These were some of the comments from speakers at the ‘Edible, active & intelligent packaging: Engaging confectionery consumers’ debate at ProSweets 2017 in Cologne, Germany, last month.
Why do people want to buy a product
Experts included Tom Lawrie-Fussey, business developer and entrepreneur, Cambridge Design Partnership; Bill Simcox, senior VP, EVRYTHNG; Richard Burhouse, commercial director, API Group and Arnaud Bansard trademark protection EMEA, Asia & South America, Surys and founding member, International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA).
“For the most part active intelligent packaging hasn’t been that successful yet,” said Lawrie-Fussey.
“It hasn’t become widespread because ultimately if you look at a single asset and try to add 10 cents to it that’s hard and what you’re demanding of the customer is also hard, i.e. asking them to download an app or have a physical attraction to a product.
“They have got to love it to buy it. If they are just drinking from a carton or opening a box of chocolates, you have got to ask yourself why would we expect them to buy it.”
Simcox agreed and added different industries have gone further down the road on active, intelligent packaging than the confectionery sector and the apparel industry has done the most in this area so far.
“For example, sports-apparel brand Under Armour is driving sales, distribution, loyalty and profit through doing the maths - understanding their consumer and getting data from them, which is at the heart of their decision making,” he said.
“In regard to confectionery there are a lot of companies that have started to do bits and pieces, with promotions on packs, QR codes, and bar codes, but they haven’t spent enough time asking themselves ‘why’ they doing it.
Measure its success
“If you do it properly, it fundamentally changes the operating statement of the company. Other companies are caught up in the ‘running a promotion on pack’ as part of a larger campaign but they haven’t measured its success.”
Under Armour was created in the US by Kevin Plank in 1996. It has since spent $710m on acquiring apps, including MapMyFitness, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal. It also launched its own fitness app called Record and has more than 130 million users across its app network.
Burhouse turned to the question of return on investment and said the cost question is a very interesting one because people need to consider what value active, intelligent packaging brings.
He said he focuses on mainly luxury products and product enhancement for added shelf appeal.
“API has also heavily invested in consumer research and launched a couple of White Papers on looking at consumer interaction with packaging by scanning their eye movement. i.e. retinal scanning to see what someone is looking at,” he added.
“What interested me was whether the packaging led to someone buying a product, in some cases it did. In certain cases embellishments were added to the products and the consumer was either neutrally affected and it made no difference as to whether they bought the product or they were turned off by it and bought the product less.
“For example an organic breakfast cereal launched a shiny metal logo on its packaging, the logo really jumped off the pack but afterwards it found sales fell. Consumer feedback said they bought the brand for its sustainability credentials but the shiny logo put them off from buying the product.”