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Packaging trends that dominated in 2018
Photo credit: iQoncept – adobe.stock.com

Packaging trends that dominated in 2018

Sustainability, ecommerce, customer experience, cannabis and snacking stand out, along with other trends, that represent significant influences on packaging design, development and production this year.

Our end-of-year analysis revealed these 11 most-popular packaging-trends-related articles, based on page views from our global audience. We start where nearly all new package development projects start: With the consumer. First up are new consumer views on sustainability from an expert in socio-cultural trends…

11. 4 new consumer sustainability trends and their packaging implications

Have you noticed that people have a different relationship with their physical stuff now in our digitalized world? Sharon Greene did. She’s director of socio-cultural trends and strategy development at strategic management consulting company Alice Labs. In a short video, she explains how four new consumer sustainability trends offer opportunities for packaging developers:

1. Repurpose

2. Reuse

3. Research

4. Rejoice

NEXT: Consumers’ shifting shopping habits

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

SmartLabel

10. Consumers’ shifting shopping habits create packaging challenges

With a smartphone, consumers can access virtually any info at the touch of a button. SmartLabel, an initiative supported by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Assn. (GMA), makes that even easier by providing transparency to consumers through web pages accessed through a search, quick-response (QR) code, app or retailers’ customer service desks. Stephen Kaufman, chief product officer for label and artwork management technology provider BLUE Software, weighs the pros and cons of the SmartLabel.

His assessment: “By carefully weighing the pros and cons of SmartLabel, CPG [consumer packaged goods] companies can begin to determine whether easily accessible product landing pages can be a boon to sales, as well as exactly what information should be included—beyond federal mandate—to ensure everything remains brand compliant.”

NEXT: Revelations from major brand owners

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Campbell-Yes-Soup

9. Packaging revelations from Frito-Lay, Campbell Soup and more

Smaller entrepreneurs often thrill with unique and winning product/package ideas. But one reason major brand owners are, well, major is because they have the resources and clout to execute on forward-thinking technologies.

For example:

• Garry Kohl, senior director R&D, snacks category, global packaging innovation at PepsiCo, talks about Frito-Lay’s “Holy Grail” pursuit in bioplastics: “We’re even looking at biodegradable packaging that you could flush down your toilet. Our goal is to develop packaging that [truly] disappears in the ocean.”

• Robert Weick, vp packaging R&D, Campbell Soup, shares the company’s ecommerce plans and says, “The challenge is to design for the unknown, such as discovering a closure leaks when the packaging isn’t kept upright when shipped via ecommerce.”

• The “more” in the headline are two innovative plastic packaging technologies:

1. The first commercial launch of the LiquiForm airless molding technology into market for an embossed bottle for Nature’s Promise brand hand soap. The technology uses the packaged product instead of compressed air to simultaneously form and fill containers. By combining forming and filling into one step, the process eliminates costs associated with the equipment and energy of the traditional blow-molding process along with the handling, transport and warehousing of empty containers.

2. The SureHandle 2-liter PET bottle from Pretium Packaging offers exceptionaltop-load strength that allows brands to eliminate secondary packaging like cases for shipping. The strengthening effect of the handle acts as a flying buttress support, like medievel cathedral ceilings.

NEXT: How to escalate the user experience

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

April-2018-Word-Cloud

8. Today’s packaging design trends emphasize user experience

We all know packaging can give a brand an experiential advantage, enticing consumers to pick up their product and put it in the shopping cart instead of a competitor’s. During our review of the five best-read articles in April 2018, we noticed a theme around elevating the user’s experience through packaging design.

Here are the articles that sprung to the top near the budding of what turned out to be quite a creative year:

1. Packaging trends on fire this year [You’ll see this again in a couple pages]

2. 4 sustainable truths impacting food packaging today

3. 5 top trends in cannabis branding and packaging [another double dip—you’ll see this again in a couple pages]

4. Chill-Can presents a new twist in on-demand cold beverages

5. 4 daring packaging designs that create magic moments

NEXT: Emerging trends in paperboard packaging

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Paperboard-packaging-trends

7. 4 emerging paperboard packaging trends

Packaging competitions showcase the best developments of a sector. But they also present a rare opportunity to see emerging trends among all the entries. During judging of the annual North American Paperboard Packaging Competition, the Paperboard Packaging Council identified these four:

1. Digital escalation

2. Everyday upscale

3. Dual- or multi-use designs

4. The cannabis craze [more on this soon, we promise—keep reading!]

NEXT: Early 2018 “hot” trends

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Trends-on-fire

6. Packaging trends on fire this year

Our early coverage of key issues confronting the packaging community—sustainability, ecommerce, flexible packaging, and plastic packaging advancements and waste challenges—hit the mark with our readers. We saw our first month (but not the last!) of record-breaking page views in March 2018, with these articles drawing the top numbers:

1. 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

2. How packaging recyclability can shift sustainability expectations for startup beauty brands

3. 10 impactful and efficient flexible packages win gold awards

4. How sustainable are biodegradable and plant-based plastics?

5. Packaging revelations from Frito-Lay, Campbell Soup and more [a favorite article from #9]

NEXT: As promised—the cannabis craze

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Cannabis-packaging

5. 5 top trends in cannabis branding and packaging

Despite the ethical controversy around legalized cannabis, we can’t deny the “high” interest in this growth category.

Pamela Webber, chief marketing officer at 99designs, points out five design trends that have dominated cannabis branding and packaging so far:

1. Leafy imagery.

2. Green in color and in ethos.

3. A focus on health.

4. Minimalism.

5. Playing with stereotypes.

Webber concludes the best is yet to come, though, as “…more sellers will lead to more diverse branding and more packaging design experimentation.”

NEXT: The creative, economic and production flexibility of flexible packaging

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Flexible-packaging-trends

4. How flexible packaging trends are shifting and why

A little behind the scenes confession: This article probably took the longest to put together of all the articles I did this year. But it was definitely worth the wait. And the effort paid off with massive readership every month since the article posted at the end of August.

Our virtual roundtable tapped five industry experts from various areas in the flexible packaging supply chain:

1. Resin supplier;

2. Printing press maker;

3. Extrusion/coating equipment company;

4. Film converter; and

5. Form-fill-seal machinery manufacturer.

Their insights—into trend drivers, challenges, future growth areas and sustainability shifts—show how this dynamic market continues to advance, despite some challenges.

NEXT: We were fast out of the gate in identifying the year’s trends

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Top-packaging-issues-Jan-2018

3. 3 top packaging issues emerge in 2018

Unfair advantage? Posted on Feb. 6, this article has had 11 months to gather page views. But I think not. Other articles in this “2018 Top Trends” list were published much later and had better readership.

What made this article resonate was the importance of the top three packaging focus areas for the new year—food packaging developments, sustainability and packaging design—as proved by our website metrics in January, which determined the top five articles of the month/year:

1. 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

2. 8 sustainable packaging hits of 2017

3. Nature’s Path packaging takes a bold new direction

4. Proposition 65 and food packaging: A preview of coming changes

5. Pouch filling operation sets new standard in quality, efficiency [This article also appeared in the year-end list “A trio of packaging production tales that end happily in 2018”]

NEXT: A half-year check-in

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

10-Trends

2. 10 packaging trends and news rockin’ 2018 (so far)

In July, instead of reviewing the top articles of previous month like we usually do, we looked at the first six months of the year. Our half-year review revealed your continued fascination with sustainability and anything packaging design related (good ideas must come from somewhere and your appetite for examples is insatiable). And ecommerce. But this was the first time we start to see the “Amazon” effect (see #9 below), which will outdo itself in the last half of 2018.

Here are the top articles from January to June:

1. 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

2. 8 sustainable packaging hits of 2017

3. Chew on this: Packaging trends for new sweets and snacks [more on this right on the next page!]

4. Decadent Delici dessert packaging designed for Costco

5. How sustainable are biodegradable and plant-based plastics?

6. Chill-Can presents a new twist in on-demand cold beverages

7. 166 new packages to inspire you

8. 5 top packaging developments in May 2018

9. Amazon on creating ecommerce packaging that’s great for all: Customers, companies and the environment

10. Nestlé Waters’ sparkling new packaging signals major rebranding

NEXT: Snack on this “trends” bonanza

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Snack-packaging-trends

1. Chew on this: Packaging trends for new sweets and snacks

Snacking is becoming American’s go-to nutritional bonanza. So, we’re not surprised this insightful review of the 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo—where packaging trends and snack trends intersected—resonated with packaging professionals. Veteran packaging writer Jenni Spinner mined these 10 gems of new products and trends from her time at the show:

1. Contrasting ideas

2. Solo snacking

3. Cake bites

4. Downsized delectables

5. Multi-part munchies

6. Same candy, new format

7. Fun with branding

8. Makeover time

9. Hip chicks

10. Rice is nice

Wonder what new trends 2019 will bring. What do you think? Let us know by commenting below.

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

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