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The Amazing Story of Plastic Candy Containers

candy package

When you pick up a plastic container of gum or breath mints on a whim while waiting to pay for gas, you probably don’t think much about the marketing research, engineering and hard work that went into the seemingly simple package you’re holding in your hand.

Who designed it? Why did the designer choose a certain color? Who supplied the plastic? Where was it molded into a container? No, you probably just want to pay for it, open it and dig in. But that little plastic container has an interesting past.

An Industry of Convenience

The confectionery industry tends to favor injection-molded candy packaging options. Injection molded candy packaging includes mint dispensers, gum packages designed to fit in a car’s cup holder and any number of cups, tubes or pop-top containers for candies, gums and chocolates.

From a manufacturer’s standpoint, package style, color and function are not light decisions. Most global confectionery sales take place in grocery stores, mass merchandise outlets (such as Wal-Mart and Target) and convenience stores. And of those sales, most individual/single-serving candy packages are sold at the checkout counter.

Think of all the checkout counters you visit on a regular basis. Where are the candy, mints, gum and chocolate snacks? Bulk bags of candy generally have their own devoted aisle but single-serving packs tend to congregate around the cashier, right?

Subtleties of Design

Confectionery manufacturers put massive amounts of time and effort into the development of candy packaging. Candy products need to catch the eye of retail shoppers as they are waiting in line to check out. Therefore, the thermoplastic molds developed for candy manufacturers need to meet product specifications perfectly.

Colors must be exact because they are integral to the manufacturer’s brand recognition and marketing strategy. Mentos blue and Icebreakers blue are subtly different, for example. Your brain might not notice the nearly imperceptible disparities, but would be ill at ease if the brands suddenly swapped shades.

A candy container must also function exactly as designed. If a lid refuses to stay closed and pops open on its own, annoyed consumers might purchase a different product next time.

A quick look at your nearest candy aisle will reveal a large number of injection molded plastic confectionery packages. M&Ms, Orbit and Mentos gum, Tic Tacs, Hubba Bubba bubble gum rolls, and Push Pops are just a few examples.

Each package has its own signature style, many of which have become synonymous with the specific candy type and brand. Can you picture a Tic Tac coming out of any other kind of container than the well-known, pocket-sized Tic Tac dispenser?

Additives To The Rescue

Special effect color additives are extremely important to a confectionery company’s final product. Bright, attention-grabbing colors make the finished candy package stand out in a sea of other candy options.

In addition to color pigments, several other additives can be used, such as color-changing additives that react to changing levels of light, scent additives that give off a pleasant fragrance and special effect additives that can add a metallic, pearlescent, fluorescent or marbled appearance to the finished candy package. Also available are special effect options that include glitter, phosphorescent (glow in the dark) pigments, and copper, aluminum or zinc flakes designed to give candy packages a unique luster.

Once the product’s color is matched perfectly, it’s ready for production the manufacturer.

Ah, To Be Wanted Like That

Plastic candy packaging should be designed so that it goes practically unnoticed, at least consciously. Customers should be drawn to a product instinctively because their unconscious mind caught a glimpse of a logo or a unique package. Something triggers a craving right then and there, and they reach out and grab your product.

Contact Plastics Color today to take the first important steps in making your candy container goals a reality.

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