According to research conducted in 2019 by McKinsey & Company, five major trends will severely influence packaging, demanding agility in innovative performance to navigate the pressure and potential disruptions to existing purchasing and processing practices over the next five to ten years1:
- Evolving consumer preferences - demand for increased personalization, convenience, health, and affordability will impact SKU proliferation.
- Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and retail margin compression - As demand for FMCG’s increases and industry models are challenged due to consumer behavior shifts, pressure is passed to manufacturers to review components involved in their operations
- Assessment of sustainability requirements through the value chain - increasing retailer demand and specific goals for private and in-store SKU’s.
- Digitization - Integrating QR codes or printed media on packaging that leads consumers to digital avenues to a call-to-action
- E-commerce - through online sales, fresh produce in packaging is being purchased and consumed by different means, requiring additional shipping and packaging protocols.
The overarching implications of these packaging trends differ according to substrate and will demand substrate and channel specific strategies. Despite the surge of sustainability pressure, the combined power of plastics’ attractive attributes in terms of cost, automation, and quality will likely continue to influence flexible plastic materials, demanding an additional increase in recyclability and recycled content.1
Smithers market report The Future of Business Models in Packaging to 2022 estimates the value for packaging services in 2017 is worth $33.7 billion, and by 2022 will be worth $50 billion, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.5%.1
According to the Flexible Packaging Association's report on the industry, flexible packaging accounted for 19% of the packaging materials marketed in the U.S. Much of this growth is due to material and production advancements. Today, environmentally-friendly plastics like compatibilized polyethylene and new end-of-life recycling initiatives, much like our current product offerings, have allowed flexible packaging’s popularity to magnify.
The role of packaging in the consumer journey has extended beyond the shelf. Emerging trends in the food packaging industry are highly influenced by the need for smart, clean, convenient, and sustainable solutions.
There are other reasons why flexible packaging is set to become more popular despite ongoing sustainability conversations, as they are structurally designed to be accessible to consumers to use with the bonus of value-added features such as resealable zippers, making this packaging application reusable.
A stand-up pouch’s adaptable shape makes it easy to carry and is designed to use less material in comparison to rigid packaging. Due to its light weight, the pouch bag requires less energy in transportation, aiding in the e-commerce value chain by reducing CO2 emissions and positively impacting the overall environment.
Among brands who have started utilizing pouches and flexible packaging for their products, 57% reported that they were able to lower their costs of production, and, on average, they credited the shift to more lightweight packaging for this cost decrease2.
In fact, stand-up pouches continue to be favored for new product launches because they offer both reduced transport weight and high consumer appeal. Turning to substrates in North America, plastics are still expected
to see growth into 2022 despite mounting pressures for more sustainability. Perhaps optimistically
given the surge in restrictions, industry forecasts show the highest growth rates for
flexible plastics at some 2.3%. The growth in board is also positively driven by online retail (e-commerce)1.
For more information about how flexible packaging can be a solution to your packaging program, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with a representative