News Feature | August 28, 2014

4 Considerations For Building Better Food Packaging

Source: Food Online

By Isaac Fletcher, contributing writer, Food Online

The role of modern packaging has extended beyond simply providing a container for a product, and manufacturers are increasingly leveraging packaging to attract consumer attention and differentiate products from competitors

Aside from the aesthetic factor, packaging needs to be both ergonomic and highly functional, as today’s consumers expect more from packaging than ever before. To drive this point home, the latest market data indicates that functionality, differentiation, and visual appeal are the top three factors brands use to measure the performance of packaging. In order to meet consumer requirements for successful packaging, manufacturers can make the following four considerations:

1. Design Containers With A Mind For Content Preservation
The modern, on-the-go lifestyle of many consumers has increased the need for re-closable/re-sealable packaging to eliminate waste and save unused contents for later use. Re-sealable containers provide benefits to nearly all demographics, from busy parents to active seniors. The ability to reseal the container is something many consumers look for when making purchasing decisions. To be sure they adequately accommodate the on-the-go lifestyles of many consumers, manufacturers should design packaging to be durable, lightweight, and easy to transport in a personal bag without fear of leaking or breaking.

2. Engineer Caps That Are Easy To Grip And Open
To meet the unique needs of consumers with dexterity issues, manufacturers have the option to create packaging that is easy to open. One method of doing so is to mold a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) onto the cap, which adds extra grip and provides easier opening. During the next year, consumers in the age brackets 55-64 and 65-70 will experience the largest growth of any segment, with an increase from 47.5 million to 65.5 million. Research shows that more than half of consumers over the age of 60 report difficulties with packaging due to arthritis, failing eyesight, and/or a decline in coordination. In order to fully capture the attention and loyalty of an aging population, manufacturers need to design packaging that is easier to open and dispense.

3. Utilize Environmentally-Friendly Materials In Packaging ProductionConsumers are becoming increasingly interested in products that are made in an environmentally-friendly way and environmental impact is a concern that affects the purchasing decisions of many. Manufacturers can use packaging with components that are compatible with the end-of-life scenario of the container so that the entire package can be disposed of at once. When recycling is the primary method of disposal for a container, all components should be able to be recycled in the same recycle stream.

4. Use Materials That Support Branding Efforts
Producers are coming up with creative ways to support brand identity and capture consumer interest, such as using TPEs to embed scent into packaging so that consumers can get a preview of the product before purchase. Manufacturers should also make use of materials to create a more contemporary design with custom colors and effects, such as pearlescent, metallic, varying opacity levels, and other textural effects.

On average, consumers spend three seconds looking at a product on a shelf before making a purchasing decision. If manufacturers hope to capture consumer attention, then they need to make sure packaging achieves all it can within that window of time. By making careful design considerations, manufacturers can use packaging as a tool to ensure a product goes into a consumer’s basket and not back onto the shelf.