The packaging industry is seeing significant advances, which is why packaging research is becoming one of the main objectives of companies in this regard. Adapting their packages to new market demands while complying with current safety regulations is not an easy task, and companies in this sector are investing large sums of money in research to adapt to the new packaging trends.
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Packaging industry overview: current situation
At the time we can see two differentiating novelties in the packaging industry:
- Sustainability: today’s consumers increasingly demand healthy products, as well as more sustainable and safer packages which do not imply giving up an eye-catching design with clear labelling. This is why the search for sustainability has become a key innovation-related factor in the packaging sector. The purpose of this is to attain more practical, comfortable packages that are easy to transport, and at the same time care for the environment.
- Differentiation: another great novelty in the industry is distinction. The package is not limited to the task of protecting and transporting the product, but instead, nowadays it has become part of the product itself. So much so, that differentiation has become an obsession for companies, caring for the smallest detail in their packaging such as, for example, the material out of which they are manufactured, colors, labels, etc.
A consequence of these two major novelties has been the emergence of many trends in the fields of packaging technology, design, use of materials and product presentation, which we analyze below.
“The search for sustainability has become a key innovation-related factor in the packaging sector”
Packaging research: new trends, materials and methods
As a result of a painstaking packaging research being undertaken by companies in the sector, new trends have entered the scene, and are changing both the design and the way in which current packages are manufactured. These are some of the most cutting-edge packaging industry trends:
- Personalization: we all remember the personalized Coca-Cola cans bearing the name of their consumers, as well as the jars of Nutella. Well, this is but a taste of one of the fastest-growing trends in the packaging sector – personalization. It leads users to feel more attached to the brands, which is a great strategy for companies when it comes to boosting customer loyalty.
- Traditional design: another constant in today’s brands is the reinterpretation of their oldest packaging to elicit a certain nostalgia among their consumers. This is known as vintage design and is an action that is specifically target at millennial audiences – over 80 million people who feel highly represented by all things classic.
- Minimalism: say goodbye to flair, lavishness and bloating. Today’s packages are all about simple shapes and clean, simple designs. The champion of this trend is Apple, which, since its beginnings, opted for creating technology with a clear and intuitive design. The main purpose of this trend is for the consumer to focus on the product instead of its external looks.
- Eco-friendly design: the undeniable environmental awareness of consumers has led to the need for companies to pay special attention to their manufacturing processes, making them more sustainable. The eco-friendly trend, therefore, consists of creating packages that are more respectful toward nature. To this end, recyclable, biodegradable and ecological materials are used.
- Reuse: this trend is also in line with the previous one, and involves giving packages a second life, giving them a purpose that is different from the one they initially had. This allows packages to be recycled, enabling consumers to give them another use.
“New trends have entered the scene, which are changing the design of today’s packages, as well as the way in which they are manufactured”
Up to this point we have seen the main packaging trends in relation to design, but there are also a number of novelties related to the use of manufacturing materials. In general, the most important novelty in this regard is the research of new materials that are greener. Such as, for example, materials extracted from the biomass, like cellulose and starch, or derived from natural monomers or those that are produced by microorganisms.
In line with this, once of the main needs of the sector is eliminating the use of plastic in packages. For this purpose, the industry has generated new materials with properties that are equivalent to those of plastics, such as bioplastics and biodegradable packages. The difference lies in that oil extraction is not required for their production, which implies energy savings and a greener process.
Packaging trends in transportation
There are also novelties and new packaging trends that affect the entire distribution cycle:
- Green logistics: during the last few years, transportation and distribution companies have focused on reducing CO2 emissions, as well as the carbon footprint. With this in mind, they have started using electric vehicles, and even bicycles for inter-city deliveries.
- Big Data: there are many companies that are adopting this trend for their corporate management. Big Data allows for the processing of a vast amount of data with the purpose of improving their processes. In the fields of logistics and distribution, this new technology allows many procedures to be optimized, such as, for example, improving delivery times, distribution routes or reducing damages during transportation.
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In addition to these novelties, there are also changes when it comes to regulations. The European Union has recently published Directive modifications related to the circular economy, which will cause effect before June 2020. Worth noting is Directive 94/62/EC on packages and package waste, which has been updated by Directive 2018/852.
All of these packaging industry trends imply a major challenge for companies in the sector that need to adapt to them in a short period of time while remaining compliant with the law. Which is why here at Safe Load TT we offer you testing machines that will help you design new packages, guaranteeing the compliance with regulations. Contact us for more information.
You can also download for free our ebook Optimize your packaging waste with Amazon’s Frustration-Free packaging and learn everything you need to know to get this certification.