Packaging is integral to any product and is constantly evolving to meet the needs of brands and consumers. We may only be a few months into 2023, but we have already seen trends dominating the packaging industry. Today, we'll discuss some top trends for this year.
The Green Revolution is Here
Sustainability has been on everyone's mind for years and is expected to become even more prevalent in the future. Consumers actively seek ethically sourced products produced sustainably by manufacturers with minimal environmental impact. Because of this, consumers demand that companies and governments take a stance in the environmental movement. This led paper converters, manufacturers, and brands hunting for more sustainable options in this new Green wave to prevent losing end users.
Governments worldwide are passing laws, acts, and legislations putting the heat on companies to find more eco-conscious solutions or risk being fined or sued. This push for sustainability is not limited to consumer wants or needs but has also resulted in government intervention. This can be seen in the United Kingdom's Plastic Pact, an initiative to bring businesses together to tackle the current scourge of plastic waste. Featuring over 100 members from various areas of the industries, Plastic Pact members will work to eliminate problematic plastics through the reduction of supermarket packaging, stimulation of innovation, and strengthening of the UK's recycling system. Companies that have opted into this pact must find their companies compliant by 2025, requiring them to achieve 100% plastic recyclability and at least a 70% recycling rate.
Due to the constant consumer pressure, brands have turned to loud advertising of their green initiatives; Innova Marketing Insights flagging environmental claims such as 'carbon impact,' 'reduced packaging,' and 'plastic free' have doubled since 2018. However, this sudden wave of conformity to sustainability from large companies has left consumers questioning the truthfulness behind these advertisements and packaging.
Consumers find themselves doubting things such as end-of-life product recyclability and product waste. To appease eco-conscious consumers, governments have begun clamping down on companies that advertise false claims or information regarding their sustainability. The United Kingdom is an excellent example of this action against companies presenting inaccurate Advertisements.
Recently, the UK's Competition and Market Authority have opened investigations of compliance into companies that claim to be 'environmentally friendly' and 'eco-conscious,' leading companies that make false or misleading claims to be fined heavily. The European Commission has found that more than half (53%) of the product claims they assessed in 2020 gave "Vague, misleading or unfounded information about product's environmental characteristics."
This movement against businesses has proven that sustainability is no longer an optional 'add-on' for advertising. Companies must begin taking the steps necessary to reduce their environmental impact and become sustainable if they wish to remain in today's market.
Truthful Sustainability is the Key to Success
As companies strive to stay within the sustainability trend, corporations need to be more transparent than ever. This is where ethical brands find themselves on top, as transparency builds trust with your customers and even potential consumers. The greenwashing wave has been advantageous to sustainable brands, who have the evidence to show for it and are rewarded accordingly.
Today's consumers want to know the companies they are purchasing from and, in turn supporting, are genuinely committed to the sustainable lifestyle they market. Consumers want to see the physical evidence from companies that they are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, take steps towards recyclability, and produce as sustainably as possible. Surveys have found that 47% of global consumers want to see the level of a pack's environmental impact illustrated as a score or grade, and 34% say that a reduced carbon footprint score positively influences their purchasing decision.
Consumers are looking for companies willing to be held accountable for their actions. Being transparent allows consumers to feel confident that companies that are honest about their actions are more likely to be held responsible for their actions. Ensuring your consumers, you as a company, practice what you preach.
Technology is Packaging's New Best Friend
The world is integrated with technology on every surface; the packaging industry is transforming significantly with technological advancements. Today, we can ensure you encounter QR codes, NFC, or Assistive Technology. Even packaging is finding itself to be another valuable platform for digital engagement.
Innova Market Insights has revealed that 77% of global consumers are now interested in engaging with connected packaging technologies on-packaging via their smartphones. This packaging technology, such as QR codes, NFC, or Assistive Technologies, allows consumers to interact further with their products by accessing additional information, directions, and how-tos. This new form of accessibility feeds the consumer appetite and will enable companies to become more transparent and inclusive.
Many of these intelligent packaging technologies have begun to boost consumer-brand engagement through reward programs, registrations, and data collection has shifted to product transparency and inclusivity for the consumer.
Product transparency can be achieved through intelligent packaging by allowing consumers to scan a QR code that presents information about the product's sustainability and production. Accessibility has also become a recent trend in innovative packaging; by implementing Assistive Technologies, companies have begun creating packaging inclusive to visually impaired consumers.
As technology continues to evolve, we expect further advancements in the packaging industry, making it more efficient, sustainable, and consumer-friendly.
Reusable Product Resurgence
Waste is at the top of everyone's mind regarding sustainability, how much waste is produced, how to limit waste, and how to eliminate waste ultimately. The current mentality of waste products has led to the birth of reusable packaging to fight the constant contribution of environmental destruction from consumers and corporations. Although slower in breaking through, consumers believe strongly in the long-term sustainability of such packaging.
Consumers find themselves drawn to the appeal of reusable packaging for various reasons, one of the main reasons being the sustainability of these products. Innova Market Insights highlights that consumers view reusability as a significant packaging-related purchasing influence by 42%. The purchase and use of reusable packaging allow consumer peace of mind in their sustainability journey; reusable packaging allows for repetitive use resulting in less packaging waste produced. Additionally, reusable packaging can be recycled at the end of its life, allowing consumers to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.
While the rise of reusable packaging is a positive trend, challenges still need to be overcome. One of the main challenges is changing consumer behavior; many consumers are used to the convenience of single-use packaging. They may not be willing to switch to reusable options. Another challenge faced is the cost of reusable packaging. While it can lead to cost savings over time, the upfront cost of purchasing reusable containers can be a barrier for some consumers and businesses.
Additionally, there is a need for more education and awareness about the benefits of reusable packaging and how to use and care for the containers properly. While many changes must be overcome, reusable packaging is rising in the industry and may soon be conquering it.
The Move to Plastic Alternatives
Over the past few decades, the concern about Plastics' effect on the environment has grown. Food packaging is one of the main culprits of plastic pollution, leading the charge of shifting toward plastic alternatives.
The leading contender as we move towards a sustainable plastic alternative is the paper and paperboard packaging alternative. Paper’s ability to be biodegradable allows it to decompose quickly and effortlessly compared to plastics' 500-year biodegradable rate easily. Alongside its ability to deteriorate, paper has the advantage of being made from renewable resources such as trees, meaning paper can easily be recycled, allowing reproduction without the depletion of our natural resources and environments.
GREASE RESISTANT (OGR) SOLUTION TO MAKE PAPER & PAPERBOARD PERFORM LIKE PLASTIC. THIS PFAS-FREE, PLASTIC ALTERNATIVE MAINTAINS THE RECYCLABILITY, REPULPABILITY, AND COMPOSTABILITY OF THE ORIGINAL SUBSTRATE.
Paper & paperboard packaging is not contributing to the already overwhelming buildup of plastic waste. When presented to companies, the move to plastic alternatives may seem challenging, and paper & paperboard packaging has typically not been deemed as durable as its plastic counterparts. However, this is where Impermea Materials outshines its competitors. Impermea Materials makes paper perform like plastic without compromising recyclability, repulpabibility, or composability and working to bring innovative and sustainable solutions to the food packaging industry. From water-repellency, oil & grease resistance, low moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) properties, to silicone release properties Impermea Materials has a variety of plastic alternatives for paper & paperboard packaging. Some example products include OLEO-PAK 4100, HYDRO-PAK + MVTR 4040, and REL-PAK 4700. These solutions are the highest-performing plastic alternative so that you can wave goodbye to your plastic packaging.
Be on the Lookout
As we look toward 2023, the packaging industry is evolving rapidly. To remain competitive, paper converters and manufacturers must keep up with the latest trends demanded by brands, end users (consumers), and government regulations. Packaging is heading towards more sustainable, personalized, and convenient solutions. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of packaging, and brands are responding by introducing eco-friendly materials and reducing their carbon footprint. The future of packaging in 2023 looks promising, with innovative and sustainable solutions that meet the evolving needs of consumers and brands alike. As we move towards a more environmentally conscious and personalized world, packaging will play a vital role in shaping the consumer experience.
Impermea Materials is an advanced materials company based in Massachusetts that synthesizes and manufactures the highest-performing barrier solutions, which are PFAS-free and plastic-free. Our paper & paperboard packaging product line allows customers to unlock repulpable, recyclable, compostable, and PFAS-free product innovation. We offer customizable oil & grease resistant (OGR), moisture/water vapor transmission barrier (MVTR), fan-apart adhesives, and release coatings enabling customers to win new business and gain additional market share. Our products replace existing coatings that do not enable materials like paper to replace plastic due to a lack of performance. Traditional solutions in the market are facing regulatory action due to PFAS, Plastic, or other less sustainable materials. Our solutions provide an offering that truly outperforms legacy technologies without sacrificing the sustainability you need.
To learn more about our packaging solutions, visit Impermea Materials Paper & Paperboard Packaging.
369. (2023, February 22). Top Packaging Trends 2023. Packaging Insights. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from https://www.packaginginsights.com
Innova Market Insights. (2023, February 24). Retrieved February 28, 2023, from https://www.innovamarketinsights.com/
The UK plastics pact. WRAP. (2021, November 30). Retrieved February 28, 2023, from https://wrap.org.uk/taking-action/plastic-packaging/initiatives/the-uk-plastics-pact