Innovative packaging is an efficient tool that FMCG businesses can use to provide 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 to review the buyer trends that affect purchasing behaviors, it is important 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 in the first place, it’s the product itself that keeps it there. Attractive packaging may entice and secure the first-time purchase of a product, but the consumer’s connection with the product will determine if they re-purchase the brand.Pre roll packaging For this reason 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, as the brands that fail to change will become extinct.
In a global starved for time, consumers crave convenience to reduce the time spent on preparing meals, and innovative packaging can deliver what they want. A classic example of this could be seen in the success of pre-cut fresh produce in the Australian retail market, where individuals are prepared to pay more than double for packaged, hygienically washed and cut vegetables.
To aid this trend, packaging companies are continuing to build up specialized breathable packaging, to increase the shelf life of the meals it protects as the product passes along the supply chain from the farm to the consumer.
Microwavable meals were developed primarily for convenience, which came at the trouble of product freshness and-sometimes-taste. Several attempts have been made in recent years to enhance the quality of ingredients within these meals, yet challenges remain. Customer feedback indicates that microwavable meals are an easy task 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 round the food. This dynamic shift is enabling brands to supply convenience, quality and consistently well-prepared food, allowing for 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 right packaging is crucial to getting 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 concept of “late stage differentiation”, where decoration is brought in-house and applied at the point of filling. This gives food companies a lot more flexibility in meeting consumer demands for more SKUs and enables marketers to perform more promotions with shorter notice. There are also opportunities to reduce 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 consumers are saying these days. Simple packaging designs and graphics seem to be the “flavor of the month” and the ones companies that are heeding this trend are reaping the huge benefits. In the united kingdom, innovative retailer, Waitrose, used a plain, 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 wished 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 everything you see is everything you get. Today, consumers desire to see what they’re purchasing, and innovative packaging and label combinations can achieve 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 unique 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 need to align components of their designs with the demands of this market segment. Graphics should be legible (this could mean using larger fonts); the packaging shape has to be ergonomic; and functional aspects, such as for example easy-open and re-closure features, need 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 alert to 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 whole value chain and linking in using what consumers are asking for.
While the majority will concentrate on packaging alone to deliver sustainability, it is also important to consider how exactly to deliver food and minimize its wastage, as the percentage of food waste in our dumps far exceeds that of packaging. Rather than being based only on environmental impact, packaging choice has to be seen as a method of meeting consumer demand to reduce food wastage. In fact, it can 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 being deployed to ensure “green” is section of the overall product packaging story.
All of these elements, and the amount to which a brandname meets the requirements of these consumers, will determine the success or failure of a product. While the graphics and form of packaging play an important role in capturing the eye of consumers during the “moment of truth” at the supermarket shelf, the functional aspects of the package are necessary to giving the consumer a confident 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 performance should exceed the expectations of consumers.