When it comes to packaging, it is vital that brands deliver the experience consumers expect, at the same time engaging consumers on a personal level. To achieve this parallel path of progress, there are key challenges that face consumer packaged goods (CPG) producers in terms of packaging innovations and consumer needs.
The international market intelligence agency, Mintel has identified six key trends in the global packaging industry for 2016:
- Increased use of digital print to create hyper-personal experiences.
- A preference for clean-label messaging that improves purchasing confidence by enhancing brand transparency.
- A move towards flexible packaging and next-generation hybrids that offer environmental and functional benefits. Well designed these have a great shelf presence.
- Acceptance that packaging cannot simply be “green.” To empower social consciousness it must be eco-responsible.
- More focus on size relevance as it relates to use.
- Customized apps that support packaging in a way that is “mobile engaged.”
According to Mintel, each of these trends was identified using comprehensive consumer, market, and competitive data that was subject to in-depth analysis. Their researchers also gave examples of leading brands together with their packaging services that operate according to these trends.
Digital Print Evolution
Until now, package converters and those offering packaging services, retailers, and brand owners have mostly used digital package printing for limited editions and personalized goods. Coca-Cola was one of the first to capitalize on speed-to-market and economic advantages for “mainstream package decoration.” In the company’s hugely successful Share a Coke campaign, first names were used on labels enabling them to engage consumers on a personal level. Their primary market was in the US and China, with one in five US millennials and about 25 percent of Chinese consumers indicating they were happy to pay more for soft drinks with personalized packaging.
Clean-label messaging is designed to improve brand transparency both literally and figuratively. But mostly it relies on easy-to-read and simple-to-follow ingredient information on packaging. For instance, research shows that in the UK 76 percent of consumers are concerned about the addition of artificial preservatives to food products. If they can’t find the relevant information on packaging, chances are they won’t buy the product.
Pouches and other forms of flexible packaging used to be considered a compromise. Today, close to a third of consumers associate this type of packaging with a modern, contemporary approach. As a result, many brands have seized the opportunity to use this form of packaging “decoration” for very successful marketing campaigns.
While many food brands have been using flexible packaging since 2010 – largely in the form of stand-up pouches, Mintel predicts that really innovative brands will use “next generation” options that combine rigid and flexible packaging. In addition to a very effective shelf presence, they will offer both environmental and functional benefits.
An increasing number of consumers are demanding that packaging is eco-friendly. One of the biggest challenges for the industry is cost because along with this need to be environmentally responsible is a reluctance of consumers to pay more for it. Further, relatively few consumers fully understand package recycling and its implications. Even fewer understand what to do with compostable packaging.
Nevertheless, Mintel estimates that 63 percent of US consumers have said they are committed to packaging that is reusable or can be repurposed.
Size does matter to consumers, but there is no given. While larger families identify value in larger container sizes for certain products, like milk, a large percentage say that they see value in smaller containers. For instance, 39 percent of UK consumers prefer smaller bottles for alcoholic beverages. There is also remarkable demand for very small trial-pack sizes for products like healthy snacks.
Kellogg was one of the first brands, in 2015, to launch downsizing strategies for its cereal-snack products like Special K Moments. Others have followed suit in an attempt to meet consumer needs for “right-sized” packaging.
Mobile-engaged packaging is the most revolutionary type of packaging right now. And mobile interactions have come a long way since the early text codes and augmented reality experiences. Today Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and near-field communication (NFC) are the new innovative favorites.
Technik Packaging Services keeps abreast of trends in the industry and can help those in a range of different industries with brand challenges. If you would like to discuss our packaging services or learn more about our shipping fulfillment services, please don’t hesitate to call today.