Over the past month, we’ve seen various organizations publish their views and predictions for packaging and the packaging industry coming up in 2010. While everyone seems to have their own take on the subject, we discovered a number of common threads running throughout the various articles, posts, and press releases we’ve reviewed. The following are the 5 strongest points we’ve discovered, and the effects these trends could have on the industry and consumers as a whole:
The Ever-Increasing Influence of Social Media on Product Development
Consumers at any level (B2B included!) are more connected then ever, and they are not afraid to join in the conversation. Whether it’s crowdsourcing a new product and package design or simply paying stronger attention to real-time consumer commentary on blogs and other social media venues: the packaging industry sees a continued shift in the product development paradigm to include a bigger-than-ever focus on direct user feedback.
After all, it is the people that make our business possible in the first place, right? This new way of doing business will continue to influence the success of companies in the years to come.
“Green” is Here to Stay
It’s no secret the packaging industry has tried to be more environmentally friendly in the past. Back then, efforts were mostly thwarted by a combination of high cost and lack of consumer interest. But today people are demanding improvements in sustainable, more eco-friendly packaging.
“Less is better” is a popular theme, as is the notion of “repurposeable packaging” Some even speculate the adoption of new techonologies to further quantify and justify the results and claims of eco-friendly efforts. No matter what, the idea of “being green” with product packaging becomes the norm, not just the “added bonus” exception.
Pouches, Pouches, Pouches!!
Closely connected to resource use and other environmental concerns, pouch packaging looks to hold great promise in 2010 (especially for food and beverage). It is an economic and likewise eco-friendly solution. Improving materials and technology hopes to ensure a high quality product, despite the newly slimmed packaging.
While foils are a common material in these types of packaging, look for increased use of sustainable, degradeable media like bioplastics to take their place in production of this and other packaging.
The Truth is In the Label
While overall package design shifts to a cleaner feeling with increased product visibility, expect more prominence of special labeling. This particular trend is part governmental-influence, part consumer-demand. Agencies like the FDA will push for more specific labeling in some cases, as will end-user demand for knowledge like product source and eco-concerns.
Simplicity and clarity are the major themes of package design and labeling for 2010.
The Higher Visibility, the Better
Speaking of visibility: blister packs, clamshells, and other windowed and high-visibility packaging seems to show promise for 2010.
People want to see what they’re buying, so the obvious advantage of this packaging is product visibility. Other benefits include everything from loss prevention to materials reduction. Likewise, developments in degradable plastics and other bio-friendly materials help position these package types for success in a more earth-conscious consumer environment.
So What Does it All Mean?
These predictions indicate major changes in all areas of packaging: be they design, production, or delivery. The eco-mindset prevails, closely followed by the major shift in product development as influenced by the internet, social media, and users themselves. These particular elements may even prove to be the “make or break” point for some struggling businesses who fail to take advantage of new expectations.
Overall, much of the projected change will lead to increased benefit as simplified packages and improving technologies help reduce costs and production time. Cost reduction benefits the bottom line, too, and that’s a more-than-welcome ray of sunlight in these cloudy economic times.
While these are the largest commonalities between the myriad packaging trend predictions we’ve seen, no single source will be the authority on what comes true this year and what doesn’t. Only time can tell that much.
And all our research leaves us to wonder: What do you think will be the prevalent trend in packaging in 2010?