Leading supermarket and convenience retailer J Sainsbury has chosen Smurfit Kappa as its preferred European retail-ready packaging supplier charged with delivering consistency of structural design, print and colour, specifically for Sainsbury’s premium ‘Taste the Difference’ range.

Smurfit Kappa’s retail-ready packaging ensures perishable goods are adequately protected from damage in transit and minimises handling from storeroom to shelf, promoting quick stock replenishment and enhancing brand recognition at the point of purchase.

Sainsbury’s chose Smurfit Kappa for its far-reaching and proven experience in retail-ready packaging. Smurfit Kappa already independently advises and supplies many of the 500 worldwide suppliers of ‘Taste the Difference’ products. In a highly innovative move to support Sainsbury’s packaging development teams Smurfit Kappa has embedded one of its senior retail project coordinators within the Sainsbury organisation. This resource is designed to ensure structural packaging consistency, print quality and ‘Taste the Difference’ brand identity through colour consistency across their retail-ready packaging.

The appointment coincides with a major sales campaign by Sainsbury’s to re-launch its ‘Taste the Difference’ range. The range, which consists of over 1,000 individual products chosen for the quality of their ingredients, authenticity and, most of all, great taste, will be advertised in a major press, TV and online campaign starting on 22 September 2010.

The ‘Taste the Difference’ range is available in Sainsbury’s 872 stores comprising 537 supermarkets and 335 convenience stores, which serve over 19 million customers a week, giving them a UK market share in excess of 16%.

Uniquely, as a pan-European supplier Smurfit Kappa is able to deliver high-quality retail-ready packaging direct to Sainsbury’s suppliers regardless of the geographical location or remoteness of their production facility.

Stuart Lendrum, head of packaging technology at Sainsbury’s, comments: “Retail-ready packaging has rapidly become part of the mainstream of food merchandising, ensuring that products are presented on the shelf easily by our colleagues in a way that allows shoppers to have confidence in our brand and their purchase. Managing the consistency of branding and ensuring that packaging meets our high print and structural quality requirements is challenging when we are sourcing products from a large number of different locations. Smurfit Kappa is an ideal partner for Sainsbury’s, as one of the creators of the retail-ready packaging concept; we can now access ‘in-house’ their practical knowledge and technical skills to support our packaging team. Coupling this with their global manufacturing presence we can be assured that wherever in the world we find a new, high-quality food product, we can be assured it will be perfectly presented on the shelf.”

Phil Husband, packaging development manager, Smurfit Kappa UK, says: “Smurfit Kappa has a manufacturing presence in 20 European countries, and we currently supply retail-ready packaging for Sainsbury’s direct to their UK and European suppliers from a number of our operations across the continent. Our preferred supplier relationship provides significant benefits for Sainsbury’s suppliers, giving them access to an assured quality of packaging that is pre-qualified by Sainsbury’s and removing potential problems from their manufacturing equation.”