Packaging Trends

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  • September 2, 2016

While certain segments of the commercial printing industry have recently faced challenges, the packaging segment has remained robust. A recent study commissioned by Ink Type, projects that the packaging printing market will exceed $580 Billion by 2020. Mintel, a leading marketing research firm, has isolated several manufacturing trends that should continue throughout the rest of the decade.


At Post Press Specialties, we’ve seen firsthand the profound changes that the printing packaging industry has undergone over the last twenty years. We’ve invested in the latest enhancement to print and finishing technologies (MGI 3D Spot Varnish Press and 57” Young Shin Die-cutter) in order to continually serve commercial printers nationwide.


Here’s a look at how the next generation of packaging will engage customers in the next few years:



Free-Coca-ColaEngaging customers on a personal level – Brands are always looking for ways to connect with their customers. Digital and variable print technologies allow manufacturers to provide packaging that is tailored to specific demographics. Coca-Cola did this brilliantly with their “Sharing a Coke” campaign. By printing proper names on individual bottles, they created an emotional connection with the end user. As Mintel points out:


                        The unique capabilities of digital printing have captured the attention of retailers, brand owners, and packaging converters around the world. Brought into the global mainstream limelight by the tremendous success of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, digital printing is capturing brands’ attention by creating opportunities to engage consumers on a local, personal, or even emotional level. With 1 in 5 US Millennials seeking custom or personalized packaging, and nearly one quarter of Chinese consumers indicating they would pay more for personalized soft drink packaging, digital printing is positioned to grow well beyond industry estimates that it’s already accounting for 10% of packaging decoration globally.

Mintel believes 2016 will be the tipping point for digital
package printing, as brands and package converters begin
to move beyond using digital primarily for limited editions and personalization, and begin to capitalize on its economic and speed-to-market advantages for mainstream package decoration.


Flexible Packaging – Walk through any grocery store and you’ll see a myriad of products with flexible packaging. Mintel explains why:


No longer is flexible packaging (specifically pouches) is considered
a compromise. Presently, 32% of consumers images-1associate flexible packaging with being modern, and brands are tapping into flexibles’ nearly unparalleled decoration and marketing opportunities. Add to that the ability to incorporate nearly any functional component of flexibles’ rigid counterpart, and the result is 56% growth in the launches of CPG flexibles according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) between 2010 and 2014. But at what point will flexible packaging, especially stand up pouches, become non-differentiated? And what should brand owners be thinking about next?

In 2016 while brands will still be
looking to pouches to capture consumers’ attention, the truly innovative brands will be looking to the next generation of rigid/flexible hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence.


We want more! No wait, we want less – Sometimes consumers want more of a product, sometimes less. Consumers are always on the lookout for better bulk value when it comes to commodity items like milk and bread. However, health conscious consumers are becoming more receptive to smaller “trial size” packages when it comes to snacks and cereals. Per Mintel’s study:


Families around the world are seeking
value in larger container sizes for milk. Meanwhile, 39% of UK consumers would
like to see a wider range of smaller bottles of alcoholic beverages. As evident by the 50% of health-conscious snackers saying they’d be willing to try a new product if it comes in
a small, trial-size pack, as brands’ product portfolios grow, the ability to reach consumers in unique and time-shifting use occasions means brand-owners must offer a greater range of pack sizes – both larger and smaller. In 2016, following such major downsizing strategies as those by Kellogg in 2015, if brand-owners are to overcome the growing lack of consumer brand loyalty, they must create and deliver packaging that consumers see as right-sized for themselves, their families, and shifting use occasions.


Offering creative enhancements to packaging over the last twenty years has made Post Press Specialties one of the Midwest’s largest and most respected binderies.



Eco Friendly – While most consumers are receptive to brands offering eco-friendly packaging, they don’t want to pay more for it. This has become a problem for manufactures, especially when they are faced with environmental regulations that dictate packaging constraints. Mintel offers this interesting take:


imgresBrands are searching for environmentally responsible packaging options, consumers are putting the onus on brands to do right by doing good by the Earth. The difficulty is that while consumers want it all, they generally aren’t willing to pay more to get it, and even basic recycling is too difficult for many. Despite best efforts, package recycling is
well below its potential, and most consumers don’t have a real understanding of what to
do with compostable packaging. But what is beginning to resonate are two key initiatives: a focus on alternative package material sources and catering to the 63% of US consumers who’ve stated that reusable and repurposable packaging is a key purchasing driver they see as being yet another link in the long and complex green packaging chain.

When product price and perceived product quality are equal, consumers will be increasingly turning to these eco- and alternative-use attributes as the deciding purchasing factor. Going forward, brands cannot afford to ignore this “ecologically friendly” purchasing driver as they develop their brand positioning and marketing strategies.


Post Press Specialties has become Kansas City’s largest bindery by keeping abreast of market trends and offering creative and innovative print enhancement solutions for over twenty years. Call us at 816-257-1919 and we’ll be happy to help you with your next project.