Initial Scientific Review (ISR) an initiative developed as a collaboration between Arthritis Australia, Nestle, NSW Health and Georgia Tech, is encouraging manufacturers to address the issue of ‘Pack rage’ by developing more accessible packaging through a benchmarking scale.
Pack rage, a feeling of anger that consumers experience when they can’t open packaging effects a significant proportion of the Australian public. ISR has developed a report that assesses products, and allows organisations to compare suppliers using an ‘Accessibility Benchmarking Scale’.
Strategic partnerships manager at Arthritis Australia, Fergal Barry says that the ISR combines three aspects to form the benchmarking score: the populations impacted, the requirement for a tool, and task criticality.
“The +8 to -8 rating gives a standard method to compare products’ ease of opening and legibility, so an organisation can compare two competing brands of a similar product, or a manufacturer can compare two design solutions for a product,” said Barry.
Barry says that the Accessibility Benchmarking Scale provides manufacturers with a valuable marketing advantage, one which has helped Matthew McAlpin of Eatwell Foods retain market share in NSW health-care organisations and increase with other health authorities.
“I didn’t necessarily expect to see either of those, so the changes have definitely been worth doing. Because we did the job on the biscuits, HealthShare NSW approached us to sort out another type of food packaging, which allowed us to enter a new market,” said McAlpin.
“You can have the best product, but if you can’t open it, it is no good. Malnutrition is as big as waste in health care. Pack unopenability is a big problem and it’s starting to be addressed, which is great.”
Gavin Williams, CEO of the Australian Packaging Council said that failure to move to accessible packaging may result in a loss of market share – a sentiment which is backed up by results from a 2011 US online survey, which showed that nearly one in two consumers had switched at least one brand because of packaging accessibility.
“Easy-to-open packaging is a major issue for companies, and those that don’t address it in a serious way are likely to suffer commercial consequences.”