GettyImages plastic pacakging-903246316_WEB

Source: Getty Images 

Consumers’ environmental concerns are heavily influencing packaging design

Technology and sustainability are at the heart of the leading packaging trends identified by researchers at Mintel.

The market and consumer research firm found environmental concerns are heavily influencing packaging design, with plastic-free solutions among the key trends.

It urged brands to consider the packaging solutions that could give them shelf space in supermarkets, and said they had an opportunity to differentiate themselves by connecting to consumers’ awareness of recycling through the way they package products.

Technology was also among the trends recognised by researchers, with e-commerce having a massive sway on packaging design. The report said packaging using technology, such as containers with QR codes, was becoming increasingly popular due to the escalating uptake of online shopping.

Read more: Waitrose compostable banana bag criticised by customers

E-commerce has pushed retailers and manufacturers to reconsider the way packaging is perceived by consumers when they order items online too. Mintel said this meant a shift in focus from physical packaging to marketing images of the product online. “Proclamations by brands touting commitment to 100% recyclable materials or packaging dominate industry headlines, but the reality is that few of them have yet to fully consider how, where, and who will be supplying and recycling these materials,” said Mintel global packaging director David Luttenberger. “Low availability of high-quality recycled plastic and concerns over food safety are hampering the use of recycled material in food and drink. And while recycling may be second nature to some, inconvenience and confusion surrounding recycling are a barrier for others.”

He urged brands to “act now” with plastic-free solutions, engage with the debate surrounding it, and clearly explain the benefits of plastic to their product to address pollution concerns.