We’re used to thinking about products as being fluid and inconstant. After all, if our shopping needs and preferences are always changing, the things that we buy have to develop too. We pay less attention, however, to the role that packaging plays in this perpetual state of evolution. Yet, it contributes substantially to almost all of the commodities and items that we buy.
It makes sense then to acknowledge the fact that packaging is in a state of flux too. Like fresh produce, designer clothing, laptop computers, and kitchen appliances, it will change over the decades to come. The question is, what will this development look like and how will it benefit both businesses and consumers?
This guide to some of the forecasted future trends within the packaging industries will help your business to choose the right packaging supplies.
The recent Coca-Cola campaign, which saw consumers pick out their own names on store bottles of the drink, was a huge success. It was the first time that a company had attempted such a feat on a global scale and it wowed shoppers. While no other high profile brands have tried to replicate it yet, it is likely that future packaging will be more personal. The Coke campaign very clearly showed that, if you put their individual stamp on it, consumers will lap up your product.
One way to personalise packaging is to link it to social media and this is something that retailers are already starting to take advantage of. A good example is the launch of a new Special K Crisps product, which the first store gave away in exchange for tweets about the company or the snack. The possibilities are quite broad in this respect because there are no major hurdles to manufacturers using their packaging as mini billboards with QR codes and instant ways to connect to social media.
This is the most important trend of all and the one that businesses simply can’t afford to ignore. Our need for more sustainable packaging is exactly that; it is a need, rather than a desire or a preference. In other words, the industry will move in this direction and retailers must be prepared. Start investing in more eco-friendly designs and ideas now, while the need is small and you’ll be ahead of the game when the demand for sustainable packaging blows up.
Already, consumers are starting to move away from an oversaturation of bright colours, gimmicky marketing slogans, and loud graphics. There has been a subtle shift towards more minimalistic designs as, ironically, the ‘less is more’ belief has become more closely associated with high-end products. The trend is also directly linked to changes in the way that we view the manufacturing of products, particularly food. Simple, subtle designs are now synonymous with goodness, health, and natural ingredients.
This links back to the importance of sustainability. Not only are we likely, in the future, to be investing in more biodegradable materials and designs, we will also develop a greater interest in recyclable and reusable concepts. This is already happening, in a very basic way, with plastic bags in various countries around the world. In the decades to come, consumers will look for packaging designs that can be given a second life after they are no longer needed to hold the original product.
Why Preparing for the Future Is a Positive Investment
As with cultural shifts, there will be some industries that feel the urgency to evolve more keenly. The food and drink sector is right at the heart of the debate about sustainable packaging because it represents the biggest obstacle to change. Food packaging is essential, but it produces an incredible amount of waste and investment in more efficient alternatives is an inevitability, rather than a choice.