With consumer expectations and legislation driving demand for packaging materials that are not only sustainable, but also either renewable or recyclable, the future of packaging is set to overcome many of its current issues around sustainability and hygiene. This will be coupled with a drive to have companies overhaul their out-of-touch brand strategies, which often fail to demonstrate any social purpose. The truth is that Gen Alpha consumers consider ethical product choices to be indispensable, and many have adopted a zero-waste lifestyle in an effort to have a more responsible relationship with the world around them.
The aesthetic of the packaging itself will be of the utmost importance. A wide range of transformative innovations will be introduced into the packaging industry, among which can be found edible and biodegradable designs, as well as procedures that look not only to reduce waste, but also to use it to source materials. Graphic designers will be challenged to create appealing and aesthetically pleasing designs, while mastering those new procedures.
The plethora of e-commerce shops and new sustainable technologies have collided with sociocultural shifts in consciousness, health, nutrition and hygiene to shape the transformation of packaging. According to the trend forecasting company WSGN, there are five areas of opportunity within packaging:
Naturally derived materials will pay a key role in the industry. Paper and seaweed-based materials will be in full swing in the next five years. Edible packaging will have quite an impact, as concerns for more sustainable packaging are rising.
Shape will remain a crucial asset for brands, helping companies to have their products stand out in a crowded marketplace. Due to issues around recycling, storage and distribution, labelling will be kept simple.
Technology will improve all aspects involved in the creation of the packaging, and although considerations around aesthetic and entertainment are to be considered essential, environmental concerns will dominate. Hence, it is crucial to keep an eye on the fun side of technology, with a view to utilising these novelties to set oneself apart from the competition.
Soon we will see materials that are made from less become commonplace, and they will draw from resources like food waste or bacteria. Many universities are running trials to develop this kind of technology, and partnering with these institutions can be a simple way to adopt these trends. Being seen as an eco-friendly brand will be one of the biggest aims in the near future.
Plant-based packaging and bioplastics can be made from polymers found in biological sources such as potato starch, and they will become very common. Many of the concepts outlined in the concept of the circular economy will now dominate, many of which are aimed at promoting products which can be either refilled or reused. Huge investments will be made towards programs to reduce packaging. Minimalism and austerity will have a huge impact on the design and appearance of these products.
In terms of strategy, the philosophy “Packaging Marketing” will have a huge impact on the industry. Driven by the activism of younger generations, marketers will have to meet their new expectations of packaging. These consumers will only trust in purpose-driven brands. Therefore, companies must develop designs that enhance the products whilst also incorporating requirements around entertainment, brand missions and education.
Many brands have adopted some of these developments. Brands such as adidas and Unilever have invested in these trends. Paper cartons and bottles are already a reality. Coca-Cola is one of the early companies exploring this tech through the production of its new Plant Bottle, which is just the start of the journey.
As the future of the packaging is linked to sustainability and renewable materials, we strongly recommend keeping an eye to this movement. The industry of packaging will look very different soon, so every small move towards this will count from now on. That being said, we encourage you to learn from top-brands, as many will publish their researches in order to help others.
Becoming and early adopter can change your game. Are you up for it?
At Pointbleu Design, we look forward to hearing from you.
- Packaging is made from food waste and bacteria.
- Packaging made of mushrooms (Mycelium).
- Packaging made of Bagasse and Bamboo.