Digital and green among predicted 2016 top packaging trends

Market research provider Mintel has announced what it calls six key trends set to impact global packaging markets over the next year.

Corrugated digital print

These include implications for both consumers and brands.

The trends, according to Mintel, are listed as:

DIGITAL EVOLUTION
Digital printing is capturing brands’ attention by creating opportunities to engage consumers on a local, personal and even emotional level. In 2016 we will experience the tipping point for digital package printing, as brands move beyond using it for limited editions and personalization, and capitalize on its economic and speed-to-market advantages for mainstream package decoration.

SHOW ME THE GOODS
With the growing number of on-pack claims competing for shoppers’ attention, consumers are demanding more information about what they are really buying but seeking less on-pack clutter that confuses their purchasing decisions. Looking ahead, the concepts of clean labeling and clear on-pack communication are set to converge.

PHENOMENAL FLEXIBLES
No longer is flexible packaging (specifically pouches) considered a tradeoff. But at what point will it become non-differentiated? Truly innovative brands are looking to the next generation of rigid/flexible hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence.

MORE THAN “JUST” GREEN PACKAGING
Despite brands’ best efforts, package recycling is well below its potential. Going forward, when product price and perceived product quality are equal, consumers will be increasingly turning to eco- and alternative-use attributes as the deciding purchasing factor, and brands cannot afford to ignore this as they develop their brand positioning and marketing strategies.

SIZE MATTERS
The ability to reach consumers in time-shifting use occasions means brands must offer a greater range of pack sizes. In 2016, brands must deliver packaging that consumers see as right-sized for themselves and shifting use-occasions in order to overcome the growing lack of brand loyalty.

PACKAGING MOBIL-UTION
There’s a revolution happening in mobile-engaged packaging tapping near-field communication (NFC) and bluetooth low-energy (BLE). Moving forward, as brands clamor for innovative ways to engage with shoppers, the mobile environment will become the new front line in the battle to win consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets.

David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel, said: “There’s a parallel path between brands striving to engage consumers on a more personal level and consumers’ expectations for packaging to deliver that experience.

“Digital print that creates ‘hyper’ personal experiences; clean-label messaging that enhances brand transparency and builds purchasing confidence; eco-responsible packaging that empowers social consciousness; next-gen hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence; right-sized product packaging that meets consumer needs and shifting use-occasions; and apps that support ‘mobile-engaged’ packaging.

“These are the key themes we see resonating with consumers in 2016. Brands and manufacturers are innovating packaging to keep global consumers engaged and to develop brand loyalty which is becoming more and more intangible in an age where consumers have more choices than ever across all packaged goods.”