Packaging patterns are influenced by cultural differences. Photo: Mayr-Melnhof Packaging. Artists: Gerlinde Gruber & Christine Strempel
Packaging: things that matter to the consumer
Packaging manufacturers need to adjust to different consumer demands. In particular, this includes the choice of suitable material which has to ensure product safety, be sustainable, easy to transport and store and also have a persuasive impact on potential customers seeking to make purchase decisions. Especially where food is concerned, paper and cardboard are very much in demand, both in the European Union and overseas. The reasons for their preferences, however, can vary – as shown, for instance, in a study conducted by the opinion researchers IPSOS.
IPSOS – the world’s second-biggest market research company – conducted a survey on lightweight pulp among 6,500 men and women, aged 18 to 55, in seven different countries and came to the following conclusions:
93% of all respondents enjoy paper because of its sustainability,
87% prefer it because it is so easy to open and close,
and 80% value its pleasant surface qualities.
Paper – a popular packaging material. Photo: Brown Cardboard Folded Boxes, Unsplash @ pexels.com
The Finnish-Swedish paper and packaging manufacturers Stora Enso recently conducted a study comparing the preferences of German, Chinese and British consumers concerning the packaging material used for food. It turned out that all three countries preferred paper for confectionery products such as baked goods, chocolate and sweets.
Culturally specific national differences, however, were found by the French market researchers L’ObSoCo (L'Observatoire Société et Consommation):
In Germany the decisive criteria for packaging material are recyclability, weight and volume. Around 33 per cent of German online customers expect to see space-saving cartons with a minimum of empty weight.
Paper is considered to be sustainable and easy to handle. Photo: Pfeifer & Langen
French consumers clearly put the emphasis on routine use and practical convenience. Nearly a third pay attention to the printed product details in their purchase decision. However, the layout, too, needs to be appealing, while the environmental aspect plays a lesser role in the country of savoir vivre.
Finally, the Spanish and the Italians value above all innovative packaging. Nearly one third of them perceive added value in modern technologies such as smart packaging and original application options.
A study conducted by Label Insight among over 2,000 North Americans in 2016 revealed the outstanding significance of transparent information on packaging.
Nine out of ten respondents prioritise transparency of food packaging as the most important point. 73 per cent said they were prepared to pay more money for more information, and this figure was as high as 86 per cent among young mothers.
An end to dust on sugar and flour packaging: the first sealed paper package was developed by Bosch and BillerudKorsnäs in 2016. Photo: Bosch Packaging Technology
Practical and popular: corrugated paperboard
Since last year the corrugated paperboard industry has enjoyed rising sales figures – a trend that appears to be continuing. The market researchers at Smithers Pira are expecting to see some steady global growth in the corrugated paperboard industry, rising from today’s $226 billion to nearly $270 billion in 2021.
The benefits of corrugated paperboard products are obvious: Between 2014 and 2015 alone the average weight went down by around ten per cent while maintaining the same level of robustness. Moreover, such packaging is reusable and can easily be transported, stacked and stored.