Products being packaged on a table top

How To Choose Packaging For a Product

  • 10th December 2021
  • 7 min read

You’ve gone through the process of getting your product(s) ready - the designing, prototyping and research are complete, so now all your hard work is done, right? Not entirely… 

Now it is time to think about the packaging. The UK packaging services industry is valued at £4.9 billion, and there’s a lot to consider. 

Whether you’re an independent business or SME,  it is vital that you choose packaging that attracts prospective customers, clearly displays necessary information and keeps your product safe during transit. 

Finding the right packaging takes time - if you rush into a packaging decision, there’s a risk that you might damage brand reputation and harm customer satisfaction. 

In order to help you find the perfect packaging for your product (and avoid becoming part of a #packagingfail blog or thread on Twitter), here are some tips on how to choose packaging that will work for your business.

Person wrapping box with tape

Test out your packaging design

You know what they (Paul Rand) say, “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” It’s true. Your packaging design will help make your products stand out both on the shelf and in transit. So it’s important that your packaging echoes your brand’s values and gets people excited. 

If you’re unsure of what to choose for your packaging design, it is worth hiring a packaging consultancy firm (such as Titan) so that they can design and test some prototypes across a wide range of materials and printing processes. 

Find out more about the importance of design in our blog, ‘how to package your product’.  

Choose packaging that will survive transit 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, you’ve probably noticed that online ordering has rocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, having a profound effect on several industries, including manufacturing, retail and eCommerce. Now, businesses need to send their products all over the world and ensure that their packaging will survive transit.

You could have an amazing design, but if your product gets broken, the box is battered or your items don’t stay fresh, you’re heading for a PR nightmare. It’s much more cost-effective to make sure your packaging protects your items, rather than having to replace them later on. 

Packaging fragile products 

Any fragile or breakable items require extra TLC when it comes to packaging and transit. For items that contain glass, antiques or are prone to breaking easily, you should use rigid boxes that aren’t too big or too small, and material such as void cushioning to pad the walls of the box.  You should also make sure the box has the fragile symbol on there so that the box is handled with care during transportation.  

Packaging products with a long shelf life 

Packaging can determine a product’s shelf life - if you have a product that does have a long shelf life, you need to make sure your packaging aids this rather than shortens it. 

For example, some tinned food items may have two to three years until their “Best Used By” date - you need to make sure the sleeve doesn’t discolour, fade or tear over time.  Some long-life products that are high in sulphur will need specific coatings on jars or can. Liquid coatings, high-gloss UV treatments can also stop product information fading. 

Read our ultimate guide to sustainable packaging.

Corrugated cardboard sheet

Packaging for fresh produce 

Produce packaging can result in a lot of food waste for both B2B and retailer-to-consumer. It is important to get this right the first time. 

For B2B, your fresh produce packaging should keep food fresh, give physical protection, ensure on-time ripening (where necessary) and control any contamination from germs or bacteria. Paper bags, reusable wood fibre trays and high-density polyethene bags are often used, along with packaging and distribution technologies that keeps produce fresh. 

Retailer-to-consumer packaging needs to balance the needs of both the retailer and customer, whilst reducing food (and packaging) waste. Packaging for fresh produce needs to convey freshness, offer product information, aid temperature control and be air-tight, all whilst having an eye-catching design to stand out. 

Go green with your packaging 

More than five million tonnes of plastic is used in the UK every year, and half of this plastic comes from packaging. Additionally, the UK government is introducing a plastic tax in 2022 in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. 

Material such as corrugated cardboard, reusable or biodegradable polythene is a great way forward. You should also look at cost-effective and sustainable methods of transport as well.

Size does matter… 

If you’ve got a range of products in different sizes, or you offer deals where people can order multiple products, you should consider the size boxes you need. It isn’t always cost-effective to get four or five different size boxes - especially if you can get two or three boxes in different sizes that will work. It also means you’re not sitting on lots of different packaging products, which can take up space.

Think about the packaging process 

You should optimise your packaging process as much as possible, in order to minimise delays and enhance productivity. If you’re able to quickly get your products shipped, customers will be satisfied. There are a number of ways you can speed up your packaging process, from looking at optimising your pack benches to ensure they work effectively without wasting time to incorporating automation into your business.  

You may need to give your employees training so that they can properly package products, ensuring the correct size is chosen each time and that every package leaving the warehouse is consistent with how it is packed.  For example, if you wrap your items in tissue paper or want leaflets or cutouts in every parcel, or you want a label to sit on a specific part of the box, training should make this clear.  

For companies with hundreds of products, knowing where to begin can be quite difficult, so it’s worth speaking to packaging consultancies such as Titan.

We’re perfectly placed to help manage the transition of packaging product(s) or processes, provide packaging training to employees and revolutionise the process through automation and more.

Written by: Samantha Hanson Procurement Director

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