Squaring the circle what consumers demand of state-of-the-art packaging

FachPack, the European trade fair for packaging, processes and technology, will be held in Nuremberg in a compact three-day programme running from 25 to 27 September 2018. FachPack is fresher, stronger and has a higher profile with its new brand identity "Tomorrow begins when you create it". It will be just as solution-oriented, specific, reliable and pragmatic as ever. With a unique portfolio made up of packaging materials, packaging accessories, packaging machinery, labelling and marking technology, peripheral packaging machinery and equipment, packaging printing and finishing, intra-logistics and packaging logistics and services for the packaging industry, FachPack is the meeting place for the European packaging market. It draws trade visitors from all packaging-intensive sectors: food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and medical technology, cosmetics, chemicals, automotive and other consumer and industrial goods.

The demands made by consumers on packaging are constantly changing and are often contradictory. Manufacturers have to combine convenience, sustainability and communication, and regularly update all these aspects. State-of-the-art packaging technologies and materials now offer opportunities to accommodate these demands. What are the global trends to focus on in 2018?

US market research agency Mintel has identified five global trends in a study that will set the direction for consumer packaging in 2018. In addition to reducing food waste and marine pollution, these include the increasing influence of online trading on packaging development, and minimised and clear messages on packaging. This last aspect relates to the state-of-the-art design of packaging for frozen products and long-life goods. It is particularly aimed at younger consumers, who are focusing more on fresh foodstuffs and therefore shop mainly from the chilled and fresh shelves, while increasingly turning away from long-life and frozen products.

Less is more
To make products more attractive to this group of buyers again, manufacturers are turning to innovative packaging designs and placing a greater focus on their unique selling points. For example, this includes transparent packaging that quite literally creates transparency and makes the content and volume visible for the consumer. That enables producers to take the offensive in dealing with preconceived notions that the packaging contains lots of air and not much product, for example. Other approaches include giving packaging and labels an attractive design. This is where less is often more. Clear package messaging that communicates information and authenticity, rather than an overloaded design, makes the choices easier for more than just the younger buyers. In addition to long-life goods, it applies in equal measure to fresh and chilled products, as well as to drinks and household goods. Brand manufacturers in particular can score by adopting calmer designs for their products and maintaining the balance between too much and too little information.

The packaging speaks for itself
Consumers are better informed now than ever before. That is why they are demanding more from the products that they buy. The duty of meeting these requirements falls mainly on the packaging. Sophisticated shoppers also look for sustainable solutions such as recyclability, savings in terms of the amount of packaging, and the use of biomaterials that should simultaneously guarantee a long shelf life and safe transport. Packaging as the most important means of communicating with the purchaser can thus provide information not only about the contents but also about itself how it helps to reduce food waste, how it can be recycled, or convenience aspects like how to re-seal it.

Every manufacturer has the objective of creating a positive purchasing experience through packaging, and therefore focuses on freshness, sustainability or convenience, depending on the target group. At FachPack 2018, many companies in the packaging industry will provide their answers, and illustrate solutions for combining even contradictory market developments in an ideal and profitable way.

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