Top packaging innovation trends

Packaging trends and innovations that will have a major influence in the present and future, this is our “take” on the coming or growing technology that will be taking off and capturing our imagination.

Using air as filler
We are often sold products that are largely branded “air”, why not use the same trick to lightweight rigid packaging? A great cross-over leap and technical development that has enabled material reduction for Dove brand body wash bottles. Gas bubbles are injected into the middle layer of extruded blow moulded packs to reduce the effective density…and very gracious of Unilever to wave exclusivity rights to this technology developed with MuCell Extrusion LLC.

Packaging from waste by products
Residual by-products that could be used constructively are being investigated widely….by nut–consuming giant Ferrero, hazelnut husk fibres are being used as a part filler of the ‘EcoPaper’ experimental project to part replace cellulose in pulp that would ultimately be used in packaging for the brands chocolates. British Sugar and partners are promoting the use of sugar beet based materials to create trays and have the capability to be microwaved and laminated with various sealant materials e.g. PET etc.
Such developments that reduce material impact require imagination and vision. Brands who invest and drive “blue-sky” initiatives benefit by association from the positive outcomes and ‘human interest’ mileage such developments generate. Computer maker Dell have pushed sustainable solutions for their packaging for some years, the most recent development being the Aircarbon bag, using carbon capturing techniques to convert methane into plastic molecules.

Coca Cola made the industry headlines by juggling supply chain challenges of pre-printed labels & packing mixed cartons of ‘named’ product – not truly imagined or intended as an in-line process. This year ‘true’ personalisation has taken off across the market as back-end technical, implementation and supply chain skills are honed and brand owners gain confidence in the project delivery. A marketers dream to ensure future loyalty also needs slick PR with activity on social media to generate interaction and ‘talk’.
Additionally, unique packs are making their way onto the scene, Absolut Vodka with 2 million unique decorations … whatever next???

Ongoing interest in independent specialist start-up brands who use packaging and design to leverage their niche proposition. Clever selection of materials and minimal pack copy can amplify this individuality vs mass produced alternatives.
The technique is sometimes aped by traditional brand names to manufacture some added authenticity, or in the case of Kellogg’s the design back catalogue is often mined at strategic times of the year to drive home the brand heritage. How often are we seeing the heritage brand imagery coming through???
As with any new launch, the product has to deliver. Packaging is the Brand Voice that communicates; personality, heritage, independence, provenance are communicated by the texture, material choice and decoration. Implemented well, it can be part of the ‘theatre’ and ceremony of the product – and even feature in the growing phenomenon of online ‘opening’ videos of sought-after items.

Nanotech/Surface treatments
Additives that inhibit bacterial growth have being added to packaging in recent years – reducing risk of product spoilage & increasing shelf life. Questions have been asked with respect to end-of-life waste contamination that is being investigated and addressed by the use of silver particles. An alternative technology (Sanipolymers which are added during the conversion process) alter the surface properties and mechanics of substrates using the qualities of zinc so that bacteria are unable to gain a foothold. It’s even being used commercially across other non-food applications to protect surfaces from mould.
Surface additives such as Liquiglide (that facilitate easy product evacuation from bottles and has been used in a Norwegian brand of mayonnaise) are coatings applied inside the pack that behave as a liquid surface that repel normally gloopy or sticky substances aiding the removal (together with gravity!) of product from the container.

Talk to us to find out more about innovation trends and how we can help to implement them for you 

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