As much as the designers and engineers here at PI like to be creative when coming up with new packaging solutions, a packaging company like us can't ignore data. After all, we're not creating solutions for us—we're creating them for consumers, and brands that market themselves to consumers. So what does the latest data reveal about what people look for in their plastic food packaging?
A Study in Transparency
In a recent study, participants were placed in an environment common for snacking—in front of the television, of course—and provided with a wide variety of snack foods in different types of plastic food packaging. Some of the packaging was transparent and some opaque, and the study's authors rotated which snacks were in which bags over the course of the experiment. So what did it all prove?
According to the study's data, the type of snacks that participants chose depended on the types of packaging they were in—for example, they chose baby carrots more when they were in opaque packaging, and smaller candies more when they were in clear packaging. It wasn't the food itself that inspired the selection so much as the perception of the food created by its packaging—which puts a lot of responsibility on the designer.
Data and Expertise in Plastic Food Packaging
What all of this means for a packaging company like PI is that we have to design packaging solutions around what consumers prefer. Plastic food packaging is clearly a major influence in what foods people select, and by monitoring consumer trends, a packaging company can design and create solutions that appeal to the largest audience possible.
This doesn't apply only to plastic food packaging, either—or to the transparency of a package. Other factors like size, shape and security all impact whether or not a product has the shelf appeal to make a consumer pick it up and ultimately select it. In that way, designing the right packaging solutions isn't only a matter of utility or practicality—it's a matter of artistry, expertise and the proper application of the data available to us.