Definition of Packaging
Packaging is an object intended to wrap or temporarily contain a product or set of products during their handling, transportation, storage, or presentation. Its main purpose is to protect the products or facilitate these operations. In a broader sense, the term "packaging" also refers to the means and methods used to carry out these operations.
The word "packaging" comes from the term "en balle," which was an operation performed by packers tasked with grouping goods, baggage, and belongings into bales. Today, only fibers are delivered in bales, such as straw from the field to the stable, cotton unloaded from ships, or fabrics like silk, wool, etc.
The European Directive 2004/12/EC provides the following definition of packaging: "Any product made of any materials of any nature used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery, and presentation of goods, from raw materials to processed goods, from the producer to the user or the consumer. Non-returnable items used for the same purposes shall also be considered packaging."
Importance of Packaging
Packaging plays a crucial role in protecting products from potential damage during transportation, storage, and handling. Additionally, it helps maintain the product's integrity and prevents contamination.
Furthermore, packaging serves as a means of communication between the producer and the consumer. It provides information about the product, such as its content, instructions for use, manufacturing and expiration dates, and other relevant details. Moreover, good packaging can attract consumers' attention and influence their purchasing decisions.
Types of Packaging
There are three levels of packaging: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
1. Primary Packaging: This is the packaging that comes into direct contact with the product. For example, the plastic bag containing pasta, the box containing cereal, the bottle containing water, etc.
2. Secondary Packaging: This is the packaging that covers the primary packaging. It may be sold with the product (e.g., three sachets of mashed potatoes in a box) or solely intended for the store to facilitate handling (e.g., twenty-four boxes of camembert cheese in a crate).
3. Tertiary Packaging: This refers to the transport unit from the factory to the point of sale. Most often, it is a pallet with a plastic cover that groups several secondary packages.