Evaluation of the Accessibility of Selected Packaging by Comparison of Qualitative Surveys through Focus Group Studies and Quantitative Measurements of the Opening Forces

; ; (). Evaluation of the Accessibility of Selected Packaging by Comparison of Qualitative Surveys through Focus Group Studies and Quantitative Measurements of the Opening Forces. Packaging Technology and Science, 29, 11. 559-570. Peer reviewed.

It can be expected that many elderly people have impaired opening capacity of food packaging bearing in mind the changes in functionality and physical strength that occur during ageing. This study determined the relation of the quantitative force required to open selected food packaging systems with findings derived from qualitative focus group studies to retrieve comprehensive information on the specific needs of seniors. The focus group studies revealed that the assessment of the ease of opening is very subjective and can vary from objective measurements. The quantitative measurement of the force required to open the ‘easy to open’ thermoformed tray resulted in considerably higher peel initiation forces of 22.50 ± 1.62N compared to the standard tray (12.80 ± 1.93 N). However, the packaging type was still felt to be easier to open because of the enlarged tab and peeling corner, which was said to be easy to grip. Conversely, the stand-up pouches with twist-off caps could only be opened with difficulty because of the small caps and the difficulty in breaking seals, despite the substantially lower opening forces of 0.46 ± 0.06Nm compared with the other torque closures. The evaluation of a package was found to be only partly dependent on the required opening force but strongly influenced by various design factors and consumer’s expectations as well as experiences.