Packaging, labeling determine whether a shopper buys a product



Supermarket shelves are crowded with a dizzying array of products, and as a survey shows, a product’s appearance matters just as much — if not more — than the food or beverage within its packaging.

A survey conducted by Luminer found 90% of shoppers are more likely to buy a product with a peel-off savings coupon, with 56% of consumers reporting that a peel-off label for value-adds like coupons, recipes or mail-in rebates catches their attention. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they notice these peel-off labels because they physically “stick out” from the product.

The results also showed how important packaging is for consumers — 53% say that they’re attracted to packaging with bright, pleasing colors, and 33% of shoppers are likely to dismiss a product when they don’t like the label design. Sixty percent of shoppers reported they are unlikely to purchase a product when the label doesn’t provide adequate information.

Luminer said the survey data can provide manufacturers and brand marketers with “a greater understanding of how effective packaging and labeling can capture shoppers’ attention and influence their buying behavior.

Consumers spend an average of 27 seconds making a decision in the grocery aisle. This means they are likely to do one of two things: zero in on a product that’s familiar to them, or grab one that catches their eye. In either case, packaging can be key to a consumer’s decision, and it can help differentiate a brand from dozens of competitors crowding the shelf.

While a peel-off coupon label attracts customers, it’s not the only thing. The package color, shape, texture and logo design also influence buying behavior, conveying brand image and ethos. A visually appealing, well-designed, easy-to-handle package suggests that the product inside is of good quality and that the manufacturer is attentive to consumers’ needs.

When the manufacturer adds functionality to make the packaging even more useful to the consumer, for instance, by using eco-friendly material or re-sealable pouches, consumers perceive the product has increased value — and one they are willing to pay more for. Because of this, many manufacturers are racing to develop sustainable packaging solutions to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. This trend is reflected in the survey results: 56% of shoppers said they are more likely to buy a product that uses sustainable packaging over a similar product that doesn’t.

Some brands, like Coca-Cola’s Fanta has introduced a new spiral bottle that looks as if it’s been twisted by hand. The beverage giant found the previous Fanta “splash” bottle looked like many others in the marketplace and no longer stood out.

Luminer found 44% of consumers may not buy a product if they’re unfamiliar with the brand or manufacturer, while 56% are drawn to recognizable logos — a challenge for new players. Because of this, it’s crucial for manufacturers to identify the value-adds that matter to their target audience, whether it be trendy colors and fonts, complex textures or eye-catching graphics.

It’s also important for brands to use packaging as a platform for ingredient and sourcing information. Consumer demand for transparency has skyrocketed, and it’s up to manufacturers to strike a balance between appealing visuals and easy-to-read, informative text. Transparent windows can also be a differentiator in this respect — according to Mintel, 40% of U.S. consumers would choose a product over a competitor if the packaging let them view the food or beverage content inside. General Mills, which recently introduced a new French-style yogurt with simple ingredients such as whole milk, pure cane sugar and real pieces of fruit packaged into transparent glass jars. The new product has been an early success for the food manufacturer.

Another interesting finding from the study is the desire for peel-off labels, an attribute that would be easy for most manufacturers to add to their packaging. It will be interesting to see if there is an uptick in this value-add, as this would be easier to implement than a sweeping overhaul to the packaging itself.


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