In the Past
The world of packaging is always changing. Each year, packaging priorities can shift.To look where future packaging is headed, let’s turn the pages back. Look at packaging in the 1950’s – The United States was recovering from World War II and the lack of resources reflected that. Ray Kieser from Packaging News said it best. “Functionality was the be all and end all of 1950’s packaging. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes exemplified this: a simple white box with the eponymous logo at the top and plain, block lettering spelling out the product title.” In the 1980’s consumerism was growing at an exponential rate. Consumers were no longer buying food because they needed it. Per se. Consumers were buying food because of how it made them feel. They were able to identify with the brand and the lifestyle it conveyed. Looking ahead, what trends are going to define the future packaging?
Reduction and Change of Packaging Materials
The future of packaging will continue to push for lighter, thinner and simpler. Space reduction is also on the forefront. Being able to produce space appropriate packager and avoid “bulky” packaging will be more of an industry standard. An example could be a growth in square packaging for drinks. The materials used will also change. There is expected to be even more of a push toward biodegradable and sustainable packaging. Essentially, the push will force manufactures to search for alternatives to petroleum based resources.
Recently, an E-Pedigree law was passed in California. In short, it will require both manufactures and re-packagers to keep an e-pedigree of a product through the supply chain. This will cause a rise in serialization methods such as RFID printing/coding. The increased availability of data will even allow consumers to see the product production history after it has been sold.
Increased Government Participation
There has already been evidence of this in Australia, where a “Plain Tobacco Packaging” law was passed in 2012. “…requiring the removal of all branding (colors, imagery, corporate logos and trademarks), permitting manufacturers to print only the brand name in a mandated size, font and place on the pack, in addition to the health warnings and any other legally mandated information such as toxic constituents and tax-paid stamps. The appearance of all tobacco packs is standardized, including the color of the pack.” Basically, manufactures will be pushing toward social responsibility initiatives, with a bit of help from the government.
It is impossible to completely predict the course that will dominate packaging for the next 50 years, but these are a few of the trends that might define the path.