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What is Packaging? The Basics of Meaning and Definition

  • What is Packaging? The Basics of Meaning and Definition

If you want to learn about the bare bone's basics of packaging, you have come to the right place. Sometimes in order to have the most understanding and the most comprehensive knowledge of a simple word or concept, going back to the basics is a must.

Therefore, we will take a look at the definitions and the meaning of packaging to truly understand what this simple, but very complex word is all about.


There are two main definitions for packaging and they are as follows:

  • 1. “Processes (such as cleaning, drying, preserving) and materials (such as glass, metal, paper or paperboard, plastic) employed to contain, handle, protect, and/or transport an article. Role of packaging is broadening and may include functions such as to attract attention, assist in promotion, provide machine identification (barcodes, etc.), impart essential or additional information, and help in utilization. See also packing.”
  • 2. “Practice of combining several related goods or services into a single offer. See also bundling.”

As you can see, packaging is meant to hold and protect an item, such as a new wine glass, for easy transportation, to supply important information, and to attract the attention of a potential customer. Packaging hold many different functions from practical functions to marketing functions and both are equally as important.

There can also be a few different layers of packaging, also known as primary packaging, secondary packaging, and tertiary packaging. The definitions for these are as follows:

Primary Packaging

“First-level product packaging such as the bottle, can, jar, tube, etc., that contains the item sold. It is the last packaging thrown by the consumer.”

Secondary Packaging

“That encloses the primary packaging, such as toothpaste tube in its box.”

Tertiary Packaging

“One of the three types of wrapping used to protect manufactured goods. Tertiary packaging is typically not seen by consumers since it is usually removed by retailers before products are displayed for sale. Examples of tertiary packaging might include brown cardboard boxes, wood pallets and shrink wrap.”

Putting all of these types of packaging into an example is simple. Toothpaste comes in a plastic tube, which is the primary packaging for the toothpaste. The tube of toothpaste is then placed in its own cardboard box, which is the secondary packaging. That tube of toothpaste in its own box may also be put into a larger box on its own or with many other toothpaste boxes during the shipping process, and this is known as the tertiary packaging.

Of course, there can be many different types of packages. Packages are typically made from items such as cardboard, plastic, aluminum, biodegradable materials, cotton, glass, and more. Packaging can also be equipped with technology that we often see in smart packaging, intelligent packaging, etc.

  • What is Packaging? The Basics of Meaning and Definition

Final Thoughts

The above are some of the basics about packaging and the definitions of packaging along with the different layers of packaging as well. Packaging’s definition and meaning is both similar and complex at the same time but having a basic understanding of each with arm you with the proper information to understand the further layers and meanings of packaging.


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