Excellent Packaging and Supply
Issue Winter 13
Excellent Packaging & Supply is successful because it responds to the needs of the market. Based in California, Excellent Packaging & Supply has been in operation for nearly 10 years. The company is a wholesale distributor of foodservice packaging and supplies made from renewable, plant-based resources.
“When we first started in this business, there was no one in our industry offering what we offer,” President Allen King says. “Most distributors didn’t really want to hear about alternatives. We started offering solutions and knew that if we were successful, we would generate competition.”
The company goes to market through its BioMass Packaging brand, which is pushing to bring greener products to market and raise public awareness about sustainability. Excellent Packaging strives to be a leader in research, innovation and product development as it tries to expand the use of compostable, nature-based products.
“We are business-to-business, so we sell to foodservice operations of all types,” King says. “We are a niche marketer, working with businesses that wants to green their food operations. We can help customers to have a greener footprint and make sure their client base knows they are focused on sustainable and ecofriendly foodservice.”
As the company found more traction with its solutions, it began to see other distributors enter the green space as more customers became interested in sustainable packaging. However, most traditional distributors are looking to have only a limited supply of green items. They feature only the most popular sizes, and they don’t have the experience to understand which manufacturers offer better quality than others.
“There is more competition in the market, but no one has the breadth and depth that we do,” King says. “No one goes through product qualification and vetting processes like we do. We want the best-quality, best-performing and most-economical products.”
Excellent Packaging looks for bio-based products that preferably come from annually renewable resources, or from well-managed and vetted forests. Most of the bio-plastic products the company offers are made from vegetable starch, for example.
Excellent Packaging is not a manufacturer. Instead, it studies the marketplace to find producers of the best-quality sustainable products made from renewable resources. The company positions itself to be competitive by having a broad range of products and solutions for its customers’ needs.
“We can have a solution for everything from straws, cups and plates to toothpicks, stirrers, napkins and shopping bags,” King says. “For foodservice operators who want to go green, we have the broadest possible range of products.”
The company understands that it must also be a top-quality service provider. Excellent Packaging is committed to educating and serving its customers, and it strives to stock every product and ship almost every order within 24 hours.
“Everything we offer under our BioMass Packaging brand is always in stock, and [we] have a high fill rate on orders,” King says. “This allows our customers to feel secure in the knowledge that they will get what they order when they expect it.”
As a wholesale distributor, Excellent Packaging doesn’t typically develop products. Before it stocks a product, the company learns what is available, brings in samples and confirms green certifications. “We test products to be certain that they perform as expected, and then we look at our current product line to be sure it fills an unmet need or is better than something we currently offer,” King says.
At the same time, the company will engage in development efforts based on client ideas or designs, and work closely with its manufacturing partners on select custom initiatives. “Our portfolio has grown by responding to client needs,” King says. “Besides offering stock products, we can customize many products to feature a customer’s brand, or redesign an existing product to meet specific needs. For example, we have one large client who wanted a takeout clamshell for café lunches with a window. That is a new product, and we are working with a manufacturer on developing a prototype. We hope that it will eventually become a stock item.”
Passing the Torch
Excellent Packaging’s main focus is on hiring salespeople. The company has already made investments in inventory, and now it needs to expand its bench. “That way, we can respond more quickly to customer needs,” King says. “Human capital is the most important investment we can make to continue to grow.”
Although green packaging and supplies are still just a sliver in the industry’s pie chart, Excellent Packaging is happy with the growth and increased interest it is seeing. The company feels a desire to be greener is spreading around the country because more people want to use sustainable products.
The challenge is to take the knowledge of its people and pass that on to the next generation. Excellent Packaging has a deep understanding of the types of products it carries, as well as knowledge of how to serve and develop loyalty with customers.
“We have to find the right people and train them so they can be competent and serve a growing customer base,” King says. “Fortunately, all of our products are top-quality, first-class products in every category, and we will continue to offer the best green solutions for food packaging in each category.”