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Packaging Trends in Food and Beverage Industry

Based on Mintel Global Packaging and Other Industries research, there are four trends that are predicted to shape the brand packaging design as well as how consumers interact with packaging in food and beverage sector. Personalization, Cleaner and Clearer Labeling, Appealing to the senses, and Packaging Mobilization. Those four trends will be explained in the following.


First is Personalization, more and more brands are striving to engage with their customers on more personal level, in addition, consumers also expect packaging to deliver such experience according to Mintel’s Global Packaging Director, David Luttenberger. The advance development of technology has also made this personalization trend to grow rapidly. For example, Nutella’s offer of personalized jars, Heinz’s competition for its customer to win a personalized bottle of HP sauce for Father’s Day and massive beverage Company, Coca Cola for its “Share a Coke” campaign which have been proved to be quite successful. In “Share a Coke” campaign, customer can opt to write a name, to share a Coke with. Interactive ways to achieve personalization has been tried by few companies that may enter the realm of “co-creation”. For instance, Spirits brand, Whiskey Blender set up a website where people could create their own blend from up to seven variant of spirit as well as design their own label for the bottle. In Mintel research, it is found that almost a quarter of Chinese customer said they would be willing to pay more for personalized packaging. 61% of US customers feel more positive about a brand when marketing message is personalized.

Second is cleaner and clearer labeling. Consumers demand that the labeling on their food and drink packaging should be clear and concise.  They do not prefer packaging to be overloaded with messages, instead the packaging should only contain important information such as ingredients and nutritional value, function and safety. The way of the information to be communicated also shall be easy to be understood by customers so that they can make informed decisions and avoid confusion. From customers’ perspective, clean and clear on-pack communication helps them to trust in the brand.

Third is appealing to the senses. The visual element of packaging is frequently the first aspect of packaging that customer interact with and probably most influential to determine purchasing decision. However, many experts define touch as the important factor influencing willingness to buy, and even more surprising, the willingness to buy for a higher price. For every customer, there are certain tactile properties that tend to associate them with feeling of “luxury”, “quality”, “freshness” and more. Designers are trying to corporate these types of desired product association in the product through tactile sensations. Tactility can be conveyed through number of printing and converting technologies such as embossing, laser-etching, molded patterns, specialty materials even tactile coatings. Although these may cause higher cost, the added value that might be delivered on shelf could be worth the cost. To stand-out on shelf, brands will undoubtedly look ways to involve excitement element in their product packaging through finishing effect that appeals to senses primarily visual and tactile, but also scent, taste and auditory. 

Fourth is Packaging Mobilization. As the technology has rapidly developed, brands are exploring Bluetooth LE and near-field communication (NFC) as new ways to communicate and engage with customers. Beverage company, Diageo, has introduced NFC labels on liquor bottles by which signals can be transmitted through short distance and can wirelessly speak to consumers’ Smartphone. As Mintel’s Luttenberger stated: “Brands are innovating packaging to keep customers not only engaged but also to develop brand loyalty across all packaged goods”.

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