5 global packaging trends in 2017
Business Mirror
January 11, 2017

AN international market intelligence agency has listed five key packaging developments for next year that can help Philippine enterprises leverage their brands and products in the global market.

In a newly released study entitled “Global Packaging Trends 2017,” UK-based Mintel enumerates five emerging and mainstreaming packaging trends that will affect brands, consumers, retailers and packaging designers in the coming year.

“The majority of consumers are paying attention to package format and design, and purchase drivers are either being directly related to or being communicated through packaging,” the report said.

For a start, the report sees a current and continued emphasis on package functionality designed to improve consumer use while reinforcing branding.

Consumers are looking for unique packaging structures that not only differentiate on the shelf, but also help form and support brand identity, the report said.

Examples of functionality are resealable or recloseable packaging in order to reduce waste, a pinch-waist container for an integrated ergonomic grip, and an inverted dispenser structure for liquid products.

E-commerce is another significant development expected to impact on packaging. In 2017 the online experience and the shift from in-store to inhome will become a core part of packaging design.

Mintel said: “Looking ahead, brands must explore both the opportunities and threats that online shopping can bring, while considering the implications for packaging to remain an integral piece of the purchasing decision.”

Some of the changes being made to cater to online shoppers include clean labeling and a decluttered look, achieved by removing detailed imagery that fails to work at the small thumbnail size and making the brand logo the main image.

For instance, to grab shoppers’ attention, one firm selling coffee focused on clean packaging of green and white, with clear color indicators for flavor or variety. A simple image of a cup of coffee with creamer being added communicates product use.

In choosing a packaging format that works for e-commerce, the study suggests removing obstacles to delivery. Packaging that comes in a compact shape for shipping is robust and unbreakable, and can handle fluctuating temperatures that will suit well the e-commerce environment.

Smart, active and intelligent packaging is another notable trend, the paper said. This is in response to increasing demands for food safety, the call for waste reduction and the removal of consumers’ exposure to hazardous or fraudulent products.

Some smart packaging ideas that have come out include intuitive labels with a colorchanging dot design to indicate on-pack freshness messaging.

“It is extremely simple, but highly effective for consumers. It eliminates the need to interpret otherwise confusing ‘sell by’ or ‘use by’ date codes,” Mintel said.

Similarly, mobile-enabled technologies, such as smart labels positioned directly on packaging, aids consumers to easily access product information and make purchase decisions more confidently.

At the same time, packaging will increasingly become a key component in creating memorable consumer experiences, building on the concepts of fun, community, or authenticity to motivate purchase.

“The next generation of branded products, particularly those aimed at difficult-to- engage younger consumers, or the more cynical, such as the aging hipsters of Gen X, are looking at design as a bigger part of the brand, not just to create connections, but to drive experiences,” it said.

Recent innovations in this area include a sports drink that uses pods containing both dry and liquid ingredients to be mixed with water to enable portability and customization, and a facial wash that comes encased with dry mud to encourage the user to engage in a ritual of focus and relaxation.

Another new packaging concept features a wine bottle that comes with a blank label and pencil and featuring Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest logos to encourage consumers to share their personalized label messages on social media.

Finally, Mintel sees packaging performing a more pivotal role in helping brands successfully enter new categories: “Brands can leverage that familiarity to create loyalty and extend a product portfolio well beyond traditional categories.”

The paper pointed out how Campbell’s has been able to branch out into ethniccuisine soups, cooking sauces and meal preparation by using a distinctive look that differentiated the product from the existing range, while still leveraging the brand name.

Carlsberg, meanwhile, has crossed over into premium hair care for men, touting the “beautifying properties” of their beer’s main ingredients, along with a packaging lineup that tied directly to their famous green beer bottle and logo.