The food market remains very competitive with pressures on price and available shelf space, and a constant stream of new product launches; and in such a scenario, packaging can help to influence the purchasing decision in several ways: with an eye-catching design, by incorporating an on-pack promotion, and through features such as easy opening or the reassurance of product protection. What is becoming an increasingly important requirement is for a pack to combine several of these benefits into one integrated solution.
Easy opening is welcomed by consumers of all ages and makes an important contribution to brand image. Adding easy opening needs to be costeffective, quick and simple. As an example tear tape can be applied easily on filmic overwraps, flow wraps and bags, ensuring its easy open benefits can be introduced across a range of products. Labels can also build-in opening functionality to a product’s packaging, helping consumers gain access to the goods.
With the growth in larger sharing and value packs, resealability has become another important requirement for the food sector. A reclosing function can ensure that consumers keep the product in the pack between uses, retaining brands in the home to build up loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. Consumers are also able to control portion sizes and this minimises food waste. The value of this type of extra functionality may mean consumers are willing to pay a small premium for products in packaging incorporating these features.
Product safety and security also remain vital considerations. Although we tend to associate counterfeiting with tobacco products and high-end items such as perfumes and cosmetics, this is now a problem affecting an increasing number of everyday products as well, including food. Tear tapes and labels are ideal carriers for a variety of overt, covert and forensic anti-counterfeit technologies across a range of packaging formats. As part of a layered brand protection solution, tear tape and labels can also build tamper-evidence into a pack by demonstrating whether someone has interfered with it. For example, tear tape can be designed as the sole method of opening a pack with any other method indicating tampering, whereas label substrates and adhesives can be designed to exhibit a range of properties, such as VOID release or self destruction upon removal.
Nevertheless, while all these features provide welcome reassurance to consumers and reaffirm brand values, it is on-shelf appeal that is key to securing the initial purchase. The development of colourful design and digital print possibilities allow tear tapes and labels to incorporate eye-catching graphics, promotional messaging and competitions alongside their functional benefits of easy opening, re-closing and product protection. This can boost on-shelf presence and influence the decision-making of buyers at the point of purchase.
As both tear tapes and labels can be added to existing packaging, brands are able to run fixed-term promotions and communications, or quickly change between them, without changing the whole packaging design. This saves money and minimises environmental impact by reducing the costs and waste associated with re-originating the pack. The use of print is not restricted to the outside of packs; digital print means printed tapes and labels can carry variable data such as a unique code, allowing brand owners to add a promotion to individual product packs. In the case of tear tape this delivers easy opening while ensuring that the code is at the consumer’s fingertips for entering promotions online or via SMS registration, enabling brands to engage with their customers.
Other options include the printing of QR codes, linking consumers through to the product website. Again labels or tapes are able to incorporate this without having to change the overall packaging. In addition to promotions, brands and products are often faced with the challenge of carrying large amounts of information and in multiple languages. In this case a tape or dual-page label will provide valuable extra space for on-pack information, whether to cope with legislative requirements, different languages or just smaller pack sizes.
UPPING THE APPEAL
Looking ahead, there is more to come in the area of creating a memorable consumer experience to help build a relationship with a brand. The incorporation of enhancements which stimulate senses such as sight, touch and smell can help to increase a brand’s impact by 70% – crucial in highly competitive retail environments where consumers make more than half of their buying decisions at the point of purchase.
This is leading to the development of textured, embossed and scented labels and soft touch materials. Holographic-effect label finishes offer a high-impact and cost-effective means to integrate a high-end finish to labels, enhancing on-shelf presence with added depth to colours and a sense of movement that attracts attention in crowded markets.
In competitive and cost-conscious times, multipurpose packaging is a requirement across all sectors of industry. Tear tapes and labels combine functionality, on pack impact and security to give food packs the brand image and practicality that are both vital to success.