Modern day packaging plays many roles, from containing and preserving products to informing customers about contents, ingredients, dosage instructions and so forth. It is also a valuable platform for brand communication, where product owners and marketers can display their brand identities, explain product benefits and inspire customers to buy their goods.
To understand how far packaging has come, it’s interesting to look back a few centuries.
A very brief history of packaging
• Natural materials
The earliest examples of packaging were made from natural materials, including reed baskets, wooden boxes and barrels, woven bags and so forth.
Records dating back to 1035 note the use of paper to wrap vegetables and spices at a market in Cairo, Egypt.
During the 18th century, tin plate was used for packaging snuff, tobacco and other items
• Canned goods
First invented by the French, the tin canning process was patented in Britain during 1810, with the world’s first commercial canning plant opening in London during 1813. This factory initially produced canned goods for the Royal Navy.
• Cartons and boxes
Corrugated boxes were first produced in 1817, in England. Prefabricated paperboard was invented in 1890.
With the industrial revolution, came a demand for mass-produced goods and packaging became an everyday item. To stand out on-shelf, product owners began creating their own brand identities, with messaging explaining the nature of their products, and why consumers should buy these items.
Of course, packaging as we know it today is a lot more advanced than it was during the industrial revolution – thanks to developments in digital technology and other innovations that have made packaging more interactive and informative.
This is both good news and bad news for manufacturers, as it means that the competition is fiercer than ever in the retail environment.
Fortunately, there are innovative on-pack communication solutions available today that can help you to:
• Stand out on shelf
• Run promotions on pack
• Include much more information on your label, in multiple languages
• Comply with industry labelling regulations cost-efficiently
• Interact, engage and inspire customers at the point of sale