Innovative packaging is an efficient tool that FMCG businesses may use to give 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 consider 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 build up successful strategies that enhance their product offerings while reducing costs. Choosing the best 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.Pre roll packaging 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. 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 following consumer trends have forced manufacturers to re-think their packaging offerings. The firms 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 lessen the time allocated to preparing meals, and innovative packaging can deliver what they need. A classic example of this can be seen in the success of pre-cut fresh produce in the Australian retail market, where consumers are prepared to pay more than double for packaged, hygienically washed and cut vegetables.
To support this trend, packaging companies are continuing to develop specialized breathable packaging, to increase the shelf life of the meals 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 expense of product freshness and-sometimes-taste. Several attempts have 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 easy to overcook, often 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 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 supply convenience, quality and consistently well-prepared food, enabling premium positioning in the ready-to-eat market.
Individuals 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 provide the necessary outcomes.
One emerging trend may be the idea of “late stage differentiation”, where decoration is brought in-house and applied at the idea of filling. This gives food companies much more flexibility in meeting consumer demands for more SKUs and enables marketers to perform more promotions with shorter notice. Additionally, there are opportunities to lessen inventory of pre-decorated containers, reduce obsolescent inventory and improve the graphics and aesthetics of pre-printed containers. Two key technologies which 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 appear to be the “flavor of the month” and those companies that 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 provide outstanding shelf impact because of their pickle range. The packaging told consumers what they wanted to know about the contents, and the merchandise was supplied in a convenient re-closable jar, so that they could start to 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 what you get. Today, consumers desire 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 increasingly being used to attain the “natural” message and give a unique shelf appeal.
It is well documented that a lot of markets have an aging population, so it’s crucial to design packaging that is age-neutral. Creators of packaging concepts have to align components of their designs with the demands of the market segment. Graphics ought to be legible (this may mean using larger fonts); the packaging shape should be ergonomic; and functional aspects, such as easy-open and re-closure features, must 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 environment. 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 addittionally requires a review of the whole value chain and linking in using what consumers are asking for.