There is a lot if discussion about over-packaging in the press these days. Consumers resent the packaging – when they are done with the product and sometimes even before they open it. Yet at this year’s Wal-Mart Packaging Sustainability conference, an award was given to a company that increased its packaging. Why this would happen and why products get packaged in the first place?
What are the reasons that products get packaged or wrapped?
- Security and protection Packaging protects the product from damage and keeps it secure from the manufacturer to the customer.
- Tamper evidence Consumers want to know if what they are buying has remained untouched since it was made.
- Freshness/ spoilage and breakage prevention Keeping a barrier between the product and its traveling environment as well as keeping it from contact with the air or other contaminants makes the product last longer, especially if it is food.
- Keeping a bundle together Whether it is a ream of paper or a bundle of like products, bundle wrapping provides minimal packaging while maintaining the product integrity in the quantity the customer expects.
- Marketing and messaging From a list of the contents to the date stamp of manufacture and expiration to eye catching information about the product, packaging is an opportunity to give the consumer important information.
- theft prevention This last unmentionable item is why some things are over-packaged. No one wants to discuss the reality that employees and customers have been known to make off with inventory. It is why some clothing in stores have those funny tags on them that only the clerk can remove. Making a valuable item larger or awkward means that it can be put on the shelf or on display without having it walk out of the store unpaid for.
Most “over the top” packaging is aimed at preventing breakage or theft. It was preventing inventory shrinkage that won an award at Wal-Mart’s sustainable packaging conference this spring.
This reminder about why we package enables us to explain to our market why it is that consumers should value the packaging of their purchase. It does not avoid the need for us to practice packaging minimization and look for ways to make packaging greener and more sustainable.
At Package, we believe that overwrapping is the most sustainable form of wrapping because it uses the least amount of material and energy. We believe that Package Machinery overwrappers offer the best value because of our investment in servo technology. We recognize that flowwrappers offer the best in food preservation.