Food packaging that is a buffet for the senses

11 September, 23
Thinking about packaging from a multi-sensory perspective can lead to a persuasively immersive consumer experience, writes Easyfairs' James Montero-MacColl

Thinking about packaging from a multi-sensory perspective can lead to a persuasively immersive consumer experience, writes Easyfairs’ James Montero-MacColl

The power of packaging design is often overlooked as our purchases and transactions increasingly migrate online. That said, it is fast becoming something successful marketers and brands understand and celebrate.

Packaging is often the first way customers interact with a product, but it is easy to forget that doing so is a deeply sensory experience.

When people assess something they might buy, without realising it they transfer sensations or impressions about the packaging to the product.

That’s precisely why seductive, touchable packaging sells. It effectively builds valuable connections with consumers.

By strategically considering how packaging sounds, smells, looks, and feels, you can tap into the interconnected nature of our senses to create a memorable and immersive brand experience.

Close your eyes and imagine this…

With a touch of elegance, a dash of fragrance, a symphony of sensations, and the power of sound, you’ll transform your packaging into a gateway to a world your customers won’t resist.

Of our five senses, vision is often the first to come to mind in terms of pack design, but in truth, the process of selecting and interacting with a product and its pack goes much further.

What do we feel as we pick the pack up from the shelf, carry it, and open it at home? What do we feel or smell? What sound does it make as you hold it, or as it moves?

At its new home, the ExCeL London, London Packaging Week will again demonstrate the fundamental power of sensory cues in creating culturally exciting and meaningful packaging.

Sensory cues are a vital part of packaging semiotics. Whether adding subtle touch, smell, and sound details or creating an all-out feast for the senses, understanding the meaning of these cues and aligning it with the values and benefits you want to communicate is essential.

When you are so familiar with your packaging design and haven’t considered it from the perspective of a new customer in a while, it may be difficult to identify what stands out.

That’s where it pays to involve those immersed in the packaging design world. London’s vibrant home for packaging innovation and design will walk you through that immersive process, where the right materials and shapes are matched to the desired sensory cues that trigger a positive response in the consumer’s mind.

From material research to manufacturing and finishing processes, the two-day, four-sector showpiece events are designed to help luxury brand owners leverage the potential that materials have to fine-tune the perceived value of the packaging design and, therefore, the brand.

Multi-sensory packaging is a new sensorial frontier

Standing out becomes the ultimate challenge in a world where every brand is clamouring for attention. Attention is the new oil and you’ll need to engage all your customers’ senses to truly captivate your audience.

Our senses are the secret sauce that fuels our perception. Whether it’s the mesmerising sights, the whispering of sweet nothings, the tantalising tastes, the alluring scents, or the tactile textures, they all work in harmony to decode the world around us.

When cleverly infused into the branding mix, sensory stimuli become the ultimate memory-makers, leaving an indelible mark in the minds and hearts of your audience. The quest here is to make sure packaging goes beyond its functional aspects—it reflects the brand personality and creates a sense of anticipation and excitement when customers unbox their products. Sleek designs, premium materials, and meticulous attention to detail contribute to the overall sensory experience.

Scientific research has repeatedly proven that our perception of one sense directly influences our perception of others. So, as you conduct your orchestra of partners and suppliers, it’s this symphony of sensations that can elevate your brand to new heights.

When we see, touch, hear, smell, and even taste a product, our brain weaves together these sensory inputs to create a holistic perception beyond the sum of its parts. On a subconscious level, most of us don’t distinguish between the packaging and the product, but the entire offering is the pack and the product combined.

This is why visual and physical sensory dimensions should be explored when creating your packaging. How the product smells, sounds, and feels in their hands; tiny sensory impressions like these quickly add up and form the basis of an overall impression.

And that’s why many online brands harness packaging’s power to elicit an emotional response that lingers, surprises and delights. Yes, the allure and appeal of these brands begin with the ease and convenience of online shopping and ordering. Still, the arrival and unboxing of packaging is an opportunity to enhance and elevate the experience.

Sensations are food for the brain

Packaging now comes with the promise of a satisfying sensory experience that ultimately builds trust and loyalty.

It is a competitive advantage to build in multi-sensory cues throughout the product interaction experience, from shelf to home, from smell to touch, from sound to sight, and from unboxing to closing mechanisms.

Often overlooked in favour of focusing on the pack visual and language cues, the other sensory signals can be critical to establishing the difference between a category-generic brand and a culturally relevant one.

Remember, sensory packaging is about captivating hearts, minds, and wallets with the irresistible allure of multi-sensory enchantment. The goal is to create a holistic experience that leaves a positive and lasting impression on your customers.

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