Food packaging is an essential part of the food value chain. It is ubiquitous, from the small coke bottle to sacks used to ship cereals in international trade. As a result, the global demand for packaging is projected to reach $1.05 trillion by 20241. As we settle into 2022, consumer attitudes towards food packaging are evolving. By keeping abreast of the latest food packaging trends, your business can remain one step ahead.
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The importance of food packaging cannot be overemphasized. Without packaging, the culinary experience would be turned on its head. For example, imagine what drinking a coke would be like without a coke bottle. This goes to show just how important food packaging is.
The following are some of the reasons why food packaging is essential:
Food packaging protects the food from being contaminated. Most customers don’t eat their food immediately after they buy it. With good food packaging, the customer can store the food for later consumption.
Preventing contamination also helps with food shipping. Since packaged foods have a longer shelf life, they can be shipped over long distances. It also makes it easier to handle the food throughout the shipping process.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), businesses should put nutritional information on the package of food2. This helps buyers to understand what goes into the making of the food. For instance, people under a strict diet might need to understand the calorie count of their food and know if the food contains allergens or ingredients they can’t eat for religious reasons.
Food packaging also does a lot for in-store marketing. When a food package is well-designed and eye-catching, it can help with sales. In addition, about 72% of customers say that food packaging design influenced their buying decision3. This makes food packaging the last outreach to customers before making their buying decisions.
The following are some of the food packaging trends to pay attention to in 2022:
Sustainability is very dear to many consumers and is bound to gather more steam in 2022. About 83% of consumers say that sustainability affects their buying decisions4. So, to key into this trend, you have to pay attention to sustainable packaging.
You can do this by shifting to more recyclable materials in your food packaging. For instance, you can switch from plastic to more biodegradable materials like paper or hemp. You can also make the packaging size smaller to save more material and take less space.
Software is eating the world, and food packaging hasn’t been left out. With the aid of technology, businesses can create a virtual experience for their customers. For instance, with tools like Near Field Communication (NFC) and QR Codes, businesses can give customers access to more information about a product. NFCs can also help with things like tamper protection.
Aside from conveying information, technology can help with the aesthetics of food packaging. An excellent example of this was Budweiser’s Red Light Cup during the 2018 world cup. The cups were fitted with LED lights that grew brighter the more fans cheered for their countries5. With the next version of the world cup holding later this year in Qatar, there are opportunities for similar campaigns.
Transparency is a virtue appreciated worldwide, and food packaging isn’t left out. About 38% of consumers say they are willing to buy a new product with clear packaging6. Companies can incorporate transparency into their food packaging by avoiding fine print and making labels clear.
Businesses can even go a step further by making use of Smart Label. This tool lets companies put a QR code on their product that redirects consumers to a page with information about the food7.
Businesses can even take things literally and have transparent packaging. This helps communicate trust and openness with consumers.
Most consumers feel that businesses are abstract and have no personality. To some, they think they’re just numbers on a spreadsheet for businesses. You can turn this on its head by including personalization in your food packaging. About 70% of marketers believe that personalization substantially impacts customers8.
The reason for this isn’t so hard to guess. Seeing your name or even your face on a product automatically gives you a connection to the product. We can see this in action based on the viral success of Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign9.
Businesses can also target personalization to a specific market segment. For instance, Busch Light Beer cans were designed with outdoor and fisherman themes to appeal to that target audience10.
Customers seeing what they love on a product -- their name, face, or even their hobbies would make them pay attention and bring out their wallets.
Humans love moving around, and taking their food along is a huge plus. You can key into this by making your food packaging more portable. An example of this could be McDonald’s McBike packaging. This allowed bikers to easily transport their burgers, fries, and drinks in a case that could be easily attached to their handlebars.
Minimalism is a trend that is here to stay. Businesses can benefit from this by implementing it in their food packaging design. You shouldn’t overwhelm customers with cluttered labels and overly complicated designs. They would appreciate it better if you showed just important information clearly and concisely. This can also tie into your sustainability projection by showing that your brand eschews excessiveness.
The feeling of nostalgia is good for a reason. It reminds people of times when things were different, and memories were forged.
Utilizing nostalgia in your food packaging can help you attract the attention of prospective consumers. Older people would be reminded of their younger days. This doesn’t leave out younger people, as vintage designs have an air of serenity and wisdom.
You can even get the discussions around your brand going as older people get to tell the next generations of stories of time past. This creates a communal atmosphere with your brand in the spotlight.
Humans are visual creatures, as it is through sight that we’re able to orient ourselves in the world. Sight is also one of the first things that initiate the buying process. Studies have shown that customers buy products within the first minute and a half of observing them11. You need to leave a strong impression through playful colors and designs to take advantage of this.
Using a dull, cookie-cutter color in your packaging design is the best way for your product to get lost in the aisle. Instead, make use of bold, playful colors to stand out from your competition. Another design trend is the use of gradients. This helps to add a bit of complexity, intrigue, and depth to your product’s packaging.
With food packaging projected to be a trillion-dollar industry by 202412, you might be considering throwing your hat in the ring. If this is what you have in mind, the following tips should be of help:
The first step in running a successful business is knowing whether or not the business will succeed. To do this, you need to have a business plan. With a business plan, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business. When you identify the weaknesses of your business, you highlight the ways you can mitigate them.
Having a business plan isn’t just to clear your thoughts on where your business stands. It is also quite helpful when you want to pitch to investors or apply for a loan.
The next step is to choose the specific product or types of products you want to handle for your food packaging business.
When choosing your product, you should consider the packaging requirements. Perishable and non-perishable foods have different packaging requirements. Non-perishable foods are easier and cheaper to package. If it’s perishable, you’ll need to consider the required equipment for preserving the food while it is packaged.
Another thing you should consider is the market size of the food. Some products might have a huge market, but the competition is stiff. This is not a bad omen though. It means that people have generally recognized the value in packaging such products.
Some markets are smaller and niche. These markets aren’t usually crowded. The upside of this is that you have little competition. The downside is that you’re not sure it would be profitable to package the product. You can always start and dominate a niche market; then, you can expand to a larger market.
Finally, it would help to consider whether the product would be profitable to package. You can do this by estimating how much volume you can be expected to sell regularly; then, you deduct your expenses.
After selecting your target product, the next step is to gather resources. The first of these is capital/funding. You can get this from savings, friends, family, investors, or by applying for a loan. In addition to this, you should also work on getting potential suppliers beforehand. This prevents a situation where you set up shop and have no products to start the business with.
Getting a supplier beforehand can also allow you to have an idea of the product’s viability. If it is challenging for you to get a supplier, that should give you a clue of what to expect if you decide to proceed with the product. At this point, you can choose to either pivot to another product or stick to the product.
After getting resources, you should contact a lawyer to help you incorporate your food packaging business. Incorporation is essential as it limits your liability to your business. This means that your personal finances aren’t at risk if things go wrong. Incorporation also makes it easy to get things like loans and even funding from investors.
You should also take note of regulations regarding food packaging. These regulations make sure that the packaged food is up to standard. If you need to get a required license, make sure you get it.
Since you’re trying to do a food packaging business online, using an online store is paramount. You may decide to host your online store using open source tools. However, if you do this, you’ll have to worry about getting traffic to your store.
A better alternative is to use a global marketplace like Alibaba.com. Platforms like these give you access to millions of buyers globally. So, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
One last thing you should do is to differentiate your brand. Have a unique style -- from your logo, and content, to your packaging. Again, if you pay attention to the trends listed in the previous section, you should be able to handle this part of your business.
As a food packaging business, you can access millions of potential businesses that would need your services on Alibaba.com. In addition to accessing potential customers, Alibaba.com also gives you tools to market your food packaging business to potential partners. Open a seller account today to get started.