How Consumers Are Changing Packaging

Consumer demands are driving changes and innovations in packaging design. A recent report by Smithers, “The Brand Owner Trends Report: Consumer Packaging to 2018,” examines how packaging can help build a brand, and how consumers react to packaging.

While you’re busy innovating, we took the time to highlight some key takeaways from the Smithers Pira report and from the Labels and Labeling Yearbook 2013.

  • Environmentalism: While going green has been on brand owners’ agendas for a while, it seemed as if consumers were only somewhat concerned with how environmentally friendly packaging was. This raised the question: is sustainability a real concern to the consumer?  We seem to have hit a consensus: As recycling and green efforts become more common, consumers are taking “green” for granted and expect brands to display some level of environmental awareness. For brand owners, this means the potential to incorporate sustainability as part of their brand identity.
  • Convenience: Consumers are looking for packaging that makes their lives easier. Thus, both packages and containers that are smaller, reusable, and refillable have begun to show up on shelves as well as in grocery store refrigerator cases. Consumers want packaging that’s transportable, resealable, light, and easy to throw away, to name a few.
  • Budgets: The economy may be improving, but consumers’ memories of the recession are still guiding their purchasing decisions. They’re looking for budget-friendly items in smaller packages, as opposed to buying in bulk in order to stock up for the future. For brand owners, this means the opportunity to keep their brands fresh and innovative. Utilize your creativity and dazzle your consumers with new designs as shoppers cycle through products quicker.
  • Health: Consumers are still pouring millions into the health and wellness category. Help guide your consumer with unique packaging and branding that touts the health benefits of the product within. Furthermore, expect brand owners to take advantage of the new packaging innovations that preserve fresh food to solidify their identities as healthy food choices. Make sure to stay ahead of the curve!
  • Snacking: Buyers might be making health-conscious food choices (or, at least, think they are) but that hasn’t stopped them from snacking! In fact, the snack food sector has been growing rapidly and shows no signs of stopping. For brand owners, this means using convenient packages that tout a snack’s health angle. While snack sizes are shrinking, giving brand owners less packaging space to create their identity, the upside is that innovation is easier to deploy. Just think about the scalability of AB testing!
  • Sharing: Food trend observers have been pinging popcorn as the big snack, and that ties in nicely with consumers’ wish to share. As convenience is key, packaging needs to include shareable, portable, and resealable containers that can double-duty as serving dishes. For example, the package can be a communal bowl that can also be sealed up for the next get-together.
  • Redesigns: Consumers are no longer looking for the same package that they have seen for years. Brand owners need to deliver a breath of fresh air to both their brand and their packaging in order to keep consumers engaged as well as remain visible on store shelves.

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