While the world contends with one of the most far-reaching crises of modern time, we are starting to see the unforeseen impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having across all sectors. From health to socio-economic challenges, nothing is being overlooked, and during this difficult time it’s even more important for brands to be setting themselves apart. In the food and beverage industry, packaging is always going to be a distinctive factor, and now, more than ever, food labeling and packaging has to be cutting-edge. Here is a look at some of the current trends.
7 food and beverage packaging trends
1. Interactive packaging
With the need for physical distancing still overridden by the need to purchase groceries, the interactive food and beverage packaging trend will certainly come into play. Technology is becoming a safe haven for many, from entertainment and education through to retail, which is why interactive packaging is so great. Partnered with smart devices, the packaging will create an augmented reality that allows the consumer to enjoy more product information, games or any other interactive experience that speaks to the brand. This will undoubtedly continue to develop in the near future.
2. Sustainable packaging
The immediate concern about COVID-19 contamination through packaging has been mitigated by the World Health Organization stating there is no proof of this. However, we might see a sudden surge in single-use plastics for a while, until the panic subsides. Realistically, companies will continue on the path of sustainable food and beverage packaging, particularly as consumers turn to conscientious brands in this time of uncertainty. European Union member states are in the process of banning certain single-use plastic by 2021, while United Kingdom is set to tax plastics by 2022, encouraging the move towards sustainability.
3. Use of Post-Consumer Resins (PCR)
Post-consumer resins (PCR) are from recycled consumer products such as toiletry products and water bottles. The advancement in technology has resulted in much sharper colours for the use of PCR in food and beverage packaging. In line with the afore-mentioned sustainability trend, PCR is reducing carbon footprints and limit the introduction of micro-plastics into the environment.
4. Transparent packaging
The literal interpretation of consumers’ desire for brands to be honest about their products, there is a rise in the use of translucent packaging. Clear packaging, quite simply, allows consumers to see exactly what they are buying when they are buying it, rather than relying on (sometimes) misleading images and descriptions.
5. Simple packaging
The days of trying to confound consumers with technical terminology and busy imagery are long past. Consumers want to know exactly what they are buying, and understand exactly what it consists of. Through the use of simple language, font, colour and imagery, food and beverage packaging are giving consumers exactly what they need.
6. Corn starch packaging
The sustainability trend continues with the latest corn starch packaging which has the consistency of plastic packaging by generating polylactic acid (PLA) from corn starch in the process. This packaging is renewable, biodegradable and non-toxic.
7. Trustworthy packaging
All these factors really work towards the ultimate goal in food and beverage packaging which is brand loyalty. Once a brand has lost its trust, it is likely to lose repeat customers, which is an unsustainable path to follow. Design language, product description, interactive user experience and follow-ups are all part of establishing brand loyalty.
Read more: Creating a trustworthy food label
The biggest way for organisations to cement brand loyalty is by finding itself on the right side of history – support for those hardest hit by COVID-19 will remain ingrained long after the pandemic passes. This can be incorporated into food and beverage packaging as a show of solidarity during this time of crisis.