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"WeListen" Blog

Emerging Consumer Packaging Trends for 2017

Consumer packaging design is a dynamic, ever-evolving process, and design in 2017 is no exception to that rule. Emerging design trends this year reflect the issues most important to consumers and indicate an increased understanding of the need to address those issues on the part of food manufacturers.

What are some of those trends, and how can your brand embrace them to boost consumer awareness of your products? 

Green is Still Going Strong 

Granted, the concept of "green" packaging options that are kind to the environment is not exactly new. However, what is new is the sheer number of consumers who are making purchasing decisions based on a brand's level of eco-friendliness.

A recent study by Unilever reveals a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. Researchers asked consumers directly how their sustainability concerns impact their choices in-store and at home. Perhaps more tellingly, however, researchers also mapped consumer claims against real purchase decisions, giving a more accurate picture of what and why people buy.

In the study, 21 percent of consumers indicated that they would actively choose products from brands that make their sustainability efforts clear on packaging and in other marketing materials. Among Unilever brands, companies with sustainable packaging in place are growing 30 percent faster than other Unilever brands, further highlighting why sustainability in packaging design makes good business sense. 

"Clean" Equals Sales Success 

Similarly, consumer demand for clean label products is experiencing a major upswing. As companies shift to a clean label approach to their product ingredients, there is corresponding need for a shift in packaging design to reflect these efforts.

A 2016 consumer survey found that 30 percent of consumers are now actively seeking products with some form of clean label claim while 70 percent of those purchasing dairy and bakery products are aware of clean label claims and say these claims influence their buying decision. Clearly, this is a trend that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, so if your brand has not yet explored clean label options, 2017 is a good year to do so. 

"In the Moment" Packaging Design Resonates 

Brands with a finger on the pulse of popular consumer causes will reap rich rewards this year by producing "in the moment" packaging which positions the brand squarely in the midst of exciting or significant events.

How can you do this with your brand? PackWorld.com gives this advice: "To create packaging for 2017 that is in the moment, take some time to consider the year ahead from the perspective of your consumer - or even subsets of your consumer base. Map out potential events and plan to be in the moment when an extremely emotional, important moment happens for communities within your consumer base, with creative tactics to position your brand, product, and package design ... Look at energizing issues or moments and take a stand. Then, let your brand advocates take it from there with real-world and social word-of-mouth point of view ... Have a package design narrative or manifesto for these situations and plan to share it; make a public statement or pledge." 

Food Safety Takes a Front Seat 

As concern about global food waste takes center stage, brands that prioritize food safety through packaging methods that extend shelf life will likely see an uptick in sales. BrandPackaging.com notes that this year, packaging that employs technology such as freshness sensors will help consumers better understand the shelf life of food and when it is safe to consume. This will help reduce the potential problems of early disposal, excessive purchasing, and unsafe consumption of food products.

Food safety continues to be a concern for consumers, especially in the area of dairy products.

The Takeaway 

2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year for food manufacturers. With the rapid advancement in packaging design, more eco-friendly, clean-label products are likely to do well in the marketplace.

Brands that take advantage of consumer preferences and plan packaging design to coincide with momentous social events or movements will find success this year.

Similarly, brands that work to reduce food waste by employing new technologies that extend shelf life and alert consumers when a food product is no longer safe to consume will likely see increases in revenue this year.

Are your packaging designs reflecting these growing trends or do they need a facelift? PKG can work with you to improve your packaging design and branding. Contact us today to start a conversation about your current packaging design needs.


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