Packaging to become most important food marketing tool

By David Burrows

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Retailing, Marketing

Dorset Cereals has launched updated packaging in recent years
Dorset Cereals has launched updated packaging in recent years
Packaging could become the most important marketing tool for food brands and retailers.

With budgets tight, packaging refreshes could also be a cheap way to enhance the in-store experience for customers. But to enhance the impact of such refreshes, retailers should encourage category leaders to work together in a bid to create a bigger impact in-store.

That’s according to Karl McKeever, visual merchandising specialist and brand director at consultancy Visual Thinking.

McKeever will be speaking at the Museum of Brands and Packaging in London next month at an event focused on the growing importance of packaging for the food industry.

Packaging refreshes

Packaging’s primary role is to protect food, but McKeever will argue that it is much more valuable than that.

As he explained to Foodmanufacture.co.uk: “With budgets remaining tight for retailers, there's less money around for expensive store refit schemes. Retailers still need to keep their stores attractive and with the appearance of newness, so packaging refreshes can be a useful way to get a new look in the aisles quickly and easily to keep consumers attracted and motivated in-store.”

The challenge, said McKeever, was to “get more end-to-end packaging, POP ​[point of purchase] and VM ​[visual merchandising] solutions working together to create bigger impact and more holistic solutions for brands and product categories”.

A report earlier this summer by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that there was “greater collaboration”​ up and down the supply chain on improving the sustainability of packaging, but McKeever, among others speaking at the event, will show this needs to be extended to the appeal of packaging.

McKeever will discuss “who is doing packaging well”​ and what other companies can learn from them.

Increased standout

He added: “Many brands have good individual product packaging solutions where innovative pack types and creative design create newness and strong standout. Brands such as Dorset Cereals, Tyrell’s crisps, Onken yogurt, Mr Kipling, and Pizza Express have each launched updated packs in recent years – [these are] mostly good in their own right but, individually, these still struggle to get increased standout in their respective category areas in-store. Can more be done? Yes, I think so.”

Director at the Faraday Centre, Dr Cathy Barnes, will also discuss sensory perception at the event and how consumers interact with a pack through five senses and not just one or two.

Kevin Vyse, director at the Institute of Packaging Professionals UK added: “With technology moving so fast and consumers buying online, the question must be: ‘Will physical stores merely become showrooms?’ This will leave the retailer at a bit of a crossroads with nothing else to communicate their brand and its values other than packaging. Packaging will suddenly become the game changer.

“Our most successful brands will be those where all those involved in packaging, whether they be marketers, designers or packaging specialists work together,”​ he added.

To read more about packaging developments in the industry, click here​.

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