Beyond The Box: How Packaging Impacts Your Brand

Packaging serves as a crucial element for businesses, shaping how products are perceived by consumers. However, the excessive waste generated by oversized and unnecessary packaging poses environmental challenges. Despite efforts to optimise packaging for efficiency, human involvement in the packing process often leads to accidental or intentional mismatches between product size and container.

Packaging psychologically influences brand perception, and interestingly, larger packages are often associated with better value. Some companies strategically use packaging to evoke specific emotions or associations to enhance their brand image.

To address packaging waste, sustainability advocates encourage the adoption of recyclable and compostable materials, alongside innovative packaging technologies. While progress has been made, collaboration across the supply chain is necessary to achieve meaningful change in packaging sustainability.


Packaging Waste Statistics


Recent data from the European Commission sheds light on packaging waste trends across the 27 EU Member States and some non-EU countries from 2010 to 2021. In 2021, the EU generated an estimated 188.7 kg of packaging waste per person, with significant variations among countries, ranging from 73.8 kg in Croatia to 246.1 kg in Ireland. Paper and cardboard, plastic, glass, wood, and metal were the most common packaging materials, with paper and cardboard leading at 40.3%.

Overall, packaging waste generation increased by 24.2% from 2010 to 2021, totaling 84.3 million tonnes in 2021 alone. Notably, wood packaging waste saw a significant rise of 19.0%, while paper and cardboard increased by 3.9%. Plastic, glass, and metal also experienced slight upticks.

Despite these increases, recycling and recovery rates have remained relatively stable, with the recycling rate standing at 64.0% in both 2020 and 2021. However, the recovery rate slightly declined to 80.0% in 2021. Belgium led in recovery rates, achieving 99.1%, followed by Germany at 80.4%.

The data highlights the ongoing challenge of managing packaging waste sustainably, with efforts focused on meeting recovery and recycling targets set by the Packaging Waste Directive. While progress has been made, there’s still work to be done to address the environmental impact of packaging waste across the EU.


What Does Eco-Friendly Packaging Look Like?


Businesses can minimise their environmental impact and meet customer demands by using eco-friendly packaging. Sustainable packaging reduces waste, conserves natural resources, and enhances brand reputation. Adopting eco-friendly packaging demonstrates corporate responsibility and supports long-term sustainability goals, fostering customer loyalty and trust.

Biodegradable Packaging:
Made from materials that can decompose naturally, such as plant-based plastics or paper, biodegradable packaging breaks down into organic matter without harming the environment.

Compostable Packaging:
Similar to biodegradable packaging, compostable packaging is designed to decompose under specific conditions, usually in industrial composting facilities. This type of packaging leaves behind nutrient-rich compost.

Recycled Packaging:
This type of packaging uses materials like recycled paper, cardboard, or plastics. Recycling packaging reduces the need for new raw materials and minimises waste sent to landfills.

Reusable Packaging:
These are containers or bags that can be reused multiple times. Glass jars, metal tins, or cloth bags are some examples. They help reduce single-use packaging waste and promote a circular economy.

Minimalist Packaging:
This type of packaging uses simplified designs that use fewer materials. It eliminates unnecessary elements like excess plastic or packaging layers, reducing the overall environmental impact.


Why Is Packaging Practically Important?


Packaging is a critical component of the entire product delivery process. It serves various practical purposes that are essential in ensuring that the product reaches the consumer in good condition.

Firstly, it protects the product during transportation and storage. This is especially important for fragile or perishable items that can easily get damaged.

Secondly, packaging provides essential information about the product, such as ingredients, nutritional value, and usage instructions, which helps consumers make informed decisions.

Additionally, packaging facilitates handling and distribution, making it easier for retailers to stock and display products on shelves.


How Does Packaging Influence Brand Perception?


As competition intensifies in evolving markets, companies strive for every advantage, often turning their focus to product packaging. Beyond its fundamental role of housing and protecting products, packaging plays a crucial role in retail and e-commerce settings.

Packaging serves various functions throughout a product’s journey, from manufacturing to final delivery. It not only protects the product during transit but also acts as a marketing tool on retail shelves. The design of packaging can significantly influence consumer behaviour, prompting questions about how customers perceive it, whether they make impulse purchases, and if they recognise the brand instantly.



The Psychology Of Packaging


Understanding the psychology behind packaging is important for businesses aiming to increase brand awareness and consumer engagement. The colours, design, and materials used in packaging can evoke specific emotions and perceptions among consumers, influencing their purchasing decisions.

Colour plays a crucial role in attracting consumers’ attention, with vibrant hues standing out on crowded shelves. Design is equally important, with premium packaging conveying quality and exclusivity, ultimately influencing repeat purchases and social sharing.

Familiarity is a key aspect of packaging psychology, as consumers tend to gravitate towards brands they know and trust. Packaging often reflects a company’s values and vision, offering insight into its identity and mission.

In today’s environmentally conscious world, consumers increasingly prioritise sustainability. Eco-friendly packaging materials resonate with environmentally conscious buyers, driving preference towards brands committed to sustainability practices.

Accessibility And Transparency:
Accessibility and clear product information are also essential considerations in packaging design, ensuring all consumers can interact with the product safely and effectively.

Packaging serves as more than just a container; it’s a powerful tool that shapes consumer perceptions and buying decisions. By understanding the psychology behind packaging, companies can leverage it to enhance their brand image, drive sales, and foster customer loyalty.


5 Companies With Clever Packaging


These five companies have grabbed our attention with their unique packaging designs that stand out on the shelves. Each package evokes a particular feeling, inviting consumers to explore the brand. Notice how the packaging makes you feel and what perceptions of the brand it elicits. From minimalist and sleek designs to vibrant and playful ones, these companies have created packaging that protects their products and enhances the overall brand experience.


1. Greenomic – Good Hair Day Pasta


Greenomic’s pasta packaging is innovative and sustainable, reflecting their commitment to eco-friendly practices. They use biodegradable materials and minimalist designs to reduce environmental impact.


2. Charm Villa – Goldfish Tea Bags


charmvilla tea


Charm Villa’s goldfish-shaped teabags packaging is whimsical and eye-catching, adding a playful touch to tea time.


3. Whiskey River Soap Co. – Pencils For People

Whiskey-River-Soap-Co pencils

Whiskey River Soap Co. crafts artisanal soaps and grooming products with quirky and irreverent packaging designs. From witty product names to humorous illustrations and pop culture references, their packaging adds a playful and fun element to everyday grooming routines.


4. Mociun – Jewellery Boxes


Mociun jewellery boxes


Mociun’s packaging is renowned for its artistic flair and eco-conscious design. They often use recycled materials and minimalist yet striking graphics. Each piece feels like a work of art.


5. Seedlip – Non-Alcoholic Spirits




Seedlip’s packaging is sleek and minimalist, reflecting the brand’s focus on natural ingredients and sophisticated taste.