Innovative packaging is an effective tool that FMCG businesses may use to give their brands that all-important competitive edge. Products with outstanding shelf appeal have a greater chance of attracting the eye of consumers and encouraging them to make the decision to buy.
While food companies continue steadily to review the consumer trends that affect purchasing behaviors, it is important that they also examine global packaging trends, to develop successful strategies that improve their product offerings while reducing costs.Pre roll packaging Finding the right link between consumer trends and packaging selection could determine the success or failure of something line.
While successful packaging helps a product reach the pantry shelf to begin with, it is the product itself that keeps it there. Attractive packaging may entice and secure the first-time purchase of something, but the consumer’s connection with the product will determine should they re-purchase the brand. That is why food marketers and packaging managers today must ensure products and packaging strategies are aligned. Product and packaging development should not be conducted in isolation.
In recent years, the next consumer trends have forced manufacturers to re-think their packaging offerings. The companies that change and evolve with customers will succeed, while the brands that neglect to change will become extinct.
In a global starved for time, consumers crave convenience to reduce the time allocated to preparing meals, and innovative packaging can deliver what they want. A classic example of this can be observed in the success of pre-cut fresh produce in the Australian retail market, where individuals are prepared to pay a lot more than double for packaged, hygienically washed and cut vegetables.
To aid this trend, packaging companies are continuing to develop specialized breathable packaging, to extend the shelf life of the food it protects as the product passes across the supply chain from the farm through to the consumer.
Microwavable meals were developed primarily for convenience, which came at the trouble of product freshness and-sometimes-taste. Several attempts have already been made in recent years to improve the quality of ingredients within these meals, yet challenges still exist. Customer feedback indicates that microwavable meals are easy to overcook, often usually do not cook evenly, and can dry during the reheating process.
Packaging technologists have driven the development of better ready-to-heat-and-eat solutions. Efforts to really improve the cooking process have already been made using different valve technologies that manage the distribution of steam and pressure around the food. This dynamic shift is enabling brands to provide convenience, quality and consistently well-prepared food, enabling premium positioning in the ready-to-eat market.
Consumers are demanding more variety, which pressure has seen an explosion in SKU proliferation on the shelf. Selecting the most appropriate packaging is crucial to obtaining a balance between meeting consumer needs (the marketers’ goal) and achieving operational flexibility. Packaging managers are therefore revisiting packaging and decoration options to provide the necessary outcomes.
One emerging trend is the idea of “late stage differentiation”, where decoration is brought in-house and applied at the idea of filling. Thus giving food companies much more flexibility in meeting consumer demands for more SKUs and enables marketers to perform more promotions with shorter notice. There are also opportunities to lessen inventory of pre-decorated containers, reduce obsolescent inventory and improve the graphics and aesthetics of pre-printed containers. Two key technologies that have offered this breathing space to food companies are pressure-sensitive and roll-fed shrink labels.
Form and Graphics
“Just give me the reality so I can buy” is what individuals are saying these days. Simple packaging designs and graphics seem to be the “flavor of the month” and the ones companies which are heeding this trend are reaping the benefits. In the UK, innovative retailer, Waitrose, used an ordinary, clear pressure-sensitive label with a simple print design to deliver outstanding shelf impact for their pickle range. The packaging told consumers what they wanted to find out about the contents, and the merchandise was supplied in a convenient re-closable jar, so that they could see the quality of the pickles through the glass.
In this example, an obvious label assures consumers that you’ll find nothing to hide and that what you see is everything you get. Today, consumers want to see what they’re purchasing, and innovative packaging and label combinations can achieve this. The decision of graphics is equally important. Less glossy packaging and softer ink tones are increasingly being used to achieve the “natural” message and give a distinctive shelf appeal.
It is well documented that most markets have an aging population, so it is crucial to design packaging that’s age-neutral. Creators of packaging concepts have to align elements of their designs with the demands of this market segment. Graphics should be legible (this may mean using larger fonts); the packaging shape has to be ergonomic; and functional aspects, such as easy-open and re-closure features, have to be suitable for older people to utilize without difficulty.
Consumers today are well educated about “green” foods and are very aware of the impact of packaging on the surroundings. The momentum behind the “green” movement is building quickly and, being well aware of this, many food companies already are responding. Obviously, choosing “green” packaging means using recyclable or biodegradable packaging, and even reducing packaging, but it also requires a review of the complete value chain and linking in with what consumers are asking for.