When we buy a product, we do not realize how conveniently it is packed and labeled. When we get a shampoo, it comes in a bottle or a sachet. It is stored in a well-planned package. When we need information on how to use a serum, we find it on the label. A product cannot be stored nor can it provide any information without packaging and labeling.
Although packaging and labeling are closely related, they both have different purposes.
Packaging is the process of storing or wrapping a product in a protective material to maintain its quality, shape, and size until it reaches its customer.
Labeling is the procedure to provide information about the product, including its manufacturing date, expiry date, ingredients, how to use, etc.
Likewise, packaging and labeling have many other differences, which we will discuss further in this article.
Packaging VS Labeling
Packaging and labeling are parts of the marketing strategy.
The manufacturers ensure that they store the products inside properly designed packages to maintain the quality. This process is called packaging. However, labeling is the procedure of disclosing all the information required to get a product sold.
Manufacturers design the package in a way so as to attract more customers toward the product. But when it comes to labeling, manufacturers like to keep it simple and easy to read for the customers to understand the details about the product. However, they sometimes add images or textures to the label and choose the best font to match the package.
Good packaging keeps a product safe and maintains its quality and shape. Customers receive their products in their best form due to good packaging.
However, labeling is required to advise the customers on how to use a product and caution them on its limits and expiry date. The label contains information that protects the customers from harm.
Differences Between Packaging and Labeling in Tabular Form
|Meaning||Packaging means wrapping and storing a product in a well-designed package.||Labeling means providing important information about the product on the package.|
|Purpose||Packaging protects a product from any damage and maintains its quality during transport, storage, and sale until it reaches the customer in excellent condition.||Labeling has the purpose of sharing important information about the product with consumers.|
|Materials used||Manufacturers use different materials according to the products. They use plastic, cardboard, paper, wood, glass, etc., to provide different levels of protection for different products.||The material can differ according to the packaging of the product. The use of paper and plastic for labels is common. But sometimes metal can also be used for labeling.|
|Design||The package is designed in such a way that the product fits in properly, and its quality is maintained. The packaging must look appealing and unique.||Designing the label involves choosing a suitable font, image, and graphics to provide product information effectively and to make it look appealing.|
|Marketing||Unique design and attractive colored packaging would pull more customers towards the product. Customers become curious about a product when its package looks attractive.||Displaying logos, unique designs, attractive colors, and fonts on the label and keeping it simple for the customers to understand are some of the marketing strategies used to attract more customers toward the product.|
|Safety||Good packaging provides safety to the product inside it.||A label provides cautions, warnings, and instructions on how to use a product. It keeps the consumers safe from any harm.|
|Legal Requirements||Packaging must follow some regulations regarding size, material, weight, etc., depending on the kind of product and the country in which it is sold.||Labeling must follow regulations that ensure that information such as expiration date, manufacturing details, ingredients, etc., are all displayed.|
|Environmental impact||Some materials used for packaging can impact the environment. Most companies use non-biodegradable packaging that leads to pollution of the environment. There are only a few firms that have pledged to be eco-friendly.||Labels have a lesser impact on the environment compared to packages.|
What is Packaging?
Packaging is the procedure of storing or wrapping a product in a container that suits it best to protect it and maintain its quality. Packaging involves selecting a proper material to contain the product. For example – It is not possible to store oil in a paper container. Hence, metal or plastic are usually used to store oil.
Packaging also involves making the package in a manner that makes it easy to handle the product. Shampoo comes in bottles and sachets instead of cans or wrappers making it easy to use.
Packaging is necessary to prevent the product from contamination, damage, and spoilage.
Components of a Package
A package consists of the following components-
- Physical Container – Materials like plastic, paper, metal, cardboard or wooden boxes, cloth wrappers, polythene bags, Styrofoam, etc., are used as physical containers to store or wrap around the product.
- Label – A label carries important information about the product that helps customers identify and buy the product.
- Inserts – We often receive a piece of paper filled with texts within an outer package. It may include anything from safety information to booklets, coupons, etc. These are called inserts.
Levels of Packaging
Packaging is of three levels. They include –
- Primary Packaging – It is the packaging that is in direct contact with the product. It keeps the product intact. For example, a toothpaste tube contains toothpaste. Therefore, the tube is the primary package of the toothpaste.
- Secondary Packaging – A secondary layer of packaging is provided to protect the product from damage which is called secondary packaging. For example – A hair oil bottle often comes in a cardboard box. This cardboard box is the secondary package of the product. This package can be chucked out after the product is brought home.
- Transportation Packaging – It is the layer of packaging used only during transportation. It makes it convenient to move the products in batches from one location to another. At the same time, it protects the products from damage or spoilage during transportation. Using cartons as the third packaging layer is a common practice to transport products.
Functions of Packaging
There are many functions of packaging. They are as under-
- Protection – The basic function of packaging is to protect the product from harm. If products are left open they will get spoiled due to their exposure to the outside world. Packaging protects the product from the sun, rain, moisture, tampering, breakage, contamination, etc.
- Product identification – Each product we see has a unique packaging that separates it from the rest of the products. It helps customers identify the product.
- Convenience – Packages provide the convenience of moving and storing the product. It is also convenient for the customers to store the product at home and use it when it is in a suitable package.
- Product promotion – Attractive packages catch the eyes of the customers easily. The customers would be eager to know what the product would be like inside a good-looking package. Hence, packaging also promotes the sale of a product.
- Quality and quantity estimation – It is easy for the customers to guess the quality of a product by looking at its packaging. Usually, customers would go for a well-packed product as it is related to good quality. Packaging also helps customers understand the quantity of the product.
- Facilitating the use of the product – It is easier to use a product stored in well-planned packaging. For example- Face creams are mostly stored inside a tube so that we can squeeze out the required amount of cream at a time.
What is Labeling?
Labeling is the process of providing information about the product to its consumers. A label includes the name of the product, producer name, features, ingredients, instructions for its usage, expiration date, manufacturing details, storage and disposal, quality, quantity, weight, legally mandated information, barcode, etc.
Labeling saves everyone their time and effort. It saves the manufacturer's time as they only need to print the details of the product and attach it as the label. It saves the consumers' time as they do not have to contact the manufacturer for each and every detail of the product.
Types of Label
Three types of labels include the following-
- Brand label – This is the part where the basic product information is given.
- Descriptive label – It provides product usage.
- Grade label – It specifies the important features and quality of the product.
- Informative label – It provides additional information that might be useful for some consumers.
Functions of Labeling
The functions of labeling are as follows-
- Describing the product – Labels describe the product and specify which range of product is for which group of people. For example – Women's Horlicks is a health drink solution for women above 30 years of age.
- Specifying the content – The ingredients that make up a product are also given on the label so the customers can skip the products that have the ingredients they want to avoid. For example – A customer with an allergy to nuts must avoid nuts at all costs. He/she can check the ingredients of a product and see if it contains nuts to be on the safe side.
- Product identification – Labels can help customers identify the brand of a product. Often different manufacturers sell similar products with similar packaging. By mentioning the brand name and using unique text and color for the label, it becomes easier for the customers to choose the product they are looking for.
- Grading of product – One brand may produce many products under its name. A label helps in specifying a product's variant and range. For example – Nestle is a brand that produces many products under its name. A label would specify which product is what so the customers are not confused.
- Providing legally mandated information – Labels also provide legally mandated information like manufacturing date, expiry date, weight, price, and statutory warnings.
- Product promotion – Unique and attractive-looking labels also attract customers toward a product. For example – A pretty-looking label on a makeup product would attract more women to it.
Main Difference Between Packaging and Labeling in Points
- Packaging is the process of designing and creating a well-suited package for a product. However, labeling is the process of providing important information about the product to the customers.
- The main purpose of packaging is to protect the product from the harmful effects of the environment so that its quality is maintained. The main purpose of labeling is to provide information about the product to the consumers.
- While packaging is considered to be one of the components of the complete product personality, labeling is an essential component of packaging.
- Packaging materials are mostly plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, wood, glass, etc., whereas labels are mostly made of paper, plastic, and sometimes metal.
- In packaging, innovative design and vibrant colors of the package attract more people to a product. When it comes to labeling, simple texts that provide important information about the product are enough for the customers to buy a product. Some patterns and images on the label can be a plus point.
- Good packaging provides safety to the product and it ensures that the customers get the product in good quality and shape. On the other hand, labeling provides safety to the customers by keeping them alert through caution to prevent them from any harm.
- Packaging can have a bad impact on the environment if the materials used are non-biodegradable. On the other hand, labeling does not have such a big impact on the environment as packaging.
From this article, we can conclude that both packaging and labeling are important tools for marketing a product. However, both of them serve different purposes within the process.
While packaging is more about the protection of the product, labeling is about informing the customers about the product. Packaging helps maintain the quality of the product. Labeling helps customers understand the qualities of the product. The design of the package affects the sale of the product. The label, however, is mostly kept simple and easy to read so that the customers are fully informed about the product before buying it.
Hence, both packaging and labeling work hand in hand, each having its purpose.