"Packaging is more than a box"

01 June 2023

How METRO's own brand packaging strategy combines cost and sustainability benefits

The clear focus on professional customers and their needs is a central component of METRO's sCore growth strategy. The own brands are particularly important in this context, as they not only stand for a strong price-performance promise, but also for consistent quality, high utility value and reliable availability. Accordingly, the share of own brands in METRO's total sales is also to be consistently increased and to rise to over 35% by 2030. "Among the many benefits that the own brand strategy brings, the packaging is perhaps not the most obvious. However, a closer look reveals that packaging is much more than a necessary wrapper with information about the product it contains," says Dr Ana Rescek, Head of Global Own Brand Packaging at METRO AG.

The packaging strategy of our own brands is based on 4 core dimensions that contribute to optimizing costs and efficiency as well as to achieving the company's sustainability goals:

  • Product: The primary task of packaging is to protect the product and thus ensure a consistently high product quality at all times. By constantly optimizing the packaging material we can reduce unnecessary packaging, higher costs and food waste.
  • Time: Time is a precious commodity, both for our employees and for our customers. Easy handling of the products is therefore a clear selling point. For example, opening a can of tomatoes with a peel-off lid is seven times faster than with a conventional can opener.

    And with "shelf-ready packaging", i.e. packaging that is suitable for the shelf, the store employee also saves time when replenishing the goods and at the same time ensures that the products are clearly visible.

Tomato can with peel-off lid
Shelf-ready packaging

  • Space: Chefs usually have little space to store their food. With space-saving packaging, storage space can therefore be used optimally. But space is also an important factor for wholesalers. When it comes to stacking products on a pallet, enormous efficiency gains can be achieved with space-saving packaging. A concrete example: just by adjusting the packaging size of Aro cosmetic wipes, 192 more packages fit on one pallet. Calculated over the year, this means groupwide 12 fewer trucks on the roads which means lower transport costs and at the same time less CO2 pollution.
Space saving packaging - Palett

  • Waste: In particular, the avoidance of plastic waste is a key issue for climate protection, because less plastic also means significantly less CO2 emissions and environmental impact, both in production and disposal. Through intelligent and environmentally friendly packaging, METRO can therefore make a big difference with its own brands. For example, by changing the packaging in the office supplies range, 51 tonnes of plastic could be saved across the group within two years – an example that shows how cost and environmental benefits ideally complement each other.

    To underline our strong commitment to preventing plastic waste, in October 2018, together with our country subsidiaries, we pledged ourselves to the METRO Packaging Commitment. The goal is to already eliminate 100% of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PVdC (polyvinyl chloride) as well as EPS (expanded polystyrene) at all packaging levels of our private label products by 30 September this year. We already overachieved our target to reduce 2.000t of plastic packaging one year in advance by saving 2.303t of plastic packaging.

Plastic packaging

Climate and environmental protection have high priority at METRO and are anchored in the METRO SUSTAINABLE sustainability approach. For example, the group has set itself the goal of consistently reducing its CO2 footprint worldwide in 2021 and of being completely climate-neutral in its own business operations by 2040. To this end, METRO is investing a total of more than €1 billion in, among other things, extensive measures to increase energy efficiency, the phase-out of fossil fuels, the expansion of renewable energies and the conversion of refrigeration technology to natural refrigerants.

More information on the ESG strategy on our website.