With this understanding of the perceived value that these innovations offer, TricorBraun’s design team is better able to incorporate such offerings into their custom packaging solutions. By revealing consumer preferences for package functionality before TricorBraun begins to develop a custom solution, the team is able to identify potential applications in new categories like nutraceuticals where innovation can offer brand owners greater differentiation and value.
During one of TricorBraun’s recent focus groups, consumers were asked to review a variety of closure options (continuous thread-CT and dispensing jar lids) as well as several innovative lining alternatives. Participants were not only questioned about their preferences for each closure and liner, but they were also asked to identify what type of category or product offering they would like to see incorporate that closure and liner. Nutraceuticals were frequently highlighted as an ideal target category for lining innovations.
Results & Surprises
The reactions to the various closure styles varied, with a few surprises. Whereas consumers reacted positively to flip top lids with embossed and printed liners, the reaction was quite the opposite when consumers were asked to evaluate a CT cap using a traditional seal. Consumers frequently associated words such as “upscale” and “expensive” with the flip top lid and embossed liner combination, while they used words such as “out-dated” and “traditional” to describe the CT closures.
The suggestions as to where the dispensing closure would add value versus the CT cap were wide-ranging, but one segment mentioned numerous times was nutraceutical products—for example, dietary supplements. Multiple participants emphasized the value of the closure remaining in place on the container when opened, to prevent it being dropped and contaminated, or being misplaced.
They also focused on the ease of opening a flip top lid versus the difficulty of unscrewing a CT cap, especially for elderly or arthritic individuals. Almost universally, the dispensing closure was preferred and viewed as adding value to a package, primarily because of its easier access.
Similarly, consumers felt that the new embossed and printed liner would be a tremendous benefit for protein powder type packages. Not only did consumers perceive the embossed liners as more premium than the alternative, but one consumer even said, “the ability to see the brand name embossed and printed on the liner just makes the package seem more high-end, more sophisticated. As a consumer, it makes me feel like the brand owner really put a lot of time and effort into the product and the package, down to every last little detail. And that makes me feel really good about my decision to buy that package.”
An ‘Invaluable Tool’
This research is an invaluable tool for us. It enables us to better guide our customers as they evaluate various packaging alternatives, and it also positions us to be able to incorporate such innovations into new categories as a further point of differentiation from competitors.
The closure/liner research was one of an ongoing series of focus groups being conducted by TricorBraun’s Design & Innovation team in partnership with research group NSM Research and TricorBraun’s closure and liner vendor partners. Over the coming months, TricorBraun’s team will continue to conduct additional focus groups that help to further explore other high potential products/technologies and how our design team can continue to incorporate consumer preferences into their custom design alternatives.
The focus groups are assembled and conducted with the same care used in traditional focus groups to assure the value of results. For the closures research, participants were targeted in the 20s-50s age range to give a diversity of insight. For other groups, participants will be chosen carefully relative to the components being researched.
TricorBraun’s Design & Innovation Group is a business unit of TricorBraun, one of North America’s leading providers of bottles, jars and other rigid packaging components. The Group’s primary mission is to design, engineer and manage the development, production and delivery of customized rigid packaging solutions for personal care, cosmetics, healthcare, food and beverages and industrial and household chemical products. It is supported by TricorBraun’s more than 40 offices globally, holding one of the largest inventories of rigid packaging components worldwide.
For more information: 630-645-1200; www.tricorbraun.com