2013 Hot Print Markets: Food for Thought, Profit

The year 2013 need not represent an unlucky number for our medium. The no-real-growth and rising-inflation (or stagflation) economy will shake out many printers of the past and provide very substantial opportunities for forward-looking companies crossing over to omni-channel media. Yes, printing has been condensed into a mere channel, and a narrow one useful in but a few hot applications and combinations. Here, for the heroes, are the “who,” “wheres” and “whats” for a clearly happy New Year in the cloud of new media.

At No. 1, packaged foods ($1.15T, +4 percent; with $17.8B to print, +11 percent) is the most appetizing place for print. The expensive, rented by the half-inch, shelf space in supermarkets and other retail outlets hungers for smart printing in-pack, on-pack, near-pack, in-aisle, on-cart, end-aisle, on-shelf, dangling down and topped with near-field QR codes, Augmented Reality and nano-propertied inks and substrates that wink, blink, bubble, scratch and talk. These motivate product purchases and, also in the cart, containers, lids, sleeves, bags, wrappers and labels that are two-thirds of this sector’s print demand.

Highest-performing segments will be healthier snack foods; prepared, ready-to-eat entrées; and small-portion, baked goods/desserts. Kraft’s recent spin-off, Mondelez, promises to “unleash a global snacking powerhouse ” and Campbell’s Go soups in soft pouches are among several hundred totally new brand and packaging launches— most drawn from global cuisines.

If food print doesn’t fill the pressroom, check out No. 6-ranked beverages ($499B, +6 percent; with $10.9B to print, +2 percent) and No. 15-ranked food services ($827B, +3 percent; with $5.9B to print, +5 percent).

Refreshing new packaging shaken and stirred with stand-out point-of-sale will pop in ’13. Honest Kids is one of eight new lines of exotically enhanced, wrapped and labeled juice drinks/teas/waters hitting the shelves and sitting atop mass-merchandise displays. Sponsorship and event print are soaring, or diving as with Red Bull’s recent extreme-skydiving spectacle. The energy drink giant is introducing three new brands along with a mobile, social interactive, AR racing game where the printed can directs the action.

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