Elements of Agricultural Product Packaging

Elements of Agricultural Product Packaging

I.      Introduction

Taiwan has been an agricultural society for centuries. Because of the poor agricultural productivity at the end of the second World War, “raising the land productivity” was the major policy. The later shift of policy priority to industrial development led to an age of economic take-off, but also the stagnation of agricultural development. When the society got wealthier, enhancing the competitiveness has been the theme of agricultural development. Besides improving the quality of agricultural products, effort was also made to attract young farmers to join the work force of farming, with the hope that in the process of commercialization, agricultural products can have more added values and produce more benefits by marketing with packaging.

II.    The Key to Flipping the Agricultural Products

Agricultural products turn into commodities through a process of branding, naming, packaging, pricing, and standardization. The unit of value measurement is changed from the original one that is hard to calculate to a unit of "fixed and standardized capacity." The key to successfully turning the product into a selling price lies in packaging. Packaging is the design of the container or the external package that contains the product. With well-designed packaging, the product is sold or safely delivered to consumers, and most of them have added values in the perception of the consumers.

In the information age, the selling of agricultural products is no longer confined in brick-and-mortar stores. The Internet connection and mushrooming e-commerce stores bring about more intense market competition. Consumers today are more inclined to make purchase on impulse. And more commodities now are displayed on the shelves of supermarkets or convenience stores without attentive clerks to do promotion or explanation. Consumers have to develop the habit of reading the directions on the packaging, which serves as a silent salesperson doing its best to attract and persuade the consumers to make the purchase. Packaging is named as the fifth P in marketing.

III. The Functions and Purposes of Packaging

The basic functions of packaging are to protect the product, introduce it to the consumers, and to accomplish the transaction and expand the market. Pre-design analysis, positioning, and market strategy planning of the agricultural products are complicated but necessary. The decisions and solutions adopted after careful consideration are inseparable from the pre-design communication. The purposes of the packaging are to introduce the brand through the visual design, and to provide the consumers with more information about the product. From the perspective of consumers, most people want to save time and find the desired items by browsing among the shelves. In the rule of "60 and 3" in the market, the number 60 refers to the total length of a consumer's arms and that is the range within which a consumer would easily access the product. Studies show that the shorter the visual focal length, the more blurred the vision is. The number 3 means the maximum number of seconds a consumer spends looking at a product before making a clear decision whether or not to make the purchase. According to this, the basic rule is: "to attract consumers' attention using packaging with optimized design.”

IV.   Matters before Packaging Design:

It is necessary to identify the special characteristics and tonality of the product for the target client, to decide the packaging concept and features of the product, and whether the frequency of communication with the target client is fruitful and can impress the consumers. After the packaging of the product is decided, a test display on the shelf is necessary, to test if the product on the shelf is attractive among a variety of products, and the consumers feel that this is the product they need.

V.    Visual Elements of Packaging:

(1)    Branding:

The purpose of branding is to let customers understand the product, to shape and form a special image in the consumers, and to potentially persuade them to make a purchase.

(2)    Naming:

Appropriate product names will help impress consumers and increase market competitiveness at the moment of sale. The naming can follow these principles: easy to remember, easy to spread, easy to associate, and concise in form, etc. Or the naming can be based on the characteristics or the place of origin of the product. Or it can be a result of creativity by playing with homophones. For instance, perfume pineapple or Yanchao honey jojobe, which can quickly help the consumers associate and strengthen the impression. The font design of the name is usually the largest on the product packaging, to form the visual focus. The font design and visual presentation on the packaging must conform to the brand style and temperament. The smart use of font design on packaging can capture the customers’ attention and deepen the memories so as to achieve the purpose of differentiating the products.

(3)    Colors:

The color matching in the packaging design of agricultural products needs to integrate product characteristics and taste perception in order to find the best corresponding and matching colors that meet the demand of the market. For instance: Banana/yellow ~ sweet, mellow, sunny, healthy, and positive; Green/food, natural ingredients, healthy and organic, associated with freshness and refreshing.

(4)    Visual patterns:

Visual patterns are free from the obstructions of symbols and focus on the brand's imaging and the derived visual symbols. They are designed to present and trigger associations and achieve the objectives. For example: patterns related to agricultural products, raw materials or product content, or patterns drawn with symbols of the place of origin, such as traditional totems of new residents and totemization of names of famous local spots.

(5)    Text:

The text of the product introduction must be clear and accurate to appeal to the readers. The text on the packaging should contain only information of good faith (Note 1), including: shelf life, nutritional content, weight, certification mark received, certification number, allergen labeling, etc. The fonts must be 2 mm in height or above (Note 2) and clearly printed on the packaging to correctly convey the message to the consumers. However, considering the language barriers when addressing to different markets, such as: for taboos of Islamic food ingredients, certain descriptions must be done in two or more languages to facilitate communication and expanded sales.

(6)    Matching between text and visual patterns:

The content text can be accompanied by illustrations and images (such as demonstrations of usage, directions for usage, etc.) to make it easier for consumers to understand the meaning of the product.

(7)    Traceability system

Article 13 of the "Administrative Measures for the Certification of Traceable Agricultural Products" stipulates that agricultural products that have passed the certification of traceable agricultural products should have the information printed and marked on the packaging with fonts of specified size (Note 3).

VI.   Packaging of Agricultural Products by Young Farmers

Lead House Peanuts 》Chang Chien-Hao

The humorous and cute peanut characters are appealing to young customers.

Naturalism 》Lu Hung-Wen

Appeals are made in a minimalist style to represent the fair trade agricultural products of small farmers

Meet the Happy Farm 》Hu Yu-Chien

The characteristics of the product and the appeal to health of the farm are presented with the major crops on the farm


The key points are clear at a glance with the brand trademarks matching the shelf requirements of the distributors


Besides the observing and designing based on the characteristics of the agricultural products, comparison with similar products on the market can be made for differentiation. The premise is to present the appeal and the core values of the brand, and to fully display product characteristics on packaging so the consumers gladly make the payment.