They should be draped appetizingly, if possible with an attractively photographed garnishing suggestion, but in any case the should be very visible: consumers have high demands when it comes to packaged cold cuts in the refrigerated shelf. Not everything offered in foil, jars, artificial intestines or plastic appeals to consumers. In a depth-psychological study, the Cologne-based market research institute rheingold, in cooperation with the packaging consultants of Berndt&Partner, had a closer look at different types of cold cuts packaging.
Consumers attach special importance to coherent packaging. In short, meats and their artificial "shell" have to do justice to two contradictory wishes of consumers. On the one hand, consumers want to pursue their wish of obtaining strength and potency from the cold cuts and to feel this natural, primeval energy when shopping.
On the other hand, consumers do not want to be shown this primeval desire too vehemently. When they buy cold cuts, they do not want to be reminded that an animal had to be slaughtered for this food. Consumers want to enjoy cold cuts without thinking about the animal and without all the related mental burdens. They favor a rather abstract presentation of cold cuts. The meat should be artistically draped and sorted in an orderly way in the packaging. Whiles slices served in a fan-like manner fulfill this desire for cultivation, salamis piled on top of one another do not. The ideal cold cut packaging fulfills both motives: it is transparent and easy to open (for easy inspection of the meat) and at the same time attractive and appetizing.
The rheingold study showed that metal cans are not found appealing as cold cut packaging because they do not meet either requirement. Cans do not permit one to inspect the meat, nor do they provide a cultivated presentation. They are relics from a past time, reminiscent of soldier's fare, and are only bought to stock up for emergencies. "Meat in cans, for example corned beef, reminds me of cat or dog food. They don't go together."
Consumers have mixed feelings about jars, which are often used as containers for liverwurst or blood sausage. While jars are found stylish and put the contents on display, consumers believe that coarse, greasy, viscous forces - like a "spirit in the bottle" - escape from the jar. Meat in a jar is associated with untamed energy and is therefore mainly suitable for hearty, quaint bread meals.
Liverwurst in intestine is much different, though artificial intestine is clearly preferred for hygienic reasons. The intestine is not experienced as stylish packaging, but rather as natural packaging, which consequently admits an immediate, primeval desire for meat. The intestine enables one to play with the meat, and even to touch it and knead it. Consumers favor branded products as a stylish safeguard. The style of the brand makes up for the lack of style of the packaging.
Consumers initially associate liverwurst in fashionably colored plastic cups with vegetarian spreads and cream cheeses, with lightness and calorie reduction, especially when the packages are colorfully adorned and brightly colored. Here, too, consumers are of two minds. They perceive the packaging to be over-stylized, detracting from the meaty potency of the content. The liverwurst is found fascinating as a harmless children's product, but does not go with hearty or festive occasions.
The study also showed that when choosing cold cut packaging consumers orient themselves closely to color codes and associate the colors with specific, subliminal consumption messages. At the refrigerated shelf, moreover, consumers do not feel "at the mercy of a meat salesperson." Packaged meat fulfills the prerequisites for quick stocking up and enables consumers to be more independent when shopping. Consumers can take their time at the shelf, overcome their timidity in the face of meat, and acquaint themselves with the world of meat.