PRIMIR Packaging Study Identifies Global Mega Trends
• A reduced product-topackage ratio strives for packaging inside of the box being reduced, thus allowing for packages with smaller footprints;
• The increased use of recycled content in packaging;
• Cube utilization such as the use of trays and shrinkwrapping around larger quantity products like bottled water and canned goods; and,
• Packaging material sustainability.
Folding cartons and corrugated segments will be most affected by reductions in packaging materials and sizes of the packages. For example, the move from full-boxes to plastic wrapped trays will reduce the amount of corrugated used. On the other hand, flexible packaging will move to thinner substrates (providing a bright spot for press manufacturers as newer presses are better suited to handle these materials). Finally, label use will be negatively impacted as rigid containers convert to flexible packaging.
Government regulations are expected to take center stage as the new administration looks at potential new legislation. Pending is the Employee Free Choice Act, which would amend the National Labor Relations Act to make it easier for employees to form unions. Many experts are concerned that this legislation will drive more product manufacturing outside of the United States. If that were to occur, it would likely be harder for U.S. converters to compete with the pricing of offshore packaging sources.
Sustainability-related regulations also may have a direct influence on packaging in the years to come.
Regulating greenhouse emissions (Cap and Trade) is of concern to converters as no one knows what this will cost and how it will affect manufacturing operations. Also unknown is how recycling will impact substrates.
Will the cost of recycling balance the yields obtained? As the FDA gains greater power, the organization is expected to extend the use of warnings on tobacco packaging.
These warnings would be much larger— so large that it could mean fewer graphics and changing printing requirements. The PRIMIR study implies that it is possible some food and tobacco-related packaging will move to black-and-white as a result of these new regulations.