News Briefs


DS Smith Launches Plastic Shopping Bag Alternative


DS Smith has launched Carriers, a line of recyclable, reusable boxes for supermarkets that replaces plastic shopping bags. 

The boxes are durable and stackable, and were designed and manufactured by sustainable fiber-based packaging company DS Smith using renewable resources, according to a media release. They feature the company’s patented, food-safe, and water-resistant Greencoat coating technology.’s first user is an undisclosed regional U.S. supermarket chain, which is on pace to replace up to 100,000 plastic bags in its first year of selling the boxes in its stores. Supermarkets can create custom branded boxes, as well as incorporate sponsored logos and messaging from other partner brands. 

Individual Carrier boxes are priced similarly to reusable plastic totes. DS Smith says each box has the capacity to replace between five-seven plastic bags. Along with having them in checkout retail sales, supermarkets can also use Carriers as a loyalty program benefit in online curbside pick-up orders.

“The Carrier product line gives consumers the ability to help remove the billions of plastic bags used across the U.S. each year while at the same time delivering convenience and sustainability to consumers’ day-to-day shopping experience,” DS Smith global customer business unit director Steve Cooper, said in the release. “This kind of innovative, sustainable packing solution is what more communities need to stem the tide of hard-to-recycle plastics and move away from single-use plastic bags.”

DS Smith’s North America Packaging and Paper (NAPP) division produces Carriers at its U.S. specialty packaging plants. Company designers developed the box product line by reworking industrial packaging solutions NAPP uses in the poultry and produce industries.

The company says the new product comes at a time when many are closely examining the impact single-use plastic has on the environment. 

To date, 18 U.S. states have enacted legislation to ban plastic bags, and major retailers have joined the Beyond the Bag initiative, a group seeking to identify, test and implement viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag.


Menasha to Invest $70 Million in Midwest Region

Menasha Packaging Co. plans to invest $70 million in capital into its Richmond, Indiana, footprint as part of an ongoing U.S. network modernization initiative, according to a media release.

Menasha currently has two locations in Richmond, which will be consolidated and expanded as part of the capital infusion. 

"These investments position our Richmond facility as one of the premier producers of graphic packaging solutions in the U.S., offering best-in-class corrugating, printing and converting technology," Mike Riegsecker, president of Menasha Packaging Co., said in the release. "We are excited about the growth and expansion plans we have in Richmond, and what this means not only for our customers, but for our employees and the community of Richmond."

Menasha is an independent, retail-focused packaging and merchandising solutions provider that designs, prints and produces graphic packaging displays and merchandising products for in-store and online. It comprises a U.S. network of design centers, manufacturing plants, contract packaging and fulfillment service center.


Swiftly Acquires Alcohol Promotions Platform

bybe swiftly

Swiftly, a retail media and technology company, acquired BYBE, a digital promotions platform specializing in the alcohol space, in March.

The move combines BYBE's domain expertise in the alcohol category — including its connections with suppliers, retailers and regulators — with Swiftly's Alcohol Cashback solution, launched in 2023. 

Swiftly says the acquisition will help scale Alcohol Cashback and enable it to reach more consumers with adult beverage offers and rebates, according to a media release.

"The acquisition of BYBE not only expands but also complements Swiftly's award-winning Alcohol Cashback solution,” Henry Kim, co-founder and CEO of Swiftly, said in the release. "The integration of our companies forms a powerful alliance, unlocking new opportunities for retailers and alcohol suppliers. With our combined platforms, customers and partners now have access to an extensive array of tools and solutions, specifically crafted to enhance operational efficiency, elevate customer satisfaction and fuel overall growth."

BYBE's rebate platform will be integrated into Swiftly's product suite. The companies believe BYBE's talent and brand network combined with Swiftly's platform will empower retailers to boost alcohol sales and the expanded distribution will grow alcohol suppliers’ consumer reach.

"Our track record of delivering game-changing innovation while maintaining strict compliance with individual state laws enables us to accelerate Swiftly's vision of creating greater value for retailers and brands alike,” Drew Knight, co-founder of BYBE, added. 

Knight and BYBE co-founder Ryan Moore will join Swiftly's leadership team, with Knight spearheading retailer acquisition and Bev/Alc partnerships as vice president, business development & partnerships. Moore will manage enterprise account relationships as vp, customer success. 


Bazaarvoice Adds AI Capabilities for Social Marketers

Bazaarvoice, a product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) solutions provider, has introduced three new capabilities powered by Bazaarvoice HarmonyAI, the engine/technology fueling all of the company’s current and upcoming AI capabilities.

  • Creator Discovery in the affable creator marketing solution, which helps social media and marketing teams find the right creators by entering text, images or mood-boards into a search query. (This feature is a result of Bazaarvoice’s 2023 acquisition of, which specializes in AI-driven influencer marketing solutions, from Afffable Technologies.)
  • Photo Captions for Instagram for social commerce, which enables social media managers to create photo captions and hashtags for brand-owned social posts. AI analyzes product tags and captions from a brand’s recent posts as well as the photos in those posts to generate personalized photo captions that match the brand’s tone and voice.
  • Content Coach for Influenster community members and campaigns, which helps Bazaarvoice’s global Influenster community create higher-quality content through AI-powered suggestions on review topics and gamifying the review-writing experience. The community of 8.5 million members that Bazaarvoice taps into helps train these AI models.

“[Photo Captions for Instagram] was beyond helpful in how it automatically inserts captions that work well with our Instagram page,” Stacey Ocegueda, customer service at Manna Kadar Beauty, said in a media release. “Everything worked amazingly with the right number of hashtags and emojis. This feature saves time and eliminates the process of creating a caption.”

Bazaarvoice HarmonyAI leverages billions of data points to deliver relevant content to consumers and enhance the shopping experience. Additionally, it was designed to allow brands and retailers to allocate more time to other priorities by automating certain tasks through AI solutions.


Trax Launches Solution to Enhance Real-Time, In-Store Visibility

store shelves

Trax, a global computer vision company and provider of image recognition solutions for physical retail, has launched a Signal-Based Merchandising (SBM) solution to provide brands with real-time visibility down to the SKU level.

Available in the U.S., SBM engages a network of shoppers already in the store to gather real-time data points – which Trax calls signals – so brands can make quick decisions about their store-level execution, according to a media release.

“The fundamental principles of merchandising are broken,” David Gottlieb, chief revenue officer at Trax Retail, said in the release. “Brands don’t have visibility into what is happening in store aisles, which results in inefficiencies and lost sales. Consumer habits ebb and flow, and brands need real-time visibility into store and shelf conditions to take corrective action within hours, not weeks.” 

Trax says its SBM solution is a “continuous, signal-driven” approach to SKU collection in critical locations. For maximum impact, Trax directs its “flexible merchandising workforce” – known as the Flexforce – to these key stores on a recurring cadence or expands the store or SKU list.

BlueTriton Brands, Tru Fru (owned by Mars) and Dude Wipes are among the CPG brands that have already tested the solution in beta.

How it works:   

  • Signal generation: Once a CPG identifies its priority and retailers, Trax deploys its network to collect data that shows out-of-stocks and the average duration of the issue. It then delivers insights reports in real time.  
  • Store selection: Based on the data and additional proprietary insights, Trax identifies “high impact” stores.
  • Shelf correction: Trax deploys the Flexforce in “near real time” to evaluate the data, confirm insights and start to take action, such as working with store managers, adjusting inventory, pulling product from the backroom and updating shelf tags to ensure accuracy.  
  • Sales increase: Brands and retailers receive continued store-level reporting and Flexforce activation as needed, as well as an “end of program” ROI analysis. 

“With such rapid insight into on-shelf availability of our power SKUs, we were able to make quick decisions during a peak seasonal period in our category, ensuring our products were available where our customers needed them to be,” said Brian Felter, senior sales leader with BlueTriton Brands.

Trax’s in-store execution, store monitoring and retail analytics solutions are powered by proprietary image recognition and machine learning algorithms that turn photos of retail shelves into granular shelf and store-level insights.


Albertsons Rethinks Promotional Marketing, Merchandising

albertsons interior

Albertsons Cos. has expanded its partnership with R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (RRD), a provider of marketing, packaging, print and supply chain solutions, to “transform” its promotional marketing ecosystem and grocery merchandising strategy, according to a media release.

Albertsons is seeking to drive loyalty by reaching its audience beyond transactions and through localized and omnichannel marketing efforts supported by RRD.

“Customer shopping habits are unique to their local markets and their patterns are constantly evolving,” Sean Barrett, chief marketing officer for Albertsons Cos., said in the release. “Understanding the importance of these intricacies and having the ability to personalize and scale is a key opportunity to reach our loyal and valued customers in ways they prefer.”

Leveraging a number of proprietary retail marketing technologies, RRD says it will enhance the “velocity and execution” of personalized promotions at scale to increase return on promotions and engage customers at Albertsons’ chains nationwide with “high quality,” localized content, per the release. 

RRD offers an end-to-end solution that comprises the entire creative and content journey, from photo and video creation to production, print and delivery. Using various technology, processes and automation, RRD creates circular pages, retail signage, as well as promotional, email and social media content to power localized and omnichannel marketing efforts.

“Our goal is to fundamentally elevate the shopper experience for Albertsons customers by reaching them with the right message, on the right channel, at the right time,” said Al duPont, chief commercial officer, RRD. “We’re taking a highly targeted approach to provide Albertsons Cos. customers with personalized, relevant information that speaks to their preferences and inspires their lifestyle and well-being.”