The size of our packets & bottles
We are regularly asked whether we can supply some of our products in bigger bottles, and occassionally bags/boxes. Even if you do think that 'bigger is better', there are a number of reasons why we sadly can't accomodate these requests. Some are internal reasons, but one of the biggest factors is to do with meeting the requirments of the retailers.
Production set up
Dri-Pak initially developed its business packing salt in the 1960s and although it still forms the major part of our business today, we expanded our offering into Soda Crystals which had been a laundry day mainstay before the advent of enzyme-based detergents in the 1950s. In the 1980s, we reversed the declining sales of Soda Crystals, turned them around and encouraged by the growth realised that the public were hungry for back-to-basics type products that were inexpensive, versatile and effective as well as having strong eco credentials. We therefore took the decision to add other traditional cleaning & laundry products to our portfolio.
We therefore invested in (expensive) packaging equipment to meet the needs of the retail market that we were already serving. In the UK, the retail market is dominated by pack sizes that the consumer could easily carry in shopping bags and that wouldn't place too much space demand on packed retailers' shelves. To switch from a 750ml bottle to a 5 litre one could not be accomodated on the same filling line as a 5 litre bottle. It would require a huge amount of capital investment, which just can't be recouped with profit margins as low as they are. This is evidenced by the growth in the discount sector. Which brings us on to the reatail sector itself...
The Retail Sector
With tight pressure on retail space, it is extremely hard for manufacturers to get products listed at all, never mind two of the same product. Big multi-nationals may have more negotiaiting power to get multiple listings of the same product in different sizes and even then, they will only remain on shelf if there is customer demand. This may happen in supermarkets where customers may or may not be transferring their shopping straight from a shopping trolley to the boot of their car. For cleaning products, particularly liquid trigger sprays, the largest size that would routinely be sold on shelf is 1 litre.
What about refills?
A similar question that we are often asked is why don't shops sell in bulk and then customers can 'scoop' or refill (and pay for) as much as they need. This approach was adopted by the Julian Graves chain of stores. Unfortunately, they went out of business. As much as people may ask for such a shopping principle, that simply doesn't translate to enough demand to make it commercially viable. Plus there are many other issues surrounding hygiene, traceability, allergies and so. The risk of litigation is very real and yet another hurdle for this model of retailing.
So for now, unfortunately we can only make the following suggestions when it comes to our own range of products:
- You can buy 1.5kg bags of Soda Crystals from Wilko and Waitrose, or 10kg and 25kg bags from Chinese wholesalers.
- Instead of buying white vinegar (which is predominantly water), you can buy a box of citric acid and dissolve it in warm water before refilling a trigger spray bottle. Use 5% by volume for general purpose surface cleaning and 10% for descaling.