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"Packaging development is more than "putting
a box around a product"
The age-old marketing model, which favored investments in mass media,
creativity on ad hoc basis, and an uncertain return on spending is long
gone. Today, the use of technology, process and metrics dominate and drive
any successful marketing campaign and this trend will continue in the
In recent times, package design and development has become an integral part of
the entire new product development mechanism. Previously, the packaging
technologist was the last one to be involved in any product development
process. New computer based management tools have brought in this sea
changes as people involved in this now understand the importance of
packaging and its impact on the end users.
The packaging development process takes off with the Identification of all
the requirements for the product to be developed. Followings are few things
that are considered at this stage:
- Structural design
- Shelf life of the product
- Quality assurance
- Legal matters
- Regulatory matters
- Graphic design
- End-use of the product
- Environmental considerations
Just like the development cycle of products, the packaging development
cycle also started putting emphasis on the incorporation of downstream
processes like process planning, production planning and maintenance. This
includes not only primary processes, but also addresses other aspects, such
as life cycle analysis, cost estimation and various performance indicators.
While distinctly correlated to the product development cycle, the packaging
development cycle is not obviously comparable. It at least requires special
attention. The life cycles of the product and the packaging can differ
enormous. In some cases the packaging/product combination is only relevant
until the beginning of the usage phase of the product.
An example of this is the box used for transportation of bicycles.
Adversely, a plastic bottle for sauces is used until the bottle is empty.
When the packaging is designed for multi-usage, the life cycle of the
packaging is even much longer than the life cycle of the product. This is
for example the case for a refillable crate and bottle system.
The packaging development
Additionally, the ratio between the added value of the packaging and the
added value of the product can be extremely dissimilar. Aiming at the
optimal value for this ratio, an integrated approach for the development of
product/packaging combinations is required. If an integrated method is
applied in designing the product/packaging combination, the best agreeable
solution for all the stakeholders in the product/packaging chain is
The primary function of any package originally addressed containing the
product, and protecting it from the ambient environment. On the one hand
this can imply protecting the product against the environment, to enhance
the products life time and conserve its content. On the other hand it can
imply the protection of the environment against the packaged product (e.g.
for harmful or toxic content). In either case, packaging provides
possibilities to facilitate the transport of the packaged content.
In current, everyday practice, packaging is usually developed from these
primary functions, combined with a range of aspects that relate to the
secondary functions of a package. These secondary functions of packaging
originate from all the stakeholders that have an interest in the packaging
chain. Stakeholders in the packaging industry are firstly stakeholders in
the packaging industry itself, but can also be found in the producing
sector, the distribution and retailing industry, the government and among
product users. Looking at the wide range of stakeholders involved in the
packaging chain gives insight in the range of interests, possibly requiring
specific packaging functions or demands and constraints for the packaging.
Consequently, the secondary functions of packaging address a wide range of
fields like information and communication also know as communicative
artefact's, sales, marketing, distribution, design, etc. This entirety can
be seen as the macro environment of the package.