Five things older consumers need from packaging

Tetra Pak’s annual Consumer Generations Whitepaper rehashes the basics and oversimplifies the challenge in what seems to be a largely self-serving document.

The liberally described ‘whitepaper‘ lists five “ingredients” for ideal packaging for Seniors. All make sense but they are a gross simplification:featurepics-old-bald-man-reading-nutrition-label-919680

  1. Packages need to be easy to open, so as to overcome any issues of reduced wrist strength. Caps should be at a proper height to avoid slipping from Seniors’ hands.
  2. Packages need to be lightweight to enable better holding. Round cross-sections are also easier for Seniors to hold than those with a square cross-section. Packaging material needs to be rm so it is easier to grip and prevents spillage.
  3. Packaging needs to be better able to preserve a longer shelf life, to require fewer shopping trips.
  4. Print should be larger, images more striking and labelling clearer. That means bigger words and brighter colours.
  5. Nutritional information and the product’s expiration date should be displayed prominently.

I am one of the roughly 35% of people in their 60’s and above who suffer (and I mean suffer) hand arthritis. A real pain in the digits. Not only does this affect hand strength but more importantly pinch strength. Meaning that small, fiddly caps and tiny foil or plastic tabs are a nuisance. Don’t get me started on sachets!

The whitepaper also mentions impaired visibility as another effect of ageing that need to be taken into account. There are many more.

This website explains the 25 effects of ageing that form the backbone of our book and our AF Brands iPad app.

I believe some TetraPak products include foil tabs and small caps!?

What’s also annoying about this ‘whitepaper’ is that it claims to suggest “how companies can develop or optimize their packaging products”. Yet its recommendations are limited only to the types of packaging TetraPak market. How about blister packs, (the bane of all adults) sachets and the ubiquitous ring-pull can!?

Surely this industry should be crying out for innovation in the face of an ageing population? TetraPak’s professed interest in the ageing consumer should extend beyond the realm of products they produce.