The EU Green Deal has a major impact on this sector. This deal is committed towards reducing packaging waste, and packaging that is not necessary, and increasing re-use, recycling, and providing long-term, ambitious targets. All of these topics are linked to the importance of using recycled plastics in good quality and sustainable materials.
Digitalization is also transforming the packaging industry, just as it has in so many other industries.
Sustainable packaging is increasingly being sought after by all parties, including government, manufacturers, and consumers. As the public becomes more aware of its environmental responsibilities, they are willing to pay a higher price for packaging that is recyclable and biodegradable.
The digitalization of the packaging industry creates new and efficient opportunities in all aspects of the supply chain – from packaging design and initial receipt to opening and receiving packages.
The opportunity for greater digital integration upstream in the supply chain is to allow packaging designers, prepress specialists, and printers to work together on concepts and designs simultaneously, reducing the time it takes the entire design process by allowing them more access and sharing of data. This also helps to reduce the likelihood of mistakes occurring early in the design process.
The digitalization of the downstream includes the adoption of labels which can be read and scanned using technology. QR codes will also benefit interaction between consumers and suppliers for manual downloading, etc.
Packaging Sector Trends:
Design trends that are aimed at improving the experience of consumers and their involvement in products and services also play an important role in the competitive landscape. Below are some of the trends identified by researchers in the industry that will have a major impact on the next few years.
• E-commerce brings its own requirements for packaging design and e-commerce packaging is emerging as a sector in its own right, where packaging design is conceived specifically for that intended use by companies that sell on-line.
In this segment, the demand for special packaging is driven by a constantly evolving background of technical, legal and business influences. The packaging must be designed to ensure that the product reaches its consumer in perfect condition after transit. Lightness is required without compromising the quality.
The experience of the consumer at that point must be engaging, so that opening the product is a pleasure. In the ecommerce sector, product returns are also high. This means that packaging needs to be durable enough to survive return trips.
The sustainability of e-commerce packaging is also influenced by the fact that single-use plastics have been deemed undesirable. These will be replaced by bio-based materials and expanded polystyrene in the future. Amazon is one of the biggest online retailers in this sector.
• Haptic design is gaining ground so that consumers have a more tactile experience when choosing products. Raised printed type, foil embossing and creative cutting are examples of this. They make packaging more interesting to hold.
The trend in this sector is moving away from luxury products to mainstream items. Digitalization plays a part in this as well, opening up opportunities for small businesses to join the trend. This is mainly a perception of high quality.
• Minimalism is also creating a buzz within industry, especially given the urgency to reduce packaging waste. It is important to avoid reducing the experience of the consumer when opening the products. The packaging-consumer interface must also not be compromised.
• 3D printing technology opens up high-tech access to the development of custom-made shapes. This is especially useful for packaging goods with unusual contours or profiles. It can also be used to solve some of the problems associated with producing containers that have more complex morphologies.
• Nostalgic trends are seen by researchers as conveying security to consumers and this is being witnessed through retro influences from the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s. The COVID years have influenced some of our desire for comfort and familiarity.
• Seamless designs on packaging that run continuously from front to back and to the front again are also emerging. Hence 360° designs like these offer distinct advantages that make a striking visual difference when it comes to shelf appeal.
• Smart packaging is also making gains, especially for food where sensors can be used to indicate ambient factors such as temperature and humidity. Smart packaging can provide nutritional information on food products.
• Food packaging is increasingly shifting towards designs that illustrate the food contained inside in the box. Simple illustrations are a trend here, and they are achieved through bright colors.
• Personalization is increasingly valued by consumers and its demand for fast turnaround and rapid changeover is ideally suited to the digital print sector.
Digital printing is the key to all.
The digitally printed package is expected to gain huge popularity in the future, bringing a variety of benefits for industry. Digital printing can help to achieve a strong growth in the commercial packaging industry and reduce waste.
Other advantages of digital printing directly onto packaging materials such as paper, cardboard and transfer films enhance its attractiveness for low-volume packaging and make small-and-medium-sized prints more cost-effective.
Digital printing helps to boost the image of companies and also enhances client interaction. The ability to create unique printed designs for different materials and products adds another benefit that makes digital printing a better option.
Future Market Insights has highlighted these trends in its new report Digital Printing Packaging Market: 2023-2033. So attractive are the benefits of digitally printed packaging that the value of the sector is expected to increase by 66% between 2023 and 2033 – a sure indication of the right technology being harnessed at the right time. Now!