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The leading global market research and insight company, Mintel, have released their 2018 packaging predictions, and as many of you may have guessed, food waste and plastic are at the forefront.

A chart showing the packaging trends of 2018.

Five primary points of focus were taken from the report, which we will discuss in further detail below:

Circular Economy

Following the release of Blue Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, which is estimated to have received over 10 million viewers, the public has gained an ever-increasing concern regarding the volume of plastic in the ocean and marine conservation has become a global priority. The demands on retailers to reduce the volume of packaging has gained a considerable amount of coverage, and Mintel predicts, that the result of this will be the move towards a circular economy. Currently, most industries operate a linear economy, to simplify this, a raw material is used to create an item, which is then used by the consumer and thrown away. A circular economy takes a raw material, processes it into an item, it is then sold, used and then collected to either be re-used, recycled or repaired. When the item is either recycled or repaired, it repeats the cycle. The circle economy aims to reduce waste, reduce the use of scares resources and reduce the impacts upon the environment.

Packaging Reducing Food Waste

In recent months, it can often seem that consumers have lost sight of why packaging, such as polyolefin shrink film exists and the role it plays in reducing food waste. But, Mintel predicts that in 2018, businesses will be ensuring consumers are aware of the primary benefits. Benjamin Punchard, the director of global packaging insights at Mintel, states: ‘brands will need to act fast by exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending the shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and underserved regions of the world’.

Consumers Expect an Improved Brand Experience from E-commerce
With more and more people choosing to purchase their goods online, rather than in brick and mortar stores, Mintel predicts that for businesses to maintain and promote their brand’s competitive advantage, more emphasis on and design of the transit packaging is required. This is to improve the customer’s experience, promote brand awareness and ultimately, reflect the consumer experience they receive in-store.

Packaging Providing a Clear Message

With shop shelves and e-commerce portals becoming littered and concentrated with packaging that can often be intense for the consumer to view or difficult for an individual to differentiate or gain the information they are looking for quickly. The need to minimalised packaging, with a clear and concise message, has emerged. The Mintel report concluded that ‘brands must bring the generation of clean label to packaging design to provide a moment of calm and clarity for shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment’.

Contemporary Packaging

The buzz word that seems to be on everyone’s lips – contemporary packaging. Quirky, clever, funny and imaginative are terms often associated with the development. Businesses that aren’t getting on-board or are in the design stages will quickly be left behind as consumers opt for the more ‘contemporary’ option or one that directly reflects their interest. The outlandish and outrageous appears to be becoming acceptable, and direct conversions with the consumer are paramount. Social media is playing a huge role in the contemporary packaging buzz, as brands are creating a more personal and relatable perception.

Any industry trends that you think Mintel have missed? Let us know via our social media channels; we would love to hear from you.