Trends to talk about

25 May 2016

We’re a third of the way into the year and market trends have emerged. Packaging & Converting Intelligence spoke with key players at companies across the industry to find out which trends they consider the most notable, important and impactful.

Jocelyne Ehret, director of HAVI Global Solution's packaging consulting services and packaging technology integrated solutions in Europe:

There are four overarching consumer drivers that motivate purchasing and influence packaging: safety and peace of mind - it won't hurt me, my family or the planet; wellness - it's really good for me; gratification and enjoyment - it makes me feel good; and convenience and freedom - it's easy for me.

We ensure that each package protects the planet and resources, and directly targets one or more of these four needs.

Kevin Vyse, primary food packaging technologist at Marks & Spencer:

The customer is king, so the trends depend on their needs. Two of the biggest drivers are price and the end of life. Is it the best price and does it do the best job? Is it easy for the consumer to dispose of? Or is it too complicated? This might cause them to abandon the recycling process and not return to that product or to the company that sold it to them. Four more useful questions to ask are: is the idea driven by real consumer insight? What problem is being solved from the consumers' perspective? Is it commercially viable or just a short-term win? Is it sustainable? These are the dynamics driving packaging in 2016.

Karen Rowe, print and colour manager at Marks & Spencer:

One of our main motivators is environmental benefit. When you have a large and potentially unwieldy supply chain, being able to speed up the process has a lot of potential. This is especially so when it can help reduce waste and provide an environmental victory.

Roger Zellner, global director of packaging, research, development and quality at Mondelez International:

There may be subtle differences between local markets, such as consumer preferences or categories, but our overall approach remains the same: we look for new ways to use less packaging without taking anything away from people's enjoyment of our brands and without contributing to increased food waste. Product protection is essential. We are always looking at ways to reduce the weight of the package without sacrificing protection.

Frederic Jouin, director of Danone's packaging research centre (DPRC):

Since the creation of DPRC two years ago, its main purpose has been to bring consumers added value with high-performance packaging in every country, as well as to propose sustainable packaging solutions. From ideas to real possibilities, from prototypes to industrial products, DRPC proposes solutions that meet consumer expectations and fulfil Danone's commitment to sustainability.

Alex Orchard, R+D director global dairy platform at Danone:

Personalisation and digital will continue to improve; these aspects give manufacturers more data and information about their consumers and provide users with further ways to engage with and trust brands. We tend to have a number of six to nine-month trends that we are monitoring. Speed and accuracy are essential when reacting to a trend or shift in the market.

Lars Lundquist, senior R&D expert in packaging and environmental sustainability at Nestlé:

End of life is important, and understanding how a product can be recovered or recycled will continue to influence consumer purchasing. While in the past it might have been enough to simply say sustainability, it is now important to demonstrate what this entails and make this clear to consumers. Sustainability and end of life are two of the big trends to watch in 2016.

Sahab Satsangi, packaging manager at GSK:

The pharmaceutical industry is gearing up for compliance to serialisation legislation; so tracking, tracing and transparency are the watchwords for 2016.

Shane Monkman, head of packaging at ASDA:

Shelf impact, material weight and waste reduction will continue to drive focus in 2016 for retailers.

Chet Rutledge, director of packaging private brands at Walmart:

A major trend in 2016 will be e-commerce. There will be increased growth in connectivity. Activity across the digital landscape will impact digital print, consumer engagement or legislation.

Nawal Ait-Hocine, CSR director at Cartier and Richemont:

Consumers are becoming more environmentally aware and continue to be better connected to the global market via social media, so sustainability is growing as an area of focus within the luxury sector. While the FMCG industry has been under pressure to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, luxury brands are catching up. They're switching from plastics to paper, achieving sustainable packaging coalition status and addressing a growing trend towards responsible luxury, which will grow in 2016.

April Crow, global director of environment and sustainability at the Coca-Cola Company:

Personalisation and material reduction will be key trends. Personalisation is tied to digital. Whether it's a pallet barcode, batch label or something totally different, we are all using it. We just might not be calling it digital. Different companies have different uses for it, which is why we don't realise that we are all using digital methods in some form or another.

We did not set out to implement digital; it was simply the best way to give us what we needed. For example, printing song lyrics instead of names on bottles - marketing has been able to do something a little bit different using the same process and supply chain to deliver it. Digital can help unlock creativity, but you need the good idea and good technology to enable you to realise it.

It took 18 months to bring digital into our labels. At the scale employed in Coca-Cola labels, we needed to make sure everything worked smoothly ahead of the creation of almost three billion labels.

Graham Fox, packaging operations manager at Innocent:

There's a major trend towards automation in packaging, but the difficulty lies in recruiting fully trained packaging engineers. Automation refers to factory production lines, but like other industries, packaging is experiencing automation across disciplines. The advantages are clear: machines can generally carry out routine tasks faster and at a cheaper cost. Automation can lead to greater efficiencies of scale, with the added and clear benefits of consistency and transparency. There is the accompanying fear that jobs will be lost. Beyond personal interests, the fear extends to the loss of quality and creativity.

The second trend we are seeing is in convenience, getting the right size and material to complement the package.

Gaelle Leray, global packaging director at Bacardi:

In the ready-to-drink (RTD) market, the most convenient format of the packaging is important, while in the super-premium category, the provenance, quality and authenticity of the product is more so. A growing trend is engagement with digital media. With developments in responsible sourcing and sustainable development, it is important to educate consumers, and one of the simplest ways to do so is with smart phones or interactive technology. But you can't have a conflicting message directed at the RTD market on-pack if these are not also the consumers of your super-premium product, as consumers identify with the brand message. Our approach is to take a holistic look at the supply chain to ensure that we use the best package.

The main innovation is technical, mainly in packaging development, but also in decoration. Predictive modelling allows us to see what a bottle will look like, drives faster decision processes and optimises weight to suit the design and supply chain.

Bruno Guillemat, head of packaging at Pernod Ricard's Research Centre (CRPR):

Packaging development lies in the premiumisation of packs, as well as sustainable development. Pernod Ricard thinks about how to combine these trends. Packaging must follow the change in consumer habits and be user-friendly. The CRPR will continue to focus on monitoring and sharing ideas to identify technological opportunities and innovative packaging solutions, provide technical support to subsidiaries to speed up processes and set up transversal project teams to acquire new and improved knowledge.

Hakon Langen, senior packaging innovation manager at Carlsberg:

The four leading trends we expect to see continue in 2016 are premiumisation, convenience, sustainability and individualism. The sustainability trend will continue to grow in 2016, while new technologies will improve the performance of packaging materials. Consumers will also see many more customised packaging launches.

Klaus Hartwig, head of product technology at Nestlé Waters:

There are many trends that will impact packaging development in 2016. The importance of hydration, the ageing population, single-person households, increased mobility and the need to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging are some of the most important. Health awareness is driving the substitution of sugary drinks with water, which has an impact on the size, format and points of sale.

Philippe Thuvien, packaging and development director at L'Oréal:

Attractive designs are essential to differentiate new products. However, they must be delivered in a sector that is paying more attention to costs. In emerging markets, millions of new consumers are beginning to see their incomes increase, allowing them to buy cosmetic products; provided that these are adapted to their needs, culture and purchasing power. Meanwhile, because of the economic downturn, many consumers in developed countries are reducing their expenses. We are expecting a large increase in targeted beauty routines, as well as increased growth in pollution-resistant skin and beauty care - in China and Brazil for example. Sustainable packaging material is another major trend in 2016.

Satvinder Dhillon, head of packaging developmentat Lucozade Ribena Suntory:

The big trends will be decided by consumer insight and research, as we would never seek to anticipate or assume what our customers want. In terms of wider trends in 2016, two of the bigger ones to watch will be size and format of packaging. What is convenient for one consumer might not necessarily be for another, and we have to understand the basis of the need to ensure we provide the best possible packaging fit.

Ivan Menezes, CEO at DIAGEO

We are seeing two leading trends in the industry at the moment. In millennial consumers, we see a lot of multitasking, multi-experiencing, scanning and filtering; there is a demand for experimental, transient categories, and a varied repertoire. There is also a focus on the digitally savvy millennial mindset, with consumers connected to virtual communities but still on a personal quest to be individual.

These consumers are looking to discover brands that break the mould but are built on a reliable and authentic core.

The other important dynamic to take note of is the emerging middle class. There is significant growth in this group and, within it, premium spirits and mainstream spirits are under-penetrated. There is a real runway for the growth of spirits in this group. And this forms part of a major part of our strategy.

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