They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But what about packaging?
The truth is, consumers do judge products by their packaging, whether how the packaged products look on the shelf in a grocery store or how they look when they arrive at your doorstep after being ordered online.
And with an ever-changing retail and ecommerce landscape, in a world that’s aiming to be more eco-friendly, packaging has become more important than ever.
Recently, the leading marketing intelligence agency Mintel released a report, “Global Packaging Trends 2018,” which highlights five major trends we can expect to see this year across the globe.
Here’s a quick overview of the top five 2018 packaging trends from their report.
1) Packaging Innovations that Encourage Sustainability
Today’s consumers are aware of how much food we waste across the globe, which is a staggering amount: we throw out an estimated 1.3 billion tons per year according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Both food and beverage companies and consumers are therefore looking into ways to reduce the amount of wasted food. And one of the ways is through packaging.
Mintel explains that “A focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification, and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers.” They advise that companies invest in packaging innovations to encourage and provide sustainability.
One company doing so is the British retailer Sainsbury’s, which now offers a color change smart label on their meat products so that consumers know exactly when their food has expired.
What Sainsbury is doing is important to the second point that Mintel makes: not only should companies execute these innovations, but they should clearly communicate them to consumers. That way, consumers’ concerns may be lessened – and brand loyalty can increase.
2) Ecommerce Packaging that Offers the Same Experience as In-Store Packaging
As we explored in a blog post about ecommerce trends for this year, the ecommerce industry is on the rise. But even though consumers are buying products online, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the importance of the customer experience has gone away – and that’s affecting 2018 packaging trends.
The customer experience is paramount, and this applies to online shopping and consequently, the packaging of ecommerce products. Mintel advises that “the experience of e-commerce packaging must reflect consumer expectations from shopping with that brand in-store.”
Or in other words, how your delivered packaged products look matters – as well as the material that’s used.
3) Clean, Consumer-Friendly Labels with Just Enough Information
When it comes to labels, too much information isn’t necessarily a good thing. Mintel explains that consumers can actually be turned off by labels that have too much information; this can influence how they perceive a brand and even breed mistrust.
Clean labels solve this problem. These labels contain just enough information to entice consumers, but not enough to overwhelm them.
4) Green Packaging Materials
Since today’s consumers are more conscious of what they buy, Mintel states that major brands like Coca-Cola are beginning to source “green” materials for their packaging.
Much of this comes from recycled plastic. Thus, it can be expected that other companies will follow suit.
And again, Mintel advises that businesses be transparent about their efforts to be more sustainable. This again will work to their benefit and encourage more brand loyalty.
5) Refreshing Packaging for Changing In-Store Shopping Behaviors
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that consumers’ shopping behaviors have changed. But some of these changes are a bit shocking.
For example, did you know that most consumers now go grocery shopping a few times a week instead of doing one large trip to stock up on everything? Or that they’re buying from different areas of the store?
Today’s consumers now buy from the “periphery,” or from the aisles that sell chilled and fresh foods. They tend to spend more time there and less in aisles that sell processed or frozen foods that are housed in the centers of most stores.
What this means for companies that sell foods found in those now-overlooked areas of the stores is that they need to revamp their packaging.
As Mintel writes: “Now is the time for brands to respond and leverage packaging to refresh the centre-of-store experience and earn loyalty among Millennial shoppers.”