Industry Spotlight: Packaging

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At Hornet, we help many clients source high-quality, high-impact, cost-effective packaging from China on a repeat basis.  We’ve sourced everything from non-woven bags to metal tins to wine gift packs, with some examples featured in international blogs and even winning awards.  So we were astonished to learn that over 90% of packaging is sourced locally.  Then again, the packaging industry is worth over $11 billion a year in Australia alone, around 1% of GDP, so we’re only a small part of it.  We decided it was time to explore packaging in a little more detail.

Roles of packaging

  • Physical protection: from mechanical shock, vibration, electrostatic discharge, compression, temperature, etc.
  • Provides information: how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product. For pharmaceuticals, food, medical and chemical products, information may be required by law.
  • Marketing: both graphics and physical design are often tailored to encourage potential buyers.  They can also be used to position product as more exclusive, supporting a higher price point.  The packaging can also be an integral part of the brand – think of the Coca-Cola bottle, which is protected by patent world-wide.
  • Convenience: for example rectangular drinks cartons which stack and store more easily and efficiently than bottles; easy-peel tabs on vacuum packed foods; resealable packaging; refills etc
  • Barrier protection: blocking oxygen, water vapour or dust is often required to keep the contents clean, fresh, sterile and safe for the intended shelf life.
  • Security: tamper resistance and tamper-evident features are common in products such as food, medicines and software

Many Hornet clients focus on the marketing aspects of packaging, and it seems the custom manufacturing options we offer are as important to them as the cost efficiencies of sourcing from China.

Packaging materials

The commonest materials are paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, steel and aluminium.  All of these are versatile and can easily be shaped or over-printed to make a brand stand out on the shelves.

Promotional packaging

Consumer brands in particular can benefit from special or promotional packaging.  This can be as simple as changing the printing on a standard shape  – think Coca-Cola again, this time the ‘Share a COKE’ promotion.  Other businesses create custom packaging and gift sets for specific campaigns or seasons such as Christmas.

Either way, promotional packaging can give sales a boost and improve market position.

So there you have it.  Packaging matters! Is it time for you to review yours?

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July 26th 2013