The packaging industry finds itself in innovation overdrive in pursuit of commercially viable solutions, which will boost efficiency and reduce reliance on plastics and strained material supply chains, while offering an elevated user experience. We look at The Past, The Present and The Future of packaging:
Producers and consumers followed a make-use-dispose approach. Waste wasn’t seen as a brand’s responsibility, resulting in mounds of unrecyclable packaging. E-commerce was equally wasteful, as packs designed to sit on shelves were simply placed inside shipping boxes without much consideration. Meanwhile, the branding of non-artificial and plant-based foods was often bland and dominated by ‘green’ design tropes.
Material scarcity and supply chain difficulties are making it undeniable that change is necessary. As paper prices continue to rise, its proper recycling is gaining importance, while excessive material use is condemned and industry interest in alternative fibres rises. With more consumers adopting sustainable practices, branding for eco-friendlier shops is adjusting to appeal to broader audiences.
“95% of consumers say that packaging affects their online purchase experience, yet 50% feel the packaging doesn’t match the quality of the product ordered” - Stora Enso 2022
New restrictions will regulate the packaging industry and the waste it generates, creating a fertile commercial context for dissolvable packs and coatings. Innovations in chemical recycling will make unrecyclable plastics a thing of the past and reduce our dependence on petroleum, while primary and secondary packaging will merge into efficient formats that work on-shelf as well as online for an omnichannel retail landscape.
How to innovate your packaging:
Ship-ready formats are eliminating unnecessary layers of material by combining primary and secondary packaging, and are increasingly becoming the norm. And in case protective layers are needed, new paper-based options offer a lightweight and slimline solution.
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