Consumer Perception, Product Packaging, and Men vs. Women

Have you ever noticed how various products are packaged and marketed differently to men and women?  We’re sure you have.

While strolling through various department stores, we noticed a few key trends that really stood out in the health and hygiene product aisles.

Before we begin, we recommend you take a look back at our Color Choices for Packaging blog to learn more about how color choice can affect consumer perception.

Products, Packaging and Colors Overview

For starters let’s take a broad look down both aisles and compare the overall colors and styles. Note the primarily white packaging with lighter, softer accents in the women’s aisle. Brands use a lot of white and blue which helps build trust and reliability with the consumer while also presenting cleanliness and purity. We see soft blues used primarily on deodorant packaging. Blue specifically relays a message of trust and reliability. These key factors being extremely important to consumers when buying deodorant. Consumers want to know that the deodorant is going to last all day and power through the toughest of situations.

How does the above compare to men’s hygiene product packaging? Taking a wide look down the men’s aisle we see dark backdrops (primarily gray, black and blue). This portrays authority and luxury within the market. Brands want to be seen as high end, industry leaders compared to their competitor’s offerings. These dark colors are accompanied by bright reds and oranges. The red is very apparent on the deodorant and body wash side. The red helps frame the product as being bold, which may appeal to men looking to stand out in the scent department. On the flip side of the aisle we see more orange as both an accent and primary packaging color. Orange packaging gives the consumer a sense that the product is of a lower cost. With a wide variety of cheaper, subscription based alternatives, it is important for in-store brands to be seen as a cost effective primary option.

Shaving Products Men vs. Women

Recently, many online or subscription-based men’s shaving brands entered the market and have done very well, forcing in store brands to either lower their prices to compete or find a way to offer a better value to consumers.

Appearing to be of a better value in the eyes of consumer’s starts with packaging. If companies aren’t willing to lower prices or increase quantity offerings, they need to catch the customer’s eye through packaging. In the men’s shaving aisle we see more of the same colors and trends as the other personal hygiene products. The packaging has a dark backdrop with bright orange and yellow accents. Thus catching the consumer’s eye and appearing to be a fun, low-cost product.

HarrysNow on the other hand, some of these online/subscription based companies have done so well they’re even becoming in-store powerhouses. Take Harry’s for example, they are now on department store shelves with more than just shaving products. Currently they offer their full line of shaving products along with shampoo and body wash for men. Some of their success may be due to their packaging choices. Harry’s uses a fairly plain design focusing on contrast. We see a lot of gray and dark blue backdrops with some splashes of bright color. The blue/gray projects trust, reliability and luxury. The brighter colors, similar to their in store competition, presents a fun low cost product.


When it comes to female shaving products, light blue is EVERYWHERE. Brands use light blue for the primary packaging and as an accent color. You may be noticing a trend in women’s products portraying a sense of trust and reliability. Alongside the blue, we want to note how much brighter the women’s aisle is. Taking advantage of white instead of darker grays and blues. Alongside the soft blues and white, brands use purples and pinks as a primary and secondary packaging color option. The bold oranges from the men’s aisle are replaced with a wide range of soft colors to provoke imagination, success (purple), optimism, hope (yellow) and growth (green).

In Conclusion

We know brands use different colors for their packaging to affect consumer perception of their products. We can also see a significant difference in the color choices for products marketed towards men vs. women. While we are sure there is endless data to confirm the success of these nuances, we want your opinion.

Does this work? As a consumer, do you buy products based on the packaging and colors? Do you prefer one product over another due to packaging?

Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!




Camping Amid the WI Flooding

Camping is one of the best ways to get out in nature and enjoy a side of Wisconsin you may not see every day! Wisconsin has numerous State Parks and National Forests scattered within its borders. As summer begins to wind down, it is the perfect time to visit one of them!

Photo courtesy of Friends WI Parks

However, before mapping out a hike or jumping in the car and road tripping to your favorite campground, make sure you have the necessities. Flashlights (lamps, headlamps, lanterns, etc.), radios, walkie-talkies, portable mattress pumps, among other gear that can all require alkaline batteries. We recommend that you check to see that the batteries in the products are working and that you pack away a couple spares for the trip.


Photo courtesy of Frugal Frogs
Photo Courtesy of Fenix Lighting

However, with all of the rain we’ve gotten recently we suggest checking the DNR website for park closures.  You never know when dangerous weather can strike, in case it does, here are a few things to have in your car for emergency situations. Similar to camping, having battery operated products such as a flashlight, flares (battery operated/traditional), and emergency radio stored in your motor vehicle can keep you out of harm. Alkaline batteries also play a major role for emergency responders. Their gear can include, but is not limited to flashlights, location beacons, pumps, goggles/glasses, flares, radios and walkie-talkies.


Photo courtesy of Bright Guy
Photo Courtesy of Grist

We also want to thank all the attendees who stopped by and visited our booth at WAPP 2018!


Plastic in Packaging

Let’s talk plastic in packaging…

Recently, plastic has gotten a bad reputation and rightfully so. However, plastic is vital for the packaging industry for many reasons. You may be thinking, “why can’t everyone just use an alternative and stop polluting the ocean with plastics?!” Unfortunately there are just some cases where plastic is a necessity and can’t be replaced by one of the many alternatives such as corrugate, paper, etc.

Plastic is used in many facets of packaging across multiple industries such as food & beverage, health care, cosmetic & personal care, home & garden and consumer goods. Plastic is an essential part of the packaging process. We as consumers rely on plastic for a variety of reasons. Plastic is great for packaging because it keeps products safe, clean and secure. Plastic itself is light weight, durable, versatile and recyclable which makes it perfect for a wide range of packaging needs.

Food waste packaging(1)

Plastic offers a lot great uses, but there are also some drawbacks as mentioned earlier.  Plastic is getting a bad reputation as sustainability becomes more commonplace in the US.

  • Even though plastic is recyclable, it doesn’t always make it to the correct receptacle.
    • According to,”…a total of about 19 billion pounds of garbage and plastic waste ends up in our oceans every year.”
  • Another hot button topic when it comes to plastic and waste is straws.
    • puts the total daily usage of straws in the USA at, “500 million or enough straws to circle around the Earth 2.5 times).


Due to some of the downsides to plastic in packaging some industry leaders are taking the initiative to become more sustainable.

PepsiCo plans to launch a residential recycling initiative that will not only be advantageous for themselves but their communities as well.  According to Packagingnews, “This recycling initiative is part of PepsiCo’s signature sustainability program, “Performance with Purpose”; by 2025, PepsiCo’s goal is to:

  • Design 100% of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or, biodegradable
  • Increase recycled materials in its plastic packaging
  • Reduce packaging’s carbon impact
  • Work to increase recycling rates.”

Starbucks has laid out plans to ban plastic straws worldwide by 2020. These straws will be replaced by a newly designed lid that is recyclable. Although Starbucks plans to ban the use of plastic straws, they have discussed using compostable plastic or paper straws along-side the new lids. According to, “The company said it is the largest food and beverage retailer to make such a commitment—a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from its stores.” Starbucks plans to roll this new plan out beginning with Seattle and Vancouver as Seattle has already banned the use of plastic straws as a city.

The one thing that is not up for discussion is the fact that plastic is one of the cornerstones of the packaging industry.  No matter which side you are on, everyone can agree that plastic is a very hot topic in this day and age. As the packaging industry continues to grow and evolve we will continue to see more alternatives and advancements that can potentially replace the extensive use of plastic.

Read more about this at one of the links below!

Sustainability in the Coffee Industry

I have seen a few different blogs and articles discussing sustainability and the coffee industry. In the past, we have written articles that went into detail about sustainability in the packaging industry. However, being a coffee enthusiast I thought it would be cool to take that one step further and look at how coffee companies are changing the game when it comes to sustainability in not only packaging, but sourcing and roasting, as well. A couple of brands I would like to highlight are JOCO & Balzac’s Coffee Roasters.

12 05 12 joco 4JOCO is best known for their reusable glass coffee cups which are great for drinking coffee around the house or on the go. JOCO can be an alternative to standard paper or foam cups available at gas stations and coffee shops. JOCO has also partnered with Jimmy Gleeson to create a brand and packaging design that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but sustainable as well. One of my favorite things about this packaging is what’s under the lid. If you flip the lid over you’ll notice the description informing consumers of the “environmentally safe and recyclable” nature of the container. Following this JOCO gives a few suggestions of how to reuse the container such as, a pencil cup, water bottle holder on a bike, a piggy bank, or place to stow your coffee, tea bags and sugar. JOCO does not stop there, they go even further by engaging with the consumer, asking them to submit their fun and clever ways to reuse the tube! (See more information about JOCO here)

10 16 12 Balzacs 5As for coffee roasters, Balzac’s, Counter Culture, Amavida and Oughtred have been leading the way in 2018 when it comes to sustainability. Balzac’s Coffee Roasters showcases their dedication to sustainability through their designs and collaboration. From the large lettering drawing consumer focus to the fact that their beans are “micro-roasted in 20 pound batches” to their collaboration with Margaret Atwood. The Dieline highlights the design begin this collaboration, “stunning illustration with strong type, the new design has significant shelf presence that emotionally engages consumers.” To see how else Balzac’s Coffee Roasters is making a difference check out their website.

These other Coffee Companies are also making quite a bit of noise when it comes to sustainability. Take a look!

Counter Culture

Amavida Coffee Roasters

Oughtred Coffee & Tea

To find more information on Joco & Balzacs, check out the links below.

Packaging Trends for 2018

As we continue to push forward into 2018, let’s take look at what trends we can expect within the packaging industry.

According to the five trends we can look forward to are,

  1. Packaging will play a pivotal role in reducing global food and product waste.
  2. Online brands will reinvigorate their packaging in order to enhance the e-commerce experience.
  3. Brands that adopt clear and succinct package messaging will be rewarded as consumers prefer brands that embrace minimalism.
  4. Brands will be called to keep marine conservation at the forefront of packaging development and to anchor the circular economy for future generations.
  5. Contemporary packaging formats will see the center-of-store take center stage.

Let’s take some time to expand on the above trends that we will see in 2018.

Think Outside the BoxPackaging will play a pivotal role in reducing global food and product wasteWith a continued emphasis on recycling and repurposing throughout other industries, packaging will have no choice but to follow suit. In 2018 we will see packaging take on the challenge and push for products that have multiple uses, extend freshness and preserve ingredients of food products, as well as the assurance of safe delivery to end users. Packaging will no longer be an afterthought and will help communicate key features to end users. We will also see an added emphasis on packaging that can, “educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products” according to David Luttenberger.

Online brands will reinvigorate their packaging in order to enhance the e-commerce experienceAs we see a shift from shopping in brick and mortar stores to online shopping, packaging will need to be a key ingredient in consumer experience. Brands will no longer need to “stand out on the shelf”, but they will need to think about the perception a consumer has about a product when they see in on a doorstep or in a mail box. Consumers will now see “unboxing” as part of the user experience which puts pressure on brands to put more time and effort into that aspect of their packaging.

Brands that adopt clear and succinct package messaging will be rewarded as consumers prefer brands that embrace minimalismLiving in the information era puts a little added pressure on brands as consumers are able to find information about a certain product with ease. Chances are, a consumer already has some sort of knowledge or perception about your product before they even see the packaging. With this, your packaging should not overwhelm or underwhelm the consumer with information. Finding this happy medium can be difficult, but it can be the difference between a repeat customer and a one-time user. Product packaging should be clean and contain just enough information to reaffirm customer perception.

Brands will be called to keep marine conservation at the forefront of packaging development and to anchor the circular economy for future generations. Again, as we continue to emphasize recyclability, marine conservation will be at the forefront. Luttenberger says, “safe packaging disposal will increasingly color consumers’ perceptions of different packaging types and impact shopper purchase decisions.” Brands will be responsible for ensuring their customers know they are working toward a more marine friendly packaging construction. Brands can create awareness by reusing wasted plastic found in the sea and other bodies of water. This effort will raise consumer awareness, but will not completely solve the problem.

Contemporary packaging formats will see the center-of-store take center stage. As newer generations continue to become more health conscious, brands that live on shelves in the center of the grocery store will need to find ways to stand out. Younger generations tend to spend more time shopping on outer aisles containing fresh and chilled produce and less time weaving through the center of the store with processed and frozen foods. What does this mean for those brands? Luttenberger thinks, “The use of transparent materials, contemporary designs, recyclability, or unique shapes can help draw in younger consumers to the store center, making it as appealing as the burgeoning perimeter to younger consumers.”

This article contains some dialogue originally found on

WISBuy’s PCard Marketplace is now mobile!

As everyone knows, being mobile is now more important than ever. Not being tethered to a desk can be the difference between making a sale and being the runner-up. Having the ability to buy on the go can be a huge advantage and that is why the Wisconsin Department of Administration has designed and rolled out a new app for WISBuy users. The new app Jaggaer is available in the Apple App store as well as the Google Play store. The app allows you to make purchases using your PCard just as if you were in the WISBuy Marketplace on your computer. Check out the video below to see how to download the app!

Currently, all hosted catalogs and the following punchout catalogs are available through the mobile app: CDW-G, Dell NASPO, Dell State, Fastenal, Ferguson, Grainger, Medline, Henry Schein, HP Inc., Lenovo, McKesson and Staples. CLICK HERE to view the DOA pdf.


We are also very happy to see our Rayovac batteries in the Jaggaer WISBuy PCard Marketplace!


For help setting up your account please CLICK HERE.


U.S. Paper Recovery Rate Reaches All-Time High

According to Packworld, “The American Forest & Paper Association has announced that a record 67.2% of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2016.” This is great news for the packaging industry!

As you would imagine, paper is one of the most important materials in packaging and used throughout the shipping process in varying amounts by every company. Some of the most common uses for paper in packaging are printed purchase orders, skid labels, box labels, packing slips, and box filling material.Recycle-Paper

Since 1990, the American Forest & Paper Association has been tracking the paper recovery rate. In 1990, “the paper recovery rate measured 33.5%.” While 67.2% is still a significant increase from the 1990 baseline. AF&PA member companies are hoping to reach their goal at least 70% U.S. paper recovery rate by 2020 as part of the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative.

AF&PA Board Chair and Clearwater Paper Corporation President and CEO Linda Massman says, “paper recovery for recycling helps extend the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products, making it an integral part of our industry’s sustainability story.” Due to the commonality of paper and paper-based products in packaging, the recycling efforts are an integral part of staying sustainable.

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