This study may not be achievable without the cooperation, guidance and support and of a few person and organization. University adopted Supervisor Dr. —PQR1—, Lecturer, Department of Marketing, ABC University, was the resource of the inspiration and motivation to this dissertation effort. He has provided vital assistance along all the way. His help is really immeasurable.
Department of Marketing2, ABC University, is another resource to gaining this study. It has provided valuable modulation, books, Journals, Researches and too many efforts for this study. Teacher and staffs of the Department and the Faculty Dean are extremely helpful. Devoid of their assistance this study could not have reached its ultimate conclusion.
Encouragement, love and caring of my family ensured a working environment for such a project without disturbing the normal family routine.
All the optimistic attributes of this dissertation have driven from those mentioned above. The conclusions or any other errors, omissions and mistakes within this dissertation are attributable just to the author.
This dissertation describes the perceptions & opinions of “How does packaging influence buyer decision making when the customer to buy snacks in Taiwan convenience store (7-ELEVEN)” and the related factors affecting its drives & examination.
Many physical products going to the market have to be packaged and labeled. Marketers have called packaging a fifth P, along with price, product, place and promotion. Packaging includes the activities of designing and producing the container or wrapper for a product.3 In recent times, packaging has become a potent marketing tool. Well designed packages can create convenience value for the consumer and promotional value. So it can be said that packaging has a great influence over buyer decision making in purchasing any expensive or inexpensive product, same is in buying snacks in Taiwan Convenience store (7-ELEVEN).
Background behind the 7-ELEVEN convenience store
The concept of 7-ELEVEN convenience stores was created by the Southland Corporation in 1927. At that time, it was known as a retailer of ice, milk, and eggs. By 1946, the Southland Corporation initiated a new convenience service that involved extending the opening time from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. That how the well-known 7-ELEVEN name came about. On April 28, 1999, The Southland Corporation officially changed their name to 7-ELEVEN INC. To date, 7-ELEVEN is present in over 20 countries and regions. Everyday, 200 million consumers of different race and lifestyles enjoy the 24-hour service at 7-ELEVEN.4 It showed remarkable performance in Taiwan. In a statistics made at the end of January 2001, it showed that there are 2690 7-ELEVEN stores at Taiwan. So in this dissertation paper we have chosen the snacks buyer of 7-Eleven Taiwan convenience stores to show the influence of packaging over buyer decision making.
Rationale of the Research
Buyer decision making process is used to be undertaken by consumers where they choose a course of action among multiple alternatives. But selecting one alternative is backed by various factors. That can be price, place, promotion and also packaging. Decision making by the buyers is a psychological matter. But how packaging attracts the concentration of a buyer and made up the consumer to buy it is a matter of discussion.
Packaging provides physical and quality protection and also security to goods. It plays a great role for marketers to encourage potential buyers to purchase it. The application of this method, especially in the convenience stores, has significantly increased the number of buyers. As a result of this success story, there is now a general belief within marketers that adopting the method of packaging products is the key to improved marketing management procedure.
So, the need arouse to analyze the influence of packaging over buyer decision making, which is the core discussion matter of marketing management. The purpose of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of the relationship between packaging and buyer decision making.
Objectives of the Research
Considering these matters in view, my dissertation paper broadly aims to provide a synopsis of the key developments, to reflect on emerging trends, and to address some frequently asked questions about this literature.
To facilitate achieving the broad objectives as cited above, this study aims to attain following specific operational objectives-
- To identify the determinant factors of packaging.
- To investigate the importance of packaging in the buyer decision Making process.
- To examine the buyer decision making.
- To evaluate which antecedents of packaging play the most important role in buyer decision making when they face to buy some convenience food products in Taiwan 24hr store 7-ELEVEN.
Here we have presented some empirical research questions associated with this literature.
- What is the purpose of packaging?
- What are the determinant factors of packaging?
- Why to adopt packaging incase of snacks?
- What is buyer decision making process?
- How does packaging motivate a buyer to buy a specific product among the others?
- What are the relations between buyer decision making process and packaging?
- How packaging for snacks facilitates marketers to attract the customers?
Scope of the Research
My focus is on the packaging of snacks in convenience stores mostly in Taiwan that have been adopted the concept of 7-ELEVEN, which has been used extensively by both empirical and theoretical researchers.5 My aim is to explain the driving forces for using the method of packaging for influencing the buyer decision making process. Here I have discussed major developments with respect to customer requirements, promotion, marketing communication, buyer behavior and their decision making process. Reviews some methods of packaging, and compares other incentives or open or unpacked products in influencing buyer decision making process. Summarizes the results of the study, and provides an outlook on further research.6
My remark will follow the development of the literature in roughly chronological order. First, I clarify some basic concepts about the packaging strategy and buyer decision making process. Second, I discuss the underpinnings of buyer behavior and decision making, and how packaging may influence it. Finally, I explore how the theory has been applied in empirical studies. To have a core concept about all the discussion I have focused on the packaging of snacks in Taiwan Convenience stores (7-ELEVEN). Throughout this discourse, I will try to clarify potential points of confusions, and offer my views on the research challenges and opportunities in each era.
Relevant literature review
Overview of the Topic
Packaging is more than a substantial feature; it is usually a marketer’s effective tool to attract customers. Smart marketers have found that the adoption of the method of packaging can be treated as a key factor in their ultimate success. The major related topics to our dissertation topic have been discussed below:
Marketing communication is a media to communicate with the market. It mainly deals with advertising, branding, direct marketing, graphic design, marketing, packaging, promotion, publicity, sponsorship, public relations, sales, sales promotion, online marketing etc.
Promotion and Communication
Promotion can be termed as all the marketing activities designed to influence a target group of audience to take a specific action. It is one of the four key aspects of marketing mix. It establishes communication with the desired customer segment through providing them information about the product, product line or brand or company.
A significant branch of the marketing process is to recognize why a customer or buyer makes a purchase. Without such an observation, marketers find it hard to respond to the customer’s needs and wants. The analysis of buyer or customer behavior can be segmented into two broad groups for analysis, which are:
- Consumer Buyers and Industrial Buyers
Consumer buyers are those who purchase items for their personal consumption. Industrial buyers are those who purchase items on behalf of their business or organization. Analyzing buyer behavior typically means finding out the answers of the following questions.
- Who buys?
- How do they buy?
- When do they buy?
- Where do they buy?
- Why do they buy?
For a marketing manager, the challenge is to understand how customers might respond to the different elements of the marketing mix that are presented to them. If management can understand these customer responses better than the competition, then it is a potentially significant source of competitive advantage.7
Packaging is an initiative taken to make a product as desirable as possible through wrapping and the design of a product that are used as the total presentation of a product to sale. To have a better understand on packaging we need to have an idea about its purpose, packaging design, strategies, methods and few limitations also that exist.
- Purpose of Packaging
Packaging mainly plays a vital role in two crucial sectors, that are- protecting the product from damage during shipping, and promoting the product to the ultimate consumer. Including these Packaging of a product serves also some other purposes,
- Protection of the product.
- Description of the contents,
- Theft avoidance,
- Product promotion,
- Portion control,
- Prevent spoiling,
- Enhance convenience in use,
- Makes product easier to identify,
- Easy-carry, and
Packaging mainly aims to focus on product benefits and proves itself as an essential part of the product, like facial tissue boxes. Packaging is of great importance to both sellers and buyers of products.8
B. Considering Factors in Packaging:
Packaging decisions are dependent on various factors that the marketers must consider. The important considerable factors have been discussed below in brief:
Packaging concept is adopted to defend the product from spoilage and damage during shipping, transferring and handling and also to diminish spoilage if the product is uncovered to air or other elements.
Packaging decision is used to attract customers’ concentration and attention as the products are exhibiting, shopping, high lightening or glancing through a catalog or website. This is on the whole significant for buyers who are not well-known to the product and in circumstances, such as those set up in those stores, such as grocery where a product must be noticeable among thousands of other products. Packaging designs that show up are more possible to be memorized by the customers when he will come on a shopping trip in future.
- Added Value
Packaging design, format and structure can put value to a product. As an illustration, benefits can be attained from package designs that formulate the product convenient to use while designs with stylistic features can make the product more eye catching and attractive to expose and display in the customer’s house.
- Distributor Acceptance
Packaging designing decisions should not only be acknowledged by the ultimate customer, they may also have to be received by distributors who make the product available and sell it to the supplier. As an example, a retailer may not agree to packages if they do not conform to necessities they have for preserving products in their stores.
Packaging may symbolize a considerable part of selling price of a product. For instance, it is assumed that in the industry of cosmetics, the cost of packaging of some products may be high same as of 40% of selling price of a product. Higher profits can be attained through reducing costs if a store adopts well-planned packaging decisions.
- Expensive to Create
If a store decides to develop new packaging designs for its products then it can be extremely expensive. Generally the costs that are involved in developing new packaging are: graphic and structural design, production, customer testing, possible destruction of leftover old packaging, and possible advertising to inform customer of the new packaging.9
- Long Term Decision
A new package, when it is created by a company, it is most often with the view to hold the design on the market for an unlimited period of time. In actual fact, bringing too frequent changes to a product’s packaging can have negative results since customers may become habituated to trace the product on the basis of its package and may be fall in confusion, if the design is changed.
- Environmental or Legal Issues
Packaging designing decisions is also required to incorporate an evaluation of its environmental effect particularly for products with packages that are often discarded. Packages that are not eco- friendly and easily recyclable could draw the attention of customers and probably the concern of government also. But in that case, caution ought to be exercised in the creation of packages that do not breach to the intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks or copyrights, which are held by others.
C. Package Design
Consumer packaging provides containment of some specific attributes and communication of the product to the customers. Product packaging is the outcome of few prerequisites that establish how a package accomplishes the two basic functions mentioned above. Robert D. Hisrich identified eight major package requirements that dictate the packaging mix. 10A package is intended to protect the product, promote the item, sale it, increase the rate of product’s adoption to customers, help the consumer use the product, offer reusable value to the user, assure legal obligations, and keep packaging-related expenses low. Package design criteria can be disbursed into two specific classes, which are-
- Functional requirements.
- Sales requirements.
I. Functional Requirements:
There are five groups of functional criteria that Package design must meet:
- In-store (or warehouse),
- Distribution and safety,
In-home criteria typically state that packaging should be convenient to use and store, it should make the users remind that when and what to repurchase, strengthen consumers’ desire for the product, and dictate them how to safely and effectively use the product. Additionally, the growing numbers of consumers look ahead to packaging to be recyclable and environmentally friendly and sensitive.
In-store requirements usually dictate that in a store, packaging of a product may attract attention of a customer on the shelf, thus it boost up the confidence of the buyer, make the product easily identifiable and differentiate it from that of competitors, communicate benefits and uses, and tempt customers to made actual purchase of the item. Product packaging also make it easy for the retailers to store and stock on the shelves and simple to process at a check-out counter or other final point of distribution.
Production demands, functional criteria persuading packaging, are mostly based on cost. A package design is worthless if the company cannot find a way to keep the package cost reasonable though designer may create a fantastic package that would perform brilliantly in the marketplace. In this territory the most important considering factor is production line speed. If a product packaging is too complex, it could significantly slow the speed of the production machines.
Distribution and safety, functional criteria are most important factor related to packaging. If undesirable shares of the goods are damaged during storage, transportation, or distribution, the package has failed. Similarly, if the package harms the user, then the sales at future may fall down and the company can even be charged as liable for the damages. As a result, packaging designers face several technical considerations that have a outstanding impact on the package. To describe we can mention that, packages must be able to resist the pressure of several other crates stored on top of them. They must also be able to resist moisture, adapt to temperature changes, and withstand rough handling. From the cost consideration, packages should also be designed to suit standardized transportation requirements related to weight, size, and durability. Finally, they should be designed so that the bar code on the package is easily scanned.11
Laws and legislation is the fifth basic group of functional packaging requirements. There sustains several federal laws to protect consumers from misrepresentation and insecure products. For instance, some laws require that potentially dangerous goods, such as gasoline or drugs, be stored in specially constructed containers. Other laws prohibit producers from misrepresenting the quality or quantity of a product through misleading packaging. Possibly the most significant law that affect packaging is related to labeling. So we need to have an idea about labeling.
Labeling of Product
The label is the wording or text printed on a product package or, in the case of items like clothing, attached to the product itself. Marketers may require including certain information on the label of their product when it is distributed in specific ways. For example, labels of food products sold in retail outlets must contain information about their ingredients and nutritional value. Lawfully labels include all written, printed, or graphic material on the containers of products that are involved in interstate commerce or held for sale. The main body of legislation governing packaging and labeling is the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966. It authorized that every product package or label should specify the following information:
- Type of the product;
- Name and location of the producer;
- The quantity (if applicable); and
- The number and size of servings (if applicable).
II. Sales Requirements
A product packaging must be designed in a way that it will have anticipated appeal to buyers, which also must be considered in addition to functional requirements. With a view to segment this sales requirements, we may discover four principal areas, which are:
- Apparent size,
- Attention drawing power,
- Impression of quality,
- Brand-name readability.
Apparent size holds the concept to design a product packaging as large as possible it may look, without hiding about the actual contents. This purpose can be served by assuring that the panels or aspects of the package most likely to be viewed by the consumer are the largest, and that the product or brand name is shown on the most visible areas in large letters. Additionally, the package can be made to look bigger by using colors, bold designs free of borders, extra art work, and unnecessary print. The facade of largeness is mainly important for packages containing commodity items, such as rice, salt and canned fruit or vegetables.
Attention drawing power presents the artistic and conspicuousness of the package design. Based on the product and the target of the marketers, the package may be made to appear attractive, exciting, pure, soft, sexy, scary, intriguing, or to raise some other emotion. Usually, though, the product is displayed on the front of the package in the form of a picture, art, or see-through window. In addition, bright colors, glossy stock, obtrusive carton displays, and other elements can garner positive attention if used prudently.12
A quality impression is one significant sales requirement for packaging. Items that are low in quality are usually assumed to hold a poor value, regardless of price. Examples of packaging mistakes that convey low quality or poor value include: faded lettering or colors, cheap designs or strange font, old-fashioned pictures and designs, and cheap construction.
Readability is the fourth basic sales requirement for booming package design. This component is of supreme importance for products like breakfast cereal that are shelved next to several competing brands and products. If the package conveys too many messages, it will likely fail to communicate with the consumer. Customers have a very few time to go through all these messages on packaging, with the possible exception of high-priced specialty items. Among other guidelines, letters or logos should be large and printed in the same type style as that used in corresponding print and television advertising. The requirement of readability contributes to the difficulty in packaging completely new products.
D. Packaging Strategies:
The most crucial role, that packaging plays is promoting products. It makes a product easy to use and provides readability, which two are the elements of the strategic packaging mix and packaging is an important part of a company’s strategic marketing mix. Most packages for consumer products are designed for one of three purposes:
- To improve the packaging of an existing product;
- To add a new product to an existing product line;
- To contain an entirely new product.
Many times it may need to redesign the packaging for existing products, which may be encouraged by a number of factors. Sometimes, a company may simply desire to promote a maturing product by updating its image or adding a new feature to the package, such as an easy-pour spout. A company may even redesign the package to survive against competitive threat, such as a new product that is more visible on the shelf.
Moreover, package redesign may also take place for:
- Changes in the product;
- Economics, which may require less or more expensive packaging;
- Product line reformation;
- Alterations in market strategy;
- Trying to promote new uses for a product;
- Legal or environmental factors that lead to new materials or technology.
However careful consideration require for very small packaging changes for established brands and products, since a great deal of money is often at risk if a company misguide or confuses customers.
A second cause for package redesign is to extend a product or brand line. In these instances, the packaging strategy usually reflects an effort to closely imitate the established brand or product, but to combine the benefits of the new feature into the existing package in such a way that customers will be able to easily differentiate it from other products in the line. The major risks natural in packaging for extensions are that the new package will mystify customers or frustrate retailers.
The third reason for designing package is the requirement to create place for a totally new product. This is the most complicated packaging type to generate because it often requires the designer to encourage consumer belief on an unknown product or brand, and to make the buyers informed about the product’s uses and benefits. Packaging for products and brands that are entirely new to the marketplace are the most challenging to develop. Contrary, packaging for commodities, entering established product categories require less instruction, but they must overcome existing competition. A familiar packaging strategy for such products requires imitating the packaging of leading products, which helps to assure the buyer that the product is standard and usual.
Buyer Decision Making
Decision is the act of making up our mind about something, or a position, or opinion, or judgment reached after consideration13 and buyer decision making is a process undertaken by consumers in regard to a potential market transaction before, during and after the purchase of a product or service. We can also say that it is a cognitive process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives.14
I. Stages in Decision Making:
To follow some stages are very much important for making good purchase decision. These stages in decision making can be broadly segmented in following categories:
- Define the situation
- Generate alternatives
- Information gathering
- Define the situation
In all the stages of decision making, probably the most important step is defining the situation. It is crucial to have a good and clear knowledge and understanding about:
a) The situation
b) What a buyer want to achieve.
Any propaganda about the situation is likely to be enlarged in the stages later on in decision making. It is very much important the buyer should be clear about what he desires the decision to attain will also have influence over the effects on the stages afterward in decision making. It’s very simple to find out what is not desired anymore or wanted. But such portraying of the outcome in the depressing perspective does not set a direction to progress towards, only gives a guideline for from what to move away.
As an alternative, in the positive situation what the buyers want the decision to achieve. For example, instead of ‘I don’t want to buy this product’ we could say ‘I want to buy something better than this.’
This puts a very apparent and assessable outcome for the decision making process. It will frequently allow a much smoother transitioning through the later stages in decision making as well.
- Generate alternatives
A buyer will find out numerous alternatives available in the market, and the work is to choose the best according to his desire and ability. But the choice of alternatives will depend on some factors, such as- experience, knowledge, skills, number of people involved in generating alternatives and what’s considered important.
- Information gathering:
For taking Packaging designing decision the stores may require collecting information on various issues, such as- about the alternatives available or about the situation accessible and the considering outcome. At the same time as alternatives are proposed, it may needed further explanation of the circumstances or the decision that is required to be made.
Among all the stages of decision making, the stage of gathering information is most time consuming. A feature of the rational decision making models is the estimation and evaluation of the pros and cons of the variety of choice of alternatives available so that the buyer can decide his or her mind for the best. From our general experience of purchasing, we can say that this step of purchasing take so long that it slow down the decision making process.
In compare, this can be termed as one of the quickest stages of the recognition primed decision making model, where the information gathering is done mentally by the expert by rapidly bringing his or her acquired experiences and skills to bear on the situation.15
Selection is that stage in decision making where the buyer is found choosing one among all of the alternatives. Even though this stage is noticed as only one of the stages of decision making, but many people think that this stage is so important and play so vital a role that it is the entire of the decision making process. On the other hand, if the prior stages of decision making have been done successfully, this stage is in fact quite uncomplicated.
On the decision making process, the method of selection will depend very much. Rational decision models select the alternative that has more pros than cons. Sensitive decision makers takes decisions mostly by listening to their heart and by being influenced by their guts.
Any time paid for making a decision is useless if it is not transformed into an action. So it is significant to include “action” in the stages of decision making. Decisions become great when they are carried into action and the action attains the desired goal. An aspect of taking action is reviewing whether the decision actually achieved the desired result. If it is not, then making continuous improvisations until it does so.
Maintaining the order of the stages in decision making is very much important if a buyer desire to take a worth decision consistently, naturally, fluently and effortlessly.
II. Analyzing Consumer Buying Decision:
Typically, to analyze consumer buying decision process, there are three ways.
- Consumer Behavior
- Economic purpose
People buying decision may follow economic reason, which is mostly quantitative and based on assumptions of rationality and their near perfect knowledge about the product. Being influenced by this factor, consumer makes decision to buy those products that will maximize their utility.
- Psychological purpose
This factor works on buyer’s motivation level and size or nature of need. They are qualitative rather than quantitative. It enhances the influence of sociological factors such as cultural influence and family influence over the making of consumer buying decision.
- Consumer Behavior
It is a blend of various elements from economic and psychological factors. That means here the buyers make decision being influenced by both rational and emotional factors. It is the practical model used by marketers.
II. General Model of Buyer Decision Process:
A general model of buyer decision process includes the following steps.
- Want recognition;
- Search of information on products that could satisfy the needs of the buyer;
- Alternative selection;
- Decision-making on buying the product;
- Actual Purchase;
- Post-purchase behavior.
III. Alternative Model of Buyer Decision Process:
There are different alternative models of buyer decision process but the process proposed by AIUAPR is most famous and recognized. According to this model buyer decision making process follow the steps mentioned below:
Step 1: Awareness
At the beginning the potential customer becomes aware about the product or service that exists. Thus, the first mission should be to increase the attention of the target customer segment. All the other models have given their consent to this first step. If the audience is not aware of the message they will not act on it, no matter how powerful it is.
Step 2: Interest
It is not enough to capture the attention of customers. The message must raise an interest in between them and influence them that the product or service is able to satisfy their needs. The content of the message(s) must therefore be meaningful and clearly relevant to that target audience’s needs, and this is where marketing research can come into its own.
Step 3: Understanding
Once a customer takes interest to a specific product or service, the prospective customer must be able to compare how well the offering may meet his or her needs, which the marketers can know through marketing research.
Step 4: Attitudes
The buyer decision making process does not ends with grabbing interest of customers and through observing it but the message must go even further; to motivate the customer to adopt and hold a adequately positive attitude towards the product or service that he or she will purchase it, even though as a trial.
Step 5: Purchase
After all the other steps mentioned above, the customer makes the final buying decision, which may take place some time later; perhaps weeks later, when the prospective buyer actually tries to find a shop which reserves the product.
Step 6: Repeat Purchase
In many cases it happens that the first purchase may best viewed as just a trial purchase. Only after the trial purchase, it experience a success and become able to satisfy the buyer’s desired needs then it is turned into a repeat purchase.
IV. Decision Making Strategies
Decision making is the principles and guidelines of choice which are criteria or policies that are utilized when choosing among the available alternatives. Here we have discussed The common principles of choice and provide themselves to particular decision strategies.
This Strategy holds to minimize the maximum possible loss. Mainly we decide what the worst outcome of each alternative is and go for the best among them. The consideration is evidently on minimizing the worst that may occur.
The concept here is to concentrate on the maximum outcome and maximize it, i.e., choose the alternative with the best prospective outcome. Also called decisions under uncertainty because several outcomes may occur, but the probabilities of the outcomes are not known. People who enjoy risk use these decision making strategies.16
- Disaster avoidance principle
Generally buyers follow that decision making strategy which includes choosing the alternative with the least possibility of disaster.
- Risk minimization principle
This strategy is about choosing the alternative with the best opportunity of an suitable outcome. In large extent, this principle may seem like maximax, but the second has to do with best outcome, this one has to do with best chance of a favorable outcome.
- Loss avoidance principle
Buyers must make a decision influencing by the strategy of choosing the alternative with the lowest possibility of loss.
Scope and Limitations of this Review
Packaging of physical products makes it possible to influence buyer’s purchase decision, which can provide competitive advantage. There is, however, a great deal of difficulty reported in the normative literature when it comes to the understanding of buyer behavior, with marketers often finding themselves unable to assess the full implications of their packaging module. Although many of the savings resulting from packaging are considered suitable for inclusion within traditional open or unpacked products, it is the intangible and non-financial benefits, together with indirect project costs that complicate the justification process. In exploring this phenomenon, the paper reviews the normative literature in the area of packaging and buyer decision making process evaluation, and then proposes a set of conjectures. These were tested within a case study to analyze the buyer decision making process through packaging the product. The idiosyncrasies of the case study and problems experienced during its attempts to evaluate, implement, and realize the holistic implications of the packaging products are presented and critically analyzed. The paper concludes by identifying lessons learnt and thus, proposes a number of empirical findings for consideration by influencing buyer decision making process in Taiwan convenience stores through packaging of food products.
Buyer’s purchase decision that is based on packaging has brought many scholars to give their valuable opinion about it. Some mentionable quotations about this literature have been discussed below.
To mention about the success of CPG companies Gordon says, “What you have to do is make sure you have a high-quality package that really speaks to taste appeal while making the health claim…. You have to have a high-quality package that says, hey, this tastes good, and then you make the health claims around that.”17
The director of transformational packaging innovation at General Mills mentioned the company’s new ready-to-eat cereal and granola bars that are co-branded with the Curves franchise of women’s health clubs as an example of packaging that accomplishes both goals. The graphics demonstrate a smiling young woman jumping for joy. The message to consumers, Cady says: “They believe they’re successful in accomplishing their goal, and that’s communicated with the happy, jumping, expressive person, but it also would indicate that this is a fun way to get to my goal.” 18
To focus on the impact of packaging, Lisa McTigue Pierce, the Editor-in-Chief of Food and Drug Packaging remarked in one of his article named “A New Adage: Teach a Man to Package” that “it’s better for countries to be self-sufficient, but a staggering amount of food grown in third-world countries ends up rotting because of poor or non-existent packaging processes.”19
In the article “Packaging and purchase decisions: An exploratory study on the impact of involvement level and time pressure”, S. Pinya & S. Mark stated that “The importance of packaging design as a vehicle for communication and branding is growing in competitive markets for packaged food products. Visual package elements play a major role, representing the product for many consumers, especially in low involvement, and when they are rushed.” (S. Pinya & S. Mark, 2004, ‘Packaging and purchase decisions: An exploratory study on the impact of involvement level and time pressure’, British Food Journal, vol. 106, no. 8, pg. 607-628, available at; < http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/00070700410553602> [accessed on 27th September 2007]
Glenda Weiler, in an article named ‘Does product packaging significantly influence consumer buying behavior?’ stated that “We sometimes decide we want to buy the very best of the best, so we look at the expensively packaged items. Then again, we might decide we want to save a buck and we will look at the cheaply packaged “generic” items. One way or another, our decision to purchase a particular item is influenced by the packaging. Both the expensively packaged and priced, as well as the cheaply packaged and priced items can contain the exact same product, but it is our (the consumer) state of mind that determines which one we will actually purchase.” (Available at; < http://www.helium.com/tm/542590/product-packaging-primary-influencer>)
Showing positive attitude toward the topic titled ‘Does product packaging significantly influence consumer buying behavior?’ Ted Sherman presented that “Packaging is everything! A research team recently conducted an experiment with several hundred kids in their school lunchroom. The kids were given the choice of two identical hamburger lunches… same meat, bun, fries and pickle slices. On one tray, the burgers and extras were wrapped in plain paper; on the other tray, they were wrapped in paper with McDonald’s logos all over them. Without exception, every kid chose the McDonald’s package.” (available at http://www.helium.com/channels/296-Marketing/debates/sbs/89914-product-packaging-significantly-influence?page=2) [Accessed on 27th September 2007]
The sensory system of a human being can be categorized in to five classes, which are- touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. A latest research finding tell us that the brain ignores brands, producers of brand-name goods and packaging experts are well advised to appeal to consumers at the Point of sale (POS) in a multi-sensoric manner by using their products and packaging to stimulate and arouse emotions. And then it has been remarked there that “Appealing to consumers’ five senses through innovative packaging techniques can result in increased brand loyalty and greater impact at point of sale.”
Today it is increasingly unusual for food not to have some form of packaging, and as well as packaging food comes into contact with a wide variety of surfaces – for example, utensils in the home, conveyor belts in food manufacture, and boxes and vehicles when it is distributed around the country.20
In a research paper has been stated that “Recent developments in active and intelligent packaging systems are described, two examples of which aim at achieving improvements in quality and safety of food products. The first one is an on-command preservative-releasing packaging system. The second system is an intelligent concept, based on the development of a non-invasive microbial growth sensor to monitor the sterility of food products.” [De Jong, A. R.; Boumans, H.; Slaghek, T.; Van Veen, J.; Rijk, R.; Van Zandvoort, M., 2005, ‘Active and intelligent packaging for food: Is it the future?’, Taylor and Francis Ltd, source: Food Additives and Contaminants, Vol. 22, no. 10, pp. 975-979(5)]21
Discussion on Literature Review
From the above discussion on the literature review, we can spread our analysis highlighting two important issues.
- Why customers prefer products that are packaged?
- How buyer purchase decision making is influenced by packaging?
By adopting the method of packaging, an organization can maximize their sales that follow their unique business requirements. So it can be termed as one of the best choices for influencing consumer behavior, as this packaging provides the organization with various advantages. And five things every business need to know about packaging,22 which are:
- You can’t have a product without a package.
- The package could cost more than what is inside.
- Your package has to sell the product not just protect it.
- Most packaging materials suppliers like large quantity orders.
- Packaging trends and innovations can influence whether your product will ever get onto the stores shelf.
A survey of consumers by Food & Drug Packaging magazine was designed to rate the influence of packaging relative to the influence of price, brand, freshness, and specific item preferences on their buying decisions.23 The survey covered 25 product categories ranging from candy, soft drinks, cereals, and whole fruits and vegetables, to first aid and pills and tablets. Consumers were asked to rate each influencer using a 5-point scale ranging from “1” as No influence on purchase decision to “5” as Great influence. The results were calculated as percentages to reflect the average rating given to each influence. Each specific influence (packaging, price, brand, freshness and specific item preferences) was counted as one fifth of the overall purchasing decision, with the influences adding up to roughly 100%. The findings showed that:
- Consumers are acknowledging the influence of packaging on their purchases.
- Packaging influence exceeded brand’s influence in three categories, including pills/tablets.
- Packaging was rated as more influential than specific product preference in seven categories.
- Across all categories, the median rating for the influence of packaging was 17.7%.
Interestingly, packaging was rated more influential by younger respondents than by older respondents even though older respondents, especially those 75+, are more likely to have trouble with the physical aspects of packaging (e.g., opening, re-closing, and pouring). Considering the ratio of money spent on advertising to the money spent on packaging, the findings of this survey, showing that overall the ratings for packaging influence and brand influence were very close – median ratings of 17.7% and 18.8% respectively – suggest that spending on packaging may have a higher, long-term return. Products are gaining market share in areas such as health and beauty, home office supplies, and household goods.
The main objective of this dissertation is to identify how the chosen research methodology will match the main objective of the dissertation question and how it will be achieved. Essentially there are two types of research methodology; they are qualitative and quantitative research. While the quantitative research is carried out through obtaining primary data such as questionnaire, qualitative research is a research that is conducted through interviews and observations. Therefore, the method enables a researcher to explore the details of individual perceptions over phenomena.
The research approach that develops the methodology explained below is based on descriptive research theory and inductive reasoning. This is important to develop the foundation by which the research will be designed, conducted and consequently analyzed.24
Firstly, it is important to establish the research approach in order to create a significant qualitative methodology. The research approach undertakes a specific design that is “the overall strategy chosen to obtain the information required answering the research question” (Ghauri and Gronhaug p 47, 2002). The research approach will review the types of research design and data collection methods. The research approach is built on logical relations and not just beliefs.
Descriptive research is used when the research question is understood (Ghauri and Gronhaug 2002). In the research approach, the data measurements are dependent on the obtainment of required information and the quality of the information.25 The outcome of the research, therefore, is dependent on the measurement procedures used in the collection of the data, and this in turn is dependent on the types of data collection (Ghauri and Gronhaug p 47 2002).
This is an important concept of qualitative research, where the description is either inductive or deductive. Inductive research begins with a question and seeks to describe it, and deductive research begins with the problem by working backwards to the answers. Therefore, this research uses the inductive approach to build the theory from the data gathered to explore possible conclusions towards influence of packaging over buyer decision making.
Primary & Secondary Research
The selected research methodology is a descriptive interview with the seller, buyer and general manager of Taiwan Convenience Store (7-ELEVEN). To the authors believe the interviewer will obtain all the required information necessary to construct an entire “picture” of the impact that the introduction of consumer behavior. This will be a structured interview that focuses on buyer purchasing decision influencing by packaging. Secondary research is to review published materials such as: articles previous researched etc. that would be analyzed to gain a broader perspective of the issue.
The strategy in this research is the rational perspective, where the data analysis and the final recommendations follow the sequential gathering of information.
Reliability, Validity of Interviews
Firstly, why an interview with the seller, buyer and general manager of the store has been given a priority among other means of data collection? The main reason an interview with buyers has been chosen among other probable methods is the author believe, that a discussion which intends to take place with one of the customers of a store, in this case that store, would be more fruitful than any other possible means since these buyers would be at the top awareness of relative to the research issues such as: what are the factors they hold in mind at the time of purchasing, what make them influenced and how do they plan to make actual purchase.
Saunders et al (2003) define an interview as “a purposeful discussion between two or more people,” and can collect data, which is both reliable and valid. Saunders et al (2003) describe a structured interview as using questionnaires based on predetermined and standard or identical sets of questions; a semi-structured interview as having a list of themes and questions to be covered; and an unstructured interview as informal but used to explore in depth a general area of interest. In this research, a semi-structured interview is used. The semi-structured interview is chosen because it allows for specific data to be discovered based on the manager’s perceptions. The semi-structured interview is useful in situations where the respondents’ range of replies may be estimated and there is a need to clarify details, opinions or ideas.26
The interview will developed based on the following decisive criteria:
- What data should be wants to elicit from the interviewees;
- Who are going to be interviewed and why;
- How to explain the aims of the interview;
- Where the interview will take place;
- Whether to pilot the interview;
- How to analyze and follow up 20 the interview.
The interview questions we have set here:
Blank Employee Questionnaire
Questionnaire for taiwan convenience stores (7-eleven)
The purpose of this questionnaire is to gather data relating to the nature of the product and its packaging. All data collected will be analyzed and used in the project entitled, “packaging influence buyer decision making when the customer to buy snacks in Taiwan convenience store (7-ELEVEN)”. Furthermore, all data gathered will be kept confidential.
- How long have you been employed at the store?
Less than 1 year 1 – 3 years over 3 years
- What is your job function? _____________________________________
- What tasks do you perform in carrying out your job function? (Please select all that apply.)
Re-ordering Packing of stock Supervision of staff Customer queries Recording of sales (billing) Preparation of reports Stock-keeping Other _________________
- On average, how many customers do you interact with on a daily basis?
Less than 10 10 – 25 26 – 40 More than 40
- What type of products do customers usually demand the most throughout the year?
Service related items Publications Fresh food Tobacco and wine Daily necessities Snacks Beverage and dairy other _____________________
- What type of product is in most demand from customers throughout the year?
- What problems do you encounter when products are unpacked? (Please select all that apply)
Difficulty in viewing the name of brand Delays while responding to customer demand Layout of product is difficult to understand
- Do you agree packaging design influencing buyer’s purchase decision?
- Customers you find attracted to which product?
- What benefits you gain from using the Packaging design for products? (Please select all that apply)
Faster search Less work load More accurate information Easier selling
- Do you have any suggestions for improving customer service at Horizon Investments Limited? If so, please provide your suggestions here.
Thank you for completing this questionnaire.
The purpose of this questionnaire is to gather data relating to Taiwan convenience store’s customer views and opinions. All data collected will be analyzed and used in the project entitled, “packaging influence buyer decision making when the customer to buy snacks in Taiwan convenience store (7-ELEVEN)”. Furthermore, all data gathered will be kept confidential.
- How long have you been a customer atTaiwan Convenience stores?
Less than 1 year 1 – 3 years More than 3 years
- Why do you prefer to purchase your items from these stores? (Please select all that apply)
Convenient location Quality products Good customer service Low prices Available goods Other _______________________
- How often do you purchase goods from Taiwan convenience stores?
Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly
- What type of products do you usually purchase? (Please select all that apply)
Service related items Publications Fresh food Tobacco and wine Daily necessities Snacks Beverage and dairy other _____________________
- What type of products do you demand the most?
- How many products do you usually purchase in one visit to the store?
1 2 – 5 6 – 10 More than 10
- How long does it take for you to purchase items?
Less than 1 minute 1 – 5 minutes 6 – 10 minutes More than 10 minutes
- What feature do you feel has given you dynamism in your purchasing?
Arrangement of product packaging of the product Customer service All the above Other _______________________
- Do you think that a packaging design is beneficial to you?
- If yes, what benefits would you gain from the store?
Faster purchase Quality assurance Betterunderstanding about the product More quality goods Other______________________
Thank you for completing this questionnaire.
Results / Findings
In Taiwan convenience Store, we have observed two products on the shelf—same price, same quality. Then we found that they have chosen the one with the best packaging. Great food packaging can influence buying decisions and increase brand recognition. That’s why the convenience stores have spent as much time developing their packaging design as they have spend on their pricing strategies, recipe preparations and marketing efforts. At the time of packaging their snacks items they used to consider the following matters.
- Choose food packaging that showcases their brand.
- They used to include nutrition labels.
- Highlight the features that make their product unique, such as organic, whole grain or low fat.
- Choose food packaging boxes and containers that stand up on the shelf.
- Pick the appropriate packaging material for the type of food they sell.
A. Action Steps taken by Taiwan Convenience Stores:
- Packaging food for takeout
When a store sells fresh food that is made at home, it is essential to pack food in the appropriate takeout containers. In this case the convenience stores choose plastic, aluminum oven-ready, Styrofoam, cardboard and Chinese type take-away containers with pizza, donut, cake and bakery boxes and bags and lidded containers for deli items.
- Food packaging equipment
Numbers of ways are available for sealing and packaging food on-site. Most of the air is removed from packages, when heat-seal food packaging equipments are used, such as salad bags. It is done to lessen spoilage and lengthen shelf life. For the store’s assembly line, other food packing options, those are available are- lidded containers, standup pouches, lamination roll stock and bags.
- Food packaging boxes
Sometimes the companies follow a simple way for the food packaging through adopting a box imprinted with the company logo. For an example, we can mention about a pizza box. Taiwan convenience stores have a wide range of food packaging boxes for pizza, bakery or Chinese takeout.
- Unique food packaging options
For something that requires a reseal-able package, Zip-Pak custom bags are suitable for them including snack foods, such as cookies. There are some situations when it is better to think outside the box for food packaging options. If in a store a product is one that some one will not consumed at a stretch or in one sitting, and then the store can consider of reseal-able food packaging. Tamper-resistant packaging may also require for other foods and beverages.
- Hire a food packaging designer
A difference can be made between a sale and no sale through the colors, images and copy that emerge on the store’s packaging. This is where specialized, professional, skilled and expert packaging designers are taking interest to. By making a keen observation and study on the marketplace they try to find out what sells and what doesn’t exist in package design. Taiwan convenience store communicate to those who specializes and are experts in food packaging designing that includes everything from potato chip bags to beer bottles to canned vegetables.
- Food packaging labels
When a store decides to sell their products at retail stores rather than their own firm, there are two significant labels their food packaging must consist of. First one is the FDA-regulated nutrition label; and the other is a UPC barcode.Taiwan Convenience stores follow the same fact in packaging their products.
B. The most important tactics followed by Taiwan Convenience Stores:
- They have their food analyzed by a professional lab that has expertise in FDA nutrition guideline compliance to prevent costly recalls and/or fines.
- They used to check with local health department for county guidelines on food packaging, manufacturing and shipping. Regulations differ from county to county and state to state.
- They cut costs by purchasing generic food packaging boxes and bags and by simply placing a label with their logo on them.
C. Influence of packaging over buyer decision making in Taiwan convenience stores:
To observe the influence of packaging on purchase decisions from a critical view point, we have asked a separate set of questions to the employees of the Taiwan convenience stores and its customers that how much influence packaging had on their buying decisions relative to the influence of price, brand, freshness and specific item preferences. The question was repeated for 25 product categories, from candy to whole fruits and vegetables, including snacks.
The survey layout was activated by a customer who drew our attention to a fact she called “Excess of brands.” To her, in market there are too many brands available that promise a lot when it is introduced at market but later it is found that they are not really delivering. Other consumers have had similar comments27:
- Many buyers have told us that brands have let them down in the last few years.
- Buying trusted brands is no longer the shortcut to health and satisfaction.
- Today’s shoppers are being asked to consider more options and deal with more products and more information than ever before.
- Today’s shoppers might have more insight about their buying decisions than they are being given credit for.
The survey encouraged some respondents to think about how they shopped at different times and places; some to talk about how they shopped differently with family members; and some to learn more about themselves as shoppers. The survey asked respondents to consider packaging for snacks. The high level of respondent involvement gives the influence ratings an extra level of meaning. On the other hand, since it includes only five influencers, it has some major limitations. Some would-be respondents returned blank surveys because their primary influencers weren’t included: “I am mostly looking to buy organic and natural in almost all of these categories so this survey doesn’t apply to me.”
D. How the survey was conducted:
The questionnaire made to the employee and customers of Taiwan Convenience stores and responses were tabulated based on the first 600 completed responses. Among these tabulated responses, approximately 150 were in the 20-34 age group, 200 each were in the 35-49 and 50-74 age groups, and 50 were in the 75+ group.
Respondents were asked to rate each influencer using a 5-point scale ranging from “1” as No influence on purchase decision to “5” as Great influence. Ratings were done independently, so each category could have multiple 5s, multiple 4s, and so on.
The percentages reflect the average rating given to each influence. (This was based on ratings of 2, 3, 4 and 5. We did not include 1s because they did not represent an influence.) Each specific influence (packaging, price, brand, freshness and specific item preferences) was counted as one fifth of the overall purchasing decision, with the influences adding up to roughly 100%. For example, if all respondents in the candy category had given a “5” rating to packaging and a “4” rating to the remaining influencers, packaging would have scored 24% for the candy category.
|How packaging ranks in 25 product categories|
|Source: The Consumer Network|
More than 90% of the respondents rated the influence of packaging—as well as price, brand, freshness and specific item preference—in each category they tackled. More than 80% rated the influence of the specific item as well as the brand in most categories. And 10% of the respondents left the specific item column out of their ratings.
All of our respondents were able to differentiate packaging from brand or price, and most respondents’ influence rating relationships between packaging, brand and price changed in each category. Some gave packaging high influence ratings in some categories and brand high influence in others, while some said price ruled their purchases in most categories.
E. Packaging matters:
The findings show that consumers are acknowledging the influence of packaging on their purchases. The influence of packaging trumped brand’s influence in three categories, including pills/tablets.
Packaging was rated as more influential than specific product preference in seven categories, including cheese and frozen entrees. Also, in seven categories, specific product preference was rated as having more influence than brand. Brands held the top-rated influence position in only three of the 25 categories included in this study. In most categories, price was rated as the most influential.
In most categories included in this study, brands were rated less influential by younger than by older consumers. Packaging was rated more influential by younger respondents than by older respondents even though older respondents, especially those 75+, are more likely to have trouble opening, re-closing and pouring.
The closeness of the packaging to the brand influence ratings suggests that packaging has gained influence as brands have been extended, stretched and weakened. The findings also suggest that brand marketers should look for more opportunities to use packaging for brand building. Considering the ratio of money spent on advertising to the money spent on packaging, the findings of this survey suggest that spending on packaging may have a higher, long-term return.
For the last century, changes in the way consumers perceived convenience are what drove whole categories to change. Convenience is a moving target that was once defined by condensed soup and Ivory Soap. Campbell’s Soup has been able to partially update the convenience of its condensed soups with pop-top lids, but Procter & Gamble hasn’t found a way to make a place for its once-flagship Ivory Soap in 21st Century lifestyles. The ease of finding floating soap in cloudy bathwater is a weak selling point in a time of quick power-showers.
Today’s consumers are on information (and product) overload. With miles of choices lining the shelves, more consumer demands are working their way into product packaging and purchase decisions, and each product category works differently. Brands are often still considered to reflect product quality, but now, consumers depend just as much on packaging to fulfill all of their product needs in a single hit.
Limitation of the Research
In Taiwan convenience stores the use of plastic as packaging material has been increasing at an exponential rate. Once used, most of the plastic wastes are by tradition, disposed of into landfills, which in turn have led to serious environmental concerns, but landfill sites are decreasing. So the convenience stores must discuss options such as recycling and reuse of post- consumer plastics, which may contribute to solving these environmental problems.
Conclusion and recommendation
Superior packaging gives the impression of better quality. The significance of packaging design as a mean of communication and branding is rising in competitive markets for packaged food products.
The paper reports on the findings of participant observational exercises employed at Taiwan convenience stores. On the whole, analysis of findings would clearly indicate that there is a strong relationship regarding the influence of packaging on the purchase decision, with over 75 per cent of interviewed consumers stating that they rely on packaging to aid their decision-making process at the point of purchase.
The challenge for researchers is to incorporate packaging into an effectual model of purchasing decision, by understanding packaging elements that are the vital marketing communications tools. Suggestions for future research are intended to help in developing better understanding of consumer response to packaging elements.
Glossary of Food Packaging Terms
Material within a package which absorbs liquids from product; pad in meat trays is made from paper and has a plastic liner.
A technique for creating a shelf-stable container by placing a commercially sterile product into a commercially sterile container in a commercially sterile environment. The sealed container is designed to maintain product sterility until the seal is broken. No U.S. meat products are currently being aseptically packaged.
Bacon wrapper paper
A glassine, greaseproof, or vegetable parchment paper, or a laminated product made from these papers and other materials, used for wrapping bacon.
The item is secured between a preformed (usually transparent plastic) dome or “bubble” and a paperboard surface or “carrier”; also referred to as a “bubble pack.” (Example: bologna package hanging on a peg in a supermarket’s refrigerated case)
A sealed container made of heat-resistant material designed to hold a food product and permit the ultimate user to bring the bag and product to boiling temperature in preparation for eating before the product is removed from the bag. (Example: frozen entrees or vegetables)
Packaging material made in such a manner that air may enter or leave under varying conditions, including temperature changes, with or without a drying agent to remove moisture from entering the package. Most wrap used for fresh red meat allows enough air to pass through to keep the proper color in the meat.
A receptacle generally having less than 10 gallon capacity (consumer or institutional sizes); also means to pack a product in a can or a wide-mouth glass container for processing, shipping or storage.
Term erroneously used for “paperboard.” A stiff, moderately thick paperboard; heavier than paper. (Example: used for frozen entrees)
CAP “controlled atmosphere packaging”
A packaging method in which selected atmospheric concentrations of gases are maintained throughout storage in order to extend product shelf life. Gas may either be evacuated or introduced to achieve the desired atmosphere. Normally used for fruits and vegetables, not meat products.
CPET (crystallized polyethylene terephthalate)
A heat-tolerant plastic that can be molded into multi-compartment and single frozen food containers; can be heated in the microwave or conventional oven.
Used as an inner wrap for meats and for soft foods to retain the moisture in the food and to prevent the outer wrapper from becoming water- or grease-soaked; made from bleached chemical wood pulp and may be given a dry paraffin wax treatment of about 10 to 20-percent of the weight of the paper.
A rigid container constructed almost completely of lightweight fiber stock; may be lined, treated or coated; ends of can may be made of paperboard or metal (composite can). (Examples: packaging used for juice concentrates, potato sticks and onion rings)
Bags, envelopes, pouches or wraps which can be changed in shape or bent manually; made of materials such as paper, plastic film, foils, etc., or combinations of them.
Foam trays and other foam shapes
Made from expanded polystyrene (EPS); formed when foaming agents are added to polystyrene and passed through a die. (Examples: trays for fresh meat; egg cartons) Styrofoam [trade mark] is an insulation used in building materials; it’s not used in packaging.
Frozen foods paper
A type of high moisture and water vapor resistant paper used for inner liners in frozen food packaging; usually specially treated glassine or bleached chemical wood papers, waxed papers, or plain or coated vegetable parchment paper; pliable and strong to resist cracking at freezing temperatures and for high wet strength.
Smooth, dense, transparent or semi-transparent paper manufactured primarily from chemical wood pulps; is grease resistant and has a high resistance to the passage of air. May be waxed, lacquered or laminated to be impervious to the transmission of moisture vapor.
Meat wrapping paper
A specially treated odorless and tasteless paper that resists meat juices, fat and grease, and is easy to remove from any kind of meat.
A rigid metal container made of steel sheet or plate, 27 gauges or less in thickness, or a similar container made of aluminum, copper or other metal. (Example: food cans)
Transfer of a component of a packaging material into the product contained, or loss of a component of the product into the packaging material.
MAP (“modified atmosphere packaging”)
A packaging method in which a combination of gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen is introduced into the package at the time of closure. Purpose is to extend shelf life of the product packaged. (Example: lunch meat in a blister package)
Continuous extruded net of flexible plastic material, most commonly polyethylene, which can be made into bags, sleeves or wraps. (Example: net over a frozen turkey package)
Nylon is a versatile family of thermoplastic resins that vary from relatively flexible products to tough, strong and stiff materials; resistant to oils and greases; widely used for meat and cheese packaging, for boil-in-bags and pouches.
A paperboard that can be placed in an oven (microwave or conventional) to serve as the cooking utensil for food; typically a solid, bleached sulphate board coated with polyester terephthalate. (Example: frozen entrees)
The enclosure of products in a wrap, pouch, bag, box, cup, tray, can, tube, bottle or other container form to perform one or more of the following functions:
- Containment for handling, transportation and use;
- Preservation and protection of the contents for required shelf and use life;
- Identification of contents, quantity, quality and manufacturer;
- Facilitate dispensing and use.
Material added during the manufacturing process to increase flexibility; for example, the plasticizer ATBC (acetyl tributyl citrate), used in such DowBrands [trade mark] as Saran [trade mark] and Handiwrap [trade mark], is made from citric acid which is commonly present in citrus fruit.
Filled plastic which is heated to harden into a shape and does not soften when heated during normal cooking temperatures; example: plastic dishes in frozen dinner entrees; can be heated in the microwave or conventional oven.
PET (“polyethylene terephthalate”)
A thermoplastic polyester used in beverage bottles and food trays designed for microwave and conventional ovens.
The most-used transparent flexible packaging material; made from polyethylene, a synthetic clear compound formed by subjecting ethylene, a gas found in coal, to pressure. It is low cost, transparent, tough, heat sealable, moisture- proof and resistant to low temperatures. Examples: Glad & Hand wrap.
PVC (“polyvinyl chloride”)
Replaced cellophane as the preferred meat wrapping used in supermarkets; a member of the vinyl family made from a compound found in petroleum. Low cost, protects against moisture loss, but has some oxygen permeability so it allows meat to “bloom” (stay red and fresh looking).
A synthetic resin plastic packaging material used for microwave- only heating of foods with low fat and sugar content; not heat stable for use in conventional ovens.
A thermoplastic polymer which can withstand higher temperatures than polyethylene; especially useful for covering utensils when microwaving foods; moisture-proof and transparent. (Example: Saran Wrap [trade mark])
A flexible container typically formed from aluminum foil and plastic laminates. Can withstand in-package sterilization of the product, and, like metal food cans, can provide a shelf-stable package for foods.
Plastic film that shrinks when heated, producing a tight, neat fit; the most popular form of grocery store meat packaging is PVC wrapping with foam trays.
Rigid or flexible containers from which substantially all air has been removed before sealing. Carbon dioxide or nitrogen may be introduced into the container. This process prolongs shelf life, preserves the flavors and retards bacterial growth.
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