This year, online brands will re-invigorate their packaging to enhance the e-commerce experience and brands that adopt clear and succinct package messaging will be rewarded as consumers prefer brands that embrace minimalism, according to market intelligence agency Mintel.
Packaging will also play a pivotal role in reducing global food and product waste and brands will be called to keep marine conservation at the forefront of packaging development and to anchor the circular economy for future generations.
David Luttenberger, global packaging director at Mintel, discussed the major trends set to influence the packaging sector worldwide in 2018.
Consumers have often considered packaging as unnecessary and a waste to be disposed of but that misconception is now changing, said Mintel. A focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification, and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers. Brands will need to act fast by exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and underserved regions of the world.
Online shopping is becoming increasingly widespread around the globe and is near ubiquitous in some markets. However, while online shopping’s key advantage is convenience, consumers expect more from their favoured brands. When designing packaging to be viewed online and transit packaging to be opened upon delivery in the home, Mintel reminded the experience of e-commerce packaging must reflect consumer expectations from shopping with that brand in-store.
Clean Label 2.0
Today’s consumers are more informed than ever. However, brands are in real danger of being rejected if consumers feel overloaded with information, leading to the questioning of provenance, authenticity and transparency. The ‘essentialist’ design principle bridges the divide between not enough and just enough of what’s essential for consumers to make an enlightened and confident purchasing decision. Mintel suggested brands must bring the next generation of clean label to packaging design to provide a moment of calm and clarity for shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.
Concerns over safe packaging disposal will increasingly colour consumers’ perceptions of different packaging types and impact shopper purchase decisions. Only by communicating that a brand is working towards a solution will this growing barrier to purchase be overcome, Mintel opined. While collecting waste plastic from the sea to recycle into new packaging can raise consumer awareness, it won’t solve the problem. In order to keep plastic out of the sea, a renewed effort towards the circular economy is needed to keep packaging material in use.
Young shoppers are increasingly ‘shopping the periphery’, visiting the fresh and chilled aisles around the store perimeter and turning their backs on processed, ambient and frozen offerings in the centre of the store. Mintel noted the use of transparent materials, contemporary design, recyclability or unique shapes can help draw in younger consumers to the store centre.
Luttenberger added: “Our packaging trends for 2018 reflect the most current and forward-looking consumer attitudes, actions, and purchasing behaviours in both global and local markets. Such trends as those we see emerging in e-commerce packaging have stories that are just now being written. Others, such as the attack on plastics, are well into their first few chapters, but with no clear ending in sight.”