Sustainability Series: PRAIM Group
November 25, 2012
Established in 2006, PRAIM Group is a Salem, Massachusetts based licensing, distribution and marketing company specializing in all-natural confections. PRAIM licenses and creates its own brands that sell nationwide in retailers from big box stores, to supermarkets and independent gift and specialty channels. We talked to Paul Pruett, CEO, about the importance of incorporating sustainability into your business model.
How does your business define sustainability?
For us, sustainability is not only an environmental issue, but it makes good economical business sense. We’re always trying to find better ways to be more efficient, penny smart and environmentally friendly.
How are you incorporating sustainable practices into your business?
Of the 12 confections we distribute, 10 use the same all-natural chocolate. So depending on the design, we’re able to plug in either a dark or milk chocolate bar. Only the packaging changes. This way, we’re able to control manufacturing issues, inventory and we don’t have seasonal waste. In addition, this helps with shipping. If a customer orders bars from different design brands, we’re able to fill the order in our warehouse and make one shipment to the end user. This cuts on shipping costs but also decreases the environmental impacts of transportation issues. All packaging components are either recyclable and/or use recycled paperboard. Recently we created a new product called Choxcard™, which is a new way to gift a gift card. It’s a self-sealing highly designed box that’s part gift card holder, part greeting card and includes a chocolate bar. It’s all in one. We’re proud of this for many reasons, but a main reason is because it cuts down on a consumer having to buy a greeting card to put the gift card in and/or a gift bag with tissue paper if they want to add something to make the present more special. As a result, the Choxcard™ can save a consumer money as it’s all in one, but it also cuts down on the amount of gift wrapping waste.
What are your short term and long term goals?
Our goals are always the same, to find more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to manufacture and ship our products.
Where do you think you’ll have the biggest impact?
In transportation. We use regional vendors for packaging and manufacturing to cut down on the amount of transportation. In addition, while our chocolate formulations are unique to us, they’re basic so our manufacturers already carry the ingredients and they don’t have to have it shipped in from all over the world. Consolidating and making it simple makes a huge difference both economically and environmentally. In addition, we try to order our bars in bulk to decrease not only manufacturing costs but also transportation and fuel footprints. It also provides our end users with the freshest product available. We don’t typically have a lot of bars stored in the warehouse so we don’t end up discarding unused product.
How do retailers factor into your efforts?
It’s a huge part as we’re able to show our retailers our entire portfolio and ship their purchases together – which minimizes fuel and transportation costs.
Why are sustainable business practices important to the food industry?
Due to the perishability of products, the sourcing of ingredients and the packaging – often for safety issues, and then transporting the products to the end user, the food industry is a mega fuel, transportation and trash generator. Collectively, we can all improve on how we package our products, manage inventory so we don’t throw out expired items, source our products and pick manufacturers located closer. Most importantly, partner with manufacturers who share our same values and want to work with us to improve our economic and environmental issues.
Why are sustainable business practices important to the consumer?
Consumers are well aware of waste and excess packaging and it matters to them. They want to feel good about their purchase and they can do that by giving or receiving a gift that leaves as little of a footprint on the earth, but a big impact on the gift itself. And even better, if we can diminish the earth issues and pass on the savings, it’s a win for the consumer, a win for our company and a win for the planet.
In upcoming issues, we will feature interviews with food companies that are making strides in their sustainability efforts. If you are interested in telling us more about what your company is doing to get involved please contact us atAllison@supermarketguru.com.