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FMCG Packaging Evaluation

Find out how customers interact with your packaging ideas and how to change designs to make them more effective!

Changing packaging design is a complicated and risky task for product manufacturers. Marketing teams communicate their ideal vision of the packaging design to a designer, who then goes away and develops a few options for clients to choose from. However, this process assumes that both parties have completely understood the needs of the project and have the same objective in mind. Where the process fails most often, is that both marketing teams and designers are not the intended target audience for the product. This results in packaging designs or multiple changes that don’t end up meeting the consumer’s needs and wants.

The process of packaging design change usually involves a screening process, where a larger number of designs are presented by the designer and these are then whittled down until a few final designs are chosen, based on the preferences of the marketing team or management. Packaging needs to be evaluated through the eyes of the consumer buying or using the product. Therefore, we recommend the ideal research approach, which looks at packaging from the consumer perspective, including several phases.

Evaluating New Designs

When the decision has been made, to change packaging designs – the consumer’s input must be gained from very early stages. These initial stages of research must identify the elements that consumers absolutely cannot go without seeing on a product, for instance, what are the recognition triggers of the brand e.g. Chappie the chipmunk on Chappies, tomatoes on tomato sauce or the enzyme on Ariel washing powder, etc. In some cases, a colour suggests that this is the original product, for example, the blue on Surf washing powder and the red & black for Black cat peanut butter.

Once the recognition triggers are identified, we can reduce the risk of packaging design changes quite substantially. The next step is to filter through packaging designs, in order to get to the most effective designs, those that communicate the brand values and overall message most accurately. This usually consists of quantitative interviews, where consumers can provide an opinion on individual packaging designs.

Our questions are structured to gather not only if the consumer likes the packaging, but also what they feel the packaging is communicating about the brand.

The research design at this stage should include aspects such as:

  • Ability to catch attention/ Recognition triggers

  • The likelihood of consumers buying the product in the new packaging design

  • Uniqueness

  • The extent to which the packaging design is in line with the overall brand positioning

Market research is never perfect, but it is still a better route to follow than making radical packaging design changes of highly reputable brands without consulting the consumer.

Understanding the category in which you are operating

This is usually a qualitative approach, which involves formal and informal observation of how consumers interact with packaging.

The following questions are covered during this observation process:

  • Do they buy from the shelf without engaging with the packaging or do they engage with the packaging?

  • How long do they take to decide on whether to buy the product?

  • When they get home, do they generally re-package products, or do they keep them in their original packaging?

  • What do they expect to see on the packaging for a specific category i.e. what are the recognition triggers for a category?

Discovering consumer expectations and interactions with packaging can be done in many ways. Most of these approaches are qualitative research approaches, which allows for more insightful information. Understanding the category in which you are operating in should be the starting point for all packaging design changes or packaging design development.

Benefits of Packaging Design Evaluation

Packaging Design Evaluation is helping brands produce consumer focused packaging

  • Helps your products stand out from your competitors, helps to intrigue customers enough to pick up your product and take a closer look.

  • During an evaluation process you get to learn what works for your product and your target audience.

  • Reinforces brand recognition and assists in marketing.

FMCG Packaging Evaluation Services South Africa - Packaging Evaluation

Frequently Asked Questions


How do you test packaging design?


The opinion of customers helps you to decide whether your packaging is meeting with strategies identified up-front. This research can be done using qualitative groups or in quantitative face-to-face interviews, depending on the set objectives.


Do I need to test my product’s packaging design before launch?


Yes, by testing your packaging design before launching, you can turn what would otherwise be a wild guess into a calculated risk, boosting your chances of success tremendously.


What makes a great packaging design?


One that has been tested along the way and meets consumer and client expectation.

Turning data into insight through people-centred marketing research

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