Most consumers know that wood fibers come from trees, steel from iron ore and aluminium from bauxite. Most of us may also know that, with 8%, aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. We also know that, when recycled, it uses much less energy than when extracted from bauxite. 75% of all aluminium produced is still in use, as short life products such as packaging and as long life goods for buildings, automobiles, etc.
So we know quite a lot about aluminium from a technical point-of-view. But how about another area, such as communication, as this site mainly deals with that part of package design? Well, I believe we have more to learn…
We know that aluminium has a quite positive image among consumers as they understand that it protects foodstuff extremely well. Think of the aluminium foil you use in the kitchen! I just wonder why we so often hide it with illustrations, text, etc. so the consumer hardly sees that the material used for the pouch or the can is aluminium? You may say “it’s the same for steel”. Yes, it is. Steel has equally a good image as protection, although a more old-fashioned one.
Some of today’s products packed in alufoil could never have been such a success without the shiny thin alufoil. Just think of Ferrero Rocher and all those chocolate marshmallows that you find in Scandinavia and Germanic countries!
Why is Nespresso not really worried, seeing all the copies that are coming on the market? Well, because those plastic variants are perceived as offering less good protection compared with aluminium foil.
That’s one of the many reasons why I should like to see this shiny material, as on the Camembert pack, the Zweifel ‘Big Pack XXL’, the Coop chewing gum or the Capri-Sun, not to forget a quality bar of chocolate. When will we see the foil on Maggi or Knorr soup sachets as we do on the Maggi cubes?
I believe that there are great opportunities for pack designers to let the material “speak” more prominently thanks to aluminium packages, although I have little hope, as today’s designers often realize their packs looking at a computer screen, forgetting the touch element…