Interrupted supply chains force tough decisions on packaging for N.L. businesses

Kelly Mansell co-owns and operates Rocket Bakery on Water Street in downtown St. John’s. Mansell says she spends a lot of time trying to source packaging as supply lines are interrupted by the pandemic. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Supply chains for many businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador are undergoing immense pressure amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, meaning some owners can’t get the items they need in order to effectively operate. 

That’s left some business owners making tough decisions on what they’ll use to package their products, or even if they can continue to offer some items. 

Bobby Bailey is the co-owner, CEO and director of TVAL Skincare in St. John’s. His business makes skincare products, but a lack of particular bottles needed for one product has forced him to shelf the item for the time being. 

“We’ve had to do that different times, remove everything from the website for a particular product because we didn’t have the right kind of bottles,” Bailey told CBC Radio’s On The Go.

“There was no substitute at all, so we had to just stop selling that one product. Luckily we have such a huge lineup, so it wasn’t much of an issue, just one product being out.”

TVAL Skincare has faced interruptions in its supply chain, forcing it to shelf one product by not being able to order the packaging it needs. (TVAL Skincare/Facebook)

Packaging issues have also hit Rocket Bakery, which recently joined the Skip The Dishes food delivery app and is finding it difficult to stay on top of its packaging supply. 

Co-owner and CEO Kelly Mansell said “it’s the bane of my existence.”

“You spend a lot of time trying to source packaging, and for me, it’s what menu items do we have and then how do we package it,” she said.

“It really drives our business in a way, because I’ve had to make some choices from a menu perspective based on the packaging that I have.”

Eco-friendly challenges

Mansell said it’s important to her and her business to use recyclable cardboard and paper packaging. But, she said cardboard or paper can’t be used in some cases, forcing the business to use plastic.

“So, we’re still using some plastic, which we’re not that happy about, but we’re looking all the time for something that will work with food,” she said. 

Rocket Bakery is adding an evening menu to Skip The Dishes in hope to add more revenue to see it through the winter months. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Bailey, too, said his business is trying to remain as eco-friendly as possible, a sacrifice his business has had to make as a result of interrupted supply lines. 

“The environmental thing had to be [put on the] back burner to some extent, and that just breaks my heart because we try our very best to be eco-friendly as much as possible,” he said.

For now, both businesses are forging on through the pandemic, still facing other challenges on top of packaging issues. 

Mansell said wage and rent subsidies really helped Rocket Bakery through the first six weeks of the pandemic when revenue dropped to absolute zero. 

But, as with most else, the pandemic remains unpredictable, and with winter months ahead Mansell said she’s already beginning to adapt, offering an evening menu on Skip The Dishes — rather than just morning and lunch menus — to help increase revenue.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Interrupted supply chains force tough decisions on packaging for N.L. businesses

Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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