A focus on the impact of excess packaging on the environment has led to many manufacturers and producers finding simpler, innovative and more cost effective packing solutions. There is no escaping the fact that whilst there is a negative impact, there are many advantages to packaging.
Whilst businesses do need to consider ways to minimize the environmental impact, as consumers we also need to understand the benefits of packaging and the reasons why it is so widely used. It plays an important role in the quality of the products we purchase as consumers and reduces damage and deterioration which would result in many more products being discarded or wasted.
It can provide us with a lot of information about the product inside. This information helps consumers to make informed choices about what they want to buy. Instructions on packaging help us store and use the product appropriately, keep it in good condition and know when it has expired. Safety is another benefit of packaging. From child-proof medicine bottles and tamper-proof consumables, to anti-counterfeiting and other security measures, packaging helps to protect us.
It also offers product protection, particularly during delivery and storage. We are increasingly likely to shop online and from global companies, but expect the products we receive to be delivered in top condition. Packaging such as shrink wrap can be used on anything from the latest DVD box set, to a yacht. A good shrink wrap service means companies can confidently transport goods to consumers around the world, knowing the risk of them being damaged in transit has been greatly reduced.
In terms of food items, it can retain the freshness of the product and increase its shelf life. As we no longer have the time to head off to the shops for groceries on a daily basis, we need food to be kept in top condition for longer. Packaging slows down the natural deterioration that would occur in food exposure to air, so nutritional values remain high for longer. Packaging also helps in keeping food crisp, crunchy and prevents drying out. As consumers we already waste too much food, but without packaging, this figure would be much higher.
Companies use branding on packaging as part of their wider marketing campaigns. Consumers use branding on packaging to quickly identify products that they are familiar with and happy to buy. In this way it offers convenience, as we can be more efficient when selecting from the wide range of products that are currently available.
None of these reasons justifies excessive packaging and consumer pressure has helped to focus attention on reducing unnecessary layers of plastics and card. This has also led to innovative use of new materials and technologies that mean products require less, or use materials that can be recycled or are biodegradable. The financial crisis also led to efficiencies, as manufactures had to find ways to cut the cost of goods in order to remain competitive. Simplified packaging was one area where efficiencies could be made.
As with any industry, there are constant changes in what consumers demand, developments in technology and innovative advances. Packaging companies need to remain up to speed with these changes in order to provide excellent packaging services for the companies that want to outsource this part of the production process.
A recent Which? Report has highlighted the challenge that many consumers face when trying to open packages. Of the 2000 consumers surveyed for the report 67% felt frustrated by packaging that they felt was more complicated than it needed to be. Increasing numbers of brands taking advantage of modern packaging techniques that focus on easy-opening designs. These include tapes and labels that also present the opportunity to incorporate additional functions, such as resealing features and tamper evidence. For more information on packaging, visit Codex Contract Packers.