Over the last months, plant sales have been high. This combined with the sharp increase in online shopping, resulted in a record year so far for the horticultural packaging range of Macpac. "Usually, the peak orders are coming in in March, April in May and just a little in September and October, Now however order levels are still healthy coming in for Autumn", says Simon Firth, Sales Manager. Macpac is a thermoformed packaging company that supplies UK, Europe & worldwide and recently achieved BRCGS grade ‘AA’ to the new issue 6 standard and is about to launch their new updated website that simplifies online ordering.
Besides the horticultural industry, Macpac designs & manufactures packaging products for many other industries, like electronics, toiletries and cosmetics, medical, retail and food. And so far, it has been an exceptional year for them in terms of horticultural packaging. "Fortunately, the COVID-19 situation did not negatively impact our business", says Firth. "Right after the country was hit by COVID-19, in March -April, we were requested by the food & pharmaceutical customers requesting us to not close the manufacturing site. We had no intentions to close and we quickly put all necessary measures in place to continue manufacturing in the factory and continue working in the office in a safe environment. Fortunately, due to the large size of the factory keeping distance isn't a problem. So production could continue at the same pace."
Expansion assortment - PP visors
On top of that, they even added a new product to their assortment, namely plastic face visors. "In public facing environments, like garden centers, visors become even more imperative."
Horticulture packaging - prolonged season
Horticultural packaging sales is approximately 15% of Macpac’s total turnover and the name of this range of stock thermoformed horticultural packaging products is Plantpac; designed to satisfy the packaging requirements of plug plant growers that sell plants by mail order.
As the stay at home orders and social distancing resulted in more home deliveries, the demand for plug plant packaging started to increase as well, he explains, and the peak season was prolonged. "Usually, March, April and May are the months with the highest sales. This year, we've reached record high sales through these months and they even continued to peak into Autumn."
The trend of online ordering doesn't only apply to the consumers behaviour, it goes for businesses as well. "For the horticultural packaging for example, our main clients are the nursery growers, however we have also seen more and more orders coming in online. And to simplify ordering online, we decide to upgrade our website, which is to be launched in the coming weeks.”
Macpac's company video that explains their process.
BRCGS grade ‘AA’
All in all, Firth is pleased with the year so far. On top of the good sales and in some segments, like horticultural packaging, even record sales, they've again achieved an AA grade rating for a 4th consecutive year to the British Retail Consortium Global Standard. As icing on the cake and for the first time, they have been audited to the new Issue 6 standard for Packaging & Packaging materials. "We used to be audited to the Issue 5 standard, but to step up from 5 to 6 is a big step."
More horticultural packs in the pipeline
Currently, Macpac has 30 packs that they supply with new developments in the pipeline to be launched for Winter 2020 /Spring 2021, like a single 9cm pack. "We have our own in-house design/CAD team who can produce new concepts quickly and cost efficiently. When the design is finalised, the tooling is produced on one of our 5 CNC machines that we have on site. These machines cut the aluminium metal to the form required (production tooling). These tools are then put into one of our 12 inline pressure forming machines that then produce the final finished packs that customers receive. Everything we do from start to finish is all done under one roof on site here at Macpac."
Macpac are also proud to advise that all Horticultural packaging is produced in recycled PET and has at least 80% recycled content and when finished with is 100% recyclable through kerbside collection.