There are several factors responsible for the growth of packaging usage globally. Among them are:
An increasing number of products are sold on a self-service basis in supermarkets and discount houses. Kotler (1997) reported that in an average supermarket, which stocks 15,000 items, the typical shopper passes by some 300 items per minute.
Given that 53% of all purchases are made on impulse the effective package operates as a five-second commercial. The package must perform many of the sales tasks.
It must attract attention, describe the product’s features, create consumer confidence, and make a favorable overall impression.
Rising consumer affluence means consumers are willing to pay a little more for the convenience, appearance, dependability, and prestige of better packages.
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Company and Brand Image
Companies are recognizing the power of well-designed packages to contribute to instant recognition of the company or brand. The Campbell Soap Company estimates that the average shopper sees its familiar red and white can 76 times a year, creating the equivalent of US$26 million worth of advertising.
Innovative packaging can bring large benefits to consumers and profits to producers. For example, toothpaste pump dispensers have captured 12% of the toothpaste market because, for many consumers, they are more convenient and less messy.
Legal Dimensions of Packaging
While managing the packaging function, constant attention needs to be given to the various regulations that the government has laid down in this respect. Government regulations are many and encompass areas such as the use of specific packaging materials for certain products, consumer protection, transportation of hazardous cargo, etc.
The most pervasive among these is the regulation relating to the information a manufacturer is obliged to provide in the package of the product itself. This is commonly known as a labeling requirement and covers a host of commodities. Principal among these is food products, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
Statutory requirements relate generally to:
- Net weight, when packed.
- Date of manufacture.
- Date of expiry.
- Maximum retail price including or excluding local taxes.
- Directions for use, including dosage requirements.
- Directions for storage.
Criticisms of Packaging
Packaging is at the socio-economic forefront today because of its relationship to environmental pollution issues. Perhaps, the biggest challenge facing packagers is how to dispose of used containers, which are a major contributor to the solid-waste disposal problem.
However, consumers’ desire for convenience conflicts with their desire for a clean environment.
Other socio-economic criticisms of packaging are:
Packaging depletes our natural resources. This criticism is offset, to some extent, as packagers increasingly make use of recycled materials.
Packaging is excessively expensive – cosmetic packaging is often cited as an example here. But even in seemingly simple packaging, beer, for example, half the production cost goes for the container. On the other hand, effective packaging reduces transportation costs and losses from product spoilage.
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Health hazards occur from some forms of plastic packaging and some aerosol cans although government regulations have banned the use of several of these suspect packaging materials.
In conclusion, the packaging is becoming increasingly important as sellers recognize the environmental pollution issues, as well as the marketing opportunities involved in packaging. Packaging is another crucial aspect of marketing that plays an important role in determining the success of a product.
Marketing decisions such as those related to pricing and distribution are not so obviously critical from the customers’ viewpoint, simply because they are not so aware of them, but the implications of your packaging decision are obvious since the customer confronts it face-to-face. There are so many instances of good products that have failed because of poor packaging.
Good packaging must protect the contents stored inside it, be attractive to the customer, be convenient to handle, store and use and perform the functions required of it. The market is today flooded with exciting new types of packaging materials that have replaced traditional packages. These new packaging materials have made it possible to market products such as water, beer, food, and snacks.
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