According to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), in 2010 supermarkets carried an average of more than 38,000 items. With this type of intense competition for consumer attention, it is vital that manufacturers take active steps to differentiate their products on store shelves.

Recent advances in printing technology have yielded enhanced solutions for food packaging that can maximize in-store presence and increase brand awareness. For example, multi-sensory packaging options appeal to consumers’ senses of sight, touch and even smell, greatly enhancing the overall consumer experience and increasing the likelihood of a purchase decision. In many cases, these new technologies also provide sustainability benefits, as well as increased manufacturing efficiency.

Just as important as utilizing the latest printing technology, it is also essential to identify the right supplier. Collaborating with an experienced packaging supply partner to design enhanced food packaging can result in striking food packaging, helping ensure brand awareness and integrity.

Eye-catching effects

One way to make an immediate impression is through the use of attention-grabbing holographic and metallic images on packaging. The right supply partner with advanced printing capabilities can apply holographic images during the printing processes using metalized inks, embossing a coating to create the effect. This specialty printing technique eliminates the need for holographic MetPET, as well as secondary process of laminating PET to paperboard, bringing cost and weight reductions, as well as increased brand awareness.

Other advanced decorative enhancements include mirror metallic finish and selective patterned reproduction to effectively draw consumer attention to product packaging. Patterned metalized direct transfer technology has replaced conventional hot stamping or full MetPET laminations. This innovative process provides full color overprint capabilities, is RFID compatible, and does not change the key characteristics of the carton (i.e. opening force, adhesive, etc.).

Palpable packaging

Studies suggest a direct correlation between consumer touch and purchasing decisions. Advances in decorative printing have yielded specialty tactile effects, such as press applied UV or water-base coating, that can be used to create a velvety feel. Other tactile enhancements include a renticular coating that brings a textured finish that consumers can both see and touch. A knowledgeable supply partner can cost-effectively apply these finishes in-line using flexo or primography printing processes with a high-volume specialty anilox to control ink.

Attractive aromas

There is no better finish to help differentiate food products than labels that consumers can actually smell. Microencapsulation, or “scratch ‘n’ sniff” technology can be applied to create packaging that offers an impactful in-store experience for the consumer. Perfect for food and beverages where aroma plays an active role (i.e. coffee), eye-catching packaging that releases a pleasant fragrance takes multi-sensory experience to another level for the consumer. Working with an experienced packaging partner, such interactive packaging can be cost-effectively applied in-line, eliminating the need to apply pressure sensitive labels. Microencapsulation can be easily incorporated into compelling graphic designs, while streamlining the packaging process, reducing costs, and providing consistent and reliable performance.

It is no secret that the competition to stand out on grocery store shelves is fierce. The sheer volume of products alone makes it increasingly difficult to attract consumer attention. Utilizing technological advances, such as multi-sensory packaging enhancements can help differentiate products on the shelves and drive consumer action. In some cases, these new printing technologies bring with them sustainability benefits, as well as manufacturing efficiencies. Partnering with the right packaging supply partner can result in advanced, top-notch printing effects that capture consumer attention and help bolster a brand.