What is Functional Packaging?

Functional packaging is a simple way to enhance your existing packaging materials in order to create the ultimate convenience and ease of use for your customers. Today’s buyers are busier than ever before and want products that are effective and user friendly. Functional packaging allows you to make your consumers’ lives better in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. 

Defining Functional Packaging 

Before diving into all the incredible ways that it can help customers and improve your products, it’s necessary to define what functional packaging actually is. Thankfully, it’s a pretty clear-cut concept. Simply, functional packaging is any kind of packaging that offers extra, valuable benefits to the consumer. 

This means that it can consist of a wide variety of components, as long as they offer advantages that make the buyer’s life better. In order to improve your customer’s situation and give them a product that genuinely helps, it’s important to understand just what it is they want and need. 

What People Want from Functional Packaging 

Like we’ve discussed, functional packaging should be hassle-free and offer as much convenience as possible. Consumers are looking for products that fit easily into their day-to-day lives and that don’t disrupt their usual activities. To help your buyers do this, there are a few factors to keep in mind when you create functional packaging. Your materials should be easy to open, meaning they don’t require scissors or another tool to access the item inside. Once open, resealing the package should be also be simple and the closure should keep the products fresh and to extend their shelf life during storage. If you sell single use items, consider packaging that doesn’t take up a lot of space and can be easily transported by hand while the buyer is on the go. Finally, your packaging components should be sustainable and offer great protection to the goods they cover.  

Functional Packaging Materials to Consider 

One exciting aspect of functional packaging is that it gives you the ability to be creative. You can serve the needs of your customers and stay competitive while still offering visually appealing packaging that keeps your products safe. You're likely already thinking about the kinds of materials you can use to improve the packaging experience for your consumers. Those in the food, beverage, or perishable industries may want to consider resealable bags or pouches. By including a zipper, pressure adhesive, or other operator-friendly closure, your customers can use the original packaging to store their goods for longer periods, keep them fresh, and easily access them. Another option for nearly any product is intelligent labels. The simple addition of a QR code or RFID technology can give your buyers access to tons of information about your product and brand that would never fit onto a standard label. Another choice that all brands should utilize is tamper-evident packaging. This shows your customers that the products they purchase have not been contaminated and that they are safe to consume, which gives everyone peace of mind and a great reason to buy from you. 

Which Industries Should Use Functional Packaging? 

The short answer? All of them. Functional packaging is an effective and affordable way to improve the user experience for all shoppers. Since you can be creative with how you leverage this type of packaging, it can work beautifully for nearly any industry or product. However, there are a few verticals that should always use certain elements of functional packaging. Food, beverage, beauty, and health companies, among many others, will find incredible benefits when they add packaging elements that make it easy to keep their products fresh, prevent tampering, and give their customers extra information about their goods.  

Show and Tell Buyers About Functional Packaging 

The inclusion of functional packaging alone isn’t always enough to draw in new buyers and keep your existing customers. Sometimes, you have to make it abundantly clear that your product packaging is utilitarian and will make their daily activities more convenient. What does this mean for your brand? Simply, you need to make sure the information on your labels and packages tells the customer that this item will improve their life. If you use smart labels, tell them to scan the QR code with their phone. If you use a resealable closure, make sure the customer knows their goods will stay fresh for longer than the competitor’s. If your products are targeted at specific groups, make it obvious that it’ll be easy for seniors to open or that it prevents kids from getting inside. Like the packaging itself, your messaging can get creative, as long as it also gets to the point.  

Functional Packaging Builds Loyalty 

More than ever before, consumers research the products they buy and the materials that go into making those products. They want to purchase from responsible brands that care about their customers and the world around them. Additionally, they want to buy goods that are convenient and won’t disrupt their daily life. By utilizing functional packaging, you can help them achieve all of this and create customers who will be loyal to you for years to come, even in a market crowded with similar items.