Package Testing

Product packaging can play a significant impact on consumers’ opinion of a product as it is often the vehicle to their first impression of a product. The aim of a good package is not only to convey the product’s features, but also matching the underlying desires and interests of its target market.

Building on years of package research experience, Addison Research helps clients to optimise their packaging so it can reach its full potential as a key consumer touchpoint.

Client Questions

  • How does my packaging perform vs. competition?
  • Will my package stand out from the clutter?
  • Are the key elements that drive purchase intent seen?
  • Is my product’s packaging clear, in line with the brand and liked?
  • Will shoppers buy my product in the new package design?

Our Solutions

Addison Research works from early stage package development, which connects consumers with designers, through to in-home testing and later stage validation.

We focus on:

Early stages of package design

Before making some decisions on the direction of the package design, qualitative research such as focus groups are used to explore what consumers within the target market are looking for. Opinions on currently available competitive designs are collected to estimate what package features are desired, which ones need to be improved, and what the market’s overall expectations are. 

Either in conjunction or as an alternative for qualitative research, a choice-based conjoint is applied to measure the level of preference of a design. In a conjoint exercise, simulated packages are created for research purposes based on a pre-defined set of dimensions (e.g. colour, package shape, text font, logo, etc.) and within each dimension a pre-defined set of levels (e.g. blue, green, red among the colours; square box, cone, cylinder among the shapes; etc.). These virtual packages are then tested in such a way that respondents’ preference for each level is determined, as well as determining the impact of each dimension on their overall packaging preference. This research can direct designers to a small number of options that would be most compelling to the target market.

Later stages of package design

Once a shortlist of concepts has been established, these are tested among consumers. This can again be done in either a qualitative or a quantitative framework, or both. Qualitative research is used if the concept packages can be viewed, manipulated, and handled in-person. In cases where this is not feasible, an online quantitative survey is employed in which the concepts are presented. The testing of the concepts would first be in a monadic fashion, i.e. the sample is split into equal sub-groups, with each sub-group presented one concept on its own. The concept is then rated on a scale on various measures (appeal, uniqueness, etc.). Then, other concepts are presented, and respondents are asked to compare which concept most stands on those same measures. Each concept can also be tested in a word association exercise (“old”, “novel”, “daring”, “boring”, etc.), and then mapped against each other on these descriptors.


For last stage, higher risk decisions, we immerse consumers in virtual and real life shelves to understand the sales implications of a pack change. Based on today’s most advanced implicit measures (response time, online eye tracking) and more traditional approaches, we answer the “why” and the “what if”.

Case Studies

Case study: Test new packaging

Business Challenge

A national coffee chain wanted to gather feedback from customers regarding several proposed design changes to their product’s packaging.

What we did

Data gathered included current use of the product, recognition and use of competitive products and the likelihood of using the product with redesigned packaging. To gather this feedback, Addison Research conducted intercepts with general consumers in shopping malls in four geographically dispersed cities throughout the country.

Based on the intercepts, our client obtained valuable information on the usage of their product by geographic area, the usage of competitor products, consumer preferences for the new designs as well as their likelihood of using the product if the package design was used. Based on the participants’ feedback, our analysis of the results and the client’s evaluation of their manufacturing capabilities, one of the new designs was chosen and implemented.

 If you would like to talk to us about your next research study

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