Here is my list of 5 packaging trends to watch closely in 2014:
1) Food waste, Smart Packaging a part of the Solution
In a world of 7 billion people, set to grow to 9 billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense Economically, Ethically and Environmentally.
Food safety and Food waste is a bigger environmental problem than packaging waste. Packaging has a vital role to play in containing and protecting food as it moves through the supply chain from farm to fork. Shelf-life extension is the Holy Grail for the food industry.
Smart packaging (active and intelligent) has been focused on retailer-benefits, namely: food safety and security, spoilage reduction and extending shelf-life. In the future expect it to be more consumers focused: delivering enhanced freshness and better information to elevate product quality for consumers.
According to Freedonia Group (2012), US Demand for smart packaging is forecast to climb 8% annually to $2.3 billion in 2015, significantly outpacing overall packaging demand. Advances will be driven by the availability of products with more reasonable price points and those offering enhanced shelf life and/or improved quality.
2) Stand-Up Pouches are growing rapidly - Standing for protection, communication, convenience, and sustainability
Consumers’ nomadic life-styles and the growing number of single and senior households favor a trend toward single and small-portion packs. Flexible packaging, especially stand-up pouches constitute the ideal solution.
The top three packaging characteristics cited by packagers as reasons for choosing stand-up Pouches are cost savings per individual package, improvements in shelf appeal and better barrier performance. The top three manufacturing performance justifications for the choice of flexible packaging are decreased operating costs, increased output, and greater flexibility in manufacturing change-over.
According to PCI Films Consulting (2013), US demand for stand-up pouches is forecast to grow by 42% over the next five years to reach almost 24 billion units in 2018. Beverages and pet food are the largest end use categories, closely followed by human food applications with around 30% share. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increase in demand for convenience in packaging.
3) Bio-based packaging materials will grow, but not necessarily biodegradable
Recyclable PET made from renewable resource (Sugarcane) is projected to offer significant growth potential over the longer term, particularly as large corporations, especially those in the soft drink industry, are investing heavily in the development of this material.
According to European Bioplastics (2013), the production capacity of biobased PET today is around 600,000 tonnes a year. This volume is reported to grow to roughly 5 million tonnes by 2016. Regarding rigid applications, PET is mainly used to make beverage bottles, other transparent bottles or rigid trays and films.
4) Inbound Marketing - Social media and social selling
Social selling has rapidly gained influence as a powerful B2B strategy for building customer relationships, as well as generating sales opportunities. People want to buy from a company they can trust as being honest and transparent. Your positive and social interactions in social media networks will go a long way in establishing the credibility of your brand. The more people feel they can trust you, the more people they will tell about you.
It is clear that marketing is changing on a fundamental level as the internet continues to revolutionize how we find, buy, sell, and interact with brands and their products or services. The days of annoying consumers with intrusive advertising and marketing tactics are fading. Traditional Marketing was about pushing messages out. Today it’s about pulling people in. Inbound marketing is a marketing focused on getting found by customers. The new age of marketing is about providing value and earning customer loyalty instead of simply pounding a message into consumers heads and hoping it will stick.
From a recent Canadean report “Global Packaging Industry CEO Business Outlook Survey 2012-2013”, advertising budgets, “email and newsletters,” “social media and networking sites” and “public relations” are expected to register the highest investment, identified by 47%, 44%, and 36%, respectively. Conversely, “television,” “outdoor,” “radio” and “newspaper” advertising is expected to decline.
5) e-Commerce – a sales channel for growth
It’s no secret that online retailers are gaining serious market share. Consumers spent a total of $5.3 billion online over Thanksgiving weekend, an increase of 22% over last year, when shoppers spent $4.3 billion online. Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year, broke yet another record this year as shoppers spent $1.74 billion online, marking a record for the most dollars spent online in a single day. By 2017, eMarketer estimates that e-commerce spending will reach $440 billion
The growth in e-commerce presents an opportunity to assess the whole supply chain, to consider new types of packaging. As e-commerce grows, it may be possible to use simpler retail packs, make them smaller, leave them unprinted or perhaps remove them entirely.
The continuing popularity of online shopping will propel healthy gains for corrugated boxes used in the fulfillment of Internet sales (Corrugated & Paperboard Boxes, Freedonia 2012).
Best wishes for a healthy, wealthy, sustainable and innovative New Year 2014!