5 Emerging Trends in Food Packaging

Graphic with the words Trends to Watch

Let’s explore emerging trends in food packaging and what changes we can expect in our industry in the years to come.

Just like any other industry, the food packaging world is subject to change and trends — all for the better. Whatever we can do to better engage with our customers, improve our service and increase sales is worth the time, money and effort. Keeping up with the emerging trends in food packaging can make all the difference to a successful product and business, and one that lags behind.

Increasingly, customers are becoming aware of packaging. They care how their products are packaged and delivered, which means packaging is a more valuable tool than ever before.

Let’s explore five emerging trends in food packaging and how you might use them to boost sales and improve your organisation’s overall image.

1. Packaging Personalisation

For a while now, we’ve known the importance and value of personalised packaging. The fact is, customers love it, particularly millennials and Gen Z. In fact, according to a Deloitte Consumer Review, over half of Gen Z and millennials have expressed a desire for more personalised products. The love for personalisation isn’t going anywhere — it’s an ongoing packaging trend that not enough companies make use of. Personalised packaging can help elevate the customer experience, get people excited about your product and even increase sales.

You don’t have to look far to find great examples of bespoke packaging personalisation. Famous examples can be seen in Coca-Cola bottles. Coca-Cola sells bottles with names emblazoned on them, but this company has gone a step further — on their website, you can personalise an 8 fl oz. glass bottle of Coca-cola with your name, or the name of a loved one. This is a great way to engage customers and create a real buzz about your brand. We expect this trend to go from strength-to-strength, becoming more creative in the years to come.

Related: Do customers care about your product’s packaging?

2. Companies Will Use Packaging to Engage Emotionally with Customers

Your customers expect a lot from you — they want a product to be more than just a product, they want packaging to be more than just packaging and they want to engage with your brand. They want a story and they want to connect with your mission and purpose. It’s been shown that people are guided mostly by emotion when it comes to making brand decisions. Smart companies know this — they use their packaging to tell their customers about their brand, where they came from and to showcase their values.

Companies can use packaging to evoke a range of different feelings, from excitement to nostalgia. Packaging can be used to identify with the company’s target audience. It’s all about creating a dedicated, loyal customer base. People want to connect with businesses who stand for something, companies with a personality — they want a reason to buy from you, rather than a number of other companies.

3. Smart Packaging

We find that 31% of food products are thrown away due to spoilage. This is a huge waste — and something packaging can help to counter. Smart packaging is an emerging food packaging trend that helps customers keep track of the status of their food — letting them know when their products might be on the turn.

Smart packaging can be seen in the form of small paper sensors, capable of detecting when food is no longer safe. The paper is attached to the packaging and changes colour when it comes into contact with spoiled food. Further smart packaging technology comes in the form of printed CR codes, which customers can scan with a smartphone to learn more about the product and the company — just another way for brands to connect with the customer.

Related: The role of packaging in the supply chain

4. Metal Food Packaging Will Become More Popular

As we know, many companies are moving away from plastic packaging in favour of more environmentally-friendly alternatives. One alternative, and one emerging trend in packaging, is metal packaging. Metal can protect and preserve food from contamination, giving it a long shelf life in supermarkets. Metals like steel and aluminium are also sustainable and entirely recyclable. Metal packaging is not new — aluminium cans for fizzy drinks have been around for a long time. They are lightweight and durable, and we predict more and more companies will start using metal food packaging as the years go by.

Related: Benefits of compostable packaging

5. We’ll Move from Plastics to Bioplastics

Though we are all keen to move away from plastic, we have to admit — it’s a convenient, cheap and durable material that has been a packaging favourite for decades. So how can we replace plastics and protect the environment without compromising on quality? The answer might be in bioplastics — a more eco alternative to plastics, without any of the toxins.

Bioplastics (also known as PHAs) are biodegradable, resistant and versatile. They are made from renewable sources and don’t change the taste or smell of the food they protect. It’s easy to see why bioplastics are an emerging packaging food trend, and we expect more eco-conscious companies to experiment with this material in the next few years.

Custom packaging can boost sales and help you engage with your target customer. To get a packaging quote and find out how we can help you, get in touch with our expert team today.