The Purposes of Packaging
The role of packaging in marketing has become quite significant as it is one of the ways companies can get consumers to notice products.
Describe the various uses of product packaging within a branding context
- Considering the importance placed on the package, it is not surprising that a great deal of research is spent on motivational research, color testing, psychological manipulation, and so forth, in order to ascertain how the majority of consumers will react to a new package.
- A common use of packaging is marketing. The packaging and labels can be used by marketers to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product.
- Packaging is also used for convenience and information transmission. Packages and labels communicate how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product.
- marketing: The process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers.
The Purposes of Packaging
With the increased importance placed on self-service marketing, the role of packaging is becoming quite significant. For example, in a typical supermarket a shopper passes about 600 items per minute, or one item every tenth of a second. Thus, the only way to get some consumers to notice the product is through displays, shelf hangers, tear-off coupon blocks, other point-of-purchase devices, and, last but not least, effective packages. Considering the importance placed on the package, it is not surprising that a great deal of research is spent on motivational research, color testing, psychological manipulation, and so forth, in order to ascertain how the majority of consumers will react to a new package. Based on the results of this research, past experience, and the current and anticipated decisions of competitors, the marketer will initially determine the primary role of the package relative to the product. Should it include quality, safety, distinction, affordability, convenience, or aesthetic beauty?
Common uses of packaging include:
- Physical protection: The objects enclosed in the package may require protection from, among other things, mechanical shock, vibration, electrostatic discharge, compression, temperature, etc.
- Information transmission: Packages and labels communicate how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product. With pharmaceuticals, food, medical, and chemical products, some types of information are required by governments. Some packages and labels also are used for track and trace purposes.
- Marketing: The packaging and labels can be used by marketers to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product. Package graphic design and physical design have been important and constantly evolving phenomenon for several decades. Marketing communications and graphic design are applied to the surface of the package and (in many cases) the point of sale display, examples of which are shown here:.
- Convenience: Packages can have features that add convenience in distribution, handling, stacking, display, sale, opening, re-closing, use, dispensing, reuse, recycling, and ease of disposal.
- Barrier protection: A barrier from oxygen, water vapor, dust, etc., is often required. Permeation is a critical factor in design. Some packages contain desiccants or oxygen absorbency to help extend shelf life. Modified atmospheres or controlled atmospheres are also maintained in some food packages. Keeping the contents clean, fresh, sterile and safe for the intended shelf life is a primary function.
- Security: Packaging can play an important role in reducing the security risks of shipment. Packages can be made with improved tamper resistance to deter tampering and also can have tamper-evident features to help indicate tampering. Packages can be engineered to help reduce the risks of package pilferage.
In the package design stages for products, structural design, marketing, and environmental responsibility should all be considered.
Outline the design, regulatory and environmental requirements that must be addressed during the packaging development process
- While the development of a package (or component) can be a separate process, it should be linked closely with the product to be packaged.
- With some types of products, the design process involves detailed regulatory requirements for the package. For example, toxicologists and food scientists need to verify that the packaging materials are permissible under applicable regulations.
- Package development should involve considerations for sustainability, environmental responsibility, and applicable environmental and recycling regulations.
- new product development: New product development (NPD) is the complete process of bringing a new product to market.
Package design and development are often thought of as an integral part of the new product development process. Alternatively, development of a package (or component) can be a separate process, but must be linked closely with the product to be packaged. Package design starts with the identification of all the requirements: structural design, marketing, shelf life, quality assurance, logistics, legal, regulatory, graphic design, end-use, and environmental. The design criteria, performance (specified by package testing), completion time targets, resources, and cost constraints need to be established and agreed upon. Package design processes often employ rapid prototyping, computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, and document automation.
With some types of products, the design process involves detailed regulatory requirements for the package. With packaging foods, for example, any package components that may contact the food are considered food contact materials. Toxicologists and food scientists need to verify that the packaging materials are permissible under applicable regulations. Packaging engineers need to verify that the completed package will keep the product safe for its intended shelf life with normal usage. Packaging processes, labeling, distribution, and sale need to be validated to comply with regulations and to ensure they have the well-being of the consumer in mind.
Package design may take place within a company or with various degrees of external packaging engineering: independent contractors, consultants, vendor evaluations, independent laboratories, contract packagers, or total outsourcing. Some sort of formal project planning and project management methodology is required for all but the simplest package design and development programs. An effective quality management system and verification and validation protocols are mandatory for some types of packaging and recommended for all.
Package development involves considerations for sustainability, environmental responsibility, and applicable environmental and recycling regulations. It may involve a life cycle assessment which considers the material and energy inputs and outputs to the package, the packaged product (contents), the packaging process, the logistics system, and waste management. It is necessary to know the relevant regulatory requirements for point of manufacture, sale, and use. The traditional “three R’s” of reduce, reuse, and recycle are part of a waste hierarchy which may be considered in product and package development.
Environmental considerations include:
- Prevention – Waste prevention is a primary goal. Packaging should be used only where needed. Proper packaging can also help prevent waste. Packaging plays an important part in preventing loss or damage to the packaged-product (contents). Usually, the energy content and material usage of the product being packaged are much greater than that of the package. A vital function of the package is to protect the product for its intended use: if the product is damaged or degraded, its entire energy and material content may be lost.
- Disposal – Incineration, and placement in a sanitary landfill are needed for some materials. Certain states within the US regulate packages for toxic contents, which have the potential to contaminate emissions and ash from incineration and leachate from landfill. Packages should not be littered.
- Energy recovery – Waste-to-energy and refuse-derived fuel in approved facilities are able to make use of the heat available from the packaging components.
- Minimization – (also known as “source reduction”) The mass and volume of packaging (per unit of contents) can be measured and used as one of the criteria to minimize during the package design process. Usually “reduced” packaging also helps minimize costs. Packaging engineers continue to work toward reduced packaging.