7 Functions of Packaging

  • November 24, 2023
  • General

Packaging is an important distribution, storage and promotion tool for the seller as well as the consumer. It protects the products from spoilage, pilferage and evaporation during transportation, storage and delivery.

It is also a medium of communication providing information to the consumers in the form of instructions, warnings, guarantees and specifications.

1. Containment

The basic function of packaging is to contain the product for distribution and delivery. This can be done in a variety of ways depending on the nature of the product. It protects against breakage, pilferage, evaporation etc. It also helps in grouping and identifying smaller units of the same product (a carton box containing a number of cans of tuna) for inventory management, transportation, storage, and distribution purposes.

In addition, it acts as a medium to transmit information about the product and company. It includes instructions on use, track and trace information as well as the product’s expiry or best-before date. It identifies the product in a retail environment, providing a unique selling proposition. It also creates brand prestige and perception. The attractive material of a quality product properly packaged increases the customers’ willingness to buy the product.

2. Carry

Packaging helps protect products from damage in transit. The number of times a product is handled on its journey from a factory to a retail store is significant, increasing risks of damage.

It is important for the packaging to be designed with shipping and storage in mind, for example, a carton or cardboard box that is easy to stack. Often packaging will also have handles for easy carrying.

Secondary packaging consists of the primary packaging that will be used to ship the goods to the end consumer. This can include single use or reusable shipping boxes, bags, bulk sacks, or containers such as drums and barrels and specialty packaging for unique products. Tertiary packaging, such as pallets and skids which are commonly made of wood, help aid handling, unitization, transport and damage prevention to units and are often rackable, nestable or reusable.

3. Dispensation

One of the basic functions of packaging is its protection. It protects the food, medicines and other manufactured goods from physical damage during transportation, storage and use. It also protects them from contamination by gases, fumes, microbial organisms, heat and cold.

For foods, medicines and other products, the package may contain information on method of preparations, recipes, serving ideas, nutritional value, health warnings etc. The colour of the package may convey some information too.

Proper packaging aids the transport and storage of the product better and thus saves money for the seller. It is also an important factor in the distribution of the product to real consumers. Hence, the material used for the packaging should be chosen keeping in mind the cost, utility and customer appeal.

4. Preservation

Packaging protects the products from breakage, pilferage, theft and evaporation during distribution system from the producer to the ultimate consumer. Packaging also preserves the quality of food products, medicines and other household items.

Richmond says that a product’s image is conveyed through its package, and this can influence where retailers stock it. For example, a food company’s use of on-pack virtue signalling through colour and messaging may help to place it alongside similar packaged products in supermarkets.

Middlemen, wholesalers, retailers and warehouse keepers demand convenience in packaging. It should be light-weight, adaptable and easy to handle. For instance, a packet of Amul mithai mate is packed in an aluminium container and ten tablets of Crocin are wrapped in strips. They are easily carried by hand.

5. Measurement

The function of measuring is to provide appropriate containers, cartons, boxes etc., for storing, keeping and transporting the products. For example, packages of vegetable oil are marked in kilograms.

It also helps in communication with the customer by indicating instructions, warnings, guarantees and specifications. Symbols, trademarks and slogans may also be used for this purpose.

It performs the function of silent salesman by attracting customers’ attention, stimulating interest and creating desire. Attractive material of packaging enhances the prestige of the product. It increases the brand image of a product and creates customer loyalty. It also helps in preventing adulteration of goods by limiting their contact with dust, odors and other contaminants. The packaging must be economical and durable in order to satisfy the demands of middlemen, wholesalers, retailers, warehouse-keepers etc.

6. Communication

A product requires some kind of a container to transfer it from place of manufacturing to the ultimate consumer. Packaging serves this purpose and protects the product from deterioration during transportation, warehousing and distribution.

Various symbols, trademarks and slogans help the producers in ‘communicating’ with the consumers. They inform the consumers about the product, its use method and so on. They also convey the message of product guarantee, specifications, instructions and warnings.

The aesthetically pleasing designs of different products and their packages, help them in creating an instant connection with the consumers. This helps in influencing their purchasing decisions at the POS. This is especially important for new online only businesses, who have no physical retail presence and need to rely on their packaging to create the first impression.

7. Display

The function of display in packaging is to make products attractive and encourages customer purchase. It also promotes the brand image of a product. It is also an effective marketing tool to communicate to the consumer about the inner content and instructions.

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The purpose of packaging is to protect the product from damage during transit, pilferage, theft, evaporation etc. It protects the product from loss of quality, color, quantity and shape. It also helps in preventing adulteration of goods and ensures the safety of the consumers.

Packaging also facilitates the transfer of the product from one place to another easily. For this purpose, the package should have proper opening and closing mechanisms. It should have labels which communicate the product information, such as net weight, ingredients, date of manufacture and expiry date.