars), we’ve found many can’t eat the entire bar as a meal and eat only half as a snack. Naturally, the packaging allows for an easy place to store the uneaten portion.

That said, we are looking for any/all options to cut back on our footprint in many areas of our business. The lowest hanging fruit with the greatest impact were recently addressed. For example, we found we could ship a greater number of bars in a smaller UPS package if we reduced the size of our 12 pack by about 10%. This reduced our packaging and the number of boxes required to transport the freight via UPS to our customers.

We also found we could do without two layers of cardboard (used to protect the boxes from being crushed) sandwiched between the 12 packs of bars in our shippers. I’m not sure how or why we got started utilizing them, but we found them to be completely unnecessary if we slightly changed the 12 pack design. What a waste!

We’re still fairly new in this realm of business (4 years), but we’re learning much from people like you and look forward to where we’ll be in the next few years. By the way, we did try a bulk ship scenario and it didn’t work out the way we’d hoped. The bars are so soft when packaged by they time they reached the destination in the bulk package, they were a huge PROBAR® clump of gooey granola.

The other issue as a mostly raw, unpreserved, unprocessed product is that we don’t have the luxury of keeping our bars exposed to the open air for more than about 15 minutes before they’re impacted by oxidization. Our packaged bars are filled with nitrogen to keep oxygen from oxidizing the ingredients – thus, the bars you consume are fresher without the addition of chemical preservatives.

For every PROBAR® customer who speaks up with advice, I know there are a handful of 8-12 who never take the time to let us know what’s keeping them up at night.

I hope this wasn’t too long winded, but want you to know your email didn’t fall off the cliff into the digital abyss.

Cheers,

Jules

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