Global market research firm Mintel has released a report, "Global Packaging Trends 2017," that looks at “five emerging, morphing, and mainstreaming packaging trends it sees as affecting brands, consumers, retailers, and packaging converters in 2017.”
1. The [Re] Union of Package Structure and Branding: Notes the Mintel Global Packaging Team, one-third of U.S. adults believe that high-quality food packaging is an indicator of product quality, and three in five U.K. consumers say they pay attention to beverage packaging formats. Advises Mintel: Now is the time for brands to roll out unique packaging structures that not only differentiate on shelf, but also help form and support brand identity, as well as give consumers an incentive to spend time with them.
One example cited, Method Products’ new bottle for its 4X Concentrated Laundry Detergent. Says Mintel, “A shapely, pinch-waisted RPET container with an integrated ergonomic grip structurally and visually disrupted the laundry care category, where bulky opaque containers dominate.”
2. The Face and Role of Packaging Online: According to Mintel, although e-commerce shopping continues to grow, grocery brands have yet to capitalize on the role of packaging in the e-commerce shopper moment. “Currently,” the report says, “brands are failing to impress with the delivery of their online packaging experience.” Looking ahead, the firm notes that 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.
For dairy-free creamer brand Nutpods, its packaging—an aseptic carton—was designed for both retail and e-commerce packaging. Among its benefits for online sale, simple graphics and a package with a compact shape for shipping, a robust and unbreakable structure, and the ability to handle fluctuating temperatures.
3. Packaging Gets Smart, Active, and Intelligent: The report notes that increasing demands for food safety, waste reduction, patient compliance, and removal of consumers’ exposure to hazardous and fraudulent products are propelling “a rapidly emerging genre of smart, active, and intelligent packaging.” Because of this, Mintel says they see opportunities for brands to engage, entertain, and educate consumers in real time.
Saying “the smartest, most intelligent packaging is often the most intuitive,” Mintel gives the example of the SmartLabel, a QR code placed directly on the package that allows consumers to access to more information on a product through their smartphone.
4. The Experience of Packaging: Due to the need for brand recognition and variant identification and information, globalization, and the need for speed and efficiency, Mintel says packaging design is now a “sea of packaging that all looks the same and suffers from information overload.” The next generation of branded products need to look at design as a bigger part of the brand, not just to create connections, but to drive experiences.
One good example: Allowing consumers to create personalized sports drinks, the Drinkfinity system uses pods that contain both dry and liquid ingredients. These are combined with water in a custom drinking vessel and enable portability and customization.
5. Extend My Brand: While price is a big factor in consumers’ packaging decisions, the report relates that brand trust also plays a pivotal role. Because of this, brands can leverage that familiarity to create loyalty and extend a product portfolio well beyond traditional categories. Take the example of Carlsberg Beers’ Beer’d Beauty grooming set for men. Understanding that men were in serious need of masculine grooming products, Carlsberg leveraged the “beautifying properties” of their beer’s main ingredients, along with a packaging lineup that tiered directly to their famous green beer bottle and logo. While the product began as a limited-edition extension, it was so successful, Carlsberg expanded its brand into premium hair care.