Packaging for the Senses

Two teenagers sitting and drinking from beverage cans
Monday, January 21, 2019

Consumer demand drives product proliferation across a wide variety of food and beverage categories. In order to keep their interest at point of sale, brands are increasingly going the extra mile to capture consumer attention. On second thought, let’s change that to five miles – representing the five senses that manufacturers can tap into with metal packaging solutions.

First, there is sight. In addition to a vast array of decorative finishes available to brands using metal packaging – from matte and gloss to crackle, marble and even thermochromic – there is a new generation of products emerging that can stimulate consumers in the form of Augmented Reality (AR). Now, through dedicated applications, it is possible to view the contents of a package via a mobile device, delivering the proverbial “wow” factor every time. Additionally, through unique codes printed onto packages, consumers can interact directly with a brand, through competitions and games, for example, fostering brand loyalty while also providing valuable data to on consumer behavior.

Next is sound. There is nothing more evocative in the packaging world than the sound of new jars popping or beverage cans opening. These sounds are reassuring to consumers and convey freshness and package integrity. Looking to the future, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that micro speakers could be employed to create new sound effects in response to consumer interaction with a package.

Touch is vital and encompasses both ease of use and functionality. Ergonomic shaping to make products easier to grip is already available, as are tactile finishes to make those packages more pleasing to the touch. Add in easy-open options, such as those that are found on metal food cans and closures that make opening a glass jar a breeze, and the correlation between touch and functionality is clear. 

Let us not forget smell – particularly where the packaging format is also used as a drinking vessel. The 360 End® can be completely removed from a beverage can, for example, instantly turning it into the metal equivalent of a glass. This functionality allows for the aromas to hit the drinker’s olfactory senses straight away – transforming their enjoyment of a product in a highly positive way. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we come to taste. Light and oxygen are the enemies of food and beverage products, significantly contributing to their premature degradation. By using metal packaging, brands can eliminate this challenge with the full hermetic seal that is created once a product is filled that is impermeable to both infiltrators.

How consumers interact with products is transforming rapidly. For metal packaging producers like Crown, it is vital to keep innovating to ensure that all senses can be stimulated to the benefit of consumer engagement and ultimately, enjoyment of a product. It is the new ‘sixth sense’ of consumer packaging and the journey promises to be an exciting one!