An analysis of the management of packaging within new product development
: an investigation in the UK food and drinks sectors

  • Christopher Don Simms

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Packaging plays a key role in product success within the highly competitive food and drinks sectors of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. However, relatively little has been written about packaging in the marketing management literature. The majority of published research focuses on the marketing communications aspects of packaging. As a result, whilst there is substantial literature revealing the significance of packaging in purchasing decisions and perceptions of the product, its role in product development and the creation of new opportunities has been largely overlooked. Against this background, the research examines the management of packaging development within the FMCG industry: in particular, the food and drinks sectors. The purpose of the study is twofold: to examine how the development of a new product’s packaging is managed and integrated into the new product development (NPD) process of firms; and to explore how firms in the industry manage the opportunities that new packaging development may provide.

    The research finds that in their packaging development, most firms focus on ‘skindeep’ issues, such as the development of the label, and aesthetic modifications to the body of the packaging, such as changing the colour of a bottle. The analysis reveals three distinct levels of packaging development and argues that the development of new packaging formats and genuine packaging innovation is being overlooked by firms. The framework developed from the research reveals that the orientation of packaging development (skin-deep, aesthetic body modifications, or technological format change) is influenced by internal packaging capability, perceptions of the production process, the role of buyers, and concerns over the impact of changes on the product’s retailing. This in turn impacts on the role of the consumer and suppliers in development.

    This study contributes to the existing literature by providing new insight into the relationship between packaging development and NPD. The framework generated contributes to the existing stage based models of NPD by revealing that previous research has largely failed to analyse packaging development at the level of technological and format change. The findings also have implications for firms, identifying a need to re-examine their packaging development activities, to ensure that these address all three levels; not merely ‘skin-deep’ packaging.
    Date of AwardSept 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SponsorsChesapeake Corporation
    SupervisorPaul Trott (Supervisor), Colin Wheeler (Supervisor) & Mark Lowman (Supervisor)

    Cite this