The market intelligence agency, Mintel, recently released the top 5 trends that will shape the packaging industry in 2018.

Packaged planet

The throwaway culture of today will evolve into one that understands and embraces the role of packaging as a primary means to reduce global food and product waste. Consumers have long considered packaging as often unnecessary, and ultimately as just waste to be disposed of. But that misconception is now changing. A focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification, and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers. Brands will need to act fast by exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and underserved regions of the world.

Repackage

As more and more consumers embrace online shopping, packaging will play a pivotal role in brands’ and consumers’ e-commerce experiences. Online shopping is becoming increasingly widespread around the globe and is near ubiquitous in some markets. However, while online shopping’s key advantage is convenience, consumers expect more from their favoured brands. When designing packaging to be viewed online, and transit packaging to be opened upon delivery in the home, the experience of e-commerce packaging must reflect consumer expectations from shopping with that brand in-store.

Clean label 2.0

Aiming for packaging designs that enlighten consumers’ purchase decisions, brands will reject approaches that offer too much or too little as they can leave shoppers more confused than informed. Today’s consumers are more informed than ever; however, brands are in real danger of being rejected if consumers feel overloaded with information, leading to the questioning of provenance, authenticity and transparency. The “essentialist” design principle bridges the divide between not enough and just enough of what’s essential for consumers to make an enlightened and confident purchasing decision. Brands must bring the next generation of clean label to packaging design to provide a moment of calm and clarity for shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.

Sea change

Plastic packaging adrift in the world’s oceans will become the catalyst driving brands to rethink packaging in a context consumers can understand and act upon. Concerns over safe packaging disposal will increasingly colour consumers’ perceptions of different packaging types, and impact shopper purchase decisions. Only by communicating that a brand is working towards a solution will this growing barrier to purchase be overcome. While collecting waste plastic from the sea to recycle into new packaging can raise consumer awareness, it won’t solve the problem. In order to keep plastic out of the sea, a renewed effort towards the circular economy is needed to keep packaging material in use.

Renavigate

Brands will look to contemporary packaging formats to help reinvigorate the centre-of-store aisles less visited by younger consumers. Young shoppers are increasingly ‘shopping the periphery’, visiting the fresh and chilled aisles around the store perimeter and turning their backs on processed, ambient and frozen offerings in the centre of the store. The use of transparent materials, contemporary design, recyclability, or unique shapes can help draw in younger consumers to the store centre, making it as appealing as the burgeoning perimeter. –www.mintel.com

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