Packaging Design with Natural Materials : A Study for Conservation

Apisit Laistrooglai, Payoon Mosikarat, Malinee Wigran


The objective of this project is to study the categories of food package design from natural materials in southern Thailand. Among the southern Thai various designs can be classified based on the following: types of food, materials, package production process, transformation of natural material, package structure, properties of material and packaging and marketing strategy. All of these factors have to be carefully considered under the local social and cultural contexts. They have an effect on the design concept of packages made of natural material in Thailand.

The research methods are literature search, observation, interview and sampling of packaging design analysis.

A survey of related literature is necessary to find basic social information concerning the geographical and cultural characteristics of the target community areas. From the information obtained the design of appropriate tools for field work is possible. By observation and interview, with random sampling of local dealers and producers, data from 333 sources of different cities and towns was obtained from the following places : Chumporn, Ranong, Phang-nga, Phuket, Surat Thanee, Patthalung, Krabi, Trang, Nakornsrithammarat, Satun, Songkhla, Pattanee, Yala and Narathivas.

Results of study indicated that natural material has been used for a long time. It is a tradition passed through older generations. The choice of materials are wide range. Most of them are domestic materials easily available from the vicinity of the producer /dealer’s home. Among the choices of material from different parts of plants (such as leaf, branch, fiber from stems etc.) a proper choice from the wide range of material with proper design for food packages is available. They are useful as protective material for food as well as their convenience for counting the number of food packages for packing and transportation. Besides a food container, packaging can be stacked to display the product image. It is the best package to show customers that they will have the proper food for their choice. These natural material packages become a symbol and show the clear identity of the folk package design. It tastes good and smells like food, which synthetic material can not match. These natural materials are: Banana leaf (Musa spp.), Kapor leaf (Licuala spinosa Thunb), Bamboo leaf (Babusa sp.), Klum leaf (Donax canniformis), Laan leaf (Corypha Leconter Becc.), Para Rubber leaf (Betal palm) Chak (Nipa fruticaus), Krajude (Lepironia articulata) etc.
Packing can be classified by process as follows:
1. Folding
2. Receiving plate (like a dish or food plate)
3. Containing
4. Clipping and skewering
5. Tying (Bundle)

There is a great diversity in package forms; they make convenient and effective packing devices, appropriate for transportation preservation, as well as marketing purpose. The study of the construction of packaging showed that natural material could be applicable both from the leaf vein and longtitudinal, crossed or diagonal, to the leaf axis as a design that provides sufficient strength for a package. The package is not easily broken or torn. The strength of the mid rib vein makes a strong package structure. The ‘Khanom Chak’ (coconut sweet wrapped with palm leaf) is a good sample.

The southern geographical regions have selected the unique characteristics of different species of plants and their specific parts can make smart designs appropriate for transportation and sale, and the process has communicated a good message to customers that the product is safe to consume, easy to keep and contains a proper marketing strategy.

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