What is packaging and labelling? Where did it come from? Where is it going? A short history of packaging and labelling with a glimpse of the future.


Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells.

What is packaging?

Packaging is the technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of designing, evaluating, and producing packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use.
~ Wikipedia


History of packaging

Our first packaging came courtesy of mother nature. Gourds, shells and leaves were the ancient equivalent of freezer bags. A handy means of storing, transporting and preserving food.

Later we hollowed logs, wove reeds, and used animal organs. As humans evolved, so did the packaging.

As we moved from a self-sufficient society, to one of commerce and trade, our packaging needs got more sophisticated.

Packaging became more than a way of defining an amount or quantity. It wasn’t just a way of protecting the contents from damage or contamination. Or to make it easy to transport and store.

A can of worms

In 1813 tin canned goods were first mass produced. Fifty years later, someone invented a can opener! Before the can opener, you would need a hammer and chisel to open the can.

Canned packaging was a global success. Even used for selling angler’s live bait. But we’ll stop there. We don’t want to ‘open a can of worms’. For example, did you know that bubble wrap was invented as wallpaper? It was only by chance that they found it made a great packing solution.

Packaging became a means to display useful product information.

It also helped create an attractive, sales focused display. Which leads nicely onto labelling.


Labelling and packaging design became a way of identifying ingredients or making a product stand out.

In the 17th Century, labelling and packaging design helped merchants and buyers alike. Merchants with quality products could make their products more identifiable. Plus it would help them differentiate their product from goods from less honest, or poor quality producers.

The first use of a package to “brand” a product

Originally the Smith Brothers’ cough drops were sold from glass jars on counter tops. To prevent shops from selling generic versions, the company began packaging drops in branded boxes in 1872.

The first use of a package to “brand” a product. A practice which continues to benefit both the consumer and manufacturer.

Today’s packaging and labelling

Attractive, and practical product packaging has become omnipresent. To market a product now, poor packaging or bland labelling would be commercial suicide.

The future of packaging and labelling

We are a leading contract packing company based in Kent, UK. We have over twenty years of experience in co-packing. Including wrapping, packing, packaging services, labelling as well as packaging and label design.

Our R&D team are constantly refining our processes to leave a softer environmental impact on the planet. By creating new and innovative ways to reduce primary packaging, we are doing our bit.

We believe just like history before us. The future of packaging and labelling will be always in flux. Moving towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable future is our goal. Join us.

Call or contact us to learn more.

Optimized with PageSpeed Ninja