Export packaging By Pierre Picot

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EXPORT Packaging

By Pierre Picot

1. The Functions of Packaging 1

2. Types of Packaging 2

The 3 levels of packaging 2

Primary packaging 3

Protective – Transport Packaging 6

Six packaging checks for Export 12

3. Design 13

Structural design 13

Graphics design 14

4. Labelling, marking, coding 15

Primary packaging labelling and coding 16

Transport packaging labelling and coding 18

Designing the Label 18

Labelling materials 19

5. Health, safety and environmental concerns 20

Market requirements 20

Environmental concerns 20

Packaging ideas to help the environment 21

6. Packaging costs 22

7. Materials 23

Paper and board 23

Plastics 26

Metal cans 32

Glass 33

Wood Packaging 34

8. Summary 35


  • Understand the prime role of packaging in securing exports;

  • Understand the differences and complementarities between protective packaging and point of sale / display packaging and their importance in successfully exporting goods;

  • Be aware of the major factors to consider when deciding on appropriate packaging and labelling, and apply this knowledge to your products;

  • Know the various packaging options available and be able to determine the most appropriate options for your products;

  • Know how to design effective labels for your international market;

  • Be aware of the international rules and regulations that govern labelling.

  1. The Functions of Packaging

There has always been some kind of packaging. When stone age women picked berries and carried them home to share with her family, she probably wrapped them in leaves to protect them from insects, the sun or the rain.

Every package and each of its components contribute to five basic packaging functions:

Contain the product

  • Contain a defined quantity of product (by volume, weight, or count);

  • Use the available pack volume efficiently;

  • Be tight to prevent escape of the product or ingress of contaminating materials;

  • Keep the pack size to a minimum to save cost and to optimize package strength.

Coloured and printed sack for basmati rice, Jordan

Protect the product

  • To keep the product in perfect condition until reaching the intended destination or end user;

  • Avoid spoilage, breakage, moisture damage, contamination, pilferage and theft.

Blister packs to protect fragile halogen light bulbs


Packages carry information about:

  • The product (i.e. what it is, its ingredients);

  • mandatory regulatory information, i.e. sell by date, name of manufacturer, nutritional values, etc.

Nutrition information on cereal packets sold in the UK

Facilitate handling and distribution

The package should facilitate safe handling of the product from the time of packing until its receipt by the end user:

  • Minimize handling costs throughout the distribution chain;

  • Suitable for mechanical handling techniques;

  • Satisfy handling requirements related to safety, recycling and disposal.

Position the product and promote sales

Structural and graphic design of package optimised to attract and help sell the package.

Kilimanjaro Tanzanian tea

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