Innovative packaging is an efficient tool that FMCG businesses may use to provide their brands that all-important competitive edge. Products with outstanding shelf appeal have a larger chance of attracting the attention 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’s important they also examine global packaging trends, to develop successful strategies that enhance their product offerings while reducing costs.Pre roll packagingFinding the right link between consumer trends and packaging selection could determine the success or failure of a product 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 if they re-purchase the brand. This is why food marketers and packaging managers today must ensure products and packaging strategies are aligned. Product and packaging development shouldn’t be conducted in isolation.
In recent years, the following consumer trends have forced manufacturers to re-think their packaging offerings. The companies that change and evolve with customers will succeed, as the brands that neglect to change will become extinct.
In a world starved for time, consumers crave convenience to lessen the time allocated to preparing meals, and innovative packaging can deliver what they want. A classic example of this is often seen 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 increase the shelf life of the food it protects because the product passes across the supply chain from the farm to the consumer.
Microwavable meals were developed primarily for convenience, which came at the expense of product freshness and-sometimes-taste. Several attempts have already been made in recent years to improve the quality of ingredients found in these meals, yet challenges still exist. Customer feedback indicates that microwavable meals are an easy task to overcook, often usually do not cook evenly, and can dry out 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 been made using different valve technologies that manage the distribution of steam and pressure around the food. This dynamic shift is enabling brands to supply convenience, quality and consistently well-prepared food, enabling premium positioning in the ready-to-eat market.
Consumers are demanding more variety, and this pressure has seen an explosion in SKU proliferation on the shelf. Deciding on the best 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 deliver 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 enhance 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 facts so I can purchase” is what individuals are saying these days. Simple packaging designs and graphics appear to be the “flavor of the month” and the ones companies that are heeding this trend are reaping the benefits. In the united kingdom, innovative retailer, Waitrose, used an ordinary, clear pressure-sensitive label with a simple print design to provide outstanding shelf impact for their pickle range. The packaging told consumers what they wanted to know about the contents, and the product was supplied in a convenient re-closable jar, so they could start to see the quality of the pickles through the glass.
In this example, an obvious label assures consumers that there is nothing to hide and that everything you see is everything you get. Today, consumers want to see what they’re purchasing, and innovative packaging and label combinations can perform this. The choice of graphics is equally important. Less glossy packaging and softer ink tones are being used to attain the “natural” message and give a distinctive shelf appeal.
It is well documented that a lot of markets have an aging population, so it is crucial to design packaging that’s age-neutral. Creators of packaging concepts have to align components 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, need to be suitable for older people to use without difficulty.
Consumers today are well educated about “green” foods and so are very aware of the impact of packaging on the surroundings. The momentum behind the “green” movement is building quickly and, being well alert to this, many food companies are already responding. Obviously, choosing “green” packaging means using recyclable or biodegradable packaging, and also reducing packaging, but it addittionally requires a review of the complete value chain and linking in using what consumers are asking for.
While the majority will focus on packaging alone to provide sustainability, it is also important to consider how to deliver food and minimize its wastage, because the percentage of food waste inside our dumps far exceeds that of packaging. Instead of being based only on environmental impact, packaging choice needs to be seen as a method of meeting consumer demand to lessen food wastage. In fact, it could play an essential role, as innovative packaging technologists develop sustainable packaging solutions. Hence thinner films, lighter packaging containers, recyclable plastic and, recently, biodegradable packaging, are all being deployed to make sure “green” is section of the overall product packaging story.
All of these elements, and the degree to which a brandname meets the requirements of their consumers, will determine the success or failure of something. While the graphics and form of packaging play a significant role in capturing the eye of consumers during the “moment of truth” at the supermarket shelf, the functional areas of the package are crucial to giving the consumer a positive post-purchase experience. However, simply adding functionality isn’t enough. The packaging design must incorporate two key aspects: relevance to the product and delivery of consistent performance. For example, in case a package is promoted as re-closable, it must re-close easily and effectively, and its own performance should exceed the expectations of consumers.
A positive post-purchase experience is a critical element in achieving brand loyalty. This is the reason it is so important for packaging technologists to match consumer requirements with appropriate packaging designs.