Packaging characteristics and consumer brand preference

Abstract

Purpose - This paper seeks to discuss the need to understand "Relationship between Packaging Characteristics and Consumer Brand Preference"

Design/Methodology/Approach - Data collection is based on information collected through a questionnaire having discussed and filled by 100 randomly chosen housewives of different age groups between 18-65.

Findings - E

Research Limitations/Implications - C.

Originality/Value - A

Introduction:

The term business is defined as an organized way to earn profit. Profit is basic motif that coerces any business individual or organization to produce something that is really needed. This basic motif compels producers to take necessary steps to improve not only the product qualities but also the appearance. Producers manage to interlink demands and supplies and help their consumers to get maximum satisfaction in limited resources by offering them many well-suited goods. As there is always scarcity of sources and abundance of wants; to generate symmetry between wants and supplies a wide range of similar and nearly alternative products are offered with varieties of price, packing style, brand name etc. by various companies, which provides customers multiplicity of choices. Since, in perfect competition every individual or firm has rights to enter the market (or leave the market) at any time and produce and sell goods according to their own will, every producer tries his level best to captivate consumers' attention by emphasizing qualities of his products among many almost similar products, hence it becomes essential to use multiplicity of packaging style, size and colour of likely products, so that specific brands may be distinguished among others.

As due to change of consumer life style consumer are interested in packaging tool, So package performs an important role in marketing communications, Packaging characteristics could be treated as one of the most important factors influencing consumers' brand preference. Taking into consideration that package could be treated as a set of various elements communicating different messages to a consumer, the role of appropriate packaging material to form customers' behavior becomes inevitable.

Customers' taste and behavior also participates significant functions in choosing specific packaging style, hence to know market trend and behavior of consumers, companies conduct market survey, prior launching any new product, so that they may understand perceptions of consumers regarding specific products and on the basis of customers' behavior, figure out the possibility of product success.

Marketing Experts believe that Success is traditionally associated with the choice of an appropriate product positioning strategy, so the first step must be to correctly define a positioning strategy. Positioning strategy means to find out physical appearance of any product prior launching it to the market. It has also been observed that sometimes quite beneficial products could not get proper attentions of the consumers because of wrong market positioning strategy or weak planning.

As a matter of fact if a product (or products) is more demanding and consequently gives lots of profit, every business individual or firm will tend to produce same for having their share of profit in that specific field. This is how there are numerous producers or manufacturers producing analogous products with the difference of brand name, packing style, shape and size because a ditto copy will never makes consumers to switch form their existing brand to a new one. Consumers normally do not switch from one product to another without having sound reasons. These reasons are nothing else but to make them realize that the new product is same but has some different tendencies as well, for instance despite having many chocolate manufacturing companies, every new manufacturer will not be welcomed to influence consumers, unless they manage to prove that their product is better than existing products. Every company tends to prove that their product is somehow different to their competitors and can fulfill the needs of their consumer in better way but in reasonable price. Packaging is the first step to make consumers buy something and plays crucial role to either make a product sellable or to prove it a complete failure, as it is believed that

"Anything, which is apparently excellent and can attract attentions of consumers, can easily be sold."

or in other words

"Most of the books are judged and bought by their covers, instead of their contents."

While purchasing anything from the market every 73 out of 100 people go for apparently good things rather than brand and only 27 percent people strictly stuck for brand. In normal days we do not eat any food, if it does not look or smell great, though we know foods are to be tasted and not to be decorated. Commonly people go for the best looking items instead of technicalities; this is why most of the people buy extraordinary and expensive mobile phones not because of advanced functions but because they look great and by and large they rarely become familiar of all functions.

As the world is rapidly turning into global village and with the passage of time business is being expanded, the importance of using correct type of packaging material has become essential. Packaging is rightly called an art because packaging material is the first introduction of any product to the consumers, as well as it provides a physical barrier between a product and the external environment thereby ensuring hygiene and reducing the risk of product wastage due to contamination. Packaging is indispensable for a safe distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages. It can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for safe, efficient and cost-effective transport, distribution, storage, retailing, consumption and recovery, reuse or disposal combined with maximizing consumer value, sales and hence profit. Verily packaging is a central part of the goods supply chain, which protects goods from damage, allows efficient distribution, informs the consumer regarding products and helps to promote goods in a competitive marketplace.

Packaging Material, especially for edible goods, are used as a tool to prolong products life. Unlike old days, when a huge part of edible goods used to be wasted because of insufficient packaging materials, now days edible goods are manufactured and stored for a long time, which leads to maintain timely supply as well as reduces products cost.

In general terms, packaging is the container that has direct or indirect contact with product, it holds, protects, preserves and identifies the product as well as facilitating handling and commercialization (Vidales Giovannetti, 1995)

Packaging is a tool to form good relationship between Retailers and Food Manufacturers because both work more closely to create products designed for current lifestyles, based on the latest technology. A Retailer, having direct link with end users, can easily be well aware of the perception of consumers. On the other hand manufacturers modify packaging style and product quality on the basis of information provided by retailers. This has resulted in an explosion in the market for ready to eat meals, a market in which packaging is playing an increasingly important role.

In a very broad sense, the food industry is discovering the food service channel as a new distribution alternative. Alliances between food producers and food service operators will be the only means to develop successful solutions.

Packaging is also a source to provide information about ingredient to the customers and instructions to use the product, for which there are some legal requirements. Consumers make final choice on the basis of these information for instance there are some products inappropriate for diabetics patients because of having high calories, hence instructions on packaging can save diabetic patients, on contrary there are some ingredients which are prohibited for some specific religion (as pork is banned in Islamic & Jews preaching) hence through instructions and ingredient list, Muslims and Jews can avoid such forbidden foods.

Packaging is the most important medium of communication because it reaches almost all buyers in the category and is present at the crucial moment when procurement decision is made; and buyers are actively involved with packaging as they examine it to obtain the information they need. (Behaeghel 1991 and Peters 1994)

Packaging is becoming an essential part of the value chain analysis, regarding food safety, organoleptic characteristics, ergonomics and flexibility,"

Packaging is a mean of communication.

Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of design, evaluation, and production of packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells. In many countries it is fully integrated into government, business, institutional, industrial, and personal use.

Packaging attributes, combining colors, designs, shape, symbols, and messages of Food products, provide people brand acquaintance for example in a departmental store all kinds of beverages are kept in same place but consumer of specific brand can easily distinguish his choice because of difference of colour, size and unambiguous shape. (Nancarrow et al., 1998)

Numerous market trends suggests a growing packaging role as a brand communication vehicle and reducing expenses on traditional brand building mass media advertising. Importance of Packaging role is acknowledged round the globe for brand building and consequently the expenses on advertisement has been found reduced. Once a brand becomes familiar companies do not have to spend a huge amount on advertising because consumer will reach the brand automatically. Companies just have to manage timely deliveries, so that meanwhile a consumer may not switch to the nearest competitors due to unavailability of the product. (Belch and Belch, 2001) Packaging attracts and sustains attention, helping consumers identify with the images presented. The importance of packaging design and the use of packaging, as a vehicle for communication and branding, are growing (Rettie and Brewer, 2000) One recent study estimated that 73 percent of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale, it means that a majority of consumers switch to one brand to its nearly alternative while purchasing, for example a housewife wants to have a jar of jam of a specific brand, if she does not find it in superstore, she might buy any similar brand in absence of her desired brand, this may cause her to believe that the new brand is somehow comparatively better than the previous one, hence next time she will visit to the store, she will surely go for the new brand instead of previous one. (Connolly and Davidson, 1996)

Packaging materials are used to communicate the messages of specific companies. Most of the branded companies have their particular brand slogans, which influences consumers towards their products. To achieve the communication goals effectively and to optimize the potential of packaging, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers must comprehend consumer response to their packages, and incorporate the perceptual processes of the consumer into design. It is also observed that companies that sometimes failure of a product is not because of lack in product qualities but lack of presentations. (Nancarrow et al., 1998)

Almost all FMCG spend extra amount to figure out Consumers' perception and behavior, which is believed is not consistent across cultures. Although many industry observers believe that consumers worldwide are likely to have roughly similar response to many FMCG, despite cultural differences (The Nation, Bangkok, 2002) yet there are many cross-cultural researchers who believe vice versa, and assert that knowledge developed in one culture should be confirmed before use in new cultural contexts (e.g., Malhotra et al., 1996) The expansion of modern retailing helps drive this growth, so that packaging plays an increasingly critical role in merchandising and communication for FMCG (The Nation, Bangkok, 2002)

Viewing pollution problem of the world, it becomes essential to take necessary steps to reduce waste and garbage. The role of packaging in waste reduction is the most evident at food packaging. When food is processed and packaged, the food residues are often used as fuel, animal feed or some economically useful by-product. In absence of packaged processed food, the residues become garbage in the household. Another reason why food packaging reduces waste is that it reduces spoilage. In developing countries food wastage is between 20-50% because of poor or the lack of packaging. In Europe, where packaging is used in handling, transport, containment and storage, food wastage is approximately 2-3%. (PIN, 1996) With increasing rates of appropriate packaging materials, the fraction of food wastes decreases. A survey conducted in this regards declare that Overall, for every 1% increase of packaging, food waste decreases by about 1.6%. (Scarlett, 1996)

Purpose of Packaging Materials:

Physical Fortification

The objects enclosed in the package may require shield from many things like shock, vibration, compression, temperature, etc. Appropriate Packaging Material accumulates objects from all these hazards.

Barrier protection

Food products can be kept safe for a long time, unless Oxygen, water vapor, dust, etc. may not affect them. Infiltration is a critical factor in designing packaging materials. Some packages contain desiccants or Oxygen absorbers to help extend shelf life, whereas usage of metallic sheet or poly film is quite normal in packaging of food related items to prevent oxygen. Modified atmospheres or controlled atmospheres are also maintained in some food packages. Keeping the contents clean, fresh, disinfected and safe for the intended shelf life is a primary function of packaging materials.

Containment

Handling small objects separately is difficult than keeping them in one packet or box, hence diminutive objects are usually grouped together in one package instead of keeping them in different packages, for example, a single box of 1000 erasers requires less physical handling than 1000 single rubbers. Liquids, powders, and granular materials need containment.

Communication

Packages are properly labeled to provide information related to usage of product that how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product. Food, medical, chemical and pharmaceutical products are labeled proper manufacturing and expiry dates as well as suitable way of handling for example on some packages "keep in cold and dry place" is written because moisture and heat can cause hazardous change in the product, on some cartons stacking size has also mentioned to avoid any damage.

Marketing

The packaging and labels are used to influence consumers to buy something. Package graphic design and physical design are chosen after thorough survey and deep study of consumers' taste and behavior. It has also been observed that products which were proved a complete failure became much popular, just after changing the design of packages. The colour schemes, designs, packaging style and size are rightly called tools to sell anything.

Safety Measures

Packaging plays imperative role in reducing safety risks of shipment. Prior packaging, need of safety measures are studied thoroughly. Good Packaging Material is the one that comprises tamper resistance to deter tampering and also have tamper-evident features to help indicate tampering. Packages can be engineered to help reduce the risks of package pilferage: Some package constructions are more resistant to pilferage and some have pilfered indicating seals. Packages may include validation seals and use security printing to help indicate that the package and contents are not counterfeit. Packages also can include anti-theft devices, such as dye-packs, RFID tags, or electronic article surveillance tags that can be activated or detected by devices at exit points and require specialized tools to deactivate. Using packaging in this way is a means of loss prevention.

Convenience

Packages are designed to keep viewing convenience in distribution, handling, stacking, display, sale, opening, re-closing, use, dispensing, and reuse, for example a tin of cooking oil is not used only once, it is to be used time and again, hence there must be convenience in use as well as in reuse. On contrary a can of disposable beverage is not designed for reusing purpose and once the seal is opened, it is to be used in a limited time; else it will end its properties.

Many housewives are observed not using specific products because of inconvenience in use, despite knowing their low price or other benefits.

Portion Control

Specific quantities or proper dosage of some products, e.g. salt, are required to be used. Bulk commodities (such as salt) can be divided into packages that are a more suitable size for individual households. It is also aids the control of inventory for example selling sealed one-liter-bottles of milk, rather than having people bringing their own bottles to fill themselves.

Types of Packaging Materials

The most common types of material used for packaging are paper, fiber board, plastic, glass, steel and aluminum.

Paper:

Paper is one of the most widely used packaging materials, particularly corrugated cardboard used for transport packaging.

Glass:

Glass once used as Packaging Materials for beverages but as it is broken easily and causes material loss as well as harm for human health; usage of glass has been replaced with Tin and Plastic. Glass is the most common form of packaging waste, although it has been returned to the factories now days for recycling, yet because of its insecure nature, it is being avoided as packaging material.

Aluminum:

It iscommonly used inpackaging,such asdrinks cans, foils and laminates. As a scrap metal, it has a high value and can alsobe recycled economically - 20 recycled aluminum cans, can be made with the energy it takes to manufacture one brand new one.

Steel:

Steel is a widely used packaging material for food, paint and beverage as well as aerosols. Recycled steel brings significant resource and energy savings. The current recycling rate for steel cans is 62%.

Plastic:

Plastic offers several advantages over other packaging materials in its sturdiness and low weight.

Mixed materials:

Mixed materials packaging can sometimes have the benefits of being more resource and energy efficient than single material packaging, but combining materials makes recycling difficult. Recycling these materials is hindered by the lack of facilities and technology necessary to separate materials to avoid contamination.

Importance of Packaging & Branding in Marketing

Branding and packaging are two of the most important components of marketing. The term 'Branding' is used to portray the name, description and design of a product. Branding differentiates a company's product from their competitors'. Packing is a marketing tool used to reflect the brand. A company uses packaging to sell the product inside. The colors, fonts, descriptions and logo are designed to drive consumers to buy the product.

Sales

The entire focus of a marketing department is to strategize methods to sell the company's products. Branding and packaging are two of the most effective ways to do this. Once a brand has been determined, methods are employed to sell the product. Advertising, the company website and product packaging must all present a cohesive brand or image. In successful brand campaigns, customers recognize the company's product packaging and purchase in part because they identify with the brand

Branding

When a company brands a product, they determine its "personality." Creating a brand that is instantly recognizable and perceived positively is the ultimate goal. Branding integrates components such as color, style and visual imagery to distinguish a company's products from the competition. Developing logos, slogans and tag lines are all ways that marketers communicate a specific brand. Some experts believe that advertising, which provides information about objective attributes such as price and physical traits will influence brand associations. Advertising can make positive brand evaluations and attitudes readily accessible in memory Advertising also influences behavioral manifestations of brand equity. On average, market leaders spend 20 percent more of their budgets on advertising than do their nearest competitors.

There are different parameters or factors that force a customer to switch one brand to another. This individual varied behavior leads to study taxonomy of explanations for varied behavior. Experts of branding distribute these varied behaviors into "Derived" and "Direct" variation. "Derived varied behavior" refers to varied behavior that results from "forces that have nothing to do with a preference for change in and of itself" These forces are divided into "multiple needs" and "changes in the choice problem." Multiple needs include multiple users, contexts and uses. There are empirical evidences indicating that varied consumption of the household may result from different usage purposes of the product as well as different users within the household. Changes in the choice problem are changes in the feasible set of alternatives, tastes and constraints (new brands, advertising, deals, etc.)

"Direct variation" explanations of varied behavior rely on the "inherently satisfying aspects of changing behavior" Interpersonal and intrapersonal motives are involved in direct variation. Interpersonal motives result from the needs for affiliation and distinction. Intrapersonal motives result from three main forces. First is the desire for the unfamiliar cite empirical evidence on successful attempts to get stable and reliable measures of different aspects of this desire that is related to an ideal level of stimulation desired by the individual. Second is the desire for information, to measure optimum stimulation levels. Consumers want information on familiar brands. This need for information arises when continued consumption of a particular brand creates confusion with regard to the worth of other brands. The third type of "direct variation" that satisfies intrapersonal needs is alternation among the familiar. The studies in the areas of psychology of consumer behavior show that levels of stimulation can be raised by switching among familiar as well as unfamiliar brands. There is empirical evidence on the existence of ideal levels of attributes wanted by consumers in their consumption. This fact may result in switching among familiar brands that are rich in different attributes.

The present study interprets varied consumption as a result of variety seeking behavior, which is operational as a measure of individual tendency to vary consumption. This tendency is measured on a continuum that extends from extreme tendency to vary consumption to an extreme tendency to avoid variety.

It is possible to identify five major factors which influence the proportion of total product sales made by each brand of a product class displayed in a supermarket: (1) relative brand prices, (2) the proportion of display space allocated to each brand, (3) the quality of display space, (4) point-of-sale advertising and promotion, and (5) consumer brand attitudes and preferences. The first four of these factors are direct dimensions of the purchase environment. The fifth is a residual of advertising and promotion, habits and experience, which is brought to the purchase environment by the consumer. A primary objective of this analysis is to isolate and quantify the fifth item, namely, brand preferences of consumers. The procedure outlined in the model essentially involves controlling the other four aspects of the purchase environment and thereby isolating the effect of brand preferences. In many merchandising situations, however, the effects of brand preferences and relative brand prices work together in either a cumulative or a compensating way. For this reason, it may also be of interest to quantify the combined effects of consumer brand preferences and differences in brand prices. While this is possible with the model and is discussed later, the basic model is developed to fit conditions where brand prices are equal. With equal brand prices, equal display quality conditions, and no point- of-sale advertising or promotion, it is hypothesized that the sales of each brand would be proportional to the display space allocated to each if all buyers were indifferent concerning brand choice. Conversely, it is hypothesized that if all buyers had a brand preference there would not be any relationship between the percentage of total sales for a brand and the

Slogans

One of the most effective methods of branding is the use of slogans. Companies often identify a specific characteristic that sets their product apart from the competition. The slogan becomes a key component in all marketing efforts, including packaging. For example, Nike has effectively marketed both their logo and slogan "Just do it" into an easily recognized brand.

Packaging

Packing is designed to capture a customer's attention and it can directly effect whether they buy the product or not. Innovation and creativity come into play when it comes to packaging. A well-marketed product is packaged in a way that compels the customer to pick it up and take a closer look, at which point product descriptions and graphics must be clear.

Packaging Tools

Colors, fonts, descriptions and logos are the tools that are used in packaging design. Companies market their brands by creating a specific "look and feel" to their product's packaging. A customer must feel comfortable enough with the presentation of the company's brand to want to purchase the product.

Company Image

Branding and packaging are created by a company. While these efforts are used to market products, they in turn market the company itself. Branding reflects the image that the company seeks to project. For example, IBM takes on a more conservative, well-established corporate image while Apple brands itself as a hip and cutting edge company. These images reflect the market that the company has identified as target customers.

Characteristics of Packaging Materials

Size of Package:

Prior visiting market, a buyer has to decide how much quantity of his required product must be purchased to fulfill his need. Since consumers face scarcity of resources and abundance of wants, everyone tries to form symmetry between resources and wants by spending specific amount of money on various articles of goods according to need, for instance a person has Rs 100/- in his pocket and he needs potatoes and milk powder. He will have to decide how much quantity of both can fulfill his requirements. The size of Package plays essential role in consumer's decision of purchase, for example a family consisting of only two members will never buy a container of ten kg milk powder on contrary a large family will never procure half quarter of same. Viewing huge number of variety consumers, it is important to use an appropriate packaging standard size, so that every consumer may have product according to his needs.

The covariance of attention and size may cause the overall attention-attracting properties of a container's shape to bias or mentally "contaminate" volume judgments. External and irrelevant factors frequently intrude upon and contaminate judgments of objects, yet they are unrecognized because people often are unable to identify the basis for a judgment. (Wilson and Brekke 1994)

When judging size, people are accustomed to relying on their senses to make quick judgments without introspecting about why an object appears larger than another. For example, people accept that a half-gallon milk carton appears larger than a quart without analyzing why it does so. Further, attention can intrude upon size judgments because attention can be directed to objects automatically, without a consumer having to consciously deliberate over it. An individual might not even notice that he or she is comparing across packages in their attention-attracting abilities because comparative evaluations are so ingrained as to be spontaneous. A consumer might simply conclude that one package "seems bigger" without quite knowing why.

Although the paired comparisons methodology involves presenting participants with two packages simultaneously, attention should be directed to one object at a time. People find it difficult to attend to two objects simultaneously (Baylis and Driver 1993; Duncan 1984

Comparisons between two alternatives seem to be common when consumers choose products. Eye-tracking research shows that shoppers screen a grocery product class quickly, spending relatively more time directing their attention to two or three alternatives (Russo and Leclerc 1994)

Shape of Package

Size and shape also emerges as a crucial dimension. One way in which consumers appear to use these things is as a simplifying visual heuristic to make volume judgments. Generally, they perceive more elongated packages to be larger, even when they frequently purchase these packages and have experience using them. Disconfirmation of package size after consumption may not lead consumers to revise their volume judgment sufficiently in the long term, especially if the discrepancy is not very large (Raghubir and Krishna, 1999).

The importance of packaging design is vitally acknowledged because it helps companies to be familiar in people with their brand. Prior starting a business or launching new products, companies conduct market surveys to find out consumers' inclination because their basic motif, earning profit can never be succeeded unless they get the answer of the first and the most important question.

"What will touch Consumers' minds?"

Different people respond to different packages in different ways, depending on their involvement (Vakratsas and Ambler, 1999)

Increased competition is forcing brand managers of consumer goods to alter the portfolio of the package sizes they offer (Elliott 1993). In making these decisions, managers are beginning to speculate whether larger package sizes accelerate a consumer's usage volume of particular products. Indeed, a recent memo distributed within a large packaged goods company encouraged brand managers to "rethink how package sizes and shapes influence (pouring) volume" before making package-related decisions in their product line. In effect, the interest of these managers is shifting from how consumers choose brands to how they use them (Wansink 1994a). Although some managers assume that that larger package sizes encourage consumers to use more (per usage occasion) than smaller package sizes, the support is only anecdotal and these assumptions are becoming a source of controversy. Managers are interested in selling more of a product, where- as public policy officials are interested in decreasing the amount that a consumer wastes (Shapiro 1993). At the center of this issue is the relationship between package size and usage volume. My aim here is to help clarify this issue by (1) empirically determining whether package size has an impact on the usage volume of branded products and (2) investigating the reasons for any such impact.

There is a strong impact on consumer decision making from the development of the market through marketing communications, including image building (Kupiec and Revell, 2001).

This defines methodology to understand consumers' behavior towards similar existing products and provides probability of the success of any new launch. "How packaging elements can affect buying decisions?" is the basic element of running a business, for instance all articles related to children no matter toys or edible goods, are wrapped in bright colors, whereas articles for mature and grown ups have sobriety in them.

Straight shape has a positive utility compared to curvy, as does classic design on the package compared to colorful. This suggests that, overall the respondents may be more attracted to a package that seems familiar and reliable, rather than exciting. Focus group work also indicated that Thai consumers strongly prefer more familiar products. Without their usual choices, another product from a well-known company would be perceived as more reliable (Silayoi and Speece, 2004)

Packaging design, although flexible, is subject to these types of conventions. For example, corks are associated with premium wines and screw top caps with Lambrini, a budget wine. Some mid-range and premium wine producers have begun to use screw top caps, but a survey by Wine Intelligence found that 60% of the 1150 subjects disliked wines having screw caps, even though the bottles are easier to open and close, flavour is as good and corked wines are avoided. This shows that a logical approach to functionality can affect brand perception: the cork is not just a closure but an element of the brand. However, 250ml bottles of wine almost always have screw top caps. A cork is impractical, as many of these bottles are sold at stations and consumed on trains, where a traveler rarely carries a corkscrew: the dislike of screw tops is overridden by other priorities.

Packages come in all shapes and sizes, complicating the ability of consumers to make accurate judgments about the amount of a product. Some package sizes vary because of the nature of the product (e.g., meat), but for others the basis for the variation is not obvious (e.g., consider the myriad sizes and shapes of shampoos) Consumers can easily overcome the challenge of visually assessing volumes contained within a variety of shapes because most product labels provide amount information. When a consumer wishes to compare product volumes, an obvious solution is to simply read the label and compare standard units (e.g., compare fluid ounces).

Shoppers often do not expend the seemingly minimal effort to read product label and price information

Although consumers shop with their eyes, they apparently exert little effort to search for volume information on package labels. (Cole and Balasubramanian1 993)

As a general rule, discriminating between objects becomes more difficult as the magnitude of the difference decreases. (Banks, Mermelstein, and Yu 1982)

When consumers compare the volume of two similarly sized packages, that judgment may be contaminated by a factor that typically co-varies with size differences that one container attracts more attention than the other. If one of the two containers attracts more attention, consumers may misattribute the greater attention they subjectively experience as being paid to that package to a size difference. This intrusion may occur unconsciously so that consumers do not recognize its influence.

Safety of Product

The functions of Packaging can be distributed into three main categories: protection, convenience and communication. The protective aspect is to prevent damage during transportation, display and purchase, to prevent deterioration of contents and to reduce the likelihood of tampering. Convenience covers the functionality of the packaging - how it is opened and used e.g. opening a perforated section of a beverage can to extract a pin. Communication includes practical labeling of the product, what it does and its specifications (often legally required) plus elements of brand personality and aesthetics to attract the attention of the target market. The elements of packaging often fall into all three categories simultaneously :e.g. vintage Famous Grouse whisky can be purchased in a decorative presentation tin which has aesthetic qualities, communicates details of the contents, has a functional lid and protects the bottle inside with a corrugated cardboard lining. Many of the elements of packaging demonstrate similar multiple functions.

The quality and safety of food is a major benchmark of the economic development and people's living conditions. Freshness and taste of the edible items completely depend upon the well developed packaging. Packed Foods are now ubiquitous all over the world hence a lot of universal corporations compete to capture the large shares of packed food market. To survive in this throat cut competition as well as improve the safety and appeal of these products, most appropriate food packaging is of great importance. Companies produce in bulk quantities to minimize product cost and to store goods for continuous supply.

For instance, in Biscuit Manufacturing Companies, to keep the biscuits crispy, crunchy and tasty for long duration, flawless biscuits packaging plays a pivotal role. Being extremely soft in quality, biscuits need proper packaging, which could protect them from humidity and any kind of damage. Moisture proof, durable and appealing edible packaging is the key to enhance the shelf life, brand image and marketability of edible products.

Shelf Life of Product

Shelf life encompasses both safety and quality of food. Safety and spoilage-related changes in food occur by three modes of action; biological (bacterial/enzymatic), chemical (auto-oxidation/pigments), and physical. Active packaging may intervene in the deteriorative reactions by; altering the package film permeability, selectively absorbing food components or releasing compounds to the food. The addition of shelf life extending compounds to packaging films rather than directly to food can be used to provide continued inhibition for product stabilization. For further processed foods with greater than one week shelf life, active packaging can provide an added level of protection downstream in the distribution cycle. Direct addition of antimicrobials for instance, will have a strong initial effect but will have little effect later in the distribution cycle since the antimicrobial will react with food components or be absorbed into the food bulk. For non-fluid foods, the deteriorative reactions occur primarily at the food surface. Thus, less antimicrobial will be needed when used in the package since the compound will be released at the location of need, the food surface will be highlighted that focus on using compounds that are either approved for food use or are food components. Antimicrobials used include nisin, lauric acid, and EDTA while antioxidants added to films include BHT, BHA, and rosemary extract. Film and coating materials include soy, wheat, corn, and polyethylene. Pathogens including Salmonella and Listeria have been inhibited by several combinations of antimicrobials and film or coating types. Positive results for food shelf life extension have been shown by the application of active packaging.

Convenience of Storage

Consumers use the height of the container or its elongation to simplify volume judgments. A container's height predicted volume judgments better than or about as well as models that included width or depth measurements. When containers are tall or elongated, they are perceived as having more of a product than containers that are shorter or squat in shape.

Convenience of Use

As global concern and awareness for the environment continues to grow, consumers around the world are demanding more action from retailers and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) manufacturers to protect the environment. And while eco-friendly packaging might not be the top priority for shoppers today, it's certainly a growing priority the food industry cannot ignore," (Patrick Dodd, president of Nielson Europe.)

Convenience has become increasingly important for food products, and consumers who are worried about time saving will pay more attention to claims of new technology, because of technology's association with convenience. The technology embodied in the package also communicates to Thai consumers such things as ease of dispensing the product, freshness and shelf life, and nutritional value and toxicity (Silayoi and Speece, 2004)

Extra Use of Package

The Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) packaging is dependent on sound design both to attract consumers and structural practicality.

Across the globe, there are four key trends in packagingconvenience of usage, freshness & improved shelf life, sustainable and environment-friendly packagingas a tool to position and promote a brand,

One of packaging's functions is to communicate product information, which can assist consumers in making their decisions carefully. An example of such significant information is food labeling. The trend towards healthier eating has highlighted the importance of labeling, which allows consumers the opportunity to cautiously consider alternatives and make informed food choices (Coulson, 2000)

Packaging at the Point of Sale

Packaging seems to be one of the most important factors in purchase decisions made at the point of sale (Prendergast and Pitt, 1996)

Packaged food products are moving into ever larger supermarkets and hypermarkets, and there is a proliferation of products, offering consumers vast choice. The competitive context is ever more intense, both in the retail store and household. With the move to self-service retail formats, packaging increases its key characteristic as the "salesman on the shelf" at the point of sale. The critical importance of packaging design is growing in such competitive market conditions, as package becomes a primary vehicle for communication and branding (Rettie and Brewer, 2000)

The role of packaging in marketing communications is further aadvanced by recent developments in technology (McNeal and Ji, 2003).

Package Attractiveness

Food packaging is not just a mean to storing the food to sell, it's a marketing tool as well. A well designed food package will influence buyers to purchase a product and increase product recognition through image. Adding special features to food and beverage packaging is another way to influence consumers to purchase product over another.

A package that attracts consumers at the point of sale will help them make decisions quickly in-store. As the customer's eye movement tracks across a display of packages, different new packages can be noticed against the competitors. When scanning packages in the supermarket, the differential perception and the positioning of the graphics elements on a package may make the difference between identifying and missing the item (Herrington and Capella, 1995).

Food products brands use a range of packaging attributes, combining colors, designs, shapes, symbols, and messages (Nancarrow et al., 1998

Consumer intention to purchase depends on the degree to which consumers expect that the product can satisfy their expectations about its use (Kupiec and Revell, 2001).

Packaging must be eye catching to stand out from other similar products, because it is believed that apparently attractive products compel consumer to purchase them. Consumers normally do not switch from one product to another without having sound reasons. These reasons are nothing else but to make them realize that the new product is same but has some different tendencies as well, for instance despite having many chocolate manufacturing companies, every new manufacturer will not be welcomed to influence consumers, unless they manage to prove that their product is better than existing products. Every company tends to prove that their product is somehow different to their competitors and can fulfill the needs of their consumer in better way. Packaging is the first step to make consumers buy something and plays vital role to either make a product sellable or to prove it a complete failure, as it is believed that

"Anything, which is apparently excellent and can attract attentions of consumers, can easily be sold."

Designing food packaging is not an area to scrimp. The presentation of a food product can make or break it. Success is traditionally associated with the choice of an appropriate product positioning strategy, the first step must be to correctly define a positioning strategy. (Ramsay, 1983; McAlexander et al., 1993)

To achieve the communication goals effectively and to optimize the potential of packaging, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers must understand consumer response to their packages, and integrate the perceptual processes of the consumer into design (Nancarrow et al., 1998).

Product positioning is the most important factor to form perception of consumers and taking into consideration the rest of the market offers. Therefore, in order to obtain a particular position, consumer product perceptions must be analyzed in great detail. The reason for this is that the perceptions of a given set of consumers reflect and inspire at the same time the company's strategy for its products.

Once the positioning plan has been completed (and the company knows how it wants to present itself to the market with respect to its competition), the company implements a plan of action through the construction of a suitable marketing mix (Brooksbank, 1994)

Quality judgments are largely influenced by product characteristics reflected by packaging, and these play a role in the formation of brand preferences. If the package communicates high quality, consumers frequently assume that the product is of high quality. If the package symbolizes low quality, consumers transfer this "low quality" perception to the product itself (Underwood et al., 2001; Silayoi and Speece,2004)

References:

  • Rita Kuvykaite, Aiste Dovaliene, Laura Navickiene "IMPACT OF PACKAGE ELEMENTS ON CONSUMER'S PURCHASE DECISION" JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND MANAGEMENT 2009.
  • Pinya Silayoi, Mark Speece "Packaging and Purchase decision" Journal of British Food 2004.
  • Robert L underwood, Noreen M Klien, Raymond R Burke "Packaging communication: attentional effects of product imagery" Journal of product and brand management 2001.
  • Olga Ampuero, Natalia Vila "Consumer perceptions of product packaging" Journal of consumer Marketing 2006.
  • Pinya Silayoi, Mark Speece "The importance of packaging attributes: a conjoint analysis approach" European Journal of Marketing 2007.

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