Industry News

Package is part of product in coal briquette box redesign

The new box, for Spanish charcoal supplier Carbones Fergon, features an inner ‘cage’ and outer box that allows consumers to light the coals directly in the cage, eliminating packaging waste.

Carbones Fergon is Spain’s largest producer of charcoal for use in barbecue grills and fireplaces, manufacturing and packaging more than 5,000 tons every year under “the highest standards of quality, ecology, and cleanliness.” That’s why, when the retail packaging for its coal briquettes failed to meet these standards, it sought a packaging supplier that could meet its unique packaging challenges.

Traditionally, the Huelva, Spain-based company packaged its coal briquettes in paper bags. This format, however, lead to dirty hands, stained clothes, and empty packaging that had to be disposed of after use. In addition, the fragile paper bags often ripped at some point along the supply chain and arrived at the point of sale in poor condition, leading to unnecessary losses and coal dust in trucks, warehouses, and back-of-store.

Carbones Fergon had previously tried to tackle some of these issues with a cage and corrugated box solution, but the dust remained an issue. With this in mind, it approached DS Smith and asked it to devise a sustainable packaging solution that would facilitate transport and storage, allow the briquettes to be displayed on shelf, and make it possible to use the briquettes cleanly and safely when lighting a barbecue.

After meeting with Carbones Fergon, DS Smith designers set about to create a solution for the coal briquettes that would work throughout the supply chain—from the factories in Huelva to the end users at home. The result of their work is a completely redesigned package, dubbed the WonderGrill Box.

The WonderGrill Box comprises two parts. The first is the inner cage, a corrugated box fitted with dividers for six sections that hold the coal. On the outside of the box are evenly spaced holes. The second part is the exterior corrugated box, which is designed without grooves in the base, so that the coal dust does not leak out. Carbones Fergon wanted the boxes to be impregnable, and this requirement was achieved by incorporating into the exterior box a latch in the flap of the closure, which hooks into a groove in the box once it is closed.

With the new packaging, the end user simply has to open the upper flap of the pre-cut exterior box and light the coal briquettes in the central part of the cage. In this way, the packaging itself is used to light the barbecue, leaving no waste, and consumers do not have to handle the coal briquettes, eliminating dirty hands and clothes.

The new design hit the shelves to great acclaim, says the Carbones Fergon: The company has seen a growth in sales thanks to a premium position, clear differentiation in the market, and a superior customer experience.

Says Carbones Fergon CEO Marcos Fernandez, “DS Smith understood every element of our brief and exceeded our expectations with the WonderGrill box. The easy opening and lighting function has made a tangible difference to our customers, and this has resulted in significant sales growth. What’s more, we have improved the environmental performance of the product, as there is no waste to landfill and less loss in the supply chain, something that really matters to our company and our customers.”

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