Packaging changes are driven as much by customer demand as they are technology and both are causing packaging to evolve rapidly. In this article, we’re going to showcase three packaging trends you should watch in 2018, and how they could continue to affect the market for years to come.
The drive in many communities (and countries) is to lower the amount of rubbish generated and recycle more of what remains. China once the dumping ground for waste has changed it’s mind and they’re no longer accepting plastic waste and this has the EU scrambling for recycling solutions. The discerning customer is choosing companies offering sustainable packaging, whether it is compostable or made from recycled materials and is recyclable itself.
Companies are now hiring sustainable packaging experts who design affordable custom packaging that is made from 100% recycled materials and easily recycled after use. Companies like Ribble Automate provide on-demand packaging solutions to minimise the amount of material used and maximise shipping efficiency. This type of trend is one that we should all be following in order to become more sustainable.
Packaging as Part of Selling
Instead of putting the product inside a package that is then decorated with extra stickers or even secondary cardboard placards advertising the product, we’re seeing more packaging created specifically to help sell the product. One example would be single serve drinks that clearly promote the product while displaying nutritional information.
Distributors can then easily sell the drinks individually off the shelf or as part of a lot. For many other products, printing advertising on the packaging is simply a cost savings method. The single package serves as the advertising, eliminating the need to put stickers on it or wrap it in something with the appropriate sales copy. When the package itself sells the product, you don’t have the hassle of loading complex shapes into the shipping container while you can pack more product into each load.
All of this is made possible by digital printing and more advanced manufacturing methods that let you put high-quality images on cardboard and other materials that used to have to be printed on other materials and then applied to the outside of the box.
Clean and Transparent
If your product has ingredients that require a dictionary to understand what they are, you’re going to cut yourself off from an increasingly health-conscious public. This movement rewards companies that have relatively few ingredients in their products and use clear language as to what it means. Ice cream labelled as containing milk, sugar, eggs, and two or three other ingredients wins over the product that has 15 ingredients, several of which have just as many syllables. In the case of foods and health products, this has altered how the products are packaged in order to keep out pathogens.
Conversely, companies that can provide a clear yet minimalist shell so that these buyers can see what they are getting are more likely to enjoy better sales. Companies gain points with consumers when they can say they’ve eliminated phthalates and other compounds from their packaging. Being able to say exactly what is inside the packaging is also a plus, whether 100% recycled cardboard or recycled plastic.
Sustainable packaging is becoming a de facto standard for many industries and clean and transparent packaging is being driven by a more health-conscious public. We can expect these trends to have a profound effect on packaging in the future.