Consumers experiences of cold chain food packaging: a qualitative study among women in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 12
  • SDG 2
  • Abstract:

    Food packaging defines a product’s uniqueness and strengthens consumers’ relationship with a brand, in this way offering functional and experiential benefits. Although cold chain food is predicted to become even more important to consumers, consumers’ experiences of the packaging of these products have been neglected in the literature. Thus, this exploratory study investigated these experiences of female participants in Potchefstroom, South Africa, using semi-structured interviews and a projective technique assisted by ambiguous mock packaging. The findings reveal that despite marketers’ intention to use packaging to lure consumers to purchase food products, participants also valued functionality and quality in cold chain food packaging. This study also identified a dislike of carton boxes and preference for plastic bottles for this kind of packaging, as well as further negative and positive characteristics for consideration by manufacturers. Although brand loyalty and price sensitivity were stronger considerations for some participants than the packaging, the latter seemed to play a pre-eminent role in most participants’ purchasing decisions. Therefore, it is recommended that when designing packaging for frozen and refrigerated foods, product developers and manufacturers should take into account consumers’ experiences, requirements and needs of the packaging specific to cold chain food. Our research offers a starting point for designing cold chain food packaging that complies as closely as possible with consumers’ expectations