Oct 22

The ultimate information panel

Posted by Packaging Sense in Trends | Uncategorized

This panel should on purpose not be called the “back panel” as the word “back” immediately leads us to believe that something is less important. Another possible word could be “communication panel”, as the main purpose of this panel (be it side, top, bottom or back) is to achieve a dialogue with the consumer.

It is difficult to make a checklist of what has to be communicated and in which order (hierarchy) as it all depends on

–          if the package has one or several languages;
–          if it is a high involvement product, as for instance prepared fish;
–          if it is a low involvement product such as a soft drink or a snack bar;
–          if the package is a carton, a label or a bottle, etc.

However, there are a few suggestions that can be useful to any designer or marketing person when designing this panel.

First, delete what is not necessary! The fewer elements/information we have, the bigger, i.e. clearer we can make those which the consumer really needs. Therefore, it is suggested to

–          not repeat the brand, as the consumer has picked up the product and knows what brand it is;
–          not repeat the product denomination for the same reason.

If the product is one which needs preparation, this is the most important information and should therefore have the biggest type size in order to easily be read, even in the supermarket’s busy environment. The position can be anywhere, if highlighted, but obviously the preferred position is on top.

Each producer or brand should personalise the back panel by adding, even before the preparation, an introduction text such as “Hello! welcome to a tasty experience!” or “Thank you for having chosen our product!” or “To enjoy this soup, take your time!” in order to open a kind of dialogue to strengthen the emotional bond with the buyer.

Why then should the preparation text be first or biggest? For the simple reason that, if not properly prepared, there will be no repurchase!

In a world where prepared or ready to consume products can be considered as too industrial, it is important to install a dialogue with the consumer to overcome a possible negative opinion. This is done by highlighting as much as possible the consumer service address (telephone, snail-mail, e-mail or website). This is best done by using symbols such as a mobile phone or, why not, a smiling face?

Some products need big and clear nutritional information, be it an explanation, the product’s key nutrients or just the nutritional values in table form. On other products, this information can be small and just next to the ingredients list (obligatory), as very few consumers do need this information on products such as sweets, desserts or softdrinks. Let common sense prevail!

Very appreciated on certain products are tips of how to combine with other products or how to add further pleasure by adding cream, a drop of olive oil or a touch of wine.

As prepacked food and drinks in their packages are often seen as polluting the environment, it is essential to somewhere give clear instructions how to best get rid of the package, be it for recycling or just in the garbage. As each region, city or country have different legislation or collecting systems, it is difficult to give specific advice, but a sentence like “be a good citizen, dispose of thoughtfully” is no doubt of value.

It goes without saying that there are various legal symbols or texts that have to be added to the above, but as they do not interest the consumer, make it small, but legally correct. I’d like to see on all packages a kind of quality seal which tells the consumer that packaging is not something negative (ill.).

As word of mouth advertising is considered the most convincing method of reaching new consumers, it is suggested to sign off the panel with something like “if you like this product, tell your friends, if not, tell us… thank you!”

In fact, the best service panel for a food pack is a panel that communicates

  1. how to best enjoy the product;
  2. how to best establish a contact with the consumer;
  3. how to best explain nutrition;
  4. how to best group less interesting information;
  5. how to best dispose of the package.

    September 2014

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