The purpose of this paper is to explore the importance of innovative packaging for marketing purposes in a food supply chain. The intent is also to understand the function of packaging as a marketing tool. The outcome of the study is expected to contribute to the link between packaging and marketing literature.
The case study method was chosen in order to assess and investigate how packaging can be used in marketing. The study focuses on narrating the use of packaging for different customer applications and the unit of analyses was the packaging product. In order to analyse the five sub-cases or “corporate stories” a cross-case analysis was used and the analysis of data was carried out in different stages. This approach treats each sub-case as a separate entity and the analysis reveal both similarities and differences among the sub-cases.
The present study demonstrates that packaging has become an important tool in marketing of different products either this is for end-consumers, or customers in a supply chain. This has become more essential as more products are introduced on a market. The study shows the significance of linking packaging to marketing strategy. An important ingredient for that is the use of packaging design for differentiation purposes. The results support also that packaging has become an essential factor for a secure and efficient distribution in a food supply chain. In addition, packaging and packaging design is contributing to value creation for different actors in a food supply chain.
The managerial implication from the case study shows that packaging can be used together with the product concept to create a competitive offering in a market. This gives managers the possibility to differentiate their products from competitive offerings by using packaging and packaging design in a creative manner.
This paper fulfils an identified need for contributions to more research on packaging and marketing strategy. The study shows the influence of packaging on marketing.
The author is grateful for the financial support from Elof Hanssons Stiftelse for fulfilling this research and to two anonymous reviewers’ comments to this paper.
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