A Cautionary Tale of Packaging Supply: Going Direct, Going for Price, and Going for Broke.
September 30, 2019
We’ve all heard the saying “You get what you pay for”, but for many, it doesn’t seem to overcome the human craving for obtaining the lowest possible price for goods and services. Packaging is no different. The majority of brand owners that first come into contact with a packaging supplier are primarily concerned about price- not quality, not safety, not guarantees- the bottom line comes first.
What is interesting, however, is the nearsightedness of the idea of ‘price’. For many first-time packaging buyers, the cost of their packaging is simply the number on the bottom of the quote page. But the real cost of packaging goes much, much deeper. Packaging is the first perception of a product on the retail shelf, where it’s influencing purchasing decisions. Even after the product is bought, the packaging continues to play a role in determining whether the end consumer will re-purchase a product, depending on how functional or pleasing the packaging is for use.
So what’s the real cost of cheap packaging?
Nicole Mahler from Delicious Foods Australia knows all too well. Presenting at Propak Asia in Bangkok this year, she bravely acknowledged the trials and tribulations of going direct to factories in China and India in order to cut costs.
If people saw the conditions factories which produce budget packaging products, they wouldn’t want to use it for packing generic retail products, more or less for packaging human food. Out of sight, out of mind- right…?
So why don’t we see the big picture of packaging?
Because we don’t respect packaging. People view it as a low-value product, without considering the value it can adds not only to the brand, but to the community as a whole. We see packaging as a ‘piece of plastic’, one with increasing negative associations and that doesn’t deserve recognition for the service it actually provides. Packaging is more than plastic- it is food security and shelf-life, it is brand recognition and a consumer influencer, it helps fight food waste and provides functionality to both brand owners and end-consumers alike.
Packaging is important. While it seems people have to fly too close to the sun and get burned before realising this, like Nicole, they always discover that paying less now might cost much, much more in the future- and we’re not only talking money here.