Innovative packaging is an efficient tool that FMCG businesses can use to give their brands that all-important competitive edge. Products with outstanding shelf appeal have a greater chance of attracting the attention of consumers and encouraging them to make the decision to buy.
While food companies continue steadily to review the consumer trends that affect purchasing behaviors, it is important that they also examine global packaging trends, to build up successful strategies that improve their product offerings while reducing costs. Choosing the best link between consumer trends and packaging selection could determine the success or failure of a product line.
While successful packaging helps something reach the pantry shelf in the first place, it’s the product itself that keeps it there. Attractive packaging may entice and secure the first-time purchase of a product, but the consumer’s connection with the product will determine should they re-purchase the brand. Pre roll packaging This is why food marketers and packaging managers today must be sure products and packaging strategies are aligned. Product and packaging development should not be conducted in isolation.
In recent years, the next consumer trends have forced manufacturers to re-think their packaging offerings. The companies that change and evolve with customers will succeed, while the brands that neglect to change will become extinct.
In a global starved for time, consumers crave convenience to reduce the time allocated to preparing meals, and innovative packaging can deliver what they want. A classic example of this is often observed in the success of pre-cut fresh produce in the Australian retail market, where individuals are prepared to pay more than double for packaged, hygienically washed and cut vegetables.
To support this trend, packaging companies are continuing to develop specialized breathable packaging, to extend the shelf life of the food it protects because the product passes along the supply chain from the farm through to the consumer.
Microwavable meals were developed primarily for convenience, which came at the trouble of product freshness and-sometimes-taste. Several attempts have been made in recent years to enhance the quality of ingredients found in these meals, yet challenges remain. Customer feedback indicates that microwavable meals are an easy task to overcook, often usually do not cook evenly, and can dry during the reheating process.
Packaging technologists have driven the development of better ready-to-heat-and-eat solutions. Efforts to improve the cooking process have already been made using different valve technologies that manage the distribution of steam and pressure around the food. This dynamic shift is enabling brands to supply convenience, quality and consistently well-prepared food, enabling premium positioning in the ready-to-eat market.
Individuals are demanding more variety, and this pressure has seen an explosion in SKU proliferation on the shelf. Selecting the most appropriate packaging is crucial to getting a balance between meeting consumer needs (the marketers’ goal) and achieving operational flexibility. Packaging managers are therefore revisiting packaging and decoration options to provide the necessary outcomes.
One emerging trend is the idea of “late stage differentiation”, where decoration is brought in-house and applied at the idea of filling. Thus giving food companies much more flexibility in meeting consumer demands for more SKUs and enables marketers to run more promotions with shorter notice. Additionally, there are opportunities to lessen inventory of pre-decorated containers, reduce obsolescent inventory and improve the graphics and aesthetics of pre-printed containers. Two key technologies that have offered this breathing space to food companies are pressure-sensitive and roll-fed shrink labels.
Form and Graphics
“Just give me the facts so I can purchase” is what consumers are saying these days. Simple packaging designs and graphics appear to be the “flavor of the month” and the ones companies which are heeding this trend are reaping the huge benefits. In the UK, innovative retailer, Waitrose, used a plain, clear pressure-sensitive label with a simple print design to provide outstanding shelf impact for their pickle range. The packaging told consumers what they wished to know about the contents, and the product was supplied in a convenient re-closable jar, so that they could see the quality of the pickles through the glass.
In this example, a clear label assures consumers that there is nothing to hide and that what you see is everything you get. Today, consumers desire to see what they’re purchasing, and innovative packaging and label combinations can perform this. The decision of graphics is equally important. Less glossy packaging and softer ink tones are increasingly being used to achieve the “natural” message and give a distinctive shelf appeal.
It is well documented that most markets have an aging population, so it’s crucial to design packaging that’s age-neutral. Creators of packaging concepts need to align elements of their designs with the demands of this market segment. Graphics should be legible (this could mean using larger fonts); the packaging shape has to be ergonomic; and functional aspects, such as for example easy-open and re-closure features, ought to be suitable for older people to use without difficulty.
Consumers today are well educated about “green” foods and so are very conscious of the impact of packaging on the surroundings. The momentum behind the “green” movement is building quickly and, being well aware of this, many food companies already are responding. Obviously, choosing “green” packaging means using recyclable or biodegradable packaging, and also reducing packaging, but it also requires a review of the complete value chain and linking in using what consumers are asking for.
While the majority will concentrate on packaging alone to provide sustainability, it is also important to consider how to deliver food and minimize its wastage, because the percentage of food waste in our dumps far exceeds that of packaging. Rather than being based only on environmental impact, packaging choice needs to be seen as a method of meeting consumer demand to lessen food wastage. In fact, it could play an essential role, as innovative packaging technologists develop sustainable packaging solutions. Hence thinner films, lighter packaging containers, recyclable plastic and, more recently, biodegradable packaging, are being deployed to make sure “green” is portion of the overall product packaging story.
These elements, and the amount to which a brand meets the requirements of their consumers, will determine the success or failure of something. While the graphics and shape of packaging play a significant role in capturing the attention of consumers through the “moment of truth” at the supermarket shelf, the functional aspects of the package are crucial to giving the consumer a positive post-purchase experience. However, simply adding functionality is not enough. The packaging design must incorporate two key aspects: relevance to the merchandise and delivery of consistent performance. For example, in case a package is promoted as re-closable, it must re-close easily and effectively, and its performance should exceed the expectations of consumers.