Food packaging is a highly competitive and vibrant industry that is always on the lookout for new trends and innovations aiming to ease the life of consumers. Food packaging not only markets the product but also increases the shelf life of the products. Here are some of the main trends of the food packaging trends that are visible today.
One of the biggest trends in packaging design is minimalism. The rise of a minimal design language is present in almost every corner of our life – from book covers to road signage to even food packaging. The packaging industry has moved away from using flamboyant typefaces and overly cluttered designs that are strewn all over with product information.
Minimalism is here to stay because of its no-nonsense nature. This design trend is visible in almost every modern food packaging – be it snack bars, ketchup bottles, or even paper packaging for takeaway food at restaurants. Keeping the design simple not only makes the packaging look clean and reduces the costs. Finding information on the packaging has also become easier with all the extra frills taken away.
Use of Bold Colours
Now that minimal design is in, we are making use of bold flat colors more than before. Use of gradients has been quite dormant or very subtle in food packaging. The use of bold and vibrant colors are popular lately with many food packaging. Not only do they allow the packaging to stand out on the shelves, but bold colors often complement the design layout. The color palette also markets the nature of the product.
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So, protein bar packaging will have richer hues to show off its more energetic and dynamic nature. The packaging of peppermint tea will have more muted shades.
Moving on from Brand Specific colors
Colors have been a big part of building brand identity. When we say Oreo, we instantly imagine the logo in blue and white. When we say McDonald’s, we imagine the yellow and red hues. Big brands have made a significant impact on their choice of colors. However, the food packaging trends 2018 depicts that brands are moving away from their proprietary hues and are using an alternate set of colors that puts the product forward instead of the brand. Colors are now used to give people a better idea of what the flavor is, and not the brand.
Another effect of the minimal design is cleaner labeling. People are now more conscious about what they are having. However, reading the fine print on the back of the packaging to find out what the product contains can be hard. A lot of companies, especially health-conscious ones are putting the list on ingredients right on the front – a place that was usually reserved for the brand logo, product name, and image.
Personalization has been a crucial part of food packaging. Spearheaded by HP and Coca-Cola, we saw how soda bottles came with personalized labels. Coca-Cola also opened up their online store to accept personalized gift orders and experienced a massive boost in sales. They also made plastic bottles available with over a thousand first and last names. The campaign was a huge success in the US, and even in parts of Europe and Asia.
Presently, other brands too are considering food packaging personalization. With the increase in production speeds, packaging personalization has become a reality. Smaller businesses manually customize their packaging for their customers. Use of customized bags, boxes, or even gift tags is also prevalent in multiple places.
Added Dimensions to Packaging
Recently, food packaging containers have also become much more dynamic and show off the creativity of the brand. Our food no longer just comes in rectangular boxes or cylindrical jars. Since competition in the industry is fierce, brands are now putting more effort into choosing packaging that stands out on the shelves. Convenience is also a parameter that they take into the picture when being creative with their box designs.
Over the last few years, food packaging has become much greener. The push for Eco-friendliness has forced brands to ditch single-use plastics and provide biodegradable, recyclable or reusable packaging. We are now seeing the use of paper packaging more than ever. Plastic food trays are now being replaced by paper food trays. A lot of research is also going into edible food packaging where the packaging itself can be consumed as a part of the food. Multiple start-ups have also begun manufacturing single-use food packaging and cutlery from plant-based materials.
Here is an example of biodegradable spill-proof meal tray.
Incorporating Technology in Packaging
Smart packaging has been prevalent for a couple of years now. Technology can now be embedded right into the packaging to provide the consumer with more convenience and information, thanks to the low cost of sensors and computer hardware and readily available software.
Many food product packaging comes with embedded NFC chips or printed QR codes that can be scanned using a smartphone to provide more information about the product.
Time and temperature sensors are being embedded in beverage, food and pharmaceutical packaging to ensure that the consumers get the product while it is still fresh. This also enables food items and other perishables to be sold online, like Camel Milk by Desert Farms. We can always say, the health food packaging trends largely incorporates technology.
During the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia, Budweiser provided beer cups with embedded LED lights. The lights were activated by noise. The more one cheered for their team, the more lights glowed. Frito-Lay’s pack of tortilla-chip, Tostitos, that was available at the 2017 Super Bowl came with an alcohol sensor, LED lights and NFC chips. The goal was to call an Uber ride for those who got drunk. These party-safe bags were not meant for retail, however.
Packaging for increased portability
With the increase in takeaway restaurants, brands have also put a lot of effort into making low-cost portable food packaging allowing consumers to have food on the go. McDonald’s, for example, have a lot of consumers who are bikers. To make taking deliveries easier on two-wheelers, the new McBike package allows you to take a burger, fried, and a drink in a foldable case that can be hooked to the handlebar. Moreover, it is all made from paper.
Dunkin Donuts has a coffee cup top that is molded to carry the sugar and cream, as well as some extra coffee. Similarly, VitaPack has a paper-based packaging that allows you to carry a kilogram of oranges in a hand. More businesses are following a similar trend and are allowing people to carry the food to their home with ease.
In a nutshell, we can say that the emerging trends in the packaging industry are highly influenced by convenience and visual appeal. Of course, technology is the game changer for the convenience sake. Big brands are also investing in sustainable packaging, which is also a trend to follow by next-gen players.4