A few issues back I interviewed a number of leaders in the packaging industry and one was Anton Steeman, a packaging engineer based in Brazil. Anton recently posted an article about blisters and clamshells and has allowed me to push it out to our readers. I will post it in 3 parts with the first installment here today. Enjoy.
Already for years you can’t sit quietly around a table during a birthday party with friends, discussing the oh-so simple solutions for the world problems and then telling them you’re a packaging specialist. Within seconds the whole crowd is rolling over you, blaming you for all the shortcomings in the world of packaging and, of course, particularly, with the skin packs, blister packaging and plastic clamshells. Blaming you, that you, personally, make life of the consumer a hell.
All world problems and their simple solutions are forgotten and the birthday party turns around in a court case with the obvious verdict. All companies presenting their products in blisters or clamshells as well as their packaging designers are idiots and packaging technologists aren’t worth their salt.
And I must say they have a point.
I don’t want to discuss the irritating packaging of a Barbie or some other idiotic doll, which is once a year bought as a present and for which all the tools in the household have to be used to finally free the oh-so desired toy from its shackles. No, that situation is of no importance and by the way gives some extra flavour to the birthday party discussions.
No, the irritation with blister and clamshell packaging is in the day-to-day environment. The product the consumer uses and consequently buys almost daily and let him time-after-time fight to open the packaging.
According to pro-consumer group Which? almost 90% of people resort to scissors, more than 60% grab a knife, 4% deploy a razor blade and 2% take to it with a hammer, as far as trying to open moulded plastic packaging is concerned.
Consequently Which? states that consumer purchasing behaviour is influenced by the packaging they’re presented with. Some 20% of people might not buy certain foods if the packaging looks like it might present a challenge, while 75% are adamant that, these days, packaging is unnecessarily hard to open.
Joanna Pearl, a researcher at Which? said: “If you bought a car you’d be furious if it proved difficult to open the door, but the struggle to get into everyday packaged goods is seen as something we must tolerate”.
Moulded plastic ‘clamshell’ packaging as well as blisters are the leading causes of frustration, followed by shrink wrapping and peel-off coverings. And as heat-sealed plastic clamshells are the most hated packaging, we do, consequently, face the well-known advice that they should be avoided by manufacturers at all costs.
And, of course, what do you think the answer of the industry is? Dick Searle, chief executive of the Packaging Federation, the ‘over-arching’ trade association for the UK Packaging Manufacturing Industry, admitted that some clamshell packs were unnecessarily difficult to get into, but said: “If you are opening a food pack, in a kitchen, you are likely to have a pair of scissors to hand”.
As short-sighted as ever!
Fortunately there are some companies, which have a more nuanced approach to the problem. Let’s have a look at the latest progressive developments in blister packaging and clamshells.
More on that in the next post. Stay tuned. Learn more at http://www.ctipack.com