Nothing stays still with packaging…not anymore
Packaging and packaging research has always fascinated me. I’m a get-in-get-out-fast kind of shopper. That applies to pretty much everything – clothes, cosmetics, food and yes, even shoes. Where I’ve always battled the most is in a supermarket. I can’t say for sure, but I imagine that in my local Spar alone there are over twenty different brands of tinned plum tomatoes. I don’t have time for this, so I resort to merely scanning the prices and my reliance upon packaging becomes periphery. The only thing about the packaging that I may inspect at that point, is whether the can is in any way damaged (I’ve heard the stories).
Coming from an advertising background I genuinely understand the power of packaging, how it can tug at your attention, pull you in and clinch the deal. It can be functional, beautiful, textural, intuitive, and so many more things, but like most aspects of the marketing and design world, it is continually evolving. And so it should be. We are changing, how we prioritise our time is changing, and how we shop, pay for things and consume is changing. If we take a look at the projected packaging trends identified across recent research investigatit’ss, its clear that they are fundamentally impacted by cultural, societal and purchasing behavior trends.
Let’s take a quick look at ten global trends that may have relevance in South Africa:
Ethical packaging is more and more popular with a stable market growth since 2014. Fair traded products should be labeled accordingly as customers want to see more brands promoting fair trading practices.
Globally there’s been a trend for smaller bottles and food packs – that is not going anywhere. In addition, consumer prefers brands that provide reliable on the go packaging for their products. There is also a spike in consumers increasingly moving to smaller, faster and more frequent shopping.
The Face and Role of Packaging Online
As e-commerce grows, brands must explore both the opportunities and threats that this can bring, as the shift from in-store to shopping becomes a core part of the packaging design conversation and brief.
Prioritisation of Food Safety and Reduction of Food Waste
Global food waste is a growing concern among consumers which businesses continue to address. In order to bridge the gap in communication, not only has new processing and packaging technology been developed to actually extend the shelf life of food, but technology built into packaging via freshness sensors will alert customers/ consumers regarding the shelf life of their food and when it is safe to consume in order to avoid early disposal and excessive purchasing.
Shopping Patience of Millenials
Research has started to show that Millenials are doing more of their supermarket shopping along ailse perimitres (POS end of aisle, bakery, fresh counters) and rarely venturing into the centre of the store (frozen, ambient).
Transparent Packaging Builds Trust
Mintel research has shown that food shoppers believe that its important to be able to see the food inside the packaging (resonating most with 18-34 year olds). Transparent food packaging can help build trust and increase purchasing confidence by enabling consumers to evaluate a product with their own eyes.
Haphazard Eating Habits
With the traditional three-meal-a-day eating pattern gone the way of vinyl records and bell bottoms, what was once a breakfast sandwich, may now serve as a late-day snack or tomorrow’s lunch. As consumers’ have adopted more haphazard eating habits to coincide with their fast-paced lives, they are looking for smaller, on-the-go portions and healthier options.
Simple, Clear and Bold
Going back to the basics is a trend that resurfaces regularly. Stick to the essentials and make sure they help the buyer make a more informed decision; a clean-cut design can convey information and make a product shine using simplicity.
Custom lettering / hand-lettering can make a product stand out and set it apart from digital designs. This uniqueness can create an emotional tie to the product, making it feel handmade and wholesome, or communicating a feeling of nostalgia.
Ingenius Die Cuts
Traditional packaging tends to hide its contents, but modern designers are experimenting with die cutting to show products to their advantage. Whether it’s encouraging tactile interaction, mimicking a brand’s logo, or forming identifiable or humorous shapes, creating a window in your packaging can show the product in a meaningful or clever way, making a buyer stop and take notice.
At Submarine we are constantly on top of consumer trends, and have extensive experience with packaging research, conceptualisation and testing.