Make accessibility part of your packaging design


Tuesday, 19 February, 2019


Make accessibility part of your packaging design

It is not only the ageing population that has issues with difficult-to-open packaging, it is also people with disabilities, arthritis sufferers and even children.

By insisting that ‘Ease of Use’ should be an integral part of packaging design, manufacturers can grow their market share by meeting changing consumer needs.

Packaging needs to be accessible and easy to open, and recognising this, the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) and Packaging New Zealand have added a new Accessible Packaging Design category to the annual Packaging Innovation & Design Awards program.

The Accessible Packaging Design Special Award is designed to recognise packaging that is accessible, intuitive, easy to open and innovative, and is in partnership with Arthritis Australia and Arthritis New Zealand.

According to Andrew Mills, Chief Executive Officer, Arthritis Australia, “Consumers living with arthritis have often described what the many different impacts of this chronic condition are, but interestingly, hard-to-open packaging is one of the things that makes them feel disempowered.

“The experience of struggling with difficult-to-open packaging can be physically painful and emotionally draining to them, especially when trying to open the daily staples, such as milk, jam jars or yoghurt tubs. Accessible packaging is vital to providing consumers with independence, who should be able to prepare meals for their families without a battle with packaging,” Mills said.

“The Accessible Packaging Design Special Award is designed to recognise those manufacturers and brand owners who go above and beyond with their packaging designs and who are improving lives through improved accessibility.

“Although there is currently no cure for arthritis, both Arthritis Australia and Arthritis New Zealand know that packaging is something we can work with industry to improve that will have a huge positive daily benefit for all consumers. We know that consumers in both our countries face many of the same struggles, so it’s important to partner together on this important award initiative and we encourage everyone to enter,” Mills said.

Philip Kearney, Chief Executive Officer, Arthritis New Zealand, added, “We hear regularly, not just from people with arthritis, but from people of all ages and backgrounds, that hard-to-open packaging makes them think twice about what they purchase, and this trend will only increase as more people are affected by arthritis.

“As this number grows consumers will become more selective in their purchases and most will look for products that make their day-to-day lives easier. From a brand perspective, this is an important element for all manufacturers and suppliers to consider,” Kearney said.

“Arthritis New Zealand wants to take constructive steps to encourage industry to make accessibility of packaging a must have and this has led us to co-sponsor the important award. Arthritis New Zealand will be actively promoting good packing design to the 670,000 people with arthritis in New Zealand,” he said.

Research from Arthritis Australia in 2018 shows:

  • All consumers struggle with packaging, but the growing ageing population, consumers with disabilities, arthritis sufferers and children are impacted the most.
  • 44% of consumers struggle with packaging every day.
  • 92% of consumers have spilt or damaged a product when trying to open the packaging.
  • When consumers experience hard-to-open packaging: 56% look for the product but in a different type of packaging and 21% look at buying a competitor’s product.
  • 65% of consumers have had to wait for someone to come and open packaging for them.
  • 1-in-2 Australians have injured themselves opening packaging, including deep cuts and chipped teeth.
  • 89% of consumers are currently feeling frustrated or furious with packaging.
  • 67,000 people in the UK visited hospitals casualty departments every year due to an accident involving food and drink packaging.

Entries are now open for the 2019 inaugural Accessible Packaging Design Special Award and will close on 8 March. Entry forms and criteria are available on http://aipack.com.au/education/pida/2019-pida-submissions-and-criteria/.

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