Secret code of packaging – its pack-aging

Packaging meaning

Product Package plays several essential functions that enable commerce and trade. The functions of modern-day packing go beyond containing, protecting, and preserving products. It also includes features to communicate, promote, and transact products. Packing provides several emotional cues designed to affect consumers’ perception of the product and influence their behavior.

Today we see the pack is typical to a common man, but the evolution of packaging took 150years. It starts to stop the aging of the product, such as liquor, medical syrups, and water. Now, it has been a complete changeover to modern packaging with plastic and machinery evolution. Growing competition and constant technological discoveries have shaped the development of the pack since the 1860s.

Evolution of pack-aging

This word discovered in the late 16th century in France: its pacquage. You will get the definition of packaging on many websites but can’t get the cheat code. So, the secret behind the packaging word, it’s pack—aging (unofficial).

The pacquage is designed to protect the product, which is packed inside the packaging and prolongs the shelf life as needed. When a customer buys a product, he thinks that when he opens the pack, the pack will get in a new condition. We suppose the product will not get any environmental or physical damage.

Source: Coca-cola

Packaging revolution in World War

The industrial or packaging revolution in the mid of the 19th century created an unexpected need for better goods as trade flourished, and more products became accessible to the consumer. Every country was engaged in war at that time since the pack-aging materials were expensive; the pack was limited to luxury goods only. Mainly the packing material was available in glass, metal, and cardboard. And after WWI saw an extraordinary figure of packing innovations like molded glass, corrugated boxes, metal cans, and plastics that made packaging a common need. This forced businesses to establish an identity to sell to consumers.

After the first world war, every country goes through a severe issues such as food supply to the army personnel in a warzone.  

Evolution of Meal Ready to Eat Packaging

An old saying declares that an army marches on its stomach, meaning it needs food to survive, thrive, and conquer.

During WWII, Army personnel, pilots, and Marines were frequently far from their mess halls and kitchens, so they had to bring heavy boxes of Ready to Eat food to sustain themselves. The food rations they provided were known as C-Rations, but often referred to as “C-Rats.” The design of ready-to-eat came up consisted of 12-ounce tin cans opened with a key and also the evolution of plastic (flexible). At first, the meals were soups, and more variations were combined as the war went on. It includes chicken and spaghetti in tomato sauce, chopped ham, eggs and potatoes, beef and noodles, pork, and beans; ham and lima beans, and chicken and vegetables. This ready-to-eat packaging has changed the entire packing method. And drastically, the boom is in the food (such as ketchup, biscuits, Pepsi, and coke) and the pharmaceutical industry (such as syrups, medical devices, and injections). 

So, at that time the pacquage is supposed to stop the aging of the product, such as a change in color, aroma, size, and other performance parameters.  

Read the complete journey of packaging material: https://medium.com/digital-packaging-experiences/the-evolution-of-packaging-57259054792d
Read the war meal of most of the countries:https://www.alimentarium.org/en/magazine/nutrition/war-meals

After World War II, there is drastically change in packaging understanding. So, let us understand the user perspective in respect of the packaging:

A. Containment

First, a user thinks about the packaging used to cover the product according to the development and government legislation. The packaging gives the fundamental functions of providing a pack for a product. 

For example- user durables like an electronic machine, bottles, and machinery are carried in cardboard cartons, whereas vegetables, fruits, and milk are packed in flexible pouches. Beer and Milkmaid are packed in cans that remain simple to open.

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It supports the products from deterioration, spilling, spoilage, and evaporation through their transit from manufacturer to customer. It improves product use and convenience by obeying the contents are clean and undisturbed.

B. Protection

Goods are to be transported from the spot of manufacture to the consumer. It involves several types of risk. Packaging helps to preserve the product from damage during transport and warehousing. It also eliminates the hindrance of trouble by keeping goods safe and free from spoilage. So packaging helps make the transporting of goods more convenient and safer.

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C. Identification

Packaging helps to differentiate from one brand to another. Packages must include the product’s name, manufacturer, ingredients, date of manufacture, expiry date, etc.

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Brand Promotion 

1. Packaging offers product classification and differentiation both easy and effective. In a competitive market, the unique presentation makes products look separate from competing brands.

2. Package specialties communicate the product message and motivate customers to buy the product.

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D. Convenience

the Wholesalers, retailers, intermediaries, warehouse keepers, and consumers require convenience in packaging, i.e., they should be light in weight and conveniently packed to be carried by hand. For example, the Amul Mithai Mate is packed in an aluminum container easily to open the form. Likewise, ten Crocin tablets are packed in a strip, and soft drinks are packed in a glass bottle with lift-off caps that need a bottle opener. Those have also evolved into nonreturnable, unbreakable aluminum cans.

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E. Attractiveness

Packaging improves the appearance of the product. The design, color, label, printed matter, picture, etc., all add value to the packaging. For example, chocolates are always packed in attractive packets and presented to bring the target group.

F. Promotional Appeal

Products must sell themselves. This is possible if they are stored in more attractive and eye-appealing packages. It has resulted in numerous innovations which appeal to the consumers. For example, Nescafe, Boost, Horlicks, etc., are now available in attractive glass jars.

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G. Re-Use

Nowadays, several companies aim at providing “re-useable containers” once the product has been ultimately used. For example, health drinks like Boost, Horlicks, Nescafe, Pickles, Jams, etc., are sold in glass bottles that can utilize for storing provisions in the kitchen. If non, they can be sold as scrap.

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H. Economy

Packaging should not build a financial burden for the company. Customers prefer economical packaging options because the packaging charge is included in the cost price. Therefore, the packaging should be made attractive, appealing, and economical.

In the views of the Packaging Technologist eye, it is routed through various paths; then only it is on the shelf of a retail store or commercial product. The level of scrutiny is based on the features of the product category and vertical markets. 

The level of scrutiny also varies according to the market need and area of usage. It is required entirely based on original* data of numerous shelf life data and validated packaging aspects if it is a pharmaceutical-based product.

*more stretched examining comparatively and every field has the shelf-life data

But if it is a food category product, the level of sustainability impact will be checked more. And also With machine-ability packaging material to be pack in a large amount of product.

Generally, below are the following points to be taken before starting any packaging testing:

  1. Compatibility study
  2. Stability Study
  3. Dimensional stability
  4. Functional test
  5. Performance test
  6. Safety and Security features
  7. Aesthetic features
  8. Regulatory 

All the tests are covered in all these categories, put your packaging in these respective features, and verify your data.

Compatibility Study 

Our first fundamental goal is to check compatibility studies with our packaging material if our product is newly developed and required packaging. Methodically conducted experiments, the study of the product is determined to be lacking, and strategies to mitigate the uncertainty of the outcome can be adopted. The guidelines and principles related to the product decided by the product RnD and conduct and interpretation of compatibility studies to help accelerate formulation development activities and prevent or minimize surprises in product development.

The category of the product can only decide the level of migration, and other features are required. If our product is passed, then only the next level is accomplished.

Read More

How to check the compatibility of a medical device with packaging material – Learn How

Compatibility study of MS Drum/Tin/Metal packaging material with the product

Stability Study

This research after the compatibility study because now we know which packaging material is suitable for analysis. This stability test has seven temperature zones to check its stability with packaging material if it is a pharmaceutical product. Others product has their zones for their stability and needs to check with R&D and the marketing team to verify the product selling area. Once identifying the material, it is easy for the further step without hesitating. Generally, the Packaging technologist chooses the packaging material in three categories for the analysis.

a. Robust packaging 

b. Less Robust 

c. Sustainable (if permitted)

a. Robust packaging in terms of thickness and barrier property, if the parameter of these packaging is up to the mark and of course, it will pass the stability test.

b. Less Robust packaging – The actual packaging is supposed to be launched with their expected design. If this packaging fails anyhow, the above packaging dimension that is robust will be chosen. That is why we do the testing with high robust packaging; we don’t have to pause in the selection of packaging material.

c. Sustainable Packaging material – In the same packaging material category, many companies choose sustainable options regarding recyclability, less thickness, and reuse opportunities. 

How temperature stability study of packaging material for pharmaceutical product

Back in history 1855, to understand the shelf life of food packaging

Difference between Shelf Life vs. Stability Study Experiments

Functional Study

After passing the stability test, the packaging material goes through a particular test fallen in this category. It belongs to the product and packaging machine-related such as capping torque, sealing features, folding option(monocarton), labeling, etc. The testing is based on your country’s norms and customer regulations.  

Packaging revolution
Sealing Test

Performance testing

The finished product has to go into the market, but it should comply with rigorous market feasibility, such as transport worthiness testing. This test purely depends on the logistic approach to product handling. So, the Packaging Technologist has to conduct the transport worthiness test to check whether our decided packaging is okay for the transport or not. The test is fallen into categories are such as drop test, impact test, etc. 

ECT vs. Compression Test vs. Stack load Test

Safety and Security Features

The other prominent difference between security and safety is that security guards against deliberate threats, while safety is secure against unintended threats. Security, in the meaning of packaging, covers everything from consumer tampering to bioterrorism to product counterfeiting.

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Overt and covert packaging systems are becoming more sophisticated—overt points to something visible on the package, such as many code or tamper-evident bands. Covert techniques require a scanner or other device for detection. Marking boxes with invisible, ultraviolet-luminescent ink is an example of covert security.

Aesthetic features

Aesthetics is a focus design principle that represents a design’s pleasing qualities. In visual terms, aesthetics incorporate balance, color, movement, pattern, scale, shape, and visual weight. Designers apply aesthetics to complement their designs’ usability and so improve functionality with attractive layouts.

Regulatory Checks

A regulatory check is a process that seeks to ensure compliance with regulations, laws, and policies in the usage of packaging material. The reviews are in place to provide companies, businesses, and individuals with compliance with relevant rules, policies, and laws regarding people’s hazardous safety and overall environmental safety.

After selecting packaging material on a lab-scale, this has to be executed for the complete production line trials.

So, Simple steps to execute the perfect line trial. 

It includes steps to prepare and execute a trial that will guarantee a successful and conclusive test. When preparing for a trial, it is essential to identify the 7 Ps: Purpose, Packaging, Product, Plant, People, Papers, and the Plan.

Purpose

Determining the problem and defining its scope provides the scope and goals of the packaging trial.

• Is there a new product being commercialized?

• Are there consumer complaints?

• Is there a more sustainable option?

• Are there shelf-life failures?

• Are we seeing damage to the packaging before ship or during distribution?

Packaging

When estimating what to test in a packaging trial, examine the primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging. The trial should not be restricted to only the elements concerning the product. Regarding all of the packaging, ingredients allow you to think outside of the box when a problem arises or

avoid those problems in the first place.

Product

Each product is the item we are defending and will be vital in recognizing problems on the line.

• Identify the product, its different needs, and its life cycle.

• Identify the product, unique product requirements, and its life cycle.

• Can the product be stored before the trial?

• Will the commodity be transported on a refrigerated truck or temperature-controlled transportation?

Plant

It is essential to thoroughly review the manufacturing site to estimate any unique conditions that might affect the packaging.

• Is this a co-manufacturer or a plant maintained by the company?

• Which plants are currently running the product?

• Are the warehouse and production site connected?

• Do all plants that will run the goods have the same equipment?

People

The team included with the trial is just as significant as the packaging being tested. Knowing who will need to allow the test plan and results make the trial process more efficient. A division list typically includes the plant manager, quality control, and product improvement because well as each cross-functional team member may need to accept samples or results.

Papers

Packaging requires a thorough and well-defined documentation process to implement cohesion and keep the trial process on track. Sample documentation involves:

• A Design Brief

• Trial Request Forms

• HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)

• Labels/Packaging for Samples

Plan

The experiment plan encompasses all other essential items in the arrangement list. The program should outline the different vital attentiveness in the trial, including the schedule, plant place, and specifications about the goods, such as their weight and all sizes in scope. The plan should be stated concisely but cover entirely the goals and what packaging will be assessed during the trial.

Planning Your Trial

Concentrating on the 7 Ps allows you to prepare for your trial adequately and enables damage to decrease and associated costs. This helps eliminate packaging-related recalls, optimizes the distribution cycle and guarantees the consumer accepts the product in a good situation.

Operating with a team like Adept to help you execute your trial has numerous advantages, such as a proven methodology, reduced interruptions or refocusing attention on the internal team, and proven results. If you had more detailed information on this topic, check out our freshly published white paper on the subject.

Vihaan Nagal

संवेष्टन अभियान्ता | Packaging Engineer | Verpackung Ingenieur *Free time blogger *Believe in packaging reform (say naa to orthodox packaging) My life lies between degradable and non-degradable material.

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