As a new year dawns, it seems appropriate to look ahead at what may be in store for the packaging industry. Mintel, the London, England-based market research firm has done just that, releasing what it feels are the six key trends that will impact the global packaging markets over the next year.
Consumer demand for clean labeling will gain momentum, Mintel forecasts, placing converters in a bit of a Catch-22. For while converters state they want more information on packages so they can make more informed decisions, consumers also are conversely demanding that their packaging is less cluttered. This provides a great challenge to converters in the new year as they struggle to get more data on packaging, while simultaneously making it look ‘cleaner’.
The encroachment of flexible packaging into areas typically dominated by other forms of packaging will continue. Converters will discover innovative ways to incorporate flexible packaging — possibly hybrids with rigid packaging — to ensure greater functional and environmental benefits.
As comes as no surprise, the environment and eco-friendly packaging is predicted to remain at the forefront of concerns for consumers. Increasingly it is becoming clear that consumers are basing purchasing decisions on the environmentally sound attributes of a products’ packaging. Brands and converters must continually — and aggressively — strive to remain innovative in the ways they approach sustainability.
As a subset of the environmental issue, Mintel sees converters’ ability to produce right-sized packages as gaining importance to consumers in the new year. Mintel sees mobile-engaged packaging (already a tremendous source of innovation) to make further inroads in 2016. As brands seek more efficient and effective ways to engage with consumers, the mobile environment will be at the forefront of efforts to win customer loyalty.
Finally, digital printing, Mintel believes, will continue to create opportunities for brands to engage consumers on a local and personal level.
“There’s a parallel path between brands striving to engage consumers on a more personal level and consumers’ expectations for packaging to deliver that experience,” David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel, said.
“Digital print that creates ‘hyper’ personal experiences; clean-label messaging that enhances brand transparency and builds purchasing confidence; eco-responsible packaging that empowers social consciousness; next-gen hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence; right-sized product packaging that meets consumer needs and shifting use-occasions; and apps that support ‘mobile-engaged’ packaging. These are the key themes we see resonating with consumers in 2016. Brands and manufacturers are innovating packaging to keep global consumers engaged and to develop brand loyalty which is becoming more and more intangible in an age where consumers have more choices than ever across all packaged goods.”