New technology and consumer demands are shaping what to expect from the packaged goods industry in 2016, and will have implications for both consumers and brands, says David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel.
“There’s a parallel path between brands striving to engage consumers on a more personal level and consumers’ expectations for packaging to deliver that experience,” he says.
“Brands and manufacturers are innovating packaging to keep global consumers engaged and to develop brand loyalty which is becoming more and more intangible in an age where consumers have more choices than ever across all packaged goods.”
Six key trends
The six key trends that Mintel says are set to impact global packaging markets over the next year, including implications for both consumers and brands are: digital print; clean-label messaging; eco-responsible packaging; flexible packaging; right-sizing; and ‘mobile-engaged’ packaging.
Luttenberger explains that digital printing helps to create ‘hyper’ personal experiences and is capturing brands’ attention by creating opportunities to engage consumers on a local, personal and even emotional level.
In 2016 he says we will experience the tipping point for digital package printing, as brands move beyond using it for limited editions and personalization, and capitalize on its economic and speed-to-market advantages for mainstream package decoration.
Next up, clean labelling will also be a key trend this year as consumers demand more information on products but do not want too much on-pack clutter to confuse them. This will see clean labelling and clear on-pack communication set to converge, enhancing transparency while building confidence.
There will also be a focus on eco-responsible packaging as recycling levels are below potential. Going forward, Mintel claims that when product price and perceived product quality are equal, consumers will be increasingly turning to eco- and alternative-use attributes as the deciding purchasing factor.
Flexible, size, and mobile
“Next-gen hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence,” says Luttenberger of the fourth trend: flexible packaging, which is no longer considered a trade-off, as brands look to the next generation of rigid/flexible hybrids.
The ability to reach consumers in time-shifting use occasions means brands must also offer a greater range of pack sizes.
This means that in 2016, brands must deliver packaging that consumers see as right-sized for themselves and shifting use-occasions in order to overcome the growing lack of brand loyalty.
The final trend concerns apps that support ‘mobile-engaged’ packaging tapping near-field communication (NFC) and bluetooth low-energy (BLE).
Moving forward, Luttenberger says that as brands clamour for innovative ways to engage with shoppers, the mobile environment will become the new front line in the battle to win consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets.