Research & Reports

Recycling tops packaging trends in 2019

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of plastic packaging, and this is set to continue with Innova Market Insights identifying ‘Recyclable by Design’ as its top packaging trend for 2019.

It stated that media attention around the environmental issues, combined with widespread bans on single-use plastics and the implementation of China’s National Sword Policy, made 2018 “a tipping point for the plastic packaging industry”.

An alliance between food manufacturers, packaging suppliers and waste management agencies is important in achieving the ambitious circular economy and sustainability goals set forth by governing bodies and businesses in 2019, according to Innova Marketing Insights.

In particular, it highlighted clearer labelling, standardised packaging and increasing the recycled content of products could help encourage higher levels of recycling.

From 2014-18, there was a strong average annual growth in food and beverage launches with an ethical packaging claim, with Latin America leading with 33 per cent, followed by North America (19 per cent) and Europe (10 per cent). Paper-based and hybrid plastic alternatives are also on the rise, with a 40 per cent increase in new food launches with paper-based packaging (2018 vs. 2014).

However, convenience remains key, with new product data revealing the number of food and beverage launches with re-closeable or re-sealable closure has experienced an average annual growth rate of 92 per cent from 2016-18.

After Recyclable by Design, other top packaging trends identified by Innova Market Insights were:

  • E-commerce ready: with more consumers shopping online, the landscape for online retail is rapidly changing. Developing packages that provide product protection and tamper evidence, while reducing the environmental impact of shipping materials in the e-commerce supply-chain will prove vital.
  • Nature’s appeal: anti-plastic sentiment and the rising demand for designed-in recyclability have fuelled a resurgence in paper and paperboard packaging. Paper is renewable, recyclable and compostable, and its ‘naturalness’ appeals to the increasingly eco-conscious society.
  • More convenient convenience: consumer convenience continues to be one of the most important attributes to consider, while designing the optimal packaging for a product. Innovations within this area focus on facilitating on-the-go consumption and ease-of-use.
  • Pack to the future: with increasing consumer demand for transparency along the supply-chain, IoT technologies such as QR codes and blockchain have come to the forefront. There has been a rise in the use of near-field communication and augmented reality as tools for increasing brand loyalty through consumer engagement.

Finally, the year ahead is expected to see more lightweight packaging, the growth of bioplastics, personalised packaging, more inclusive and tailored packaging, and reusable packaging.