Sunwarrior increased sales, lowered costs and improved sustainability by switching to square tubs

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Sunwarrior increased sales, lowered costs by switching to square tubs

Related tags Recycling

Turns out being square isn’t such a bad thing, protein powder company Sunwarrior discovered when it ditched cylinder tubs for ones with four corners.

The firm made the switch to square tubs in January against the advice of manufacturing and marketing experts, and couldn’t be happier with the results it already is seeing, said Emerson Carnavale, chief supply chain officer for Sunwarrior.

He explained that when the company began exploring square tubs for its protein powder “people said it can’t be done, it will cost too much money or be a hassle to transport and the acceptability of it will not be good. But we found the opposite was true of all those.”

The change generated incredible improvements across the board for the company, including economic, logistical and environmental benefits, he said.

Increased sales & lower costs

Since switching to a square tub, “we have seen significant sales increase”​ in part because no other protein powder comes in a square tub, so Sunwarrior’s products stand out the shelf from the competition, Carnavale said. But also, the switch generated cost-savings for retailers so they have more wiggle room for price reductions and promotions that attract consumers.

He explained that the square tubs save retailers shipping costs because 45% more square tubs fit on a truck than the round tubs, which do not fit together as snugly as the square tubs.

Likewise, the square tubs fit more efficiently on store shelves so retailers can stock more product in less space, which reduces the amount of product in the backroom and decreases the time employees need to invest in restocking the fast-moving protein powder.

Sales also are going up because consumers like the square tubs more than the square boxes with reclosable bags or the round tubs that Sunwarrior used previously, Carnavale said.

He explained that the square tubs are able to hold twice as much powder as the boxes, so the containers do not take up as much real estate in consumers’ kitchens. Plus, they stack more easily and are easier to open and close than the bags and boxes. Carnavale explained that the company’s powders are extremely fine and can jam the tracks of reclosable bags, making it difficult to seal bags shut.

Cost savings

The square tubs also generated cost-savings for Sunwarrior, Carnavale said.

For example, he said, the square tubs use shrink sleeves that cost a third of the traditional pressure sensitive labels that are typically applied to round tubs.

The company switched to shrink sleeves when it made the move to square tubs because the new tubs could not spin easily for the pressure sensitive labels to be applied, he explained.

The new labels are not perfect. Carnavale acknowledged that they do not always align perfectly on the containers, but that most consumers will not notice unless it is pointed out. On the bright side, the shrink sleeves look like part of the tubs and create a clean appearance.

In addition, like the retailers, the firm also benefits financially from the lower transportation costs generated by more product stacking on fewer trucks.

Environmental benefits

The shrink sleeves and reduced transportation also are better for the environment, which aligns well with the company’s goal of minimizing its footprint as well as with the values of environmentally conscious consumers, Carnavale said.

Specifically, the shrink sleeve uses a third less plastic than the pressure sensitive label and the efficient transportation of the square tub translates to a reduction of 1.4 million cubic feet of carbon monoxide than when shipping the round tubs, he said.

The tubs also are made out of post-consumer recycled material, which means the company is decreasing the amount of plastic in landfills, Carnavale said.

Each tub includes a stamp on the bottom advertising it is made of recycled materials, which resonates well with consumers who can see the company is going the extra mile to be environmentally sustainable, Carnavale said.

Ultimately, the firm proved square tub naysayers wrong by showing how the square tub did everything the firm wanted: It made the product standout, improved marketing, was more cost affordable and more sustainable, Carnavale said, adding: “We accomplished it all.”

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