Packaging research

Packaging that sells and markets effectively

Sense N Insight offers packaging consumer testing services as well as consulting services related to packaging labelling, food legislation and packaging development. We let the consumers tell how they perceive and experience your packaging, and integrate their input into your packaging development process. Each of our studies is individually tailored to meet the needs of our customers, and we combine the best packaging testing methods with the latest technologies and tools.

We produce easy-to-understand information to support your company in packaging design related decision-making processes. The outcome is packaging that markets and sells your product better than your competitors. At the same time, you will gain valuable information about the competitive environment and the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ packaging.

Shelf visibility

Distinctive packaging sells
If your package is not visible, it is 100% certain that it will not find its way into the shopping cart. Shelf differentiation is simple to measure and should be done already in the early phases of the packaging design process. Read more below.

Our research method is superior for the following reasons:

  • An eye tracking study carried out in a virtual environment provides measured information about the visibility and engagement of packaging.
  • Eye tracking measures consumers’ unconscious and conscious reactions to the packaging and its alternative designs.
  • In consumer testing carried out in the virtual store environment, the studied packaging attributes can be tested in a controlled environment with varied shelf placements.
  • There is no need for expensive prototypes and construction of a shelf/store environment to test the differentiation and engagement of packaging.
  • Shelf testing carried out with eye tracking produces unambiguous information about the factors influencing consumer decision-making, and thus concretely guides packaging design.

Strong shelf differentiation is critically important in the fierce competition between consumer products. A well-planned packaging design makes a product stand out from its competitors, and increases sales. But how many companies understand what catches consumer attention, especially before making a purchase decision?

Eye tracking should be conducted in a realistic competitive situation, to generate valid results. This can be done flexibly and cost-effectively with the help of 3D packaging and virtual environments. The advantage of this method is that shelf arrangements can be easily changed. Research conducted in a virtual environment standardizes the research conditions, which yields reliable data. Often the study is conducted using two or more shelf locations to rule out the effect of placement. The method also has the advantage that the subjects can physically pick up the product for a closer inspection. This provides information on how the different elements of the package attract consumer attention. With the help of 3D modelling, design changes can be quickly imported into mock-ups and the virtual store for testing.

Eye tracking provides information on how quickly a product is noticed on a store shelf, how much attention it gains, which elements are noticed or not noticed, and unambiguous information about the purchase decision. The analysis is based on numerical data from which both numerical and indexed results are generated. The data and results can be compared between different design options and, more importantly, in relation to competitors.

Focus groups and personal interviews are important tools for gathering consumer opinions, but consumers often don’t know what attracts attention to a given product package. In contrast, eye tracking provides accurate and objective understanding of shoppers’ unconscious activity, and helps to determine what visually appeals to them.

Usually, a few packaging concepts are developed before one is chosen. With the help of eye tracking, we can find out which alternative best attracts consumer attention and in which packaging the product should be brought to the market. Eye tracking also provides information on whether the brand’s most important messages are conveyed to the target groups.

Consumer-attractive packaging increases sales by up to 10%, according to research. On the other hand, poorly distinguishable packaging may remain on the store shelf, in which case the investments made in the product and packaging development will be wasted. Good sales are important both from a business and sustainable development point of view, as it decreases product loss.

Sense N Insight produces photorealistic 3D packaging models and virtual store environments, and conducts eye tracking in virtual environments tailored to customer needs.

User experience

A packaging experience that increases consumer value and willingness-to-pay results from a multi-sensory interaction between the consumer and the packaging. Packaging can build value in many ways that are easy to explore and measure. Read more below.

  • The value of packaging is always determined by the consumer, not the brand owner or the designer.
  • The perceived value of packaging is based on subjective consumer assessment, which is created in the interaction between the packaging and the consumer. No expert can evaluate the packaging through the eyes of an average consumer.
  • Consumers determine the value of the package in relation to competing products. Therefore, it is important that packaging is examined in relation to the most viable competitors. At the same time, our customers will gain valuable information about the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors’ products.
  • Experiencing value is situational. Therefore, the intended use of the packaged product must be defined or known precisely to determine its user experience value.
  • The perceived value of the packaging is strongly related to consumers’ preferences, willingness-to-pay, and likelihood of purchasing the product.

There are several stories where packaging or its renewal has dropped the sales of a product. Usually in these cases, consumers either do not recognize or appreciate the packaging anymore. It is often difficult to identify a single cause. Below are a few success factors that guarantee a successful outcome.

  • Identify your strengths and stick to them. It is valuable for the brand to study and become aware of the strengths of its own product and packaging in relation to competitors. It is worth retaining the key elements that the consumer identifies with the product and its packaging.
  • Highlight the main message clearly. What is the key product feature that sells the product? Flavour variant, gluten-free, protein content, vegan? When the consumers’ primary selection criterion is clearly communicated, the product is more likely to end up in the shopping cart.
  • Plan a clear design that supports the product. If there are too many elements on the package, consumers may not understand the purpose of the product. A graphic layout atypical for the category or playing with words can in some cases be a distinguishing factor, but also an obstacle or a stumbling block to sales. When the product and the packaging speak the same language, i.e., the packaging gives the right information about the product, it is more likely that consumers will repurchase the product.
  • Invest in packaging material and structure to create a good image of quality. Wobbly, collapsible or flimsy packaging, or a stuffy label creates a cheap impression. All user groups must be considered in the functionality of the packaging, which is often forgotten. If, for example, the opening mechanism requires too much force, works poorly or is not intuitive enough, consumers cannot open the package or they break it. Resealing is also important if the product is used for a longer period. If the product must be moved to another jar or package after opening, the marketing communication potential of the package is also lost.
  • Choose the most suitable packaging material for the product shelf life. Sometimes a material unsuitable for the product may be chosen in the name of sustainability. The consumer might not be ready to compromise on the usability or shelf life of the product for the sake of ecology. Good packaging gives the impression that both the user and the environment have been considered when designing it.

Brands of all sizes have challenges with the above-mentioned issues. All these aspects can be researched with consumers in advance, so the brand manager or designer does not have to lose sleep at night or risk the launch. The more design lines are sent out for testing, the higher the probability of increased sales. [i]
[i] AC Nielsen CPG Innovation Report December 2015


Carefully prepared and clear packaging labels give a reliable image of the product and brand. Free up your company’s resources for core tasks and let a professional take care of the correctness and legal compliance of your company’s packaging labels. Read more below.

  • Preparation of mandatory packaging labels and ingredient lists, as well as checking and abbreviating the finished packaging labels.
  • Calculation of nutritional value data based on product specifications, and checking the conditions and correctness of nutrition and health claims.
  • Checking the permissibility and appropriateness of the use of marketing claims and other voluntary labels.
  • Finnish and Swedish translations of packaging labels of imported products and verification of equivalence in relation to Finnish legislation.
  • Consultation on packaging labelling requirements of the target countries of export products, and, if necessary, translations into the desired languages.
  • Preparation of marketing statements, and other food legislation consultation according to customer needs.

Food packaging labels are the manufacturer’s responsibility. Packaging labels are regulated by the EU Food Information Regulation and national regulations. Some of the packaging label markings are mandatory, providing consumers with required information about the food product. The law not only regulates what must be included on packaging labels, but also how the product information is accessible to consumers.

For example, legibility, language requirements, and correctness of information must be considered in packaging labels. When using voluntary nutrition or health claims, care must be taken to ensure that the claims are in accordance with law. Regarding voluntary packaging labels, it is important that the information given about the food does not mislead the consumer. It is also necessary to know what kind of statements are allowed to be added to the packaging for marketing purposes.

Why should the drafting or at least the review of packaging labels be done by an expert familiar with the respective legislation and regulations?

At product launch, anything extra may seem time-consuming and expensive, but in fact, discovering mistakes in packaging labels later will be much more expensive. In the worst case, e.g., incorrect declaration of allergens, a recall must be carried out. Authorities have their own procedures for processing incorrect health and nutrition claims. Even small and harmless errors in the packaging labelling increase costs, as they require updating the packaging printing and labels.

In addition to presenting mandatory information, packaging labels act as the business card for the product, the brand, and the entire company. In this case, even small mistakes leave a negative tone about the entire company. If consumers notice flaws in the markings that are important to them, their purchase decision is negative. Carefully and properly made packaging labels give a high-quality and confidence-inspiring image of the product and its manufacturer.

Do you need help with packaging labels or product information? Whether it concerns checking the labelling of a single product or, for example, preparing the labelling of several products based on a recipe, we are there to help you.