Innovative packaging is an effective 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 attention of consumers and encouraging them to consider to buy.
While food companies continue to review the buyer trends that affect purchasing behaviors, it’s important that they also examine global packaging trends, to build up successful strategies that improve their product offerings while reducing costs.Pre roll packaging Choosing the best link between consumer trends and packaging selection could determine the success or failure of something line.
While successful packaging helps something reach the pantry shelf in the first place, it is the product itself that keeps it there. Attractive packaging may entice and secure the first-time purchase of something, but the consumer’s experience of the product will determine should they re-purchase the brand. This is exactly why food marketers and packaging managers today must be sure 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 neglect 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 need. A classic example of this can be observed 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 support this trend, packaging companies are continuing to build up 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 trouble of product freshness and-sometimes-taste. Several attempts have already been made in recent years to enhance the quality of ingredients found in these meals, yet challenges remain. Customer feedback indicates that microwavable meals are an easy task to overcook, often usually do not cook evenly, and can dry out 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 around the food. This dynamic shift is enabling brands to provide convenience, quality and consistently well-prepared food, allowing for 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 getting 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 idea of filling. This gives food companies a lot more flexibility in meeting consumer demands for more SKUs and enables marketers to run more promotions with shorter notice. Additionally, there are opportunities to lessen 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 reality so I can buy” is what consumers are saying nowadays. Simple packaging designs and graphics seem to be the “flavor of the month” and the ones companies which are heeding this trend are reaping the benefits. In the UK, innovative retailer, Waitrose, used an ordinary, 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 wanted to find out about the contents, and the product was supplied in a convenient re-closable jar, so that they could start to 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 desire to see what they are purchasing, and innovative packaging and label combinations can perform this. The decision of graphics is equally important. Less glossy packaging and softer ink tones are being used to achieve the “natural” message and give a distinctive shelf appeal.
It is well documented that a lot of markets have an aging population, so it is crucial to design packaging that is age-neutral. Creators of packaging concepts have to align elements of their designs with the demands of this market segment. Graphics ought to be legible (this could mean using larger fonts); the packaging shape must 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 so are very aware 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 even reducing packaging, but it addittionally requires a review of the complete 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 exactly to deliver food and minimize its wastage, as the percentage of food waste inside 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 could play a crucial 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 make sure “green” is section of the overall product packaging story.
All 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 areas of the package are necessary to giving the consumer a confident post-purchase experience. However, simply adding functionality is not enough. The packaging design needs to incorporate two key aspects: relevance to the product and delivery of consistent performance. For instance, if a package is promoted as re-closable, it must re-close easily and effectively, and its performance should exceed the expectations of consumers.
A positive post-purchase experience is a critical factor in achieving brand loyalty. That is why it is so very important to packaging technologists to complement consumer requirements with appropriate packaging designs.