The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered how business is done across multiple sectors. In the print world, we’ve seen the emergence of distinct packaging trends that experts say are here to stay. Many of these packaging trends are set to lower overall production costs, mitigate operating prices, and cut down on approval times.
This post will examine five of these shifts, their importance in your printing process, and how to make the most of them.
Let’s get right into it.
Packaging Trends #1 Digital Transformation
The leading packaging trend that is being discussed by most enterprises today is digital transformation.
Digital transformation (DX), as defined by Deloitte, is:
“…the end-to-end business transformation of an organization, from strategy to operations, from leadership to enterprise-wide culture, enabled by exponential technologies.”
So esteemed is this concept that 89% of companies across the country already have a digital-first business strategy in place.
For consumer packaged goods businesses (CPG), digital transformation means adopting digital workflows as standard procedures.
Gone are the days when brand managers had to meet packaging vendors for onsite press approvals. With most virtual meetings today, CPG companies no longer have to spend thousands of dollars on travel-related costs.
And with inflation at an all-time high, one of the biggest priorities for most brand managers is driving operational efficiency.
However, this is a complex undertaking without adopting and integrating technology (digital transformation). Thankfully, the digital transformation seems to be one trend that won’t be going away anytime soon.
And speaking of technology…
Packaging Trends #2 Hybrid Work Models
Contrary to popular belief, remote working isn’t a new phenomenon. Pre-COVID, 17% of the U.S. workforce worked remotely.
However, there can be no doubt that the lockdowns vastly accelerated the widespread acceptance of this new work model.
Moving forward, CPG companies will see a shift towards hybrid work systems. In this setup, designers will have the freedom to work from the comfort of their homes. They will also have in-office days to access reference tools that are yet to be digitized.
Studies show that companies offering this decentralized work model have happier employees. With research showing that people perform better when working fewer hours, CPGs would do well to keep this in mind.
Regarding packaging trends, remote working presents designers, agencies, and packaging suppliers with flexibility and potentially lowers operating costs. This is, again, another shift in the market that’s not going away. Hybrid work models will continue to evolve as brands find remote-and-office-hour-work splits that they are comfortable with.
Packaging Trends #3 Building Robust Supply Chains
Supply chains have always been susceptible to weakness. And at no time were they more vulnerable than when countries went into lockdown and closed their borders in early 2020.
The disruption in global supply chains affected every industry, including CPG. There were widespread delays and shortages of critical raw materials. In April 2021, the U.S. recorded higher than normal late deliveries – up to 85% late!
Widespread lack of packaging and ink also led to the price of services going up.
It soon became clear to brand managers and their packaging suppliers that they had to rethink supply chains and how to make them more resilient.
More emphasis was placed on improving the work of the procurement team that identifies print and packaging suppliers.
CPG companies with well-established sourcing and procurement team were able to weather the tough times. They could rely on their extensive networks and experience to find local and regional suppliers to keep operations going.
This distressing period has led to a proliferation of brands eager to build more robust supply chains. This is one of the packaging trends we’re sure will continue for the foreseeable future.
Packaging Trends #4 Distinct Branding and Packaging
The fact that we are visual creatures is undisputed. Science tells us that 90% of the information we process in our brains is visual.
3M Corporation did a further study to prove this. Their researchers found that human beings can process images 60,000 times faster than text.
Why is all of this important? Because we now live in a world where people have shorter attention spans than ever before.
You have only got 7 seconds to capture a buyer’s attention with your packaging and convince them to take a closer look at your product.
And with consumers constantly inundated with ads on every digital screen they look at, your packaging has got to be top-notch. Distinct and outstanding.
The brand managers who will succeed today are those who understand consumer buyer behavior and digital marketing.
With technology being a staple of our lives, distinct branding has solidified itself as one of the packaging trends that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Packaging Trends #5 Green Initiatives
Over the years, there has been a strong push for greener, more sustainable packaging.
These environmental concerns have forced brands to look for recyclable and eco-friendly packaging alternatives.
Of all the packaging trends on this list, most CPG companies follow this sustainability trend to keep up with compliance regulations and avoid hefty non-compliance fines.
Because of the climate change situation and much of this talk on lowering carbon footprints has become legislation, this isn’t a trend about to disappear shortly.
The Bottom Line
While some trends come and go, the directions on this list have a solid framework upon which they rest. This framework consists of the reasons why these trends are here to stay.
CPG companies must evolve and keep up with packaging trends to remain competitive and relevant.
By adopting and integrating the packaging trends mentioned above, CPG businesses position themselves for success in a post-COVID era.