Shelf impact starts in the customer’s mind

Brands today must align all aspects of their packaging development and production to satisfy the needs and preferences of a new generation of consumers.

Skilful optimisation of point-of-sale packaging has never been more important for food and beverage brand owners. A key component is ensuring that primary and secondary packaging designs, materials and missions are fully aligned in order to attract consumers and satisfy their needs.

Consumer brands today face many challenges – from an explosion in the number of competitors and the resulting struggle to get noticed on the retail shelf, to rising demand for sustainability and changing consumer demographics.

“The increase in single-person households, and the rise of e-commerce and environmental awareness — all driven in part by the Millennial generation — is impacting shopping habits and consumer preferences,” says Stijn DeWit, Head of Marketing & Communication, Mondi Consumer Packaging.

Data show that Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers and are growing in purchasing power. The Brookings Institution, in a May 2014 paper about the impact of Millennials in the United States, predicted that, “by 2025 they will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce.”

Goldman Sachs also offers compelling data, pointing out that Millennials are about to move into their prime spending years and will be “reshaping the retail space.”

These future decision-makers are more likely than their parents to demand healthier, more environmentally responsible products that generate less waste while offering user-friendly convenience that fits their lifestyles. Think: fresh, natural, portable, easy open, reclosable, recyclable, reusable and, last but not least, authentic.

Meanwhile, with Food Marketing Institute research showing that the “average” grocery store carries nearly 39,000 items, it is easy to understand why packaging, brand awareness, messaging and shelf positioning are vital to getting noticed. And the quality of that packaging directly impacts brand image.

Various studies have indicated that a majority of purchase decisions are made by shoppers once they are in the store – that’s true for 76 percent of buying decisions in the USA, according to a 2012 POPAI Shopper Engagement Study, and for not less than 53 percent in the UK, according to a July 2016 report in Forbes. This clearly raises the stakes for product and package design in terms of shape, colour, patterns and the like, in such a highly competitive environment.
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