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Muhammad Arshad bin Abdul Rashid


Industrial processing of food, reduced consumption of animal protein, importation of raw materials
and ingredients to be converted in the United States, and scarcity of time to select/prepare food
from fresh ingredients have enhanced innovation in food and beverage packaging. The continued
quest for innovation in food and beverage packaging is mostly driven by consumer needs and
demands influenced by changing global trends, such as increased life expectancy, fewer
organizations investing in food production and distribution (Lord 2008), and regionally abundant
and diverse food supply. The use of food packaging is a socioeconomic indicator of increased
spending ability of the population or the gross domestic product as well as regional (rural as
opposed to urban) food availability. Food packaging also emerging innovations in active and
intelligent packaging (such as oxygen scavengers and moisture control agents), packaging
mechanisms that control volatile flavors and aromas (such as flavor and odor absorbers), and
cutting-edge advances in food packaging distribution (such as radio frequency identification and
electronic product codes).

Many packaging innovations occurred during the period between World War I and World War II;
these include aluminum foil, electrically powered packaging machinery, plastics such as
polyethylene and polyvinylidene chloride, aseptic packaging, metal beer cans, flexographic
printing, and flexible packaging. Most of these developments helped immeasurably in World War
II by protecting military goods and foods from extreme conditions in war zones. Later at 20th
century innovations include active packaging (oxygen controllers, antimicrobials, respiration
mediators, and odor/aroma controllers) and intelligent or smart packaging. Distribution packaging
is already influenced by the potential role of radio frequency identification for tracking purposes.
In 21st century innovations are related to nanotechnology whose future may lie in improving
barrier and structural/mechanical properties of packaging materials and development of sensing

The importance of packaging design as a vehicle for communication and branding. Visual package
elements play a major role, representing the product for many consumers, especially in low
involvement, and when they are rushed. Most focus group participants say they use label
information, but they would like it if simplified. The challenge for researchers is to integrate
packaging into an effective purchasing decision model, by understanding packaging elements as
important marketing communications tools. Packaged food products are moving into larger
supermarkets and hypermarkets, and there is a proliferation of products, offering consumers vast
choice. The competitive context is ever more intense, both in the retail store and household. With
the move to self-service retail formats, packaging increases its key characteristic as the salesman
on the shelf at the point of sale.

On one hand, some consumers are paying more attention to label information, as they become
more concerned about health and nutrition. These consumers are more involved in the product
decision and use package information more extensively. On the other hand, modern consumers are
often looking for ways to reduce time spent on food shopping and preparation. Four main
packaging elements potentially affect consumer purchase decisions, which can be separated into
two categories: visual and informational elements. The visual elements consist of graphics and
size/shape of packaging, and relate more to the affective side of decision-making. Informational
elements relate to information provided and technologies used in the package, and are more likely
to address the cognitive side of decisions. Moreover, the lack of substantial evaluation often results
in the inability to distinguish much difference among leading brands. A common result is relatively
weak habit brand loyalty. Thus, when consumers find a brand which meets their standards, they
tend to stay satisfied with it, especially, if they are constantly reminded of the brand. But they
are not very committed, and substitute easily when it is not available.

(610 words)


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Silayoi, P., & Speece, M. (2004). Packaging and purchase decisions: An exploratory study on the
impact of involvement level and time pressure. British food journal, 106(8), 607-628.