What does Smart Packaging mean?

Bernhard Hübscher, Managing Director of Rausch Packaging.MK Can you explain why packaging is not just a cover for the product, but also a marketing tool?BERNHARD HÜBSCHER A great example of how packaging can be used for marketing is printed carrier bags. In tests, they were seen 300 times in 20 minutes! So why not use them as free advertising space? The same [...]

Bernhard Hübscher, Managing Director Rausch Packaging.MK Can you explain why packaging is not just a cover for the product, but also a marketing tool?BERNHARD HÜBSCHER A great example of how packaging can be used for marketing is printed carrier bags. In tests, they were seen 300 times in 20 minutes! So why not use them as free advertising space? The same goes for beverage cups. The to-go cup has almost become an accessory, with consumption downright celebrated on the go. But that doesn't apply to a simple paper cup. Small local businesses can also benefit from having their individualized cup on the go in the city.Not to be forgotten are napkins. Consumers pick them up and wipe their mouths with them. Here, not only does an individualized design make a good impression, but also the quality of the napkin. How soft is it and does it not soak through too quickly? The customer expects more from a gourmet takeaway than from a small snack bar. The overall impression must be coherent.MK Coca-Cola has shown the way with its "Share a Coke" campaign: personalized packaging is well received. Can you explain this phenomenon?HÜBSCHER Customers already feel addressed by the branding. If their own name is also on the packaging, the consumer feels unique and well understood. This happens quite subconsciously. Packaging of this kind strengthens brand loyalty and ensures closeness to the customer.A similar approach can be observed at Starbucks. When ordering, the customer's name is noted on the cup, in the morning even with a smiley next to it. This makes them feel valued, which strengthens their bond with the company and increases the likelihood that they will get their next coffee at Starbucks again.MK You have already mentioned how important the visual and haptic impression of a product is. How can companies specifically win new customers with their packaging?HÜBSCHER In our globalized world, products are becoming more and more similar and are not only available on a national market. From this mass of items, companies must first stand out! How the brand is presented is therefore crucial to generate attention.Every time the customer comes into contact with the brand, he should have the same - positive - experience. A consistent look and feel is therefore of utmost importance. As already mentioned, customers first see the packaging and form an initial opinion about the product. In addition to the visual impression, the product's feel, smell and even sound must also be taken into account. This all contributes to the overall picture.MK The latest trend is smart packaging. What exactly does this mean and what potential do you see?HÜBSCHER As "smart" already expresses, these are intelligent packages that are networked thanks to a chip, for example. In the food sector, they can be used to provide information on the freshness of the product or its temperature. So if a product has already expired in terms of its best-before date, but is still fresh according to the packaging, it doesn't have to be thrown away. This can prevent food that is still good from being thrown away. Innovations such as electronic control mechanisms, oxygen absorbers or even antimicrobial film additionally extend the shelf life of food on its way to the store.For me, however, the term "smart" goes even further. Packaging can also be "smart" in terms of material, weight or functionality. The more efficient the packaging, the more manufacturers and customers benefit. This means, for example, that it can be packaged more quickly and cheaply, transported more safely, and consumed more easily out of the packaging.MK The range of delivery services that bring food is increasing. How can packaging be used to positively influence purchasing decisions?HÜBSCHER Especially for a delivery service, I think packaging is very important. After all, it has to fulfill several functions: The product should arrive safely at the customer and be well presented. When it comes to consumption, the customer can be convinced by easy handling. If the packaging is easy to open and close, he will be in a positive mood. If the food tastes fresh and no additional dishes are needed, he may order again soon. Functional and ideally branded packaging is therefore crucial to the success of a delivery service.MK Let's take a look into the future: Will packaging continue to gain in importance?HÜBSCHER I can only answer this question with a resounding "yes. The world is becoming more and more mobile and globalization continues to increase. Flexibility is needed here, whether you're sending goods to other countries or continents, operating online or offering takeaway food.MK Which of your customer projects do you remember most?HÜBSCHER A project comes to mind that has nothing at all to do with food and shows how creative packaging can be. A well-known men's and women's underwear manufacturer had developed a silk underwear line with milk proteins. In order to be able to show them in displays in a promotionally effective way, we realized coffee-to-go cups on which an attractive lady could be seen. The cups were filled with the washes and closed with a lid, just like a coffee-to-go. A really imaginative idea!MK Awareness of sustainability is growing all the time. What is your company doing for the environment?HÜBSCHER Anyone who is active in the packaging industry cannot avoid this topic. We want to live up to our responsibility and therefore pay attention to sustainable solutions. Our product range offers a large proportion of products made from appropriate materials, whether paper, a renewable and recyclable raw material, or biocompatible PLA, which is made up of lactic acid molecules.As far as possible, we use recycled materials without neglecting food safety. For take-away, we provide customers with cutlery made of wood or menu trays made of bagasse, which is obtained from natural residues from sugar cane production.We are particularly proud of the fact that we are the first full-range supplier to be FSC and PEFC certified since 2015. The raw materials used therefore demonstrably come from responsibly managed forests. They were of course also used in our new packaging line for snacks and takeaways "Frisch & fein".Internally, too, we handle resources responsibly. This is because in their day-to-day work, our employees also pay attention to the careful use of paper, electricity and water.MK What trends do you see for the packaging industry in 2017?HÜBSCHER The topic of environmental protection will continue to occupy us in the coming year. Customization will also become increasingly important. In addition, work is continuing on further reducing the minimum quantities for individual solutions. This means that even small businesses can use this marketing tool for themselves, or packaging can be produced for seasonal occasions.More about Rausch Packaging is available at here.

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