Innovative Packaging Trends for 2016

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Derrick Lin


Written by Joe Hickman. Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging and writer for Packaging of the World.

With new products and changing customer preferences, the packaging industry is constantly adapting. If you want to get ahead of the trend and introduce innovative ideas then now, at the start of a new year, is the best time to do it.

To keep you ahead of the curve, here is what we predict will be the most popular packaging trends of 2016:

1. Digital Personalisation

We all remember the huge Coca Cola marketing campaign that saw most shoppers hunting through shelf upon shelf of bottles or cans for a drink with their name on it. You most likely had one yourself; it was a huge marketing success for the brand.

But besides the pre-printed cans and bottles, they also provided customers with the ability to personalise their own with names or messages using the company’s website and digital roadshow.

This has marked a turning point for the packaging industry and is likely to have inspired a number of other companies to offer similar digital personalisation services. Nutella has already jumped on the bandwagon offering personalised chocolate jars at the end of 2015 and whisky brand The Famous Grouse offered personalisation services for Father’s Day.

Market research firm Mintel have found that digital printing currently represents 10% of the packaging decoration market around the world, yet this is likely to grow exponentially in the next 12 months.

2. Flexible Packaging and Pouches

We think 2016 will be the year of the pouch. Why? Well, according to Mintel, flexible packaging increased by 56% for consumer packaged goods between 2010 and 2014 with 32% of consumers thinking it was ‘modern’. It also offers increased design possibilities to brands.

Flexible packaging and pouches provide a larger printable surface, yet are more environmentally friendly and cheaper to produce in many cases.

Popular coffee brand Kenco are a prime example of an existing brand that has made the switch to pouches. The brand has hugely capitalised upon its introduction of eco refill packs since their introduction 5 years ago.

3. Going Green with Ecological Solutions

From carrier bags made of recycled paper to Nespresso’s coffee capsule recycling centres, across the food packaging and retail sectors, companies are growing an ecological conscience. In 2016, we think packaging made of alternative, recyclable materials will become more commonplace, as well as a push on consumer education to teach people how to correctly dispose of it.

Denim brand Lee is a forward thinker in this department, previously launching its ‘Never Wasted Bag’. This 100% reusable shopping bag can be disassembled into more than 20 different pieces, each of which can be used in various ways.

So, whether you want to play snakes and ladders or need a ‘do not disturb’ sign, you’re sure to find a solution with this eco-friendly alternative to the classic plastic carrier bag.

4. Perfecting the Ideal Size

Customers want more size variations, and what the customer wants, the customer gets – in most instances anyway. Mintel reports, 39% of UK consumers would like shops to sell a wider range of small alcohol bottles, such as one glass bottles of wine. Whereas many health-conscious buyers are calling for small taster size packs to try a product before they invest in large bags or multi-packs.

Assam Milk Tea designed by mousegraphics

At the moment, many brands offer one or two sizes, however in 2016 more and more product sizes will become available to keep up with consumer demand, especially in the food packaging industry.

Have you spotted a rising trend that we’ve missed? Then leave us a comment at the bottom of this page.

About the author
Joe Hickman is the Packaging Specialist of Charlotte Packaging. Charlotte Packaging is a family run business with over 40 years of experience in the packaging industry. They are specialists in providing custom printed plastic and paper packaging to both local and international companies.