Technology takes us forward (sidebar)

The sponsors of Emballage 2002, running November 18-22 at Paris Nord Villepinte, have undertaken an in-depth Pack.Vision study of the latest trends in worldwide packaging.

Carried out by Gerard Caron and Carole Refabert of the Scopes consultancy in Paris, the study concludes with what Caron and Refabert call the “eight fundamentals for the packaging of the future.” They are:

A growing elderly population

Longer life expectancy heralds a new societal structure where brands see seniors as a strategic target. According to, at least 25% of the population of industrialized countries will be over 65 years old in 2020. Manufacturers must take into account the effects of old age, including failing vision and hearing.

Safety concerns

BSE (mad-cow disease) GMOs, etc. Look at the media and it’s clear that consumers are concerned about food safety. Then of course there is the shadow of 9/11. Counterfeiting also gives cause for concern. According to the International Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, it accounts for 5 to 7% of global GNP. This problem primarily impacts developing countries.


Even though shopping via the Internet accounts for an infinitesimally small share of the total market, this new media offers an experimental strategic proving ground. As a result of their one-to-one contact with the company, consumers have regained a degree of power with the Internet. The Internet is a source of concern and inspiration, and the nature of it as a distribution channel forces us to take a fresh look at the way that products are packaged, not to mention the virtual product concepts of the future.

Consumers lead fragmented daily lives

Consumers are unfaithful and they experience diverse needs during any one day. Packaging must be multi-purpose in terms of functionality; it must be able to adapt to a range of different situations and contexts. Consumers must feel free to use their product of choice in the manner of their choosing.

On-the-spot consumption

Smaller formats, single doses, kits, portability: packaging must embrace the busy lifestyle of the consumer. In order to keep up with consumers on the move, brands need to find innovative new concepts that enhance the feeling of wellbeing.

The challenge of ecological and social issues

As environmental issues become an integral part of urban life, the consumer takes on the role of consumer as active citizen, hence the inevitability of meeting the environmental challenge. This challenge cannot be met by recycling alone. In fact, it seems that there is a reduction in the overall level of production using recycled goods compared with total production levels. So, recycling alone will not provide the answer to waste management problems. Rather, the answer may lie in reductions at source coupled with the use of biodegradable materials.

Constantly upgraded design standards

Design has firmly established itself as a key ingredient in all sectors of the consumer world. Seen as an added product benefit, even the most skeptical now accepts its importance in terms of looks and function. It’s what might be termed the ‘tyranny of beauty.’ Both a source of inspiration and innovation, design is also a key element in product differentiation.

The end of packaging—the beginning of packaging as product It is no longer enough to simply wrap a product. The role of packaging is to reflect the product’s values. Product and packaging become one.

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