headline press information

Date 25th March 2010 / www.procarton.com
Title Innovative cartons attract consumers
Text Recent studies in Finnland and Sweden by Helsinki University together with Innventia track consumer response to packaging on the shelf, in handling an in use. They show: Innovative cartons attract consumers, who may pay more for unusual designs. For download in print quality, please click on the photo.

The studies, commissioned in 2009 by Pro Carton member M-real Consumer Packaging, have found that cartons with innovative designs attract consumers on the shelf, but that difficulties in opening and closing the same package will alter opinions dramatically and influence the decision on whether to repurchase a product. The studies also showed that consumers are prepared to pay more for products in special or unusual packaging and for a board grade that provides good print and colour reproduction.
Riikka Joukio, Vice President Marketing for M-real Consumer Packaging, comments on the research: “Increasingly packaging is required to act as a ‘silent salesman’ for a brand, especially with the rise in retailer own brands and when as many as 70 per cent of purchase decisions are made at point of sale. Lasting impressions can be made at first sight, but we felt it was also vital to find out if opinions change at a later point in a carton’s life cycle.”


Shape and Handling

In the first test, a supermarket shelf was filled with genuine but (for the test persons) foreign confectionery brands, and seeded with three differently shaped packages in a mock chocolate brand design. Participants wore eye tracking glasses that automatically detect eye movement and result in ‘heat map’ showing what attracts and holds the consumers’ attention. Participants were also asked to pick out what they considered the best and worst designs.
Packages with unique shapes, fit-to-product colours, and large front faces with a window through which the product is visible received most attention on the shop shelf. High attention is also paid to negative aspects of packages, such as a grey shade, cartons that are too small or ‘ugly’, and designs that are not complementary to the product.
In the second test, participants were asked to handle the dummy chocolate cartons, all having the same print design but produced in four different shapes. It was found that their perception of the cartons changed dramatically between first impressions and after opening and using the cartons. An unusual shape that was considered innovative and tempting at first, was rejected when it proved tricky to open or close when saving some of the product for later consumption.
Other characteristics appreciated by consumers are deeper colour reproduction, which signifies to them full-flavoured, better quality chocolate; and a white and clean, hygienic appearance, which implies the product is fresher and better tasting.

The Package is Part of the Product

The outcome of the consumer perception test was clear: the package is an integral part of the product itself and both need to be complementary. Many comments of the participants concerned the product, even though it was only the package that they were asked to evaluate. The package has to reflect brand values.

Riikka Joukio

Riikka Joukio, Vice President Marketing for M-real Consumer Packaging.

boxes for exquisite chocolate pralines

Innovative Packging: CPA Carta – 5 boxes for exquisite chocolate pralines. Foto: Studio Zoomi City.


Richard Dalgleish +44 777 613 8510 dalgleish@procarton.com
Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.