FSEA releases second whitepaper: Impact of Enhancements on Shelf Presence

The Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA) has released its second whitepaper on The Impact of High-Visibility Enhancements on Shelf Presence. The study revealed the effects of packaging enhancements on purchasing behaviour. Based on a study conducted by the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University, it examined an unknown brand of disposable, single-serve coffee packaging that was created specifically for the study – Zapotec – and compared it to name-brand packaging on a retail shelf. The Zapotec packaging was studied in three iterations with both a control and an enhanced package. These included: a printed Zapotec package with a printed red emblem; a printed package with a red-foil-stamped metallic emblem; and the same printed package with a gold-foil-stamped metallic emblem.

Using eye-tracking devices that track actual pupil movement, the study analyzed how long it took the 180 study participants to find a package on a shelf and how long the participants fixated on that item. As one example, the printed “red bird control” Zapotec carton (with no foil) was placed on the shelf next to well-known brands, such as Maxwell House, Gevalia, Donut Shop, Green Mountain and Eight O’Clock. The non-enhanced carton was second to last in “Time to First Fixation” – or time until the participants’ attentions were focused on the cartons. However, when the enhanced Zapotec carton with a red foil stamped emblem was placed alongside the same known brands, the Zapotec carton rated second overall in “Time to First Fixation.” This is a significant difference said FSEA, as the unknown brand actually rated higher than Maxwell House, Eight O’Clock and Donut Shop in attracting consumer attention quickly. The whitepaper also included purchasing data from the study. Again, these results were also very positive. They revealed that the gold-foil-stamped cartons attracted consumer attention that led shoppers to purchase the unknown coffee brand just as often as the name brands Maxwell House and Green Mountain Coffee – and, in fact, more frequently than Eight O’Clock.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.