While it might come as a surprise to chefs and kitchens, the success of the food product they create lies in more than just the ingredients or the way it tastes.
Shelf appeal–in other words, how well a food product is brought to market–can determine whether a consumer pays attention to your product in the first place, let alone makes a purchase.
It’s important not to overlook the power of packaging, as it represents your brand’s first impression to your customers.
Any successful vendor will work as your partner to help you meet your packaging needs, while also keeping a pulse on the priorities of your target customers and the elements that will increase the shelf appeal of your food product.
An experienced food packaging manufacturer will help you navigate the market, hone in on the qualities that will attract your target audience to your product, and create an exceptional experience for customers once they’ve purchased your food item.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the top considerations to make when choosing the packaging for your food product–and the manufacturer you’ll work with in order to perfect its design.
1. Assess your plastic packaging needs.
Your product–and what it says about your overall brand–should be the primary driver behind the look and feel of your packaging.
Make sure you’re clear on where your product will be merchandised (types of stores and the location within each store), its size, shelf life, sustainability, and any other selling factors should be taken into consideration when designing the package.
Check out your competition to see what they’re doing from a packaging standpoint, and determine which selling factors make your product stand out against them.
2. Determine whether a stock packaging solution will meet your needs.
Once you’ve settled on your product requirements, it’s important to distinguish whether you’ll go with stock packaging or take the extra steps to design a custom package for your product.
If you’re fortunate enough to find a stock packaging solution that meets your needs, you’ll benefit from lower overhead cost and a faster time to market.
A custom container, on the other hand, will be created specifically for your food item. Designing a custom container means investing time and money at the outset to ensure the container highlights the correct attributes of your food item and keeps the food in peak condition as it moves along your distribution channel.
If you decide that customized packaging is the way to go, you’ll have all the more incentive to work with an experienced provider who has an established process in place and can guide you through product development.
3. Validate and trial the container using product samples.
Samples should only be acquired once you’ve had plenty of conversations with the manufacturer about how the packaging will meet your needs and facilitate in selling your product.
Once you receive samples of your plastic packaging container, trial and validation can range from simply plating food in the container to conducting shipping and distribution tests to see how the packaging holds up through every step of the manufacturing process.
Tip: Determine whether your plastic packaging manufacturer is using thermoformed or 3D-printed samples. Thermoformed samples support larger trials and enable customers to get a sense of the form, fit, and feel of the packaging.
3D-printed samples, on the other hand, only show the customer what the packaging will look like, and won’t hold up similarly to the actual product in trial runs.
4. Price and Market responsiveness.
Companies have to pay attention to the shifting priorities of their consumers, especially when a large portion of your target audience is going to be impacted by the ups and downs of the economy and changing priorities regarding sustainability.
Despite consumer desire for eco-friendly packaging materials, sourcing raw post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials has become increasingly difficult with supply shortages, global tensions, and extreme weather situations.
Fortunately, some companies have the capability to process 100% PCR material as Lacerta Group began doing in 2021.
5. Collaboration and dedication to your success.
When a plastic packaging manufacturer is dedicated to the success of your food product, they will understand the iterative nature of designing and selecting the right packaging.
Product needs should be balanced against market conditions, which means a vendor will involve their R&D department in product development and selection.
This is especially important for companies who need custom containers in a cost-effective manner that also enable them to bring their product to market quickly. Lastly, a collaborative, dedicated partner will be consistent not only in their supply but also in terms of quality.
At Lacerta Group, we understand the time and attention you’ve put into creating your food product. That’s why we’re committed to working with our customers until they’re confident their packaging will meet the needs of their product while also allowing it to stand out on the shelves.