Beverages packaging and consumer buying behaviour : the case of University of KwaZulu-Natal students.
Time and expense has been spent on developing the functional aspects of packaging to ensure food safety, while providing innovations such as plastic trays that can go in the oven, microwave and freezer. Now, consumers are being faced with increasing changes in the way that their favourite products look on the shelf, as companies undertake sometimes large operations to update packaging. The beverage industry is one among the front-liners where massive investments are being made for expansion and technological upgradation. The packaging of beverages both carbonated and non-carbonated, is a complex technological branch in the Food Processing /Packaging industry. The traditional returnable glass bottle has given way to newer plastic containers as well as cartons. The current trend is to improve the conventional containers, extend their share in the large market, extend the shelf-life of the products, provide greater consumer convenience and ultimately to produce economic packages. Due to increasing self-service and changing consumers’ lifestyle the interest in package as a tool of sales promotion and stimulator of impulsive buying behaviour is growing increasingly. So package performs an important role in marketing communications, especially in the point of sale and could be treated as one of the most important factors influencing consumer’s purchase decision. Literature analysis on question under investigation has shown that there is no agreement on classification of package elements as well as on research methods of package impact on consumer’s purchase decision. This dissertation reports on an investigation into the role of packaging and how it influences the consumer when buying their choice of beverages. The study was limited to University of KwaZulu-Natal students. Taking into consideration that package could be treated as a set of various elements communicating different messages to a consumer; the research model was developed and tested in order to reveal impact of visual and verbal package elements on consumer’s purchase decisions. Five research questions were developed to address the objectives and the aim of the study. The study concluded that the packaging plays a big role in attracting the consumer’s attention and influencing them when buying their choice of beverages.