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Consumer trends shaking up the packaging industry

Consumer trends shaking up the packaging industry
Consumers are continually changing the way they view, interact with and discard packaging. The latest Smithers Pira report contains an overview of the most important trends in the packaging industry. The knowledge of these trends can help to maximize the potential of packagings in today's market.

1. Sustainability
Consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of global environmental issues and are changing their buying habits accordingly. These days, it's 'cool to care', and consumers are actively seeking out semiotic signs on packaging that manufacturers have a green conscience (but are wary of green washing). Understanding how commitment to sustainability can be communicated in an engaging way on the packaging is key to attracting, relating to, and keeping consumers. 

Sustainable Packaging: Myth or Reality, an expert white paper by PWC, explains how sustainable practice has become essential to the perception and identity of a brand. In line with their ambition to be the 'most sustainable and desirable sportswear brand', Puma worked with PWC to produce an environmental profit and loss account, highlighting a €145 million environmental impact across their supply chain. Recognition of this allows them to build a more sustainable and resilient model for the future, and to communicate their green achievements to consumers.

It seems that sustainability is no longer an optional add-on - it's an essential part of future business planning for those in the packaging industry. The complete story of a product is becoming a key factor in purchasing decisions - where does it come from, how was it made, what are its recycling credentials? 

2. Healthy Living
The health and wellness sector is booming, reflecting a wider public desire to understand what is and isn't good for us. Consumers now expect packaging and branding to display the health credentials of the product both quickly and concisely allowing them to make informed choices about their food. Regulations often stipulate how this information must be displayed, and packaging must balance these needs.

The healthy living market is crowded, and it can be difficult to attract (and maintain) attention from the shelf. It's therefore important for packaging to focus on unique benefits, such as natural ingredients and formulations, offering transparency on the label. Innovative methods of displaying and preserving fresh food will also be key for short and long term success.

Healthy snacking alternatives may be a way of overcoming this issue. Increased consumer snacking encourages product innovations offering healthy snacks in smaller pack formats, such as Snack-a-jacks; light snacks in small packets with an advertised low fat content.