Innovative packaging is an effective tool that FMCG businesses can use to give their brands that all-important competitive edge. Products with outstanding shelf appeal have a larger chance of attracting the eye of consumers and encouraging them to consider to buy.
While food companies continue steadily to review the buyer trends that affect purchasing behaviors, it’s important they also examine global packaging trends, to develop successful strategies that improve their product offerings while reducing costs.Pre roll packagingFinding the right link between consumer trends and packaging selection could determine the success or failure of a product line.
While successful packaging helps something reach the pantry shelf to begin with, it is 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. Because of this , food marketers and packaging managers today must be sure products and packaging strategies are aligned. Product and packaging development shouldn’t be conducted in isolation.
In recent years, the next consumer trends have forced manufacturers to re-think their packaging offerings. The firms that change and evolve with customers will succeed, as the brands that neglect to change will become extinct.
In a world 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 is often observed 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 aid this trend, packaging companies are continuing to develop specialized breathable packaging, to increase the shelf life of the food 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 expense 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. Comments from customers indicates that microwavable meals are an easy task to overcook, often usually 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 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, which pressure has seen an explosion in SKU proliferation on the shelf. Selecting 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 is the idea of “late stage differentiation”, where decoration is brought in-house and applied at the point of filling. Thus giving food companies a lot more flexibility in meeting consumer demands for more SKUs and enables marketers to perform more promotions with shorter notice. Additionally, there are opportunities to reduce inventory of pre-decorated containers, reduce obsolescent inventory and enhance 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 facts so I can buy” is what consumers are saying these days. Simple packaging designs and graphics appear to be the “flavor of the month” and the ones companies which 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 straightforward print design to provide outstanding shelf impact for his or her 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 they could see the quality of the pickles through the glass.
In this example, a clear label assures consumers that you’ll find nothing to hide and that what you see is everything you get. Today, consumers want to see what they’re purchasing, and innovative packaging and label combinations can achieve this. The decision of graphics is equally important. Less glossy packaging and softer ink tones are increasingly being used to achieve the “natural” message and give a distinctive shelf appeal.
It is well documented that most markets have an aging population, so it’s crucial to design packaging that is age-neutral. Creators of packaging concepts need to align elements 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 easy-open and re-closure features, ought to be suitable for older people to use without difficulty.
Consumers today are well educated about “green” foods and are very conscious of the impact of packaging on the environment. 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 also reducing packaging, but it also requires a review of the whole value chain and linking in with what consumers are asking for.
While the majority will concentrate on packaging alone to provide sustainability, it is also vital that you consider how to deliver food and minimize its wastage, because the percentage of food waste in our dumps far exceeds that of packaging. Rather than being based only on environmental impact, packaging choice needs to be seen as a method of meeting consumer demand to lessen 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, more recently, biodegradable packaging, are all being deployed to ensure “green” is part of the overall product packaging story.
Most of these elements, and the amount to which a brand meets the requirements of these consumers, will determine the success or failure of something. While the graphics and shape of packaging play a significant role in capturing the eye of consumers through the “moment of truth” at the supermarket shelf, the functional aspects of the package are crucial to giving the consumer a confident post-purchase experience. However, simply adding functionality isn’t enough. The packaging design needs to incorporate two key aspects: relevance to the merchandise and delivery of consistent performance. For instance, if a package is promoted as re-closable, it must re-close easily and effectively, and its own performance should exceed the expectations of consumers.