Thursday, December 01, 2011: 07:49:11 PM

Food Processing Guest Column

Packaging - an important catalyst in growth of FMCG - Rahul Akkara, Parag Milk Foods

Indian packaging industry shows tremendous growth potential buoyed by changing buying and consumption patterns

“Packaging is the container for a product – encompassing the physical appearance of the container and including the design, color, shape, labeling and materials used” (Arens, 1996).

The world is changing at a break neck speed, marketers are taking special care in every detail of their product and packaging is one of the details needed. When a product is on the stands, packaging is one of the important factors that incite the consumers to buy the product or at the most glance at the product.
By 2015, the Indian packaging industry is expected to grow to Rs. 82,500. As the number of brands, competition and the demand from the consumer side keeps on increasing, the demand for packaging is expected to grow by 18-20% from 15%. The packaging industry in India is at 11th position currently and with development in the packaging technology, Indian packaging industry can reach to a much higher position by 2015.
The combination of the colour, font and the pictures used in the packaging should help the consumers to identify the product individually from the competitors. It is not only the exterior of the packaging that matters but the interior of the packaging is as important as the exterior. If the product is related to food then packaging should be such that it can retain the freshness of the product for a long time.
Packaging is also a direct way of giving information about the product through ingredient and other details. As, the world is growing consciousness about pollution, increasing amount of trash etc. it should be obvious for any company to have an eco friendly packaging and ensuring that the packaging of any product has recyclable and renewable factors.
Every company should realise that adopting the newer technology for packaging is extremely important. There are various newer technologies that focus on earth or the eco friendly packaging. So, companies can look at these innovative technologies which can help change the structure, and design of packaging.
Consumer communication and shelf appeal
The importance of packaging design and the role of packaging as a vehicle for consumer communication and branding are necessarily growing. To achieve communication goals effectively, knowledge about consumer psychology is important so that manufacturers understand consumer response to their packages. There is strong segmentation in which packaging elements consumers consider most important. Some consumers are mostly oriented toward the visual aesthetics, while a small segment focuses on product detail on the label.
In recent years, packaging has developed well beyond its original function as merely a means of product protection and now plays a key marketing role in developing on shelf appeal, providing product information and establishing brand image and awareness. 
As the market becomes more competitive and shelf space is at a premium, products need to be able to stand out from the crowd and packaging needs to provide more than just functional benefits and information. Under time pressure and in low involvement purchases, less time is spent looking at the detail and information provided on packaging – this is especially true in the FMCG category. 
Rahul Akkara is the vice president – Marketing at Parag Milk Foods Pvt Ltd (widely known as Gowardhan and Go Cheese)

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