1) Single-servings and on-the-go packaging
20 percent of meals in the United States are eaten in the car, so packaging structures are going to need to take advantage of that and be mobile, easy to handle in the car, and in portions for being on the go.
There's also been a huge explosion of snack bars, which are the ultimate portable food that you just throw in your pocket or your handbag.
There are also a lot more single and smaller households in the United States. Twenty-seven percent of households in this country are single-person households and packaging must address single-serving as well as easy-to-prepare meals for a person living alone.
2) Sensory packaging
The second trend is about engaging consumers with your packaging in-store. With the advent of digital and online purchasing, I think people are just used to getting things in the mail, and the package is a secondary consideration. But when people are actually shopping in the store I think they want something that is more interesting and engaging.
Another sensory trend is tactility. There are a lot of printers doing new techniques with raised varnishes and sparkle varnishes and different elements that can provide a tactile experience when you interact with the package.
3) Unique packaging and personalization
Another trend we’re seeing is a new level of originality and personalization. Absolut vodka actually just did the first package where they had to completely retool their production line so they could make every bottle absolutely unique. The line was called Absolut Unique, and every bottle is completely different—a different abstract painting on every bottle.
We're also seeing in packaging the ability to personalize your experience with the product.
4) Sustainable packaging
The next continuing trend is green packaging. I think consumers are expecting green packaging more and more from the products that they’re buying, and they want to know about recycling and recycled quantity in the package.
We talked about stand-up, resealable pouches—the Tide Pod, for example. Capri Sun is now in a stand-up pouch. These are just more ecologically sound from a shipping standpoint. When they’re shipping the empty packages they take up a lot less space. Additionally, most of them are recyclable. I think consumers are responding to that; more and more products are in those packages.
The next trend is bioresins. Nature Fusion from Pantene is using 30 percent bioresin in their bottles. The bioresin war was started between Coke and Pepsi. Coke was first out with plant bottles, but Pepsi was the first to come out with a 100 percent bioresin bottle. They are looking to get to a bioresin that is made more with waste materials from food processing so there won't be any farming or agricultural implications of growing the material to make the bottles. Additionally, I have heard that they're trying to make bottles out of chicken feathers!