Top Trends in Packaging for 2019


Mintel have just released their highly anticipated Global Packaging Trends 2019 report, which is essential reading for anyone in the packaging industry. Here are the highlights.

Every year, market intelligence agency Mintel releases an influential report into the global packaging industry, highlighting the top trends that are shaping this fast-moving sector. This year, it’s honed these trends down to four, which take in developments in technology, sustainability, consumer demand and innovation.

  1. Connected packaging

One of the biggest developments in retail packaging is the addition of chips, codes and interactive elements that allow the brand to connect directly with the consumer, creating new marketing opportunities to drive engagement and sales. Those elements include digital markers such as ‘Snapcodes’, Near Field Communication (NFC), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Bluetooth and Augmented Reality (AR).

For the brand this offers a chance to connect the consumer to the online space, as well as an opportunity for data collection to improve knowledge of the customer and measure campaign performance. Meanwhile, for the consumer, connected packaging adds value to the shopping experience and provides an online platform to receive promotional offers and discounts.

“With consumers already thinking that recyclable packaging is standard, brands have an opportunity to ride consumer awareness of recycling issues by being part of the solution”

  1. Closing the loop

Of course, sustainability has been high on the agenda for the packaging industry for years, but it’s only recently that increased consumer awareness has driven many companies to push it right to the top. While many brands shout out their commitment to using 100% recyclable materials, claims to include recycled content are still rare, so they now need to improve their use of the circular economy.

According to Mintel’s research, greater clarity on the parts of food packaging that can be recycled is the top factor that would encourage consumers to recycle more frequently. “With consumers already thinking that recyclable packaging is standard, brands have an opportunity to ride consumer awareness of recycling issues by being part of the solution and committing to using recycled material in new packaging,” the report states.

  1. Reinventing the box

Packaging and brand experts both agree that the biggest trend shaping the packaging industry is the rapid rise of e-commerce. With global e-commerce sales reaching more than $2.1tr in 2017 and expecting to reach $3.8tr by 2021, the vast amounts of packaging required to keep up with such consumer demand is affecting all aspects of packaging, from the design of the box to the incorporation of new technology into the supply chain.

This phenomenal rise brings with it a unique set of challenges for the brands, but it also offers a range of marketing and environmental opportunities as companies think about the next generation of packaging, one that provides new innovations in distribution efficiency and sustainable design.

  1. Plastic-free

There’s little doubt that eradicating the use of single-use plastics is now a large priority for any brand. In the UK, plastic pollution is now the most pressing environmental concern, cited by 47% of UK adults as the most important environmental issue.

So there’s currently a huge amount of activity in plastic-free shopping, whether it’s stores offering plastic-free aisles or companies creating new, sustainable forms of packaging, such as the UK dairy brand a2 Milk, which uses 100% recyclable FSC-certified paper-based cartons.

“Brands should act now,” says the Mintel report, “either to ensure a place in emerging plastic-free zones by switching to acceptable pack materials, or by engaging with the debate, clearly explaining the benefits of plastic packaging to their product and addressing plastic pollution concerns with appropriate end-of-life pack solutions.”

Article written by Sam Upton