Standing out from the crowd
Competition in the global confectionery market is fierce. As the consumption of sugary products continues to rise around the world and thousands of new items line the supermarket shelves, manufacturers have to be increasingly creative with their packaging if they want to stand out from the rest and cater to consumer demands.
Packaging sweet treats in wrappers and allowing the product to speak for itself is simply not enough these days. To entice consumers, manufacturers need to dig deeper in order to grab their attention, appeal to market trends and even merge with the digital age. Eye-catching material, interactive packaging and the promotion of healthy or sustainable traits are all striking features that can urge a customer to choose one product over another.
One company that knows all about the importance of packaging in a competitive market is Huhtamaki, which provides flexible packaging to a number of major confectionery makers around the world.
As James Lightfoot, business development manager at Huhtamaki, points out, “With the competition in supermarkets harder than ever, brand owners really need to have a compelling product to get on shelf. Once on shelf and with a consumer making their way down the aisle, all the brand owner has left in the marketing arsenal is visual communication.”
One of the ways companies do this, says Lightfoot, is through using a defining brand colour that draws the consumer’s eye to their product. “As a packaging company, we can assist the brand owners by providing a bold high quality print, combing elements of colour, gloss or matte effects to offer the most visually compelling pack on the shelf. We can also provide the most up to date formats, particularly when it comes to premade pouches.”
Manufacturers can obtain an excellent retail presence by using five-panel pouches, which allows increased surface area that is useful for branding and communication. “Simultaneously, the design results in a compact pack, saving space on supermarket shelves,” adds Lightfoot.
This format uses fewer raw materials for the same volume of packaging, catering to the increasing demand for environmentally friendly packaging solutions.
As mentioned, these days packaging needs to be innovative and unique if it wants to capture the attention of consumers. Simply letting the product speak for itself just isn’t enough with the thousands of commodities that are available on the market.
While bright colours and interesting materials may help, supplier of global packaging solutions, Amcor, has launched an inventive new printing technology that will give confectionery manufacturers that competitive edge. Jaholo, a special micro-embossing printing technology jointly developed by Janoschka and Amcor, produces prismatic and pattern movement effects, which are designed to catch the eye and achieve a sense of premium quality for products.
Ilya Syshchikov, vice president of innovation and strategy for Amcor’s folding carton business, notes, “Our customers want packaging that generates visual attention and engagement for their brands. Jaholo creates a dynamic appearance, engaging consumers and enhancing their interaction with products.”
The design flexibility means Jaholo is suitable for geometric shapes, patterns, lines, text and logos, with any background colour. A unique and eye-catching feature such as prismatic effect on packaging could help provide a compelling brand identity whilst ensuring a product grabs the attention of passing customers.
Another packaging company that provides the confectionery industry with packaging solutions is Crown, which offers a diverse product portfolio of promotional and seasonal biscuit and confectionery tins.
Veronique Curulla, marketing director at Crown Aerosols and Specialty Packaging Europe, describes how the market has changed over the years. “Consumers are faced with more choices than ever and brands have to get inventive with packaging design and branding in order to cut through the clutter on the shelf.”
Curulla points out that many confectionery brands have been switching back to metal packaging in recent years, for reasons including both design and for sustainability credentials, as consumers enjoy reusing tins. Also, efficient recycling infrastructures have helped to ensure that 77.5 per cent of steel packaging is recyclable in Europe, making metal for packaging the highest recycled material.
When considering design, metal packaging can help appeal to the senses, as consumers are far more inclined to buy a product once they have picked it up off the shelf and held it in their hands. “This is one of the areas where metal packaging excels,” explains Curulla. “For example, when packaging high-end confectionery products, introducing a soft touch finish creates a silky smooth feel that consumers will want to reach out and touch, while an interference finish changes colour when rotated in the light, creating curiosity and enhancing interaction with the brand.”
Of course, attractive and enticing confectionery packaging is not just related to aesthetics and material. In the digital age that we live in, an increasing amount of confectionery manufacturers are turning to interactive digital packaging solutions. According to a recent survey carried out by Constantia Flexibles, an interactive packaging solution can make a product more attractive to 49 per cent of consumers.
Alexander Baumgartner, CEO of Constantia Flexibles, said, “Besides protection, the role of packaging is also to attract the attention and the interest of consumers.”
A recent offering from the company is Constantia Interactive: a combination of digitally readable packaging material with a digital platform for data management and a smartphone app that is customisable to a wide range of customer needs. Features range from being purely informative, such as instructions for use, to videos, games and contests that can be selected by the customer.
The packaging inset is also available through an app, meaning that if the printed version is ever lost or destroyed, customers are able to access it, and the information that comes with it, digitally. “In this way, the application is personalised to the respective company or brand and corresponds to the respective brand design,” explains Baumgartner. “The company itself controls what features are shown.”
This feature is something that Crown packaging also offers, for example, with its SeeThrough technology that leverages augmented reality to create unique experiences that connect brands with consumers. “The interactive application uses the graphics on a tin as an interface, which enables the user to see through the packaging to the contents inside,” adds Curulla. “The branded app can access a wide range of content created for promotional campaigns, which provide brands with valuable purchasing data when used as part of creative promotional campaigns.”
With solutions such as Constantia Interactive and Crown’s SeeThrough technology, manufacturers of confectionery products can offer an innovative packaging solution that delivers customers the information they want. This is definitely an effective tool for helping products to keep up and make waves in the digital age.
The confectionery market will continue to see a rise in consumption and therefore a rise in competition between brands and products. While it is essential to provide buyers with a quality product, packaging is increasingly playing an important role in a company’s sales and therefore features such as material, design and digital interaction will provide manufacturers with a chance to stand out to existing and new customers.