Packaging and Labeling


Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of designing, evaluating, and producing packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells. In many countries it is fully integrated into government, business, institutional, industrial, and personal use.

Packaging has four distinct marketing functions, according to the book “Essentials of Marketing,” by Charles W. Lamb and colleagues. It contains and protects your product. It promotes your product. It helps consumers use your product — for example, by allowing them to reseal it between uses. Finally, packaging facilitates recycling and reduces environmental damage.

Packaging Types

Packaging consists of several different types. For example, a transport package or distribution package is the package form used to ship, store, and handle the product or inner packages. Some identify a consumer package as one that is directed toward a consumer or household.

It is sometimes convenient to categorize packages by layer or function: “Primary,” “secondary,” etc.

(i) Primary packaging is the material that first envelops the product and holds it. This usually is the smallest unit of distribution or use and is the package that is in direct contact with the contents. Primary packaging examples- Aerosol spray can, Bags-In-Boxes, Beverage can, Wine box, Bottle, Blister pack, Carton, Cushioning, Envelope, Plastic bag, Plastic bottle.

(ii) Secondary packaging is outside the primary packaging—perhaps used to group primary packages together. Secondary packaging examples– Box, Carton, Shrink wrap

(iii) Tertiary packaging is used for bulk handling and shipping. Tertiary packaging examples– Bale, Barrel, Crate, Container, Edge protector, Intermediate bulk, container, Pallet, Slip sheet, Stretch wrap.


Your product’s label delivers your sales message. You can explain what benefits you offer that competitors don’t, for example, or promote a prize or discount. You also can develop brand goodwill by showing customers you share their values. For instance, images of happy families, healthy athletes and green pastures each speak to different types of consumers.

Labels also must fulfill your legal obligations. Food manufacturers, for example, must publish detailed nutritional information in a specific format and employ marketing terms — such as “low-fat” or “reduced cholesterol” — that conform to federal regulations. Finally, your product might need a UPC, or universal product code, especially if it will be sold in high-volume retail outlets.

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The objectives of packaging and package labeling

(i) Physical Protection: The objects enclosed in the package may require protection from, among other things, shock, vibration, compression, temperature, etc.

(ii) Barrier Protection: A barrier from oxygen, water vapor, dust, etc., is often required. Package permeability is a critical factor in design. Some packages contain desiccants, or oxygen absorbers, to help extend shelf life. Modified atmospheres or controlled atmospheres are also maintained in some food packages. Keeping the contents clean, fresh, and safe for the intended shelf life is a primary function.

(iii) Containment or Agglomeration: Small objects are typically grouped together in one package for reasons of efficiency. For example, a single box of 1,000 pencils requires less physical handling than 1,000 single pencils. Liquids, powders, and flowables need containment.

(iv) Information transmission: Packages and labels communicate how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product. With pharmaceutical, food, medical, and chemical products, some types of information are required by governments.

(v) Marketing: The packaging and labels can be used by marketers to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product. Package design has been an important and constantly evolving phenomenon for dozens of years. Marketing communications and graphic design are applied to the surface of the package and (in many cases) the point of sale display.

(vi) Security: Packaging can play an important role in reducing the security risks of shipment. Packages can be made with improved tamper resistance to deter tampering and also can have tamper-evident features to help indicate tampering. Packages can be engineered to help reduce the risks of package pilferage: Some package constructions are more resistant to pilferage and some have pilfer-indicating seals. Packages may include authentication seals to help indicate that the package and contents are not counterfeit. Packages also can include anti-theft devices, such as dye-packs, RFID tags, or electronic article surveillance tags which can be activated or detected by devices at exit points and require specialized tools to deactivate. Using packaging in this way is a means of loss prevention.

(vii) Convenience: Packages can have features that add convenience in distribution, handling, display, sale, opening, re-closing, use, and reuse.

(viii) Portion Control: Single-serving or single-dosage packaging has a precise amount of contents to control usage. Bulk commodities (such as salt) can be divided into packages that are a more suitable size for individual households. It also aids the control of inventory: Selling sealed one-liter bottles of milk, rather than having people bring their own bottles to fill themselves.

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