Business Studies Part I
Business Studies Part II

Packaging : Importance and Functions

Developments affecting the business world in recent years has been in the area of packaging. Many products, which we thought could never lend themselves to packing because of their nature, have been successfully packed e.g., Pulses, Ghee, Milk, Salt, Cold Drinks, etc. Packaging refers to the act of designing and producing the container or wrapper of a product. Packaging plays a very important role in the marketing success or failure of many products, particularly the consumer non-durable products. In fact, if one makes an analysis of the reasons for the success of some of the successful products in the recent past, it can be noted that packaging has played its due role. For example, it was one of the important factors in the success of products like Maggie’s Noodles, Uncle Chips or Crax wafers. Levels of Packaging There can be three different levels of packaging. These are as below:

  1. Primary Package: It refers to the product’s immediate container. In some cases, the primary package is kept till the consumer is ready to use the product (e.g., a plastic packet for socks); whereas in other cases, it is kept throughout the entire life of the product (e.g., a toothpaste tube, a matchbox, etc.).
  2. Secondary Packaging: It refers to additional layers of protection that are kept until the product is ready for use, e.g., a tube of shaving cream usually comes in a cardboard box. When consumers start using the shaving cream, they will dispose off the box but retain the primary tube.
  3. Transportation Packaging: It refers to further packaging components necessary for storage, identification or transportation. For example, a toothpaste manufacturer may send the goods to retailers in corrugated boxes containing 10, 20, or 100 units.

Importance of Packaging Packaging has acquired great significance in the marketing of goods and services, because of the following reasons:

  • Rising Standards of Health and Sanitation: Because of the increasing standards of living in the country, more and more people have started purchasing packed goods as the chances of adulteration in such goods are minimized.
  • Self Service Outlets: The self-service retail outlets are becoming very popular, particularly in major cities and towns. Because of this, some of the traditional role assigned to personal selling in respect of promotion has gone to packaging.
  • Innovational Opportunity: Some of the recent developments in the area of packaging have completely changed the marketing scene in the country. For example, milk can now be stored for 4-5 days without refrigeration in the recently developed packing materials. Similarly, in the area of pharmaceuticals, soft drinks, etc., lots of new innovations have come in respect of packaging. As a result, the scope for the marketing of such products has increased.
  • Product Differentiation: Packaging is one of the very important means of creating product differentiation. The color, size, material, etc., of the package, make a real difference in the perception of customers about the quality of the product. For example, by looking at the package of a product say Paint or Hair Oil, one can make some guess about the quality of the product contained in it. Functions of Packaging As stated above, packaging performs a number of functions in the marketing of goods.

Some of the important functions are as follows:

  1. Product Identification: Packaging greatly helps in the identification of the products. For example, Colgate in red color, or Ponds cream jar can be easily identified by its package.
  2. Product Protection: Packaging protects the contents of a product from spoilage, breakage, leakage, pilferage, damage, climatic effect, etc. This kind of protection is required during storing, distribution and transportation of the product.
  3. Facilitating Use of the Product: The size and shape of the package should be such that it should be convenient to open, handle and use for the consumers. Cosmetics, medicines, and tubes of toothpaste are good examples.
  4. Product Promotion: Packaging is also used for promotion purposes. A startling colour scheme, photograph or typeface may be used to attract attention of the people at the point of purchase. Sometimes it may work even better than advertising. In self-service stores, this role of packaging becomes all the more important.

The following information is normally placed. on the package of good product:

  • Name of the product
  • Brand name
  • Veg/Non-veg sign (green/red dot)
  • Price
  • Manufacturing date and date of expiry
  • Ingredients
  • Net weight
  • Directions for use
  • FPO mark
  • Preservatives used