What is driving Packaging innovation?
Packaging industry professionals are acutely aware that the pace of innovation in packaging is picking up. It is driven by consumer behaviour, the digital world and regulation, although let’s not forget the imagination and creativity of brand owners, new product developers, engineers and designers.
This is a hugely exciting time for the packaging industry, but it’s never been more important to keep up to date with innovative approaches which can drive your business forward.
Consumer trends in packaging
Consumer trends are at the heart of many innovations. The way we interact with brands has changed beyond all recognition since the beginning of the century, and the change continues apace.
Consumers increasingly demand convenience and ease-of-use from retailers. In the past, the main interactions were in stores. Great retailers always understood that a customer stepping over the threshold of a High Street shop was about much more than stumping up some cash for a commodity item. Today, as ever, the key disciplines stay in place:
- The art and science of branding (for retailers and producers)
- Customer service
- Delivering a positive emotional experience
As we’ve moved to shopping on laptops, tablets and mobiles, retailers now have online opportunities to build customer engagement and commercial value. The options include reviews, feedback, real-time stock and delivery information, web chat, targeted communications and much more.
Digital packaging technology
Digital technology is developing all the time to deliver ever higher levels of convenience. In its broadest sense the Internet of Things is going to provide a step change in the way we interact with retailers and service suppliers.
Smart devices and smart packaging are coming together to provide auto-replenishment of everything from the milk in your fridge to shaving razors and medicines.
Smart packaging (also called intelligent or active packaging) is now available which can:
- accurately indicate shelf-life for individual products, thereby reducing waste
- change the colour of a package to show ripeness and temperature
- be personalised at an individual customer level, for gifts and products ordered online
RFID sensors in individual and bulk packaging can also feed highly valuable data back to retailers and producers.
The role of regulations
Regulations are a major influence on packaging innovation as well. Security and tamper proofing are key considerations for consumers, and recent FMD legislation (the EU’s Falsified Medicines Directive – see video here) provides for the use of individual package codes as a means of verifying the authenticity and provenance of medical supplies. A similar approach for valuable goods confronts the issues of fakes and fraud.
But that’s by no means all…
The change in our infrastructure is also having an impact. As homes get smaller, the demand for smaller, more space-efficient packaging rises, as does the need for more frequent deliveries. That’s one of the drivers for advances in the use of technology in packaging.
The other huge influence on packaging technology is sustainability.
Click here for an overview of various ways the packaging industry is addressing global environmental issues.
How to catch up with packaging innovations
The PPMA Total Show 2019 is the ideal forum for catching up with industry experts on packaging innovation.
Among the new products at PPMA Total Show 2019 are:
- Detectamet’s latest food probe thermometers for food safety
- The Volpak StandCap pouch for sauces dressings, yogurts and personal care creams
- Hazel 4D void fill systems from 100% biodegradable paper or waste cardboards
- GoPal’s mobile robot for automated pallet transfer
- Interroll new drive solutions for automated material flows
- Rovema Packaging Machines’ new, fastest twin tube machine for confectionery snacks
- Spiroflow’s remote, real-time monitoring systems conveyors
With over 450 exhibitors and 2500 brands at the show, you can get up to date with new developments under one roof at the NEC Birmingham, 1-3 October.