The packaging material can be used actively to obtain a more user-friendly packaging. This is due to the fact that different kinds of material have different surface and texture. Furthermore the surface grip can be influenced  by grooves in the material.


Smoothness and roughness

The smoothness of the material is of great importance for how well the end user can grip and hold the packaging when opening it. Generally a smooth material increases the force needed to open the packaging because the end user besides using force to open has to use force to hold the packaging.


The smoothness of the packaging material can be changed by making grooves or knobs in the material in the spot where the end user needs to hold the packaging. Grooves in top or bottom foil can furthermore make it easier to separate them and also by the tangible difference to make the opening clearer. However, grooves or knobs in the packaging to compensate for a smooth surface have not shown any possibility to increase the transfer of force, but it gives a better end user experience.


Regarding screw caps there is also a possibility of making some kind of grooves to improve the grip. Experiments, however, have shown that it doesn’t facilitate an increased transfer of force. Therefore it is important not to change the force needed to open by changing to larger grooves, but they will provide a better grip.


When changing the surface it is important at the same time to consider the print properties of the surface as it will almost certainly be impossible to implement a packaging change in a company if the visual appearance is impaired.


Material flexibility

Material flexibility should be considered with the rest of the packaging. A flexible packaging material can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. According to end user observations made during the project “User-driven guideline for the industry: Accessible packaging for elderly and physically impaired” a flexible material can be an advantage when you have to grip hold of a packaging in order to rip off a lid/foil. On the contrary a flexible material is a disadvantage when the opening procedure is e.g. turning off a lid while holding the packaging. Several end users point out that a lid is easier to open on cold cuts trays if it is made of a stiff material.


Choice of material

The choice of packaging material influences the product and the user-friendliness and also has a bearing on whether the end user chooses to store the product in the packaging and thus whether it is relevant to make a packaging with re-seal function. Ask your packaging supplier what materials they can offer and compare it to the requirements for the product and the user-friendliness in order to find the best solution.


Always remember to test new initiatives on the packaging ensuring that they work as intended. See under observations.







Useful advice on choice of packaging material

  • Avoid breakage – Use materials that don’t break in the opening procedure.
  • Grip – Grooves/structure in the packaging can provide a better grip.
  • Flexible material – Consider whether the flexibility of the material is an advantage or a disadvantage considering the user-friendliness.
  • Surface – A smooth surface can be difficult to hold.
  • Recycling – The choice of material influences whether the end users choose to store the product in the packaging.