The latest innovations in packaging

The latest innovations in…
Brand owners are constantly innovating to keep up with the changing demands and requirements of consumers, as well as to stand out in an increasingly competitive environment. Alongside changing consumer habits, there have been recent developments in technology meaning that there is now opportunity for manufacturers and suppliers to be more creative than ever before. So, what developments should we be looking out for in the near future?

Smithers Pira explores the top five innovation trends currently occurring in the packaging industry and what manufacturers, suppliers and brand owners can be doing to further engage customers.

National pride and nostalgia

The 2012 London Olympics, the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton and the Queen's coronation instilled a sense of patriotism and national pride in British consumers. The packaging industry is reflecting this through designing definitively British packs, often featuring the Union Jack and images of the monarchy.

This has led to more traditional and nostalgic designs as a nod to the past; old-fashioned graphics and logos which showcase a brand's truly British nature. Vintage packaging not only plays on a popular fashion trend but also points towards a certain authenticity. Due to the amount of brands and products available to choose from consumers now look for those they know they can trust, and the packaging helps to convey this idea.

Personalised packaging

As digital printing technology becomes more affordable and wide-spread, there has been an increase in short print runs, and personalisation is being used more often as a tool to differentiate a brand and attract customers.

This innovation was arguably pioneered by Coca Cola and their Share a Coke campaign, which featured popular first names printed on labels. However, Coca Cola was just the beginning, and we now have a number of other designs which capitalise on this 'made for me' approach. These include the Absolut Vodka bottles, which used 4 million unique and individually numbered designs.

As brands utilise the internet and social media to broaden reach and enhance campaigns, consumers now feel packaging is 'made for them' more than ever before. Take, for example, Heinz Tomato soup - a recent campaign allowed consumers to personalise a can on the brand's Facebook page, and send it to a friend or loved one as a 'get well soon' gift. As the technology enabling such innovations improves and costs come down, the industry will become even more creative with personalised packaging.

People-pleasing packaging

In order to be successful, brand owners need to understand consumers' unmet needs. For example, convenience packaging is popular among increasingly on the go consumers, who don't have time or space for large, unwieldy, or difficult to open packs. Examples of new convenience packaging include Robinsons Squash'd, a plastic squeezable pouch designed to dispense fruit squash into water bottles on the go, making up to 20 drinks.

Easy to use packaging also fits into this 'people-pleasing packaging' category, notably easy to open jars, and Unilever's 'Clean Lock Cap' used on their recent Colman's brand condiments. Packaging which can control the dosage required for both consumption and cleaning products also helps consumers if they aren't sure how much of the product needs to be used.