The start of 2019 has seen a distinct industry-wide transformation in flexible packaging trends with the primary areas of focus being on convenience, sustainability, and e-commerce.
Emerging trends in brand packaging show distinct shifts in consumer behavior and consumer preferences, so 2019 is as good a time as any to step back and assess your current industry practices and evaluate how they align with the advancements and direction that packaging technology is moving in.
Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Big brands continue to focus on consumer preferences and there is no doubt that customers are demanding sustainability and expect to see greater actions and responsibility in advocating cleaner environmental practices.
Have you ever wondered why consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products? Well, one of the reasons for this change in consumer demand is due to a generation of consumers that expects companies to act responsibly in addressing social and environmental issues. In a world of hyper-connectivity where all the information is instantly available publicity claims of environmental participation is just not enough.
Research has identified that 87% of millennials have far more pronounced views on environmental issues than past generations and would be more loyal to a company that contributed to resolving social and environmental issues. Therefore, you will see greater brand loyalty and consumer trust towards those companies that deliver flexible packaging products and manufacturing solutions.
How Can You Deliver and Adapt to This Flexible Packaging Trend?
- Advances in technology: Consider automation, this has enabled companies to reduce the amount of generated waste and improve the value of flexible packaging in recyclability, composability, and reusability.
- Efficiency in production: Consider upgrading your packaging equipment. Newer equipment uses less energy and more efficient mechanical processes.
- High-quality manufacturing materials: The industry demand shows a consumer trend towards quality and shows preference towards packaging that utilizes high-performance materials.
- Plastics: Extensive media coverage continues to highlight the environmental damage caused by single-use plastics and companies will need to adopt a more sustainable “greener” strategy to highlight their commitment to recyclability and sustainability.
- Environmentally considerate solvent-free inks: Environmentally conscious packaging means the ink products used on flexible packaging will need to comply with government regulations. The technology in the industry has already delivered by providing options for solvent free inks.
High Convenience Expectations
The demand for convenience has become greater and on-the-move consumers are opting for simplicity so as not to create busier schedules. With convenience, we see the quality of products becomes more important to consumers and find that they evaluate the quality aspects in greater detail. Considerations to factors such as aesthetics, freshness, health benefits and taste are a conscious consumer shift toward specifically seeking out flexible packaging and convenience features such as single-serve snack packages that offers simplicity to a mobile lifestyle.
Essentially, consumers are demanding a variety in product packaging types and eco-friendly options that also keep convenience in mind. Packaging plants that aim to capitalize on this emerging generation of consumers will be faced with adopting new packaging designs, sourcing sustainable materials and investing in innovative techniques to meet these new demands.
Rapid Growth in Online Sales
It’s no secret that statistically online sales are fast exceeding traditional retail methods and that the advancements and convenience of e-commerce purchasing drive these online sales. This change in consumer purchasing habits will have an impact on how these products are shipped and packaged.
Flexible packaging solutions will need to adapt to suit online purchasing processes and offer higher performance standards for product protection and durability such as
- Shipping protection-this may include innovative ways of incorporating protective air pillows, bubble wrap, stretch wrap, and poly mailer bags.
- Perishable packaging- consideration will need to be given to using high-performance materials that safeguard and preserves perishables
- Freight Protection- using packaging that is resistant to punctures, tears and offers security protection
The online space of E-commerce differs from traditional, in-store retail sales, and so are the packaging requirements for each. The important thing is to stay informed and take the time to consider how your operations could benefit from implementing some of these emerging packaging trends. Make sure you remain fluid and have the ability to adapt your packaging line.
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