Thursday, 14 December 2017


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Mintel’s Global Packaging Team has devised five emerging, morphing and mainstreaming packaging trends it sees as affecting brands, consumers, retailers and packaging converters in 2017. 

By David Luttenberger, global packaging director, Mintel

Consumers often and easily get caught up in the unending ebb and rapid flow of commercial fads, social issues and branded messages. With so much clatter and chatter constantly vying for their attention, packaging becomes white noise – an often silent, but steady force in consumers’ daily lives. However, the impact of the combination of superior structures and succinct branding, the way packaging and our mobile devices are becoming inextricably intertwined, and the way brands are using packaging to reach out to consumers beyond their traditional categories – including the influence of online shopping – is having more of an impact than consumers realize… at least for now.

The (re)union of packaging structure and branding

Clean label messaging continues to trend around the world. But with one third of US adults noting that high-quality food packaging is an indicator of product quality, and three in five UK consumers saying they pay attention to beverage packaging formats, the time is now for brands to roll out unique packaging structures that not only differentiate on shelf, but also help form and support brand identity. The bottom line: good packaging protects your product. Great packaging protects your brand.

The face and role of packaging online

While shoppers are embracing e-commerce for everything from convenience to luxury, the majority of grocery brands have yet to capitalize on the role of packaging in the e-commerce shopper moment. What this means for packaging is less clear in the short term, but, currently, brands are failing to impress with the delivery of their online packaging experience. 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.

Packaging gets smart, active and intelligent

Increasing demands for food safety, waste reduction, healthcare regulation compliance, and the removal of consumers’ exposure to hazardous or fraudulent products — these are just a few of the core drivers now propelling the rapidly emerging genre of smart, active, and intelligent technologies for packaging. While there is a lack of standardized definitions for smart, active, intelligent, and even mobile-enabled packaging, there are still clear and measurable connections with consumers and in some cases it is even saving lives. Mintel’s Global Packaging Team sees current opportunities for brands to engage, entertain, and educate consumers in real time.

The experience of packaging

Packaging design has become dominated by the need for brand recognition and variant identification and information. Consumers are increasingly looking for brands to entertain and engage them. A monotonous retail experience driven by globalization and the need for speed and efficiency has led to a sea of packaging that all looks the same and suffers from information overload. 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.

Extend my brand

Price is a key factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions, but brand trust also plays a pivotal role. According to Mintel Purchase Intelligence, in the US when reacting to new product launches, brand trust can reach as high as 94% and brands can leverage familiarity to create loyalty and extend a product portfolio well beyond traditional categories. In the coming year, Mintel’s Global Packaging Team sees packaging performing a more pivotal role in helping brands gain entry into, and acceptance in, new categories.

You can read more in our print magazine Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit (APBB Spring 2017)! 

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