Packaging Trends That Will Shape 2016

Product packaging plays a key role in the success or failure of a product. It is, after all, the first thing a consumers sees, be that on the shelf or digitally, and has the power to action or hinder a sale.  

It is no surprise then that companies invest heavily into new packaging types and conduct extensive market research into the colours, design, type and functionality that will best help their products leap off the shelf.  

With this investment, of course, comes innovation and every year new themes and trends in the packaging industry emerge. So in the first of our monthly brand management blogs for 2016, we ask, what trends will shape packaging over the coming year…

Going Green

The drive to go green pervades all corners of business and industry, and packaging is no exception. 2016 will see a greater emphasis on sustainability driven by consumer demand for more environmentally friendly packaging solutions, a need for companies to meet EU targets and to remain competitive.  

This will translate into a trend to declutter labels and packaging as a whole, with a premium put on clarity that will enable consumers to make purchasing decisions quickly, and transparency to know they can make them with confidence.  

Brands that fail to do this, those that display unclear labelling, making proper recycling a challenge, will lose ground in the battle to attract the ever more environmentally conscious consumer. Those that make disingenuous or inflated claims about their environmental credentials run a strong risk of being exposed in the new age of honesty.  

With recycling now forming part of the WRAP (waste reduction action plan) scheme, expect to see more organisations work with bodies such as to prove they are serious about sustainability.  

Consumers wanting to know more about effective recycling can visit

Shedding the pounds

Strongly related to sustainability is the lightweight/rightweight packaging. Although this is not a new concept, the drive for less waste, reduced material and manufacturing cost and reduced environmental impacts from transportation and less waste to landfills means a greater emphasis will be placed on it in 2016. Creating lightweight/rightweight packaging is still an effective way to deliver on sustainability commitments.

Let’s get personal

Personalised packaging came to the fore with Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign, which saw more than 1,000 names printed on bottles of the fizzy drink and sold across many of its global markets. It was a huge success, achieving a 2 per cent increase in sales worldwide.  

With advances in digital printing technology, personalising packaging is become cheaper and easier, and therefore much more accessible to smaller brands that often use marketing in very innovative ways. Expect to see more of this in 2016 as the uses of it get ever more creative.

Social mobility

No one could have failed to notice the way in which social media has revolutionised communication and marketing over the past few years, and recently, there has been a trend to link traditional printing packaging with the online world. Our own SmartPicture App has been developed to achieve just that and is now used by global brands to open up a rich world of online content for consumers.  

So will this trend continue to gather pace in 2016? Mintel certainly think so. A report by the global marketing research company states that ‘the mobile environment will become the new front line in the battle to win consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets’ through mobile-engaged technology such as near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth low-energy (BLE).  

If they are right, and I think it is a safe bet to assume they are, expect to see clever online content inextricably linked with printed packaging, delivering a fully immersive experience straight to your smart phones.Those are our predictions for packaging in 2016, only time will tell if they come true. What do you think? Why not leave us a comment in the field below.

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