Commitment to quality should be a top concern for premium brands in order to connect with consumers willing to pay higher prices. Specific packaging materials can trigger cues to consumers on whether the product is conventional or premium. Here's a deeper look at why using high quality materials is crucial for premium packaging.
Luxury brands traditionally have been dedicated to showcasing the integrity of a product and its production. This strategy helps create the perception that the product maker pays close attention to details. In the past consumers haven't paid as much attention to production processes, but in recent years a growing number of people are concerned about sustainability.
The materials used in packaging communicate production technology in a subtle way to consumers who are impressed by modern processes that promote sustainability. The high-end consumer is often more concerned about social values than consumers just looking to buy whatever items are available at the cheapest price.
Winning premium products often take a minimalistic approach to design and let the quality of the product speak for itself. Using extra packaging layers that protect the product is percieved as showing a commitment to caring for product quality and durability. At the same time, the packaging should be efficient and keeps waste to a minimum.
Packaging materials must be obviously superior in quality to common conventional items in order to convince consumers to buy a premium product at a higher price. Viewing and touching high quality materials are important components to the premium customer experience. Glass bottles, for example, are perceived by high-end customers as much higher quality than plastic bottles.
Since the common consumer perceives plastic to be cheap, it's usually not the best material for inner layers of premium packaging. Plastic might still work for the outer layer, depending on the design and the product. But when it comes to food products, premium customers usually prefer that food touches paper or cardboard rather than plastic.
One of the reasons plastic is commonly perceived as cheap is because it's used for so many fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) sold at low prices. Many people are also aware that thin plastic degrades rather quickly. Perhaps a big reason why plastic is associated with cheapness is so much of it turns to waste in landfills. Yet it can still be recycled and is technically considered green in that sense.
Materials that often work well for premium packaging include paper, glass and aluminum. Not only is aluminum considered eco-friendly, it's very durable and effective at preserving food items due to its air-tight quality. It's one of the strongest materials that defends against moisture, sunlight and corrosion. Due to these robust features, aluminum is widely perceived as a superior packaging material.
Aesthetics of Premium Design
Packaging designers of premium brands must consider how high quality materials work with premium imagery. This imagery might include embossing or elevated coatings. Wood-oriented materials with decorative accents often present attractive aesthetics in premium design. Metallized papers can also convey high quality that's appealing to the eye.
Consumer perceptions change over time but premium brands must stay a step ahead of the conventional market. Design aesthetics are extremely important in premium designs as long as they capture the values consumers associate with special experiences.
 "Designing a Premium Package: Some Guidelines for Designers and Marketers(2014)", by Ruth Mugge, Thomas Massink ,Erik Jan HultinkLianne van den Berg-Weitzel