Packaging is the technology and art of protecting products for storage, distribution, and transportation, etc. Packaging is also helpful in designing, selling, and end-user, which is the customer. Packaging cooperates in preparing goods for transport, warehouse storage, logistic operations, retail sale, and the end-user. Packaging protects and preserves your stuff/goods from environmental factors. Many big companies use packaging to give their product to the end-user.
Let’s look at the old way of sending goods with the help of packaging. They typically used bronze wine containers in the 9th century BC. But before that, people were using wooden boxes, wooden barrels, woven bags, pottery vases, baskets of reeds, etc. As the people went towards processing materials, glass and bronze vessels were made. The first time, in Asia, paper sheets were created by mulberry bark to wrap food by the Chinese in the first and second centuries. In Europe usage of paper-like materials were used by Romans as low-grade recycled papyrus for packaging incense. In 1035, paper for the packaging of dates was used when a Persian traveler was visiting the markets in Cairo. Egypt noticed that hardware, spices, and vegetables were packed in the paper for the end-user means customer.
Now have a look at the modern style or way of packaging. The use of tinplate for the packaging of dates was back in the 18th century. Tinplate was manufactured by the monopoly of bohemia for a very long period. In 1667, English Engineers Andrew Yarranton and Ambrose Crowley gave the method, further improved by ironmasters like Philip Foley. And John Hanbury makes Pontypoole Plates at Pontypool with the help of a rolling mill. The rolling iron plates were much better in producing uniform black leaves using cylinders than the former method of hammering. In 1725, Tinplate boxes were for the first time sold at the ports of Bristol Channel. Tinplate was shipped to export. And in 1805, a total of 80000 boxes were made, and 50000 were exported.
When Nicholas Appert discovered the crucial function of airtight packaging to preserve food, then in 1810, tin canning by an England businessman Peter Durand was patented. When he gets the patent (It’s an intellectual property granting property to an inventor given by a sovereign authority, this gives the legal right to the owner to eliminate or exclude other peoples for a short period for making, selling, or using an invention caused by him but in return or exchange of public disclosure of story.), Durand himself didn’t use the method of canning food, but in 1812 he sold the patent to John Hall and Bryan Donkin, and they further made it better in processing and production. They built a canning factory in London. In 1813 they were the first to produce canned goods for the Royal Navy. This progress invented the can opener in 1855.
In 1839, Modern folding cartons were first used, and the use of set-up boxes was 16th century before. In 1817 corrugated box was for the first time commercially produced in England. In 1890 pre-cut paperboard boxes were invented by Robert Gair, which are flat pieces of paper board that fold into a package and can be quickly produced in bulk. In 1844, for the first time, commercial paper bags were made in Bristol, England. American Francis Wolle also has paper bags with a patent machine which was automatic in 1852.
In the early 20th century, improvements such as Bakelite on bottles, panels on cartons, transparent cellophane overwraps, etc., refined the processing and efficiency of packaging, thus increasing food safety or preservation. In addition, several synthetic materials like aluminum and many other types of plastics were improving the packaging to preserve and protect.
Michigan University offered Packaging Engineering in 1952.
Later on, packaging development was initially military use only. Some of the packaging was the same as the packaging for the general industry. There were problems related to packaging faced in global war that gave Military Standard or “mil-spec” thus; policies were made to regulate the packaging process leading toward “Military Specification Packaging.” And according to the statistics of 2003, the packaging domain was about 2 %of GNP(Gross National Product) in the developed countries. Nearly half of the packaging stuff was linked to food packaging. In 2019, the market cap of the global packaging industry was around 303.26 billion USD. Hence, the increasing demand for food packaging by customers has made it more emerging and profitable due to changes in people’s eating habits, creating a significant impact on the global market.
There are three basic types of packaging, which include primary, secondary and tertiary packaging. But packaging can be of different types. Like, transportation packaging, distribution packaging, retail packaging, etc. These can be shipped in a shipping container to store, ship, and handle the product and inner contents. Moreover, the packaging can be differentiated based upon the product for packaging, such as medical equipment packaging, cookie packaging boxes with bulk, chemical packaging, drug packaging, Edible packaging, corps equipment packaging, Pharmacy packaging, etc. Apart from that, there are three main types of packaging as described earlier, given below.
- Primary packaging is the first material that holds the package/product itself, just like enveloping the stuff. This could be wrapping sheets, bubble wrappers, shredded paper, etc. It has direct contact with the contents present in the package. This is a most negligible unit of distribution.
- Secondary packaging is wrapping the primary packaging; hence, it is outside primary packaging used for primary grouping packaging and preventing pilferage.
- Tertiary packaging is used for the packaging of the bulk of packages, also called transit packaging. Usually, we see warehouse storage and transport shipping, etc. These are big cartons that hold several items/products that can be placed inside big containers for further shipping.
These categories can change somehow by random choice. Like, shrink wrap can be used as primary packaging when you directly apply it to the product. When you combine smaller packages, they can be categories in secondary packaging. Tertiary packaging is when you cooperate in distribution by affixing a bunch of cartons on a pallet.
Hence, in a nutshell, there are three basic levels of packaging you should need to be aware of, which include primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging. As we can see, each packaging group contributes to protecting and preserving, hence preventing spoilage or physical damage during storage and shipping. Now let’s take a look at each of these levels in detail, such that you can be able to differentiate between these levels when you are making your packaging plans.
Primary packaging is that material that makes direct physical contact with the product or contents of the product. Primary packaging usually refers to consumer or retail packaging. This level of packaging has two main crucial functions. The first is to give a significant amount of protection to protect the product, such as providing air-tight barrier protection to keep out moisture or by cushioning to prevent physical damage/impact. The second is to provide information or details about the product’s uses and features etc. This allows us to differentiate between the products while looking at the packaging efficiently; for instance, nutrition facts labels are often seen on food containers. There are many examples of primary packaging, but the most common examples are cans for beverages and food, and the other is pill blister packs. All of these packaging shows primary packaging because they have direct contact with the product. As we know, cans and pill blisters are often put into cartons and other big boxes to create bundles of products, through which we come to the next level of packaging given below.
Secondary packaging is the next level of packaging after primary in which provides another level of protection commonly seen for security, marketing, and bundling purposes. The secondary packaging is often used in combining or packing items together, like a box that holds many cans of beverage in a pack altogether. So here, the cans are primary packaging, and the box which contains these cans together is secondary packaging. This packaging is usually fancy and charming to attract the customer. In secondary packaging, typically, you can see high-quality branding, logos, and images of the brand. Secondary packaging significantly impacts your sales numbers because customers see the secondary packaging first while shopping. Hence, the more attractive and problem-solving secondary packaging will look, the more chances a customer might buy your product. When you see the packaging of a particular product has changed, in most cases, it’s secondary packaging because it gets a lot of customer attention.
Tertiary packaging is way different from others because it is for protection during storage and shipping, which usually can’t be seen by the customer. Hence, you don’t need to make it very attractive or appealing, and many companies use minimalistic design at this level of packaging. In addition, tertiary packaging gives you easy handling during shipping and storage.
Tertiary packaging can be of any size based upon the product being packed. For example, it could be a large box containing your small containers together to a full pallet along with a stretch wrap keeping it together. In tertiary packaging, products must be combined tightly and firmly, providing the necessary protection during transportation. In addition, there can be rough conditions in which security must be an essential thing to look after during storage and shipping. Thus the product can go to the final destination without any damage.
Now you have complete knowledge of the primary three levels of packaging, so you can easily see which group is essential for your product. Each level protects, preserves and presents your products for the end-user.
The Purposes of Packaging
One of the primary purposes of packaging is to protect the product and its contents from damage during storage, handling, and shipping/transportation by making it firm to endure harsh conditions. The product remains in the packaging throughout its journey from the logistics chain to the end-user or customer. So, the packaging must protect the product from light, heat, moisture, physical damage, or other external factors. Hence there are many different purposes given below.
The product wrapped in packaging must need protection from vibration, heat, light, compression, moisture, electrostatic discharge, and other environmental factors. For that reason, the packaging must be strong, agile, and resistant to endure harsh conditions, hence saving the product until its final destination.
Branding and Positioning
In packaging, logos, labels, and images have more importance than before because the traditional way was to post an ad on TV, Posters and Magazines, etc. But nowadays, due to the rise of the digital world and TV, we now have social media and the internet through which you can show your brand to your targeted audience. So, in the digital world, apart from the traditional way, the branding and positioning of your logos, labels and images, and text must be attractive and appealing.
Barrier from moisture, dust, gases, heat, and spoilage is always required. Some of the packagings have oxygen absorbers, desiccants by which they help increase the product’s shelf life. Permeation is also one of the crucial factors in designing and manufacturing. In food packaging, most of the time, modified or controlled atmospheres are sustained or maintained to prevent the food from spoilage, such as keeping it fresh and safe. A barrier is also significant in those products where segregation occurs of two materials till in the end-use where you have to mix it and use it within a short period like special paints, medical fluids, glues, bonding materials, etc.
Contents of the product are typically grouped tightly and firmly for storage, selling, and transportation. Like one box for 100 pens requires less space and physical handling than 100 pens in separate packages. Hence stuff like powder, granular materials, liquids, and gases must need containment to store.
On the packages of a particular product, through labels and text, there is a lot of information about how to transport, dispose of, use and store the product along with and without packaging. Industries like food, medical, chemical, pharmaceutical, sports, etc., give the information according to government legislation—some of the packaging and labels or tags used for track and trace. Many products have information about their batch number, serial number, expiry/best before and composition, and how to use it. This information is usually in a brief form.
The packaging must be convenient for handling, distribution, stocking, sale, display, opening, closing, usage, recycling, reusing, and disposal during design. In addition, the packaging should be easy to handle for both children and adults.
Marketing strategies and designs used by marketers by consultation can attract customers to buy their products. Graphical designing and physical shape, size, weight are some critical factors for a high sales rate. Marketing strategy along with graphic designing on the packaging makes good exposure on the buyer. By designing and labeling, packaging gives the user/customer brand moto or message and provides a brief description of the product.
Packaging is vital in terms of security during shipping and distribution. Over the research and development of decades, packaging has improved a lot; such tamper-resistant materials have been made; in case of tampering, tamper-evident features indicate if tampering has taken place. Packaging has been improved with the help of engineering, which reduces the risks related to packaging pilferage or stealing of contents of the product. Some packaging is more resistant than others due to quality differences; some packaging has pilferage-indicating seals.
When deciding to buy packaging machinery, one must have technical capabilities. We also require labor, maintenance, reliability, worker safety, land, capital cost, flexibility, energy consumption, quality of packaging, etc. Packaging machinery comes in multiple options to buy. You can purchase it at a standard rate or custom-made machinery custom-tailored to specific operations, or it can be manufactured and modified by house engineers or maintenance staff.
Packaging machines can be of different types; let’s have a look at some. There are Accumulating and collating devices available; with the help of this machine, one can use it throughout the finishing industry because it can make pages automatically rather than making them manually, hence automating the process. With this machine, you can quickly sort papers by hand, which increases your work efficiency. Blister, skin, and vacuum packaging machines are also available for packaging. Blister pack sealer used for packaging toys, scrubber, dry fruits, etc. You can use different types of plastic sheets like PVC, PP, and PE. These machines can be easily manipulated.
Bottle and bottle caps machines, also significant in the beverage industry. You can provide your drinks to your customers, and it is a very profitable business. Box, case, tray, packing, and sealing machines are also valid for packaging. Cartooning machines are fundamental, and big companies also own these machines and small companies or startups take help from other companies who provide these services. Printing, stamping machines are used in printing and labeling the brand logo and product details. There are feeding, orienting, and placing machines mainly used for the livestock business. Filling machines are essential for filling liquid, gas, powder, and viscous products. Every industry requires filling apparatus according to their respective field. Pallet-making machines are also very useful in making pallets. Sealing machines are essential for closing the products like washing powder, snacks, dry powder milk, chips, etc.
The packaging industry is vast, and there are some aspects to be considered like environmental responsibility, recycling regulations. For that purpose, we must look at the life cycle of packaging, how the material used for packaging is made, and after processing used for packaging and then the decomposition process. Primarily the packaging material is used to manufacture a particular product. We need machinery and resources to make a bunch of cloth into the required form through that process. Cardboard packaging sheets are primarily used in packaging. Cardboard is made up of paper which can be easily made. Paper is recyclable, which means that it is eco-friendly. The paper must be made of good quality to ensure that it can endure heat, moisture, and physical damage.
The rule of “three R’s” is to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and this is a part of the waste hierarchy which also plays an essential role in packaging and product development. For keeping the environment clean and healthy, waste management and waste prevention are necessary. So, packaging needs to be used where required. Packaging is crucial for the product because it prevents damage to the contents of the product. Proper packaging is also helpful in waste prevention. The packaging’s size, shape, and volume must be measured to minimize the package through designing. Through the reduction of high packaging costs also minimizes. For that reason, packaging engineers are also working on reducing packaging. You can reuse the packaging until it’s in good condition to prevent waste. Also, returnable and reusable packaging is good economically, thus reducing the cost of making new ones. A typical paper can be reused five times before becoming garbage. Packaging can recycle cardboard boxes especially. Recycling is a process in which reprocessing materials used in packaging are usable again. This is a process of converting waste materials into functional materials, thus preventing waste of those materials, which can be helpful and reducing the need for fresh raw materials. Through this process, energy consumption, air pollution from Incineration, and water pollution from landfilling are reduced, saving our environment. The government regulates the disposal or Incineration of toxic waste materials, which can instead contaminate the soil, resulting in spoilage. The government specifies unique landfill spots to throw the waste materials.
Designing packaging is equally crucial as the product because it gets customers’ attention and attracts them, also giving information about your brand and buying your products. Here are some ways or things are given below to keep in mind for a good packaging strategy.
Primarily to designing, it’s crucial to know about the needs of retailers. You must look at the shopping data and which packaging is suitable for storage and looks good on store shelves. What type of designs sell more? In addition to that, a designer team must know about these strategies, such as rate of sales, shelf dimensions, a distance of travel, warehouse system, pallet weight, height, and types, etc.
Style plays an essential role in packaging and sales, so it is crucial to have good attention to styling. In media ads, shopping malls, and grocery stores, we see that the big brands always have a high quality of design and style on their product to attract customers. In styling, don’t try to fill every available space on the packaging. Design should be neat, clean, and meaningful.
Good packaging must need to be convenient, such that packaging should be made so that the product can be quickly shipped and stored and make it easier to handle for the customers. The shape and size of the packaging have to be adorable and convenient for both retailers and customers to store in shop and home, respectively. Designing should be in such a way that it can be reusable.
People are more conscious about the environment than ever before due to increasing industrialization and global warming. Therefore, packaging must be biodegradable and decompose-able, like paper sheets packaging. It is eco-friendly because it can decompose and be recycled, resulting in less waste and a healthy and safe environment.
Packaging should have good communication with the user or customer. Details should be brief and meaningful, such that they tell the user how to use it and how to dispose of the packaging. In addition, packaging must tell brand moto and about the product, information must be problem-solving and consulting.