Consumer centricity in food packaging design is nothing new because brands have designed packages to appeal to the shopper for decades. In more recent years, however, the so-called clean label concept has gained significant traction with the American public.
Food packaging design plays many roles and fulfills many expectations. Additionally, it must contain food safely and provide consumers with certain types of information required by the FDA.
Without safety in food packaging design, the contents of the package are irrelevant. Fortunately, packaging is not a significant risk in overall food safety management due to tight controls and regulations that reduce risks significantly.
Consumers are fickle, and brand positioning is often affected by which direction the cultural zeitgeist winds are blowing. For example, Weight Watchers did some rebranding in 2017 due to the rise of body positivity and criticism of the company’s encouragement of restrictive eating, coupled with accusations that it worsens stigma surrounding body shape.
The average consumer may think he or she shops based on practicality and logic, but usually, that is not the case. A lot of subconscious work goes into the average consumer’s choice of a product when presented with choices on a store shelf or an e-commerce page, and these choices may be made in a split second, even when people tell themselves they are “browsing.”
Successful packaging design consists of both art and science. The packaging must contain the product safely and effectively and be usable to the consumer. At the same time, it should convey what is inside, as well as brand values.
Most Americans have not assimilated the official term of “clean labeling,” but they definitely have preferences when it comes to what they see on food packaging designs.
Consumer attitudes toward packaging can appear to be contradictory, and this presents challenges to brands. For example, while people understand and want to minimize the wasteful aspects of packaging, they also want their interactions with products to be satisfying and rewarding.
While 3D printing may not have been in the news in 2017 as much as it was in prior years, that does not mean that the technology has stalled.
The Nielsen Company recently published results of a study of snacking behavior in America, learning more about what goes into the $33 billion a year snack industry in the US, what consumers are buying, and why.