We’ve just returned from Chicago where we exhibited at the PACK EXPO International 2016 show. In the few days since, we’ve been able to reflect on the experience and our takeaways from the tradeshow floor, including the latest packaging innovations and the ways in which our customers’ needs and demands continue to evolve. Read on for some of the major packaging trends that stood out to us during our visit to the Windy City.
- Labeling technologies are in high demand. In fact, Packaging World tweeted from the event that “labeling is the most in-demand technology for attendees” at this year’s show. They’re definitely on to something. From label wraps that block UV light to specialty inks, such as thermochromic (those that change color with temperature) or photochromic (those that change color with exposure to light) options, the packaging industry is abuzz with new and interesting ways to make packaging labels speak to potential customers while on the shelves and extend product shelf life. We expect to see an increased demand for more of these creative labeling techniques, including tactile, glow-in-the-dark and other inks.
- The sustainability focus is expanding. “Going green” has been a major focus of many packaging manufacturers for a while now, and at PACK EXPO we confirmed that this trend will continue. But understanding the consumer focus on sustainability will be even more important in 2017, as today’s educated and earth-conscious consumers become more mindful of not just what happens with the package after use, but the carbon footprint resulting from the production of the packaging to begin with. This means earth-friendly production practices and streamlined supply chain operations that cut down on waste will soon go from a “nice to have” to an essential characteristic of packing production — and consumers will demand it.
- Millennials are still the demographic to target. A recent Mintel report indicated that close to 79 million (nearly 25% of the U.S. population) are 21 to 39 years old. Hence, the Milliennial generation has become — and will remain — a major focus for businesses in a myriad of industries, including packaging manufacturers. At PACK EXPO, we saw a marked increase in products aimed specifically at this market segment, and in interesting ways. Expect to see “grab-and-go” convenience make an even bigger impact in 2017, along with single serving portions that appeal to the always-on-the-move mentality of the younger consumer.
We’re excited to see how these trends play out in the coming months and throughout 2017. Be sure to check back to the Greiner Packaging blog often as we continue to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry trends and events affecting the packaging industry.