The top global packaging trends for 2015 have been identified showing that sustainability, in the form of reusability and recyclability, will impact strongly on the packaging industry this year. International research shows that this is driven by an increasing awareness by consumers of health and wellness, coupled with the realization that environmentally friendly choices are vital for our survival.
Three research reports concur on these findings:
- The Global Packaging Trends Report 2015 released recently by the Virginia-based Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI).
- A report identifying key global food and drink trends for 2016 released recently by the Mintel Group Ltd, an international market intelligence agency with offices all over the world.
- A report on a trend survey conducted in the third quarter of 2015 by EcoFocus Worldwide that focuses on consumer perspectives on sustainability choices.
The PMMI Global Packaging Trends Report 2015
The top global packaging trends identified by PMMI were:
- A greater awareness of health and wellness by consumers
- An increasing influence of environmental and recycling issues that has led to a much greater demand for packaging that can be reused and recycled
- Growing purchasing power and increase of disposable income of consumers
And it isn’t just in the US where these trends were identified. In fact the PMMI found that Africa and the Middle East had been influenced more significantly than other regions.
In spite of environmental trends, the report said that globally flexible plastic was still the most dominant type of packaging type, with a market share of 29 percent (and growing), while PET bottles had a share of 12 percent.
Other important trends included convenience, branding strategies, Internet retailing, smaller pack sizes, urbanization, and what they termed “premiumisation.”
PMMI found that sustainability was being driven largely by the purchasing choices of consumers. At the same time, many companies were capitalizing on conservation in their marketing programs.
The Mintel Global Food and Drink Trend Report for 2016
Mintel identified 12 key trends in its report, all specifically related to the global food and drink industry. They found that consumers were not the only important “influencers,” naming social media, shifting economics, and various natural phenomena as the others.
The most important of these trends is, not surprisingly, sustainability – labelled “Eco is the new reality” by Mintel’s report. Seen as established in Africa and the two primary Australasian countries, Australia and New Zealand; maintstreaming in Europe; and surprisingly only emerging in the Americas and parts of Asia, it is set to evolve from being “good for the bottom line” to absolutely necessary for the development of new products “for the common good.”
The EcoFocus Consumer Survey Report for 2015
Like the PMMI research, EcoFocus found that consumers are making a strong connection between health and wellness and eco friendly choices. They also identified an awareness along with high expectations relating to packaging and the impact it often makes on the choice of food and beverages purchased.
A high percentage (85 percent) of shoppers surveyed revealed that the most important element relating to beverage packaging was that it should not make an impact on taste. This was more important even than the protection of nutrients in beverages and the ability of packaging to keep beverages fresh without using preservatives. Furthermore an increasing number of healthy beverage shoppers make changes in brand choice for environment reasons:
- 60 percent said they avoided buying products produced by companies that did not follow socially responsible practices
- Slightly less (55 percent) said that they avoided buying items produced by companies that did not have environmentally responsible practices
- 82 percent had already made choice changes they believed were beneficial for the environment
A dramatic statistic released in the report showed that nearly half (46 percent) of all grocery shoppers were “healthy beverage shoppers,” and their buying power translated to $5.8 trillion.
Ultimately, the report said, both retailers and manufacturers could connect successfully with so-called healthy beverage shoppers if they focused on what was important to these consumers, namely:
New Research Into Flexible Packaging
With the increasing growth of flexible (plastic) packaging, the packaging industry is faced with tremendous challenges relating to recycling, because at “end-of-life” there is currently nothing that can be done with it except adding to landfill. In an attempt to address these challenges, a number of companies are collaborating to make a new study regarding recycling of flexible packaging possible. Sponsors include Nestlé USA, Proctor & Gamble, and PepsiCo.
The results will be published during the second quarter of 2016.