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How Technology is Enhancing Retail Packaging

Published on: 11 Jul, 2024
How Technology is Enhancing Retail Packaging

In 2010, retail food packaging grew by about 3% globally. Now, that’s similar to what we saw in 2009, again about 3% in 2007. In 2008, that was down to about 2%, and that was the height of the recession. In value terms in 2010, we see growth at about 1.7%, so much lower but still positive. Consumers are still looking for value-added products and still enabling growth, despite a lot of brand owners pushing the economy option through buy one, get one free, and other economy options.

Targeting Generation Z Strategies

One way that brand owners are aiming to add more value to their product and therefore increase margins is by targeting particular demographics. One interesting demographic that we see at the moment is Generation Z. However, one of the reasons these are quite interesting is simply because they’re a very large group. They currently account for 21% of the global population, the biggest demographic group there is, and so clearly an ideal target group for brand owners.

Replicate retail packaging according to your consumers

So, how do we aim to get to this group, Generation Z? 

Well, their particular psychological profile, if you wish, is individualistic. This is the first group who’ve grown up with iPhones, computers, and smart, intelligent things being an everyday part of their life. So, one marketing tactic is to use retail packaging that reflects that kind of interactive lifestyle. One thing we see, for example, is the launch by Cadbury in Egypt of the SMS chocolate bar. They have custom printed retail packaging with things similar to text messages like “hello” and “I love you”: things that you might send as a text message. These are not interactive, but they replicate something that the consumer group is familiar with.

Customized consumer experiences with custom retail packaging

But there are more interesting, more intelligent ways that you can interact with consumers through that virtual sphere. So, what we’re seeing is increasingly the use of 2D barcodes, things like QR codes. 

Earlier this year in America, for candy retail packaging, we saw the use of a 2D barcode that took consumers directly through to its Twitter and Facebook sites. So, use the packaging to show the social networking clients do. It should also guide people.  For example, the packaging can link to social media. Also, it can help customers interact with the brand. This way, the packaging is more than a container.  

Reaching young consumers through 2D barcodes

Increasingly, marketers are realizing that social networking is the only way that really you’re going to get through to these young consumers. It’s not just young consumers who are using these 2D barcodes. 

So, for example, one area where we see them being used is where consumers really want to see more information. One product that is perfect for this is wine. For example, people want to know the wine’s region and what foods it goes well with. To help with this, you can use apps. First, you just take a picture of the wine bottle. Then, the app will show you information like price comparisons and online reviews. But that really takes control out of the producer and into the hands of the service provider. Obviously, as a producer, this could hurt your sales. If people see the item is more expensive elsewhere, they might not buy it. Or, if there is a bad online review, it could also stop people from buying it.

Linking consumers with QR code

However, using a QR code on the retail box instantly gives you that link to the consumer and gives you control. So, when the consumer scans on that, they get taken through to the information that you want them to see. Therefore, you can build the brand story that you want them to see rather than something that could damage you.

Global Internet Consumer Trends

Another personality trait that the 1.4 million Generation Z consumers have is being individualistic. And obviously, food is something that touches you in a personal way. That’s why brand owners use phrases on their retail packaging such as “homemade, just like Mom used to make” in order to feed on that kind of emotion.

Work with technology-oriented retail packaging supplier

Gator packaging, in the US, has decided to launch a personalized pack. So, you go online and fill in the pictures and details you want. They produce a pack specifically for you. Right now, this is very high-end and costs more than in-store items. However, with the growth of digital printing and online retailing, this might change. It can’t be long before we see that permeating the food market. So slide into their DM or call them to know your preferences. They are the best retail box wholesalers in America with 98% good reviews.


In a nutshell, thinking about Generation Z consumers, it’s easy to assume they are Western and internet-savvy. But, this is a mistake. Especially, considering that by 2020, more than half of all internet users will be in Asia-Pacific. So, this stands out as an opportunity globally.

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