Market intelligence agency, Mintel, announced four trends impacting the global packaging industry in 2019 and beyond; Connected Packaging, Closing the Loop, Reinventing the Box, and Plastic-Free.
Looking ahead, David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel, discusses the major trends influencing the packaging sector worldwide during 2019, including implications for consumers, brands, and manufacturers.
- Connected Packaging: Multiple technologies are enabling brands to connect physical packaging to the virtual world. David said, “brands have a wealth of options to connect virtually with packaging - from QR codes and other graphic markers to near field communication, radio frequency identification, bluetooth and augmented reality. A vital link between physical and digital shopping worlds, brands can capitalise on connected packaging to influence how they are viewed online, together with delivering engaging content and product-specific information to directly influence purchasing decisions.”
- Closing the Loop: Brands have an opportunity to differentiate and ride consumer awareness of recycling issues. David said, “low availability of high-quality recycled plastic and concerns over food safety are hampering the use of recycled material in food and drink. With no option to ship packaging waste off-shore and out of sight, we are likely to see fast improvements in recycling facilities. This will drive up capacity for high-quality recycled material. Going forward, brands have an opportunity to ride consumer awareness of recycling issues by being part of the solution and committing to using recycled material in new packaging.”
- Reinventing the Box: With online shopping set to gain further popularity, brands must fully establish an e-commerce packaging strategy. David said, “in e-commerce, brands are learning that messaging and branding should be split between the shipping container and the interior of the box - with the latter incorporating elements that give consumers a sense of delight and surprise when opening the parcel. Only through an established e-commerce packaging strategy can brands design packs for the worst-case distribution scenario. Meanwhile, there will be huge financial, social, and brand equity gains to be made in the e-commerce packaging arena just by exploiting elements of package optimisation rooted in sustainability.”
- Plastic-Free: As the momentum behind plastic-free supermarket aisles grow, brands need to consider what packaging solutions can give them shelf space. David said, “while plastic-free aisles reflect consumer exhaustion with excess plastic packaging, in reality, few would want to lose the convenience and benefits plastic packaging can bring. And while the term 'plastic-free' may appear to be a simple one, there is no universal definition; even plastic-free packaging often includes plant-based plastics, showing the lack of clarity in the plastic-free call. Brands should act now, either to ensure a place in emerging plastic-free zones by switching to acceptable pack materials, or by engaging with the debate, clearly explaining the benefits of plastic packaging to their product and addressing plastic pollution concerns with appropriate end of life pack solutions.”