Consumers want convenience in every facet of their lives, and product packaging is no different. Consumers want pour spouts, Velcro zip locks, easy-open tear notches and lightweight but durable containers they can take on the go, among other features. What's also true is that retailers want those features and functions as well.
The more unique, different and desirable a product is on a store shelf, the more it can grab a consumer's attention - and, ultimately, their money. North American companies don't have access to or enough information on innovative packaging, and when they do, it is so overpriced there is no sense even considering it. No wonder companies don't look to their packaging for ways to build their margins!
Domestic packaging companies do not have access to reasonably priced convenience features and benefits to offer their clients. Many manufacturers charge an exorbitant amount for these things, which price themselves out of the ballpark. Ultimately, their customers lose on a retail store shelf. Historically only the biggest companies in the world could provide these items because they were able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on R&D and capital equipment. So the Procter & Gambles and Nestles of the retail world get stronger, and anyone else was left behind. This is generally how it has been.
Did you know there are materials and styles that are currently being used overseas that require a fraction of the energy to make and dispose of than anything we have on U.S. retail store shelves? And cost 10-35 percent less?
Did you know that there are so many environmentally friendly ways to package items (that traditionally have been packaged in rigid plastic jars, bottles and bins) at a fraction of the cost of materials purchased here in North America?
Laminated papers with barrier properties to keep contents fresher for longer, large spouted pouches for windshield washer fluid and motor oil, bakery mixes and cereal in new "flex box bag" styles of retail packaging that eliminate those silly inner liners and come with a resealable ziplock are just a few examples of innovative packaging styles that save on cost and make storage a breeze.
Study after study has proven that consumers will gladly pay more for convenience, and they'll certainly pay more for packaging that is considerate of our environment. Yet, U.S. manufacturers ignore this and keep doing the same thing over and over. Why? Fear?
Confusion? Not knowing any better? Probably some, or all, of these factors.