Whether it’s for convenience, good health or to drive frequency, the use of smaller volume units in packaging design can change shopper behavior.

In an American study into the impact of pack size on eating habits and obesity, College students were asked to watch a comedy show and were given either one 400-calorie bag of crackers, or four 100-calorie bags of crackers to eat as they watched the show.

Results showed that participants eating from the 100-calorie bags consumed 25.2% less calories (75.1 calories) than those eating from the 400 calories packages. This effect was more pronounced amongst overweight individuals, who decreased their intake by 54.1%.

100-calorie packages appear to be less effective in reducing consumption amongst normal weight individuals probably because they perceive the packages to be diet-friendly and use less self-control. However, results indicate that the 100-calorie packages are a smart option for overweight individuals to incorporate into their diet and reduce their caloric intake.

While these results are helpful in reducing binge eating in a single session, snack brands and retailers have experienced an increase in overall sales and consumption when multi-packs of this nature are used. The assumption being that it has the psychological effect of granting permission to eat one pack per meal/day rather, so reducing the feel of the snacks being an occasional treat.

Brands such as Actimel use small single dose packaging design to effectively promote daily use, since it was first conceived, and does not sell in any other format. Clearly, they have found success by this approach.

Holts, a leader in automotive aftercare, has created a new multi-pack, single-dose SKU for its Redex brand of fuel additives. This handy ‘boot pack’ is aimed squarely at promoting frequency of use by making the product easier to store and use.

At The Behaviours Agency, we have created packaging design for our clients in formats from the smallest single dose bottles to large 60L containers, and everything in-between.

If you would like to find out more about how we use packaging design to influence shoppers to act, then please get in touch.

Adam Tregaskis

Head of Retail