Getting ready to break into the food industry with your delicious new product? Congratulations on getting that recipe just perfect, but really that’s only half of the challenge. Before your customers get to taste your edible goods, they’ll have to go through your packaging. Will they reach for it? Will they trust it? Will they be happy with what they find inside?
Here are 4 reasons why getting your food packaging right is just as essential as the food itself.
1. So the food tastes good
The primary function of edible goods’ packaging is to keep whatever is inside it fresh and intact. Container shape, size and material are important considerations, as are the type of closure and seal it has.
Start by planning the level of barrier protection your packaging provides. This determines how easy it is for air or water to get into your product and contaminate it. The high the barrier quality, the longer your goods can stay on the shelf, but the more expensive your containers will be.
Next, think about the best size and shape for your packaging. Most foods don’t need to be kept perfectly intact, but customers rarely want to eat a completely squashed piece of cake or crumbs instead of crisps. Could a degree of air-filling help to keep your goods intact?
Is it essential that your food or drink packaging can be tightly resealed? If so, think about a screw-top lid or a re-sealable seam. Where air-tightness isn’t such an issue, you may prefer to include tabs on the box or a sticky label to keep the top of a bag folded. Single-use products won’t require this.
Finally, consider whether your goods need any special features to improve their quality. For example, freshly-roasted coffee beans give off carbon dioxide, which inflates the bag they’re stored in. In order to prevent the bag from bursting and to keep the beans fresh, coffee packaging usually contains a small valve that lets gas out, but not back in. For more information, take a look at The Bag Broker’s full range of Side Gusset Bags here.
2. So that they transport efficiently
While we’re on the topic of practical design, make sure that your packets or vessels are informed by the way you expect your product to be handled. Are there conventions surrounding your product category that you need to conform to, or would you rather break the mould and try something different?
For example, consider the difference between transporting a bottle of liquid compared to a can. Bottles are thicker and heavier (which has an impact on the quantity that can be carried) and are more difficult to stack. While bottles might seem to be more ‘premium’ to the end-consumer, is the effect on your bottom line worth it? The craft beer industry seems to have been asking this question recently, with a number of popular independent breweries deciding to switch to cans and pass the discounts onto their customers.
There are some examples where having a unique shape might pay off (like top-shelf liquors that tend to have distinct bottle shapes). However, make sure that you don’t end up bankrupting your company before you can even make an impression.
In addition to transport, think about how your retailers are going to store and display your goods. Will they be self-standing, or can they be hung up? How good will your products look next to competitors?
3. So that the products sell themselves
When you’re not around to tout the benefits of your products, the bag, box or bottle is going to have to do it for you. Even though the quality of the product inside matters, the customer has to want to pick it up and try it in the first place.
Invest in your branding and make sure that whatever label or sleeve is around your packaging looks attractive. Good packaging should help your customers to determine exactly what they are buying, usually by showing a window into the container or with an image on the front of the bag.
Don’t forget about the technical details too. Where are your products made? What’s in them? Have you provided allergy information? If you fail to address these points, your goods may never even make it to the shelf. Make sure that your packaging contains all of the legally required information for the market you’re operating in.
4. So that your company looks professional
If your food looks or tastes bad, the packaging gets unnecessarily crushed or the goods generally look bad on the shelf and don’t comply to sales standards, it all boils down to one thing: your company looking incapable.
When you want to come across as a competitive brand that understands its consumers, the way you package your goods is the ultimate tool for doing this. Expensive adverts, POS displays, brand campaigns and paid advocates aren’t necessary – and are in fact a waste of time – if the product that your customers will hold in their hands doesn’t cut it.