According to Mintel, the world leading market intelligence agency, there are four major trends leading the way in today’s packaging industry.
The development of connected packaging is booming driven by growth in ownership of connected devices worldwide, increasing interest in the development of the Internet of Things (IOT) and advancement in technology that can link packaging to the online world. From QR codes to Near Field Communication (NFC), from radio frequency identification tags (RFID) to Bluetooth and augmented reality (AR), connected packaging is truly delivering packaging in to the heart of the marketing mix as a 5th P, and boosting consumer engagement, and much sought-after brand loyalty, long past the point of purchase.
Since the airing of the BBC Blue Planet II series in Europe, consumer awareness of packaging sustainability has sky rocketed. Consumers around the world have been recycling packaging for years but now they are demanding the ability to recycle more and understand how it works, in order to avoid the dramatic climate change and marine pollution scenes that upset them so much.
Though recyclable packaging claims have become more common, claims to include recycled content are still only emerging. Low availability of high-quality recycled plastics and concerns over food safety are hampering the use of recycled materials for food and drinks brands. However, with rumoured mandatory taxes in Europe on those plastic packaging products that do not contain a minimum of 30% recycled material, things are about to change.
As the growth in online shopping continues to escalate, demand for branded e-commerce packaging is exploding. The packaging sector agrees that the rapid development of e-commerce has had the greatest impact on the business, technologies, supply chain, engineering and design of packaging globally than anything the industry has previously experienced.
Whether redesigning packaging for efficient shipment, see the Garcon Wines flat wine bottle as a great example, concentrating on the ‘second moment of truth’ unboxing experience for consumers to meet the standards set by Apple, incorporating AR or item-level track and trace capability to boost supply chain efficiency, or addressing sustainable design to avoid the dreaded consumer You- Tube video balking at excess packaging, the packaging sector is turning on its head to meet new demands from brands and consumers alike to smooth the home delivery challenge.
Since the announcement of plastic free retailers and aisles gaining momentum both in the US and Europe, brands need to consider which packaging solution can best meet consumer demands for sustainable packaging. There is a growing consensus around the need for different attitudes to plastic; reduction at a minimum and eradication wherever possible. Mintel states that in the UK, plastic pollution has become the most pressing environmental concern, cited by 47% of UK adults as the most important environmental issue.
‘Plastic free’ is not as simple as it seems. Plastics have become ubiquitous due to their many inherent functional benefits for packaging – lightweight, moisture resistance, tough and durable, puncture resistance, hygienic and flexible in form, to name a few. In addition, cellulose-based plastic (usually cellulose acetate) is bio based and biodegradable, suggesting the ‘right kind’ of plastic may still find a home in plastic free aisles, but is it really ‘plastic free’ for the consumer? What we do know is that the use of plastic in packaging is not going to change in the short term. Its properties are too valuable to supporting supply chain efficiency, cost and waste management. However, we will see reductions and redesigns as brands endeavour to ‘do the right thing’.
Company: GERONG INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION LIMITED
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