Richard Hunter in conversation with KBB Review…

In next month’s KBB review, Ribble Packaging Sales Director, Richard Hunter will be covering ‘How to take back control of your packaging’. KBB Review is a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom specialist publication that is part of Taylist Media.

Here’s a run-down of everything we discussed…

What have been the challenges in the packaging market during 2021?

Towards the end of 2020 and for all of 2021, the demand for cardboard has shown exponential growth. The main challenge through this growth has been the extremely tight supply of paper from Europe and UK paper mills. This has led to hugely extended lead times for box orders across the UK with 4-8 weeks from some suppliers. Paper costs have also risen by nearly 50% since December 2020 leading to an increase in the cost of packaging.

How has Ribble helped KBB manufacturers secure their packaging supply chain?

During Q4 2020 and throughout 2021, Ribble Packaging has successfully met every customer’s service level agreement on time every time, not one contracted customer has seen delays in supply, which in itself is a remarkable statement considering the extreme pressures on raw material supply.  We have seen a rise in demand for our ‘Right size solutions’ which involves a supply of one of our core strategic growth products ‘Fanfold endless corrugated cardboard’. Customers including Wren Kitchens and Nobia have been able to take complete control of their packaging by having a flexible box making solution on site.

What are Right Size packaging solutions?

The solution involves endless corrugated Fanfold and a flexible ‘on-site solution’ from one of a number of machine and software specialists. Ribble Packaging is the UK dealer for Panotec, an Italian manufacturer and provider of state-of-the-art equipment.  Once the customer has both components, the machine system and Fanfold material, they can make perfect sized and structurally designed right size packaging for their supply chain. This can either be ‘batch’ production or true flexibility with every box being a different size.

What benefits do Right Size solutions offer?

Perfectly sized box making will reduce wasted corrugated material for each item that needs packing. It eliminates the need for ‘void fill’ and can also reduce the need for void protection such as ‘EPS’ polystyrene, blue foam edging and other protective and space-filling solutions currently used. As the machine can be fed by multiple widths of material, options for single and double wall plain and printed corrugated materials are catered for. Typically, we then see inventory reduction of ‘classic made’ boxes from 100’s of SKUs down to possibly 4-8 widths of continuous Fanfold.  The machine takes care of the style and sizing, and MOQ stocks of classic (traditionally supplied) boxes are hugely reduced, freeing up space and money. Of course, at this moment in time, the huge advantage is that the customer will always be able to make boxes to pack, ship and invoice their products to meet increasing demands through Ribble’s commitment to ensure corrugated Fanfold supplies are available.

Has Ribble made changes to their business to adapt to customer demands?

Yes, big steps have already been happening throughout 2020 and continue throughout 2021 and beyond.  The major investment includes the significant increase in capacity for Fanfold and sheet board production with the upgrades on the corrugator.  A second, ‘state of the art’ Fanfold down stacker was installed during August 2020 giving a 30% operational capacity increase and this followed upgrades in material handling and corrugator upgrades earlier in the year. An increase in 19,000 sq ft of warehouse space was completed in June 2020 and will see more space added in 2021.

We will continue to enhance production capability during 2021 and over the Christmas period at the end of 2021. Combined with an increase in available production hours and employment of new operational staff, sales team and administration personnel, along with our continued commitment to meet the increased demand for Fanfold and classic box production.

If you would like to take back control of your packaging supply, get in touch on 0161 284 9000 or

Sustainable Returns: Why Repackaging Returned Items Saves the Planet?

According to a recent study, returns cost UK retailers £60bn a year, £20bn of which is generated alone by items purchased online. Now, this isn’t all down to the items ending up in landfill, but a lot of returned items often come back damaged due to improper packaging, meaning retailers are unable to resell what was a perfectly good item.

This is ultimately a failed returns process as the goods have to be heavily reduced in order to sell them again or they will end up in a landfill.

A good returns process needs to be sustainable. It needs to improve value recovery, increase efficiency and keep costs to a minimum. But with 30% of shoppers admitting to deliberately over-purchasing items online so that they return unwanted ones, retailers are already set up for a challenge.

So how do you ensure a sustainable returns process? There are a number of ways:

  • Choose a returns facility with locations near to your distribution centre. This will reduce your carbon footprint as you’re cutting down on road mileage.
  • Have a smart returns management software that can help maximise value recovery with more return-to-stock.
  • Reduce your prices to sell more and avoid landfills.

But, to do any of these, you need to first have in place a strong packaging solution you can rely on. You won’t be able to return items to stock or reduce prices if the item is damaged in transit.

We recommend Ribble Right Size packaging solution so that you can avoid your products getting damaged and easily repackage them to sell again at full ticket value.

If you would like to learn more about how you can adopt a more sustainable returns process with Right Size packaging, please get in touch.

Futureproof with the new Super Deduction Tax Allowance

New super-deduction makes it the perfect time to invest in futureproofing your business.

The new Super Deduction Tax Allowance introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak is probably the single biggest tax incentive any UK government has given for business investment into assets and equipment.


Why is it such an attractive incentive?

From 1 April 21 until the end of March 23, companies can claim 130% capital allowance on qualifying plant and machinery investments. This means businesses can significantly reduce the cost of a Right Size packaging solution. Plus all the savings a Right Size solution already offers in return for the investment.

To make it even more simple; for every pound spent on qualifying machinery and equipment, you will get 25 pence back. Businesses may also benefit from a 50% first-year allowance for qualifying special rate (inc. long life) assets. So, the 130% super-deduction and 50% first-year allowance could reduce your corporation tax bills until 2023.


In Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s own words, “It’s a direct way to help businesses invest” and “drive growth in the economy”


Why invest in Right Size Packaging?

Well, besides it being the perfect time to invest in your business, Right Size Packaging can save you money by reducing your overall costs in packaging as you won’t be using as many boxes or need to stock as many styles/sizes. You will also reduce vehicle usage considerably, spending less on petrol as packages will be able to fit in fewer deliveries; it’s a win, win.

If would like to learn more about the benefits of Ribble Right Size Packaging, click here.

It’s definitely a great time to analyse your business and determine the best investments you can make to take advantage of this tax incentive before 2023. If you would like any more information or if you have a question regarding our packaging solutions, please get in touch.

What is Sustainable Packaging?

Sustainable packaging has been around for some time now and more and more companies are moving to sustainable products and packaging because of the demand of today’s consumer. Being sustainable is no longer a ‘nice to have’ business practice, it’s quickly becoming the norm which is why 74% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. But, what makes packaging sustainable and what’s so wrong with normal packaging?

Packaging that is sustainable must be sourced, developed and used in a way that has minimal impact on the environment and reduced carbon footprint. This will usually involve the use of non-recyclable materials, i.e., those that have increased use of life cycle inventory (LCI) as well as those that are biodegradable.

Why is there an environmental issue with some types of packaging?

Usually, most products are packaged using materials that take a long time to break down which can lead to overcrowded landfill sites and litter pollution. Packaging also uses a lot of resources such as energy, water, chemicals, petroleum, minerals etc to produce, and manufacturing these can generate harmful air emissions including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Due to this, many consumers are aware of the damage that non-eco-friendly packaging can cause to the environment. Overpackaged items have also caused uproar amongst many buyers complaining that companies aren’t being precautious enough.

With customer demands for businesses to be kinder to the environment, businesses and consumers alike need to know which materials and packaging are most harmful.

Types of packaging that are the problem:

  • Non-recyclable plastic packaging
  • Styrofoam
  • Packaging peanuts
  • Loose food packaging

Sustainable Alternatives:

  • Biodegradable bags
  • Paper & Cardboard packaging
  • Reusable packaging

Does sustainable packaging really cost more?

When it comes to sustainable packaging, people usually question why more companies don’t use sustainable packaging methods? The answer: it’s more expensive. But with more consumers expecting eco-friendly packaging, is this likely to change and is the cost worth it?

Think about it, with more people buying into sustainable packaging methods, more companies are having to manufacture it, therefore sooner or later the market price will reduce due to the increased competition.

Plastic packaging is becoming more expensive thanks to new government regulations and the introduction of plastic packaging tax. This tax will apply to any plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% of recyclable plastic. The additional cost will hopefully be the much-needed push for companies to switch to more sustainable materials and practices.

The biggest cost of all; our environment.

Whilst sustainable products and packaging are at a slightly higher price point than the non-sustainable alternative, the cost for many is completely viable. With non-biodegradable packaging being a huge cause of overfilled landfill sites, and the production of greenhouse gases, that can ultimately affect global warming; the reasons why you should switch to sustainable packaging are endless.

At Ribble Packaging, we’re delighted to be a sustainability-led business, offering environmentally friendly packaging solutions throughout the UK. We work with many of the UK’s biggest companies helping them create a sustainable packaging process that works for their business. If you would like to learn more, please get in touch to find out how Ribble can help you.

How to take back control of your packaging supply in 2021

Deemed the new ‘beige gold’, cardboard supply is still very much in high demand as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the dramatic increase in online shopping has led to this over the past 12 months.

According to The IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, the UK’s eCommerce sector achieved the highest online sales growth in 13 years. Total online retail sales growth was up 36% in 2020, so it’s not surprising the devastating effects this has had on businesses nationwide.

Struggling to cope with cardboard material supply, many online retailers have experienced a delay in their deliveries, which in turn has been impactful on their customer satisfaction. Even the big retailers, Asda, Lidl and the Co-op started to feel the pinch early on last year, as many consumers were asking why their egg packaging was replaced with plastic packaging. This was an early warning of what was to come for the world of packaging…

Before the pandemic, businesses were relatively responsible when it came to recycling. Packaging would be quickly returned into the recycling system, but now the industry tackles the problem of relying on individuals to recycle properly.

“What we’ve found is people tend to store product boxes in their garages or simply in their homes without realising the detrimental effects this is having on cardboard supply,” says Stephen Rector, Managing Director at Ribble Packaging.

Less recyclable cardboard is being returned into the system and paper manufacturers are struggling to create the supply to meet demand. Paper has become scarce, and some corrugated manufacturers are having to ration their supply and let customers down.

So how can you future-proof your packaging supply chain in a volatile market?

By implementing a Right Size packaging solution.

Fit-to-product boxes can help by considerably cutting the amount of cardboard you use. By only using the right size box, it means you only have to purchase one type of packaging material such as Fanfold, removing the need to order multiple styles and sizes.

This flexible on-demand right size packaging solution is guaranteed to save you up to 25% in packaging costs and is a much more sustainable solution, as it removes the need to purchase additional void fillers; a win, win.

To find out more about Ribble Right Size, please click here or get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss your options.


Packaging for Lighting – Right Size has you covered

Packaging for Lighting, from Pendants to Florescent Luminaires; Right Size has you covered.

If you’re a lighting manufacturer or supplier, you already know that lights come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention the fragility of some designs. When it comes to packaging, especially for eCommerce stockists, your products need to fit properly in your packaging of choice with good protection to get your product to your customer safely without any breakage or damages.

Recently, packaging companies have experienced a national cardboard shortage “due to a combination of the pandemic and Brexit” says Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI). With this in mind, companies have been stockpiling materials leading to many retailers suffering the consequences of not having packaging readily available when they need it.

With all the varieties of lighting out there, sourcing packaging is not an easy task. As a business, you need to have the right box there ready to go as soon as your product has been assembled to avoid any breakages. So, as a manufacturer or supplier, you have two options. You either have to have a warehouse with unlimited space for all the different box shapes and sizes, or you choose a much more efficient way of operating…let us introduce you to Right Size Packaging.

On-demand packaging; a perfect fit every time

With Right Size Packaging, you can create boxes that are the exact dimensions and style you need for all your products. You never have to worry about being without the materials you need to run your business because you have packaging on demand.

It’s flexible, easy and efficient

Take back control of your packaging supply by switching to Fanfold, a greener packaging solution. Rather than conventional boxes, you can easily source just one product and eliminate the need to buy multiple different styles and sizes of boxes.

Create an environmentally sustainable packaging process, eliminate plastic packaging

Every business should make a conscious effort to reduce their impact on the environment. But if you’re looking for an eco-friendly solution for your packaging processes, then fanfold, coupled with Right Size Packaging could be for you.

Not only that, a Fanfold solution can actually make you more money

How? Whilst reducing your packaging cost by around 30%, this packaging solution also frees up your packaging inventory, regaining vital space to use for more stock – increasing your sales opportunities.


Still not convinced? Hear from Dextra Group PLC just how much Right Size Packaging has helped their business operations. As the UK’s largest privately-owned lighting manufacturer they can tell you honestly, so you don’t just have to take our word for it…


If you would like to find out more about any of our packaging solutions, please get in touch.

The packaging process that is over 99% plastic free

Internet Fusion Group, a leading lifestyle e-commerce retailer with brands such as Surfdome and Country Attire, have created a sustainable packaging process that is over 99% plastic free. Investments in two Quadient CVP-500 automated packaging machines and switching to Corrugated Fanfold material from Ribble Packaging, have aided with their pursuit of an environmentally sustainable right size packaging process.

To highlight the full extent of their achievements, Internet Fusion have released a report investigating the environmental effects of paper-based packaging versus plastic packaging products. The report explores the full manufacturing process of both paper and plastic packaging, through to the recyclability and long-term environmental effects once a package has reached its destination. Head of Sustainability at Internet Fusion Adam Hall said” Our customers are tired of plastic pollution, and we are tired of the justifications being put forward for continued plastic production in the middle of a marine plastic crisis. When you dig a little deeper these arguments simply don’t stack up, so we felt it was time to share the decision-making process that has led us to our packaging being over 99% plastic free. Our customers choose us because of our environmental efforts and in turn we choose Ribble for the same reasons – it’s partnerships such as these that can shift a whole industry towards a more sustainable future”.

Right Size packaging specialists Ribble Packaging supply Internet Fusion with over 75% of their packaging material in the form of Corrugated Fanfold board, a versatile fully recycled and recyclable cardboard product that feeds many of the leading automated packaging systems in the UK.

Stephen Rector, Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, commented on Internet Fusion’s success: “It is fantastic to see that Ribble products are helping our customers in creating more environmentally sustainable packaging processes. We also see the need to improve our in-house operations to make them more sustainable.”

Earlier this year, Ribble embarked on a project to make their operations carbon neutral. “We understand the need to focus on the effects our manufacturing process has on the environment, this has led to us embarking on a carbon neutral project that will see us embrace new sustainable technologies and practices. Our products allow customers to create a more sustainable packaging process, but we can enhance these benefits by offering a carbon neutral manufacturing process as well.”

Top 10 benefits of switching to Right Size Packaging in 2021

Want to find a way to keep your customers happy this year, well it’s time to look at how you can be more sustainable…

Firstly, why do small things come in such big packages in the first place? Protection! As noted by many eCommerce companies, retailers over the years have chosen to package items with unfavourable amount of padding and air to prevent items from getting damaged in transit. But this is no longer an issue thanks to smarter packaging options that meet the needs of the growing number of environmentally conscious customers.

With Right Sized Packaging, you can benefit from:

  1. Improved Packaging Protection

Rest assured each product/item is snug and secure, reducing any chance of breakages during delivery and increasing customer satisfaction.

  1. A perfect size box for all your orders

Over the years, more and more people are conscious about their decisions that affect the environment and climate change, i.e. waste. Keep your customers happy by reminding them you are conscious too.

  1. Reduction in packaging costs

Packaging can be costly but utilising the right sized packaging for your products, means you only use the amount you need. Keeping the cost of materials down as you won’t need to order as much!

  1. Reduction in vehicle utilisation

With smaller packaging boxes, you’ll be able to fit so much more on your delivery vans when transporting your product to the end-user. Reducing journeys and cutting cost, not to mention lowering your carbon emissions!

  1. Elimination of plastic packaging

Plastic packaging can take hundreds of years, if not thousands to biodegrade! Switching to a cardboard packaging material saves landfill sites from being overloaded with waste packaging.

  1. Less labour intensive

With a quicker packaging process, Ribble Right Size saves time and cuts down the process, keeping pressure off your warehouse staff.

  1. Reduced admin

With fewer materials used, you won’t need to order as much. Plus you only have to order 1 product (Fanfold) from 1 supplier, rather than multiple sizes and styles of boxes.

  1. Eliminating all void fill packaging

Making you more efficient and improving profit margin as you’ll be using less packaging.

  1. More Warehouse Space

More room for those great products of yours and less floor space wasted on excessive packaging!

  1. Flexibility to make the right box on demand

No more worry about whether you have the right size box or the right style, Ribble Right Size is fully flexible, so you’re covered for everything.


Interested to hear more about Right Size Packaging? Get in touch and we’d be more than happy to talk you through the process of switching and getting you on board to be more sustainable in 2021.

How you can save 25% on your packaging; Guaranteed.

With Christmas just around the corner, the increase of online shopping is likely to go through the roof round about now. As each parcel is delivered, you can expect that customers will get an immediate opinion on the brand and how they value sustainability.

10-15 years ago, people would have probably not given a second thought to an overly wrapped parcel or excessively large packaging box, but now researchers at The Chartered Institute of Marketing have found 88% of shoppers think their items come with excessive wrapping, with children’s toys, mobile phones and cosmetics most likely to come in over-elaborate packaging. It was also found that “8 in 10 would like to see more done by large companies to promote sustainable packaging”.

When companies consider the switch to Right Size packaging, they’re likely already sold on the fact that they know they’ll save on the packaging costs, as there’s so much less packaging to buy in the first place. Along with the obvious advantages that come with having similar values to their consumers; brand loyalty, trust and desire to support positive environmental policies. Often, they don’t even realise all the additional savings they can benefit from…

Think about it, with less packaging you’ll need fewer vehicles on the road as you won’t be taking up as much space in the back of your delivery vans. As well as being kinder to the environment by reducing carbon emissions, you’ll be saving money as well, fewer vehicles, fewer drivers, therefore lower labour costs for your business.

According to The Road Transport Industry report in 2019, “78% of goods are moved by road”, and transportation costs can be a huge part of a company’s overall logistics spending. If it’s possible to reduce this through Right Size packaging, its arguably one of the most beneficial solutions a company can implement due to the ever-rising fuel costs and the impact this can then have on the price of goods to the end-user.

Recently, it’s been estimated that returns can cost retailers up to £20 billion every year, but with Right Size packaging, sales aren’t limited by MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities), and Return Management is improved as the product is less likely to arrive damaged therefore fewer refunds or exchanges. To ensure your business saves money and even profits from logistical changes, bespoke Right Size packaging is essential.

With no additional cost for void fillers and less waste disposal, Right Size packaging is a no brainer for companies that want to adapt and futureproof their business. Get in touch to find out more and we can arrange a quick 15-minute virtual demo. Visit for more information.

Packaging for Fulfilment: Building a futureproof outbound and inbound process

Over the past decade, more and more people are conscious about how they live and what they consume. Not only are they fanatical about the products in terms of where they come from and how they’re made, but it’s also the product packaging that matters and whilst many are using recyclable materials – excess packaging remains a problem amongst many Fulfilment companies.

The constant battle between finding the perfect size box for each order and having a large product inventory of all shapes and sizes continues to be a struggle for packaging warehouses across nearly every industry. With many brands facing the challenge of losing their customers due to excess waste and overuse of void fillers, it’s a problem that needs to be tackled sooner rather than later…

According to Ipsos MORI, “63% of global consumers say they would be willing to change where they shop if it meant they would use less packaging”. This is a huge percentage and has led to quite the battlefield amongst businesses feeling the pressure to waste less. Consumers no longer just accept excess packaging as a norm, they want to see companies encouraging their values and pushing for sustainable and eco-friendly options.

In the digital world we live in, it’s too easy for a brand reputation to be damaged. Within just 5 seconds, consumers can reach out to Twitter where according to Brand Watch, 80% of users have previously mentioned a brand in a tweet and during the last two years, there has been a significant increase in customer service conversations. To futureproof your business, now is the time to put a strategy in place to avoid these issues and determine how you can resolve it or even prevent it.

At Ribble packaging, we offer right-size packaging for all our customers. By having the ability to make custom-size boxes for each order on demand, Fulfilment centres never have to use wasted void fillers in their packaging again. By eliminating void fillers and using the right size packaging, fulfilment companies can gain back around 25% of free space on transportation vehicles, meaning more products can be packed on each delivery resulting on possible transportation savings. Their customers can also repack returns in the perfect size packaging so that it can easily be returned – saving time, money and resources. Warehouses won’t require such a large packaging inventory to fit all shapes and sizes as the solutions we offer will do everything for you; freeing up space that can be filled with more stock; thus, enabling a more cost-effective system.

Don’t just take out word for it…

Fulfilment companies including XPO and Clipper are already reaping the benefits of using Ribble right-size packaging…

“It’s just over 5 years ago that we took the decision to purchase our Panotec machine here at Studio in Failsworth and a second one followed not long after being fitted at one of our other sites! What a difference this has made to how we do some things here at Studio, the machine paid for itself in just 6 months. The machine is efficient, very robust and produces good quality packaging. I would recommend to any business looking to save money but keeping quality to purchase one of these.”

Mel Bradley, Reverse Logistics Manager, Studio Retail Ltd

At Ribble, we value the environment and strive to have a 100% sustainable packaging process that removes any use of void fillers and saves you money! To find out how you can futureproof your packaging Fulfilment Services, get in touch and we can arrange a free 15-minute virtual demo. Visit for more information.

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