Confectionery packaging aims to protect and preserve the contents, make the brand stand out, and attract consumers. This case explores the impact of plastics on this market.
Plastic protects and preserves as well as glass yet is much lighter, so plastic jars costs less to transport to the shops. Used in giant form, as in the Cadburys Roses' jar (1), it towers over its competition (2) on store shelves but can still be carried home.
Plastics make good sweet wraps, often of cellophane, reverse printed to maximise its shiny surface, teamed with foil or paper. Equally, cardboard boxes (3) are cling-wrapped in cellophane to give them a shiny allure. Plastics can also help to create eye catching effects as in the case of the lenticular printed liquorice all sorts box (4) which uses a plastic lens.
The brand identity of much confectionery is associated with the shape of the sweets. The mouldable nature of plastics and their ability to take up colour mean that they can easily imitate the appearance of sweets for example in these promotional containers for Jelly Babies (5), Polos (6) and Smarties (7 - 10) or in the figure of Bertie Bassett (11). Although the latter was first constructed from liquorice allsorts in 1929, his public presentation was in 2-dimensions until the invention of polystyrene meant he could be economically modelled 3-dimensionally.
The same was true of M&M's Red (12) and Yellow (13) who made their debut in a 1954 TV advertisement. Such was their appeal that they have been joined by brothers and sisters and are now made and sold as collectible figurines in their own right (14 - 23).
Much confectionery targets children and thus is packaged in the form of characters they love, like the Easter bunny here represented by Funny Bunny (24), long associated with chocolate eggs, or with no such associations such as the Swiss animated cartoon character, Pingu, the Penguin (25) the Poke'mon character, Pikachu (26), and Disney characters (27 - 30): the promotion is clearly two way. In the case of the red aeroplane (31), the candy appropriates the name of its packaging being called Jet candy.
The packaging of sweets sometimes also has a learning theme to salve parents' consciences. Smarties (32 - 39) traditionally used a cardboard tube but had a plastic lid printed with the letters of the alphabet. This educational theme is reinforced by the Smarties freebie calculator (40), also the subject of a Polo giveaway (41).