I think most of us would agree that packaging for the products we use every day is of great value. It means we are able to bring myriad items into our home and use them thanks simply to packaging’s role of transport and containment. And yet packaging can do so much more that equates with real value either in terms of time or money.
I appreciate single-serve snacks for lunchboxes. I know some will say that is not very “green” of me, but when I purchase larger bags, I’m left using Ziploc® bags (or another brand) to portion out servings for my daughters’ lunchboxes that they take to school each day. I like being “green” but multiple rigid, re-usable containers just don’t fit in the lunchboxes. And dumping loose chips into a lunchbox is not an option. Yes, these single-serve packs can cost more but there is also a cost associated with purchasing the Ziploc® bags. And then there is my time spent transferring the snacks. Certainly, I do this, and I do this a lot. Some of their favorite snacks are not available in single serve packaging. But when they are, I really appreciate the time saving aspect of “grab and go”.
Now, quickly go and count how many “chip clips” you have on hand. Imagine that – an entire product category built around a packaging failure (multi-serve packs that don’t reseal securely). Chip clips serve a purpose, but often they are not handy, get lost, and we are left buying more. In my research work, I’ve even heard of people reaching for paper clips, staplers, tape or rubber bands to seal packaging. For food packaging that doesn’t reseal, we are left either using some “tool”, transferring the product to resealable bags or canisters, or we risk wasting food because it can quickly go stale. There is either a cost of time or money associated with this. In this equation, I value both my time and money.
Clearly, I attach negative value to the “hassle factor” associated with bad or ineffective packaging. Sometimes, however, I will hear from people that they don’t want to pay even a penny more for improved packaging. I’m wondering, though, if you do the math and consider the cost of your time and/or other materials you might have to use to compensate for poor packaging, how does it all add up?