The packaging industry has grown from being just ‘packaging’ to an experience in recent times. Today, consumption is always on-the-go. Food producers, retailers and consumers are looking towards fresher, more functional packaging solutions which have minimum impact on the environment.

Let us take a look at what has impacted the packaging industry in recent years and how it is evolving:

Millennials are great influencers of the F&B industry and most of the household food-related decisions are taken today keeping them in mind. Studies show that about 80% of millennials believe that packaging is quite important towards their decision for buying a food product. They also look for five key points: how it looks, how easy it is to drink from, how easy it is to carry, how eco-friendly it is and how it can be resealed. So in order for brands to ‘trend’, it is important that they behave and communicate responsibly, in a way that can resonate with the new-age thinking of millennials.

Digital technology is something which is transforming the world of packaging design in the FMCG space. It helps brands to engage their customers, empower their employees, optimize their operations and transform their products. Every consumer today is digital and going forward, automation and artificial intelligence will be critical components when it comes to packaging designs. Experts say that smart packaging which uses a dynamic QR code & eco-friendly material is growing at a CAGR of 5% and is likely to become a 40 billion industry by 2020! India being the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, the scene is set for technology-incorporated packaging ideas to emerge.

Along with digitalization, there is an increased demand for functionality, convenience and sustainability among consumers today. As a result, a lot of paper-based packaging is becoming popular. The advantages are that they can be printed on, they are lighter than plastic and the oil consumption is less resulting is lower fuel costs. Also, they are more environment-friendly than any other type of packaging out there.

Companies are realizing that packaging needs to add value to the product they are selling in order to rise up among the competition. And let’s face it, in the FMCG industry, competition is strife. And so today, everything from ice-cream to milk to alcohol comes in paper packaging.

For example, Tetra Pak’s paper cartons have completely revolutionized the packaging industry by eliminating cold chain supply for storage and distribution, thereby allowing access to remote parts of the country and even across the world. This technology has increased the shelf-life of hundreds of products without the need for refrigeration.

Another example is Chai Point, a chai and food delivery service and one of India’s largest retail chains, who have been path-breaking in the field of innovative packaging with their heat-retaining disposable chai delivery flasks. The flasks are uniquely designed to retain heat for at least 45-60 minutes and are environment-friendly as well, a use and throw model. The company saw the necessity to invent this flask based on customer demand for tea delivery at their offices and the scalability and hygiene that is missing in traditional thermos-based chai deliveries in India.

Consumers will readily pay the price of the packaging as well if it helps add value to how they use or consume the product. Hence, marketing departments of brands should take decisions which can improve the customer loyalty towards their brand by adopting appropriately designed packaging made with the appropriate materials.

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