It is no coincidence that crisps, an especially noisy food come in such noisy packaging. While people rarely think about it, the sound made by product packaging can definitely influence the product experience. Here in Oxford, for example, we conducted the research (so you don’t have to) to show that people rate potato chips as crisper/crunchier when they hear the noisy rattling of the packet while eating the contents. So now you might have an idea about why Frito Lay introduced a new packaging format for their Sun Chips in North America a few years ago. Packaging that was louder than anything that has gone before. The louder the packaging the better the crunch, or so the marketers must have thought. However, in this case, things went too far. The packaging was so loud (c. 100 dB when gently rattled in the hands), that consumers complained and it had to be removed from the shelves.
More often than any of us realise, in other words, the multisensory attributes of the packaging really are part of the product experience. Knowing this, it obviously makes sense to try and optimise the sensory design of the packaging in order to enhance the consumer’s experience of your product. One of the most noticeable trends in product packaging in recent years has been towards the incorporation of transparent windows. When done effectively, this has been shown to both enhance the customer’s perception of product quality and even boost sales4. It is, though, important to choose packaging colour so as best to set off the visual appearance of the product itself. Classic examples here include the distinctive purple of Cadbury Dairy milk packaging (against the brown of the chocolate), or the greeny-blue of Heinz, a colour contrast that helps make their baked beans look so appealing. The question that professional bakers should therefore be asking themselves is which packaging colour makes all those golden bakery products look their best? Packaging colour shouldn’t make such a difference, but trust me, it does!