Back when I was doing structural package design at a multinational, I always enjoyed visiting their Product Room. Every time one of the designers went overseas for business, they made it a point to stop by a local supermarket and load up a suitcase with indigenous product to bring back. Thus the Product Room was loaded with shampoo bottles from Italy, spray bottles from Thailand, squeeze bottles from Japan, et cetera. It was fascinating to see all the shapes, sizes, colors, label art, and in the case of Japan, insanely complicated closure systems preferred by each country.
A company called GfK Custom Research North America has a similar facility, but on a far larger scale: Their NewProductWorks Collection in Michigan (pictured up top) boasts more than 100,000 package designs, with some dating back to the 1970s for those curious to investigate retro packaging. "Visitors to the collection step back in time through a forest of American consumerism, telling the story of culture," Marilyn Raymond, GfK Global's Executive VP, told the Detroit Free Press in an article on the facility.
The NewProductWorks Collection isn't open to the public, but access is given to researchers, academics and clients. If you fall into one of those categories, you can reach them here.