Packaging can be defined as the technique of protecting the products, articles for storage, distribution, and sale. It means wrapping the products to look attractive or protecting the goods for safe transit. It also means covering the products to save them from damages during transportation and storage. Packaging is the wrapping material around an item to contain, identify, protect, display, and make the product marketable and clean.
However, the term packaging has been interchangeably used for retail as well as transport container. Consumer packaging has some marketing implications, while transport containers are more significant from a logistics standpoint.
Packaging is also closely related to branding and labelling as it appears on the package, and the brand is typically present on the label. It largely defines the product contained inside. The package contents may be pre-weighed, measured, stored, assembled and then carefully placed in a specially designed box, crate, jar, bottle, tube for convenient distribution.
Different types of materials are used for packaging. These materials are:
- Gunny bags
- Straw baskets
- Wooden boxes
- China jars
- Cellophane paper
Objectives of Packaging
1. To provide protection
Packaging ensures that the product inside is protected against vibration, temperature, breakage, wear and tear, light, moisture, precipitation, leakage, and theft.
2. To enhance marketing
Good packaging with attractive labelling helps the sellers to promote the product to potential buyers. The size, colour, appearance, shape of the packaging is designed in such a way to attract the attention of potential buyers.
3. To convey the message
Sometimes manufacturers print essential information on the packaging about the contents inside, such as usage instructions, raw materials, expiry date, manufacturing process, etc. This information is crucial for users.
4. To provide convenience
Good packaging adds to the comfort in handling, display, transportation, opening, and storage.
5. To enable product identification
Packaging allows a product to have a distinct identity. With the effective use of colours, shapes, and graphics, such identification and distinction are essential in times of tough competition.
6. To enhance brand image
The brand image can be improved greatly, with attractive packaging in a consistent manner over a long time.
Functions of packaging
1. Preservation and protection
The core function of packaging is to protect the contents during transit from the manufacturer to the ultimate consumer. It safeguards the product from any damage as this is a loss and inconvenience to the seller and buyer. It protects the product from dust, damage, leakage, pilferage, chemical change, insect attack.
2. Safe containment
Most products need to be contained before they can be moved from one place to the other. This helps to maintain the quality and reachability of the product.
3. Effective communication
A vital function of the packaging is to communicate the product effectively. It tells the consumer about the product, other instructions, and utility information. Information such as quantity, price, inventory levels, packaging date and time, etc., serves as useful information for the consumers.
Proper packaging ensures that the product needs less space and keeps the product and its content intact.
Essential qualities of packaging
- Attractiveness of the package
- Enhanced product description
- Convenience of storage and display
- Security of the goods
- Convenience of transportation
- Easily disposable
Types of packaging
Packaging can be segregated based on the items it contains.
A package of a particular manufacturer is packed in an identical manner. The shape, colour, and materials used for packaging will be similar for all the manufacturer’s products.
Sometimes the packaging can be used for other purposes after the goods have been consumed. It is known as reuse packaging.
This package holds the required volume of the product for ultimate consumption and is more relevant in marketing products such as tobacco, cigarettes, beverages, etc.
The products traded to different places need to be packed well enough to protect them from damage during transport, handling, and storage.
Problems encountered in packaging
- Costs of packaging
- Reuse purposes
To conclude, packaging is the coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, sale, logistics and end-use. Apart from serving a practical purpose of protection and preservation of the product’s quality, it is the aesthetic appeal part of packaging that makes it more interesting. The visual impact of the packaging can be a unique selling proposition of a product, because sometimes you do judge the book by its cover!