Packaging development in an ageing society
: a case study approach in the United Kingdom fast-moving consumer goods industry

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


There is a growing body of research demonstrating the effects of age-related changes on product usability and the value derived from consumption experiences. In particular, difficulties with packaging have been identified as a source of dissatisfaction and a key barrier to older people maintaining their independence.

Despite this, marketing literature into older consumers’ packaging experiences is limited. Likewise, packaging development has been afforded scant attention in the new product development literature. Whilst there is extensive design literature exploring packaging openability among older consumers, these studies focus largely on biological ageing, thus overlooking aspects of psychological and social ageing. As such, these studies only capture a small part of the various consumer-packaging interactions. Based on these limitations, the purpose of this study is twofold: to explore how ageing affects packaging needs; and to examine how the management of packaging development affects firms’ abilities to deliver value to older consumers.

The findings highlight the importance of packaging development in contributing to older people’s abilities to access, open and consume fast-moving consumer goods products independently. Maintaining this independence is found to positively contribute to quality of life. However, a variety of organisational factors and development team characteristics are found to inhibit firms from targeting older consumers and identifying and exploiting a variety of new packaging opportunities.

This study contributes to the literature by providing new insights into the packaging needs of older consumers. The conceptual framework presented contributes to new product development literature by providing a new perspective with which to view fast-moving consumer goods product development; one where packaging development is used to offer value to older consumers.
Date of AwardNov 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorPaul Trott (Supervisor), Christopher Simms (Supervisor) & Andreas Hoecht (Supervisor)

Cite this