Oct 18, 2017

How the functional and strategic role of the packaging changes

The packaging is the message

In the past, the most important purpose of the packaging was to protect
the product during shipping and storage.

In a world where choice on the shelf was limited and the online distribution channels did not compromise the dominance of the offline channels, the functional role of the packaging was to be a strategic and differentiating tool, capable of clearly communicating product's properties, with a colour and design that made it appealing to consumers.

Today, not only has the strategic role become increasingly important but also its functional role has gained new significance.

From product integrity to increased convenience

Consumers have become more and more in-tune and aware, and consequently more attentive to every detail: they select products according to the way in which the packaging makes the product easier to carry, open and use. Its functional role is no longer just "business-centric" but consumer-centric. The packaging protects the products more and more efficiently from exposure to external factors and is the key to optimising logistics. But not just that: most importantly, it has become the fifth pillar of marketing, that makes the product convenient to consume anywhere and at any time, in line with consumer habits.

Amcor PushPop combines fun and functionality in a single, easy-to-open package: a convenient snack for any time of the day.

Domino's Pizza has made the box for its pizza an element of entertainment, designing it based on the consumer habits of its users.

From conveying a message to incorporating it

Its functional consumer-centric role is all the more significant when the packaging becomes the differentiating tool amongst the information noise from the products on the shelf (online and offline), not only capable of conveying a message, but also incorporating it. The packaging is now part of the products themselves and is increasingly playing a crucial role in enhancing the value of the product. It supports our lifestyles and consumption choices, and strengthens the identity value of the products. The ability to use packaging as a marketing tool is now a well-known principle, but today more than ever, the packaging is the message; it is the story of the product and the brand's values.

For the labels of its bottles, Leeds Juicery, a brand of juices, uses paper made of sugar. The objective? The freshness and the composition of the product. To remind you that Leeds Juicery products are fresh and preservative-free, and that they need to be consumed within 48 hours and kept away from the light, the label says that "sugar paper also has the beautiful characteristic of changing in prolonged sunlight, just as the ingredients of the product".

Saltwater Brewery is a microbrewery founded in Florida in 2013 by "sea-lovers". Each artisan beer has a name inspired by the ocean to reflect the lifestyle and passion of the Founders. The objective of Saltwater Brewery is to minimise the impact of the beer packaging on the sea. A great step forward has been achieved with their creation of the first six-pack rings to be biodegradable in water and nutritious for marine creatures.

This Too Shall Pass has launched packaging made of agar-agar algae gel and water. Once open, the packaging will decompose at the same speed as its contents.

Packaging still continues to play a functional and strategic role for the products it contains: if its functional role has changed focus, its strategic role has gained momentum. Functionality has increasingly shifted towards the consumer, and the form has become the substance itself: the product message and information is no longer merely "conveyed" through the wrapper, it becomes its basic ingredient.

Today, more and more, it is a case of the form being the substance and the packaging being the message.


CBA Italy

via San Francesco 15, 20122 – Milano
Map and directions

Phone +39 02 3057 461

© 2014 CB’A Srl
All Rights Reserved

P.IVA 05940620965

We are a network of 11 offices distributed throught the world,
300 professionals working on projects from more than 30 countries.

CBA Global en
CBA France FR / EN
CBA Italy IT / EN
CBA Spain ES
CBA Turkey EN
CBA Middle East EN
CBA Asia Pacific EN
CBA North America EN
CBA Latin America EN

Type your search and hit return


First Name

Last Name

Email address

You will need to confirm your address to activate your subscription.
By clicking “Subscribe” you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

Terms and conditions

Legislative Decree 196/2003 (“Data protection code”). In keeping with the commitment and care that CBA devotes to the protection of your personal data, we would like to inform you of our methods, objectives and fields of communication and circulation regarding your personal data and your rights, in accordance with Article 13 of Legislative Decree 196/2003.

Browsing Data. As part of their standard functions the IT systems and software procedures that operate this website acquire some personal data, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of Internet communication protocols. This information is not collected in order to be associated to identify interested parties, but by its very nature may, through processing and association with data held by third parties, allow the users to be identified. This data category includes IP addresses or domain names from computers used to connect to the website, the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) addresses of the requested resources, the time of the request, the method used to submit the request to the server, the size of the file received in response, the numerical code indicating the state of the response given by the server (successful, error, etc.) and other parameters relating to the user’s operating system and platform. This information is only used in order to gather anonymous statistical information about use of the site and in order to monitor operations and is deleted immediately after it is processed. This data may be used to ascertain culpability in case of any IT crimes that damage the site, but currently, apart from this eventuality, data on web contacts is not kept for more than seven days.


No personal user data is acquired by the website. Cookies are not used to transmit personal information, nor are so-termed persistent cookies, in other words user tracking systems. The use of persistent session cookies (which are not permanently saved on the user’s computer and vanish when the browser is closed) is strictly limited to the transmission of identifying details of the session (consisting of random numbers generated by the server), which are required for safe and efficient browsing of the website. So-termed session cookies are used on this website to avoid recourse to other IT techniques that might be potentially detrimental to user browsing privacy and do not permit the collection of identifying personal user data.

Personal data is processed with authorised instruments only for the time strictly necessary to achieve the objectives for which it was gathered. Specific security measures are observed to prevent the loss of data, illegal or incorrect use and access to unauthorised persons. 

Data processing for the web services provided by this website takes place at the CBA offices and is only handled by the technician responsible for data processing or occasional maintenance personnel. No data obtained from the web service is communicated or circulated. DATA CONTROLLER: The Data Controller is CB’A Srl, with legal headquarters in Via S. Primo 4, Milan.

The subjects of the personal data are entitled at any moment to find out whether any of their personal data is being processed and its contents and origin, to verify the contents or request integration or updating or rectification (Article 7, Legislative Decree 196/2003). Under that same article, the subject has the right to request the deletion, transformation into anonymous data or blocking of any data processed in violation of the law, as well as opposing for legitimate reasons its processing in any case. All requests must be made to the Data Controller.