Article Preview: Grocery Totes
Below is a roughly direct transcription of an email interview I did with Christopher Duffy, senior vice president of marketing for Bag Makers, for an article I'm writing on reusable grocery totes for our September issue. I hope you find it interesting, and if you'd like to know more about grocery totes, don't forget to check back here in September for the full article!
Promo Marketing: Overall, is there a preferred size for tote bags that are intended to carry groceries? What about materialization/thickness/overall construction/etc.?
Christopher Duffy: In general, the grocery stores sell a tote sized at 12W X 8D X 13H. Our industry sells this size, however, it has also adopted one size slightly larger at 13W X 10D X 15H. For the smaller tote, 80 GSM is the norm material thickness. Bag Makers offers ours at 100 GSM as a more durable quality feature. Most of the larger sized totes are at 100 GSM, however a few are available at the 80 GSM. The GSM (grams per square meter) is an measure of the material's "density" and directly relates to its strength, durability and carrying capacity.
As an add-on feature, nearly all of the bags available include a bottom board insert for more stability. Sometimes the board is a piece of cardboard with a sewn polypropylene cover, but increasingly the boards are a solid black piece of polyethylene.
PM: Is there anything new or innovative in the the sub-genre of grocery totes that you'd like to talk about? (new ways to affix straps, easy-to-clean fabrics, etc.)?
CD: The new trends for this style of bag seems to be the addition of small value-added features, such as pen loops or a pocket added between the straps (for coupons, etc.). Several suppliers have started changing the look a bit by color-blocking the bag. For example, you might see a red front and back, with a black gusset and handles, just for a bit of added flair. Still a few other companies are offering the tote made using recycled P.E.T. (recycled water bottles) or a laminated form of polypropylene. But these materials greatly add to the cost and many end-buyers are used to the low $0.99 price the grocery stores sell at.