The packaging lifecycle - part 1

Published 25 May 2017
How does the life journey of packaging look like? How do consumers make choices in the stores, what role does the shopping cart play and how does your way of transportation impact your decisions in the store?

Starting by the store shelves in the United Kingdom, consumers here want packaging to appeal and deliver taste cues. This means that packaging needs to be priceworthy and look tasty. Few Brits think of easy storage and recyclability in the store.

In Germany, consumers choose product in packaging that looks untouched. They also prefer packaging that have windows to help them see freshness and an appetising appearance. As well as in the UK, few Germans think of easy storage and recyclability at this stage.

Looking at consumers in China, it is obvious that small products that are easy to carry home are preferred. When the Chinese buy bigger or bulkier products, they prefer doing so online. In China, attractive packaging is the key.

Is there a difference how consumers fill their shopping carts in different countries? The Brits don’t seem to care much about the trolley itself, regarding which packaging to choose, and the same goes for Germany. In Britain however, consumers sort their things by type of product, while the Germans place heavy packages in the bottom of the shopping cart, followed by the lighter items on top. In China they separate the fresh, dry and frozen foods in the cart. They also put fragile packages in the inner part of the cart for protection.

Many consumers in Britain go shopping by foot. This means they often shop light. They appreciate packages that are designed for easy transportation, for example toilet paper or beer packs with handles. Also, packages with sharp edges are not wanted, to avoid tearing the plastic bags.

In Germany, many come by foot, but also by bike. Because of that, they often avoid glass packaging as it’s too heavy. They appreciate the fact that a carton is robust, but not always practical for transportation.

In China, consumers often pack dry and frozen foods in different bags and they make sure that paper packages are separated from frozen foods. Like in Britain, consumers avoid packaging with sharp edges to avoid tearing of the bags.

There are lessons to be learned here, and next month we will continue on this theme and take a look at what happens when the consumers arrive home with their purchases. Stay tuned for that!

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