I Hate Packaging - Reprised
Packaging News You Can Use
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
Tip Of The Week
I Hate Packaging - Reprised
Issue #1287 - December 4, 2007
MESSAGE FROM THE PACKAGING DIVA:
Got a question you think my readers would be intereted in hearing about? Drop me a line.
Recent queries include topics such as thecarbon footprint of packaging, packaging coming out of China, whats new in packaging innovation.
IN RESPONSE TO MY ARTICLE:
Is Packaging Innovation The Chicken Or The Egg?
This from Tim at KTM Industries
I can only concur with your findings. As a producer of strictly sustainable packaging materials, I am amazed that the vast majority of packaging professionals that I have met with at some of the largest, most respected companies find Green Cell Foam a novelty or curiosity, even though we discuss that Toyota, Honeywell, Volvo, Sony and other majors have been using this for several years with excellent results. Why do so many packaging folks eschew “green” technologies?
Here are my best guesses:
Investment – many companies are so heavily invested in machinery and fixtures that the idea of integrating new materials goes directly against corporate strategies
Overloaded – packaging engineers are so busy that they rather select materials and processes that are “tried and true” rather than go through the extra work of investigating/testing/etc.
Job protection – it’s a lot safer to use materials that are “tried and true” rather than try new materials that may go wrong (even if the chance is near nil)
Not important – “green” technologies are just not high on the list of imperatives (no bonus check for going “green”)
Relationships – many professionals have been working with the same companies/persons for many years and they remain loyal
Costs – while many “green” technologies carry a price premium, we’ve found that even at cost parity, companies stay with current designs to avoid the hassle of switching for no bottom line gain
Lack of vision – (I may be burned at the stake for this one) with energy costs going through the roof, hydrocarbon-based materials will cost a lot more in a very short period of time. Biobased materials, on the contrary, have a much lower energy cost component and, thus, are not subject to oil-based price increases. And with more cities/states/countries enacting environmental legislation, there will be a clear market advantage to using sustainable materials. Oh, yes, and add Wal-Mart to the list of drivers…
I travel extensively and I always carry Green Cell Foam with me. People invariably ask what it is and when I explain it to them – along with the environmental benefits and ease of disposal – about 118% of them instantly like the material (OK, so I need a new calculator…)
So how do we bridge the disconnect? Marketing…
I am starting to meet with the MARKETING departments of these companies, rather than the packaging and operations groups, to explain the benefits to the company through their customers. Will this strategy work? Clearly, I don’t know, but I believe that it comes down to this facet of the business to drive innovation.
I Hate Packaging - Reprised by JoAnn Hines Packaging DivaIt's that time again (the holidays) when packaging will be getting top media coverage by its detractors. Those would be the people looking to complain about product packaging because it’s too difficult to open or there is too much of it or they think it doesn't do its job properly. I always read a slew of articles on how many people were injured or had to go to the hospital trying to open a package.
Bad raps on the packaging industry appear in the news all year but with the holiday and all the gifts giving its a natural topic to get additional publicity. Just check out my website www.PackagingUniversity.com to read a few of the most "infamous cases." I have been interviewed several times to explain the other side of the story too: The real role packaging has to play (the good side) and where would we be without it.
Consumer Reports just put its annual call out for the "Oyster Awards" given to the worst packages out there. You can bet consumers are lining up to rant about various problems with packaging and how packaging is the bane of the public.Yes, I know there are problems with packages that can't be easily opened. Specialized tools have been created to make this problem easier. I gets news releases on these all the time some of these tools are better than others (if you want my opinion drop me a line).
I had a recent experience with my husband's new electric razor which elicited a few choice words while I was trying to get it out of the plastic clamshell. But boy did it look pretty on the shelf. I could see the entire product and the nifty freebie gizmo that came along with it. I was very intrigued to finally get the product out (without mishap I might add). Even I was surprised when I finally got inside the package to see all the interworkings that went into packaging this product. It was really great package design at its best.
It is amazing how much thought and innovation went into the design itself. It sat upright and was very well positioned on the shelf among its competitive offerings. The product was clearly visible had some great marketing graphics which caught my eye. The package was composed of numerous types of packaging materials that were well integrated into the complete unit.
Why did I buy it? The package made me do it, of course, and the fact that my husband broke his old razor so I got to play consumer for a product that I wouldn't normally purchase. It was a reason to experience the process. But the packaging did its job too. It persuaded me to buy that particular product knowing the heartache I would experience to get inside. I didn't worry whether it was "green" either. I simply didn't care I need this and now and the package called out "buy me."
Despite what all of the critics have to say, packaging is integral to the successful sale of a product. It has to get it to the shelf, but that's only the beginning. It has to protect, secure and display the product too. It has to persuade you to make the purchase while telling you all about what is inside. That would be the reason that you just can't live without this product.
I'm reading all these rants about excess packaging at the supermarket. Calls to strip away product packaging and leave it at the store. These are the first people that will be complaining if the fruit is bruised or the lettuce is not fresh and even scarier when there is some sort of health threat due to contamination. Have you seen how many food recalls there have been lately? Just think how much more there would be if packaging wasn't doing its job.
Too few of us (especially consumers) really understand the role packaging has to play in modern society. Many problems that packaging resolves are taken for granted and only get exposed when it turns into a problem. Look at Tylenol. That poisoning incident (happened 25 years ago in September) changed an industry forever and evolved an entire new packaging category of product security, integrity and tamper-evident. This could happen again anywhere in the world. The packaging of food products is 70% of the industry and it is sorely in need of scrutiny for product integrity and security. Several issues regarding food security have recently arisen especially food products coming from China. I have seen several posts on this lately and get asked questions about it every week. Some companies are even marketing "China free" on the product packaging.
So this holiday season give some thought to why about why products are packaged the way they are. Be on the lookout for cynics and people who give a bad wrap to packaging without understanding what packaging really does. Be sure and take the time to explain to them the role packaging has to play. Don't let anyone get away with saying "I hate packaging" without helping them to clearly understanding where would we be without it.
Need to know whose got the latest concepts in packaging innovation? I know that's what I do-track packaging trends and innovation and how it is going to impact your business. Get connected with me JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva via email at PackagingDiva@aol.com or by phone 1-678-594 6872.
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