The Growing Popularity of 6-Packs
and FAQs
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Richards Packaging
4721 Burbank Road
Memphis, TN  38118
Phone:  901-360-1121
Fax:  901-360-0050
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The information presented here is intended to give you ideas on what you can accomplish to have distinctive products and packaging.  This information does not cover all options, lead times and circumstances, so it is important that you call us to discuss in detail what you want to accomplish.
The best-selling food products in grocery stores are still shipped to stores in 12-pack boxes, but specialty gourmet food products are now moving into 6-packs.  These are usually products that grocery stores want to offer their customers, but they do not sell as well as soups, mayonnaise, etc. so they do not justify having two facings of perhaps 12 bottles or jars on the store shelf.  Many stores now want to give each specialty gourmet food product one facing of perhaps 6 bottles or jars.  A 6-pack box, although a little more expensive, fits the plans of those stores.
Note that many of the stores also contract with distributors to stock the specialty food sections.  Those distributors have for years cut cases in half so their route man would need to take only 6 bottles or jars into the store.  Many of them charge back the cost of doing this to you, the manufacturer, often at $1.00 per case.  These distributors are increasingly demanding that manufacturers supply products to them in 6-pack.
The National Association of The Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) recently commissioned a study of the specialty gourmet food trade to find out how changes are affecting retailers, distributors and manufacturers.  Among the many items they identified that might be better off in 6-packs were Condiments, Maple Syrup, Marinades, Barbeque Sauces, Pasta Sauces, vinegars and other sauces and salad dressings. 
There is likely to be a continually growing demand for specialty gourmet food manufacturers to pack your products in 6-packs.  That demand may come from your chain store customers, but is even more likely to come from your distributor customers. 
You will have somewhat more cost in supplying 6-packs.  To begin with, your glass will cost more.  Even though 6 jars are of 12 jars, the box and divider will cost more because the box factory has to make twice as many, even though they are as large.  Many North American glass manufacturers charge as much as 5-10% more for 6-pack boxes.  Our Asian factories charge less, but their 6-packs still cost more than 12-packs.
The NASFT study shows that retailers and distributors realize the manufacturer has added costs.  They will accept somewhat higher prices for your products in 6-packs as the convenience is important to them.
We continue to stock most bottles and jars in 12-packs because that is the pack preferred by our larger volume customers, though many of them are also going to 6-packs for some items in their specialty food groups.  As demand grows for 6-packs, we will stock more and more of our glass in 6-packs, but 12-packs will still be in stock, too.
It is not easy for us to stock glass in 6-packs.  Our factories require a minimum of one full overseas container of any pack we order, which is often 50,000 to 100,000 bottles or jars on an overseas container.  At the same time, Richards' inventory policy requires that we stock only quantities of any item or pack that will sell within 4-6 months following arrival. This means that to add a new pack to our inventory, we must have either a commitment from one customer for the 50,000 to 100,000 bottles or jars to be delivered within 4-6 months, or we must be confident that a combination of smaller customers will take that quantity within 4-6 months. 
If you are thinking of adding 6-packs or changing to them, call us to discuss your ideas.  We will work with you to try to find a way to stock them for you.  Keep in mind that when we order a special pack, we have to fit that need into the next run of that bottle or jar, so you can expect at least 4 months lead time for your first delivery.
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