PRIMIR Packaging Study Identifies Global Mega Trends
The packaging industry is also impacted by the drive toward a greater emphasis on food safety. The ability to track and trace ingredients is desired and packaging/labeling will play a big role in this effort. In general, labeling will become more varied as the government requires more and more information displayed regarding food ingredients. Sodium content, for example, will be the focus of much attention, resulting in new designs, more components and more print work to change label contents.
A third major trend identified by the PRIMIR study is high energy costs. Working in conjunction with sustainability efforts, there is a drive to produce packaging with a smaller footprint and lighter-weight packaging in general.
Because of the high energy costs involved, it is entirely possible that there will be a shift in substrates, with paper replacing plastics in some arenas, for example. The PRIMIR packaging study also evaluated various scenarios that could play into the future of packaging. The most likely of those is the “extreme retailer influence,” which assumes that retailers take full advantage of their size and buying power to keep costs at the lowest possible level. “The best for the least” philosophy pits WalMart, Target, major grocery chains and national retailers such as Big Lots and Dollar General against one another. In the battle for market share, graphic packaging and innovative structures will be the primary weapons. This could result in:
• Frequent graphic changes;
• A proliferation of SKUs;
• Greatly expanded private labels;
• Best practices in printing required across the board; and,
• Better graphics and print quality in all sectors.
The increased use of private labels could lead to a promotional push for those labels to be perceived as “better than national brands.” In order to support this drive, packaging will have to be innovative (to match innovative national brand products being introduced).