Who needs product packaging?
Packaging exists to contain and protect stock, which makes it essential to any business that sells physical products. From the bottles that hold toiletries to the cardboard boxes they’re mailed to consumers in, packaging is a major part of brand identity and one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase brand awareness and loyalty, and drive sales.
Traditionally, product packaging has been made from paper, cardboard and single-use plastics. But, as millennials drive social and environmental change and government and corporate standards move towards greener initiatives (such as the Plastic Packaging Tax introduced in April 2022), brands across the globe have been working to reduce their use of packaging that negatively impacts the environment, instead focusing on recyclable or biodegradable solutions.
The Benefits of Branded Packaging
Consumers don’t buy the packaging, they buy the product it contains. So, why is packaging so important for your business?
Firstly, poorly designed packaging can cause products to get damaged on their way to the retailer or customer, meaning stock must be thrown away or replaced. Not only does this impact profit margins, it also affects perceptions of your business in the long term and discourages repeat sales. High quality packaging that’s fit for purpose is an absolute must!
Perhaps more importantly, packaging has become a major part of the purchasing experience in recent years, as brands strive to stand out in their sector and stick in the minds of consumers. Even unboxing videos shared on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have hugely increased in popularity (likely due to an influx of both influencers and subscription box brands in recent years).
All this social change has meant that packaging is more of a marketing tool than ever. It acts as a first impression and should accurately incorporate your brand’s mission, values and personality to give consumers an idea about what your company is all about and improve conversion and retention rates.
So, if you’re not sure how to extend your identity beyond your logo and need packaging design advice from industry experts, contact Create8 today to find out what we can do for you. From bottles and boxes to stickers and tape, we have the skills to design packaging that will work for your customers.
Why is eco-friendly packaging important?
While packaging design plays a pivotal role in protecting products and increasing brand awareness, packaging materials are crucial for positioning your brand as sustainable. And this is becoming more and more important to both consumers and the planet!
Purchasing habits are changing – people are boycotting brands that fail to have a positive environmental impact and have even started paying a premium for greener products whenever they can. If your business is seen to be taking the wrong approach, you could lose out on a massive share of the market.
What is eco-packaging?
Eco-packaging is packaging designed with the planet in mind. It could be recyclable, biodegradable, compostable or even reusable in order to extend usability and reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. It may contain fewer harmful or toxic ingredients or even have a minimised production process, supply chain or carbon footprint. Anything that increases efficiency and minimises waste has the potential to be eco-packaging.
Which materials are eco-friendly?
First things first, avoid single-use plastics (i.e. blister packs, bags, film, bubble wrap and polystyrene). It’s estimated that households in the UK throw away approximately 66 pieces of plastic packaging per week (and only 44% of that is recycled), so avoid plastic in your packaging wherever possible!
You should also avoid excess – use as little packaging as possible while still ensuring it is fit for purpose and keeps your product safe. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to be more sustainable.
In terms of materials, anything that’s been previously recycled is a great option for eco-packaging. By repurposing something that would have been sent to landfill, we can conserve our planet’s natural resources and massively reduce waste. Even if your packaging is not made from 100% recycled content, it is still beneficial to the environment and will encourage consumers to buy your product over a less sustainable competitor.
Plant-based packaging materials can also be used to hold and ship products of all shapes and sizes. From obvious options like paper and card (just make sure it’s FSC-approved!) to less obvious textile choices like linen and hemp, plant-based materials are usually recyclable or compostable. In recent years we have even seen the development of innovative biodegradable, plant-based solutions made from cornstarch, cellulose, glassine, mushroom and seaweed!
What are the limitations of eco-friendly packaging?
Considering the environmental impact of your business and working hard to be more sustainable is essential, both for the future of our planet and of your brand. But efforts to switch to eco-packaging can also have limitations.
Often, eco-packaging has higher production costs and the switch can be a huge initial expense, especially for smaller businesses. But then again, you could save money in the long term if your brand outlasts the unsustainable competition!
A bigger limitation, though, is that eco materials are usually created through more complex and time-consuming processes and regularly involve the cultivation of crops that could otherwise serve a better purpose (e.g. fighting food poverty). Make sure to use sustainably sourced materials and never support deforestation.
Another issue facing eco-packaging is that the materials behind it are more susceptible to damage from movement and moisture, making them less fit for purpose than traditional materials.
Similarly, if people aren’t aware they should be composting a tray (because it’s made from mushrooms, for example), they may try to recycle it with other plastic waste and cause contamination issues in recycling facilities. As society uses more innovative packaging materials, we also need to develop unique disposal methods.
The final issue to mention is greenwashing. Greenwashing occurs when corporate companies create marketing hype that positions them as sustainable when they are, in fact, far from it. Since sustainability is still not properly regulated, some companies use this hype to exploit the growing interest in green ethics without fundamentally changing any of their damaging processes. You should always be transparent about your sustainability efforts so that consumers can make informed decisions.
Packaging design is what we do, so we’re well equipped to create environmentally-friendly packaging for your products.
Let’s move away from single-use plastics towards biodegradable materials and help protect our planet at all costs. And while we’re at it, we’ll create a product packaging experience that appeals to your audience. Get in touch to start your project!