Consumer use and appeal
The efforts of the manufacturers of paperboard, printers, converters, manufacturers and packers of goods, distributors, and retailers must ultimately ensure consumer appeal and satisfaction with cost-effective, efficient packaging that has a sound environmental background.
What are consumer needs? All consumers look for “value for money” and “fitness for purpose” and require a clear demonstration of brand values and access to product information. The information, form and functions need to be adapted to demographic groups or individuals with special needs.
From a consumer’s point of view, the key requirements of packaging are to promote or provide:
- product declaration
- handling instructions
- brand recognition
- product protection
- oxygen-, light- and moisture barriers
- safety in use
- economic use of resources and accurate representation – not excessive nor deceptive
- a responsible attitude to the environment
- “intelligent” packages
- and to separate and fix the contents.
Consumers expect packaging to be functional, easy to handle and safe to use. They require packaging to give “easy recognition of product”, be “easy to locate” in the store and reflect the perceived value. Instructions for use and disposal must be clear and distinct. These are all appearance features relating to the material, shape, decoration, and printed matter.
Packages should be tamper evident, especially for food, gift packages, and products for personal use. Adhesive joints and opening devices must remain secure. Packages must not appear damaged or faded on the shelf, this being equated with old or badly handled stock. Packages which attract condensation after purchase, i.e. frozen and chilled food and ice cream, should have good moisture resistance.
With multi-portion packaging the consumer requires packages which are easy to open, close and reclose, and ultimately empty the package entirely. A perforated opening should be easy to tear, whilst a hinged tuck-in flap must not tear after repeated opening and reclosing during the life of the package.
Packaging should not deteriorate in use or storage, and proximity to other products should not be allowed to affect the flavour or aroma of the product.
An element of “convenience” is necessary depending on the product and the method of use. This can be achieved in a number of ways through the material and package design, depending on the nature and use of the product.
Key paperboard characteristics
As with retailing, the decisive characteristics are dependent on the type of product under consideration.
The consumer expects packaging to be efficient and functional and to meet needs in terms of the appearance and performance requirements of specific products. The properties of appearance and performance do interact; thus, for example, a poor appearance usually leads to a poor performance. Key characteristics as regards consumer appeal primarily concern the cost effectiveness of paperboard packaging and its sound environmental background.