Consumers make choice towards the functional packaging.
The first European Packaging Forum was held in Dusseldorf on the second week of June. Packers, marketers & machinery manufacturers met to discuss prospects & exchange views, concerning the market, trends & branch innovations.
The packaging in retail became the top-of-mind subject of event. Participants concerned such questions as: new legal packing requirements; packaging advantages & value for customers; new formats & types, the alternative to plastic & paper; carrying out of innovations to commerce.
Consumers make the rational choice.
The subject of consumer preferences was the key point on the agenda. Doctor Ralf Mayer de Groot from «Mayer de Groot Marketing-Research and Consult GmbH» sheded the light on some reasons of consumer’s decision-making concerning the packaging. He reviewed conscious & unconscious criteria of choice. According to Mayer de Groot, the most significant features of berries packaging for respondents were the protection from damages & pollution, visual availability of the product & shelf life in packaging & unpacked.
As was discovered during the research, such features as “eco friendliness” & other “climate” characteristics were not so important for customers, as the price & functionality. Moreover there is a conflict between marketers’ expectations & the real consumers’ behavior. In concept the “eco friendliness” criteria estimated as value, in real terms it was less important. When making choice of the product & packaging without taking the price to the mind, the combination of wooden bowl & flowpack was the most popular. But if the price is listed, consumers voted for plastic packaging, because it’s cheaper. Many are ready to trade-off the “eco” features if the price is profitable.
Packaging is the way to communicate.
However the question, what type of packaging consumers prefer in general, met with no response. As one of the speakers, Alessadro Ferraresso, determined, the packaging was not so important in the past, but now it became one of the basic communication channels.
The perfect packaging for him should match the three main criteria:
- Rational (It must be functional & require the efficient use of materials);
- Responsible (It should be sustainable & allow the communication about the product & itself);
- Fresh (It should allow visual availability of the product & be honest).
Ferraresso thinks, the packaging is very important now, and to speak about it is the future. He said that packers could work with different information levels – with the packaging itself & internet presence on the product, which could be used by customers for getting information. Using of SMM helps to involve children & young people, for whom parents are no longer the only information source. The goal is to include all parts of society in communication. “Only in this way can everyone help to make a difference”, - he said.
Packaging in the points of sales: development directions.
Ulrich Budnik, the managing director of Rewe Homberg & Budnik, revealed his opinion concerning the packaging development in fruit & vegetable department. He underlined the difference in expectations of the customers with high income in food retail. In high-income districts customers appreciate products, represented in the food store, more emotionally. The produce section is the figurehead of the market. The producer & place are more important for the high-income clients. That was the reason, he offered to take the entrance fee giving the opportunity to taste product instead.
He thinks, clients want to get the best fruit & vegetables. By the end of the day he had to dispose a lot of products as the result. So the decision was to make the frontdesk for delicate fruit in one of the markets, where the employees packed into the paper & parcel bags selected fruit for the customers. The sales grow slowly in this segment so the waste reduction is very important. Ulrich said, he didn’t estimate fruit & vegetable sector the captain of packaging industry.