The packaging sector is one of the sectors where innovation constantly adapting to tmeet consumers and brands expectations. Imagination, technology and optimisation still have an important place. So what are the main trends in the packaging sector? What are the specificities in France compared to the rest of the world? Several major trends have been taking hold for several years: packaging that is environmentally friendly, useful and secure, and offers transparency.
Packaging trend No. 1 : respect for the planet
Respect for the planet, sensible consumption and the fight against global warming are no longer trends but prerequisites for consumers. We have gone from simply being aware of the problem to wanting to solve it, individually and collectively.
Packaging is the ideal medium for meeting new consumer expectations through innovation. In concrete terms, this means
a reduction in superfluous packaging with less material, lighter weight for transport and easier storage;
eco-design, organic raw materials, a controlled production chain
sustainability with recycled and recyclable packaging.
In this area, companies still need to educate. Thus, more than 6 out of 10 French people consider that manufacturers do not make enough efforts in the design of sustainable packaging or the French are unaware of the efforts made (source: IFOP survey May 2020 for all4pack).
This trend extends far beyond France and is found throughout Europe, particularly in the Nordic countries. Even in the rest of the world, innovations are numerous. For example, let’s mention this Chilean company which is developing a bioplastic based on seaweed or this Italian company which is working on 100% biodegradable food packaging designed with fruit and vegetable remains, bacteria and yeast.
Packaging trend No. 2 : Safety
Sustainable but protective packaging! It is essential that packaging retains its primary role of protection by preventing contamination and allowing for better food preservation.
A survey carried out in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis provides some interesting information: 85% of French people consider packaging to be useful overall and 40% say they are buying more products with packaging since the pandemic. This confirms the importance of the safety provided by packaging (source: IFOP survey mentioned above).
Intelligent packaging provides information on shelf life, temperature and incident detection.
The recent global health crisis shows how involved we all are in safety, especially in the food sector.
Packaging trend No. 3 : Utility
Why should packaging only be used once? One of the major trends is to transform packaging into another object, giving it a second use. For example, a pizza box becomes an overhead projector or a shirt wrapper becomes a coat hanger or a shoe box becomes a mask or a child’s toy.
Packaging must also adapt to new lifestyles. For example, the rise of cycling in big cities has led a famous fast-food restaurant to propose packaging that allows you to hang your menu on the handlebars and carry it easily.
The usefulness also consists in making life easier for the consumer by proposing flexible packaging, which is easier to transport, easier to open and close and easier to store.
Packaging trend No. 4 : Transparency
Connected packaging or smart packaging is growing worldwide. It also offers consumers complete information on the conditions of manufacture of the product and its traceability. The success of applications such as Yuka in France or Smart Label in the United States confirms this craze to know everything about a product through one’s smartphone.
Transparency is required from manufacturers: engaged consumers want to know everything about the products they buy, not only the ingredients or raw materials but also the country of manufacture, the supply chain, the packaging, the distribution, the recycling conditions and the brand.
Smart packaging also enables companies to collect data and ultimately to be able to individualise offers. If you run your smartphone over food packaging, tomorrow you will have ideas for recipes or access to a video showing the production process.
Packaging trend No. 5 : Authenticity
The last major trend in recent years has been the taste for the real, the local, the handmade. Thus, nostalgia coupled with a desire to assert a local or national identity is leading to traditional packaging.
Examples from Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom confirm a desire to return to ancestral gestures, traditions and know-how that were thought to have been lost.
In conclusion, technology and innovation must be put at the service of transparency and sustainability. At Flexico, we design innovative, eco-friendly and sustainable resealable packaging. The Minigrip bag, which has been around for over 60 years, still shows that innovation is possible, without increasing costs! With Minigrip Biosourced, we offer a single-material, recyclable, reusable packaging made from a renewable natural material, placing it at the heart of the virtuous circle of circular economy principles.
> To find out more about Flexico’s waste management policy, visit the Flexico, an eco-responsible player page.