Sustainability will drive packaging design in 2018 to minimize waste and ensure safe disposal. Other key design factors will include minimalism, packaging’s role in the brand experience, and its ability to attract the eye from afar, according to market intelligence agency Mintel. The agency outlines five major trends set to influence the packaging sector worldwide in the coming year.
Packaging will play a pivotal role in reducing global food and product waste. The throwaway culture of today will evolve into one that understands and embraces the role of packaging as a primary means to reduce global food and product waste. Consumers have long considered packaging as often unnecessary, and ultimately as just waste to be disposed of. But that misconception is changing. A focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification, and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers. Brands will need to act fast by exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and underserved regions of the world.
Online brands will reinvigorate their packaging to enhance the e-commerce experience. As more and more consumers embrace online shopping, packaging will play a pivotal role in brands’ and consumers’ e-commerce experiences. While online shopping’s key advantage is convenience, consumers expect more from their favored brands. When designing packaging to be viewed online, and transit packaging to be opened upon delivery in the home, the experience of e-commerce packaging must reflect consumer expectations from shopping with that brand in-store.
Clean Label 2.0
Brands that adopt clear and succinct package messaging will be rewarded as consumers prefer brands that embrace minimalism. Aiming for packaging designs that enlighten consumers’ purchase decisions, brands will reject approaches that offer too much or too little, as they can leave shoppers more confused than informed. Today’s consumers are more informed than ever, but brands can risk rejection if their packaging conveys information overload. This can lead consumers to question provenance, authenticity, and transparency. The essentialist design principle bridges the divide between not enough and just enough of what’s essential for consumers to make an enlightened and confident purchasing decision. Brands must bring the next generation of clean label to packaging design to provide a moment of calm and clarity for shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.
Brands will be called to keep marine conservation at the forefront of packaging development and to anchor the circular economy for future generations. Plastic packaging adrift in the world’s oceans will become the catalyst driving brands to rethink packaging in a context consumers can understand and act upon. Concerns over safe packaging disposal will increasingly color consumer perceptions of packaging types, and impact shopper purchase decisions. This barrier to purchase can be overcome by communicating that a brand is working toward a solution. While collecting waste plastic from the sea to recycle into new packaging can raise consumer awareness, it won’t solve the problem. To keep plastic out of the sea, a renewed effort toward the circular economy is needed to keep packaging material in use.
Contemporary packaging formats will see the center-of-store take center stage. Brands will look to contemporary packaging formats to help reinvigorate the center-of-store aisles less visited by younger consumers. Young shoppers are increasingly shopping the periphery, visiting the fresh and chilled aisles around the store perimeter and turning their backs on processed, ambient, and frozen offerings in the center of the store. The use of transparent materials, contemporary design, recyclability, or unique shapes can help draw in younger consumers to the store center, making it as appealing as the burgeoning perimeter to younger consumers.