Cleaning Up Household Product Packaging

By Maria Ferrante, Senior Director, Marketing and Communications, PMMI

Consumers today seek household products that fit their lifestyle and feature natural ingredients, functionality, convenience and cost. Packaging plays a big role in delivering these consumer desires.

As consumers become more environmentally aware, the household products industry is experiencing a trend toward the use of natural ingredients and “greener” packaging solutions. Sustainable packaging has gained importance to consumers as people become overly conscious about their effect on our planet. Many brands are replacing non-recyclable plastic in their packaging with biodegradable alternatives like paper and hemp.

Reducing or replacing materials in packaging can have many benefits. For example, using fewer materials will lower a product’s weight, requiring less energy to be transported, reducing the carbon footprint and often lowering production costs. According to the Flexible Packaging Market Assessment report produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, manufacturers are looking at starch-based and biodegradable films. These types of non-toxic, biodegradable materials are likely safer for people and the environment.

Transparency also plays a role in terms of labeling and container designs. Some brand owners are including an explanation of product ingredients on their labels. One consumer goods manufacturer of dishwasher pellets participating in PMMI’s Flexible Packaging report has started to package its products with polyether and, in the interest of transparency, includes a label with instructions on how to properly recycle the package.

With an increase in on-the-go lifestyle, consumers look for products that maximize time and efficiency – and they’re willing to spend a bit more if the packaging allows them to have more time in their day. For example, consumers do not want cleaning products requiring two or three rinsing steps; they want convenience and speed.

They also seek products that deliver functional performance at a reasonable cost with pleasing fragrances including some fabric sprays and room deodorizers that now include aromatherapy scents. Convenience, cost and efficacy are top concerns for most consumers. Successful products need to be easy to use, reasonably priced and work right the first time. More brands are also offering on-the-go, travel-sized versions of their products.

In terms of design, brands are going for simplicity. According to research firm Mintel, brands that choose clear, succinct package messaging will resonate with consumers. Stripping a package design down to bare essentials has been a popular choice for a while – and this minimalistic style is expected to maintain its relevance. This focus is partly due to the definitive link between minimalist styles and the reduction of materials. Not only does this cut production costs, but it also makes the brand image popular with environmentally aware consumers.

One trend driving much packaging design these days is eCommerce. As eCommerce increases in popularity, brands will try harder to stand out, impacting packaging designs. Packaging will likely become far more personalized and we will begin to see unusual packaging designs, whether using an innovative gimmick or simply employing more eye-catching designs. PMMI’s Flexible Packaging report sites manufacturers using flexible packaging to create different shaped pouches to catch the consumer’s eye and to draw attention to specific functions of the pouch. Another factor to consider with e-commerce is the total packaging material used – balancing environmental responsibility with product protection.

PACK EXPO East 2020 (March 3-5; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia) provides solutions for brand owners looking for the latest packaging developments in sustainable packaging, functionality and convenience for household products. The regional show offers the opportunity to take a more focused approach, and to more easily pinpoint solutions to their packaging challenges. Produced by PMMI, the three-day event will bring together 7,000 attendees with 400 companies showcasing new. PACK EXPO East attendees will enjoy all the educational and networking opportunities traditionally offered at larger PACK EXPO shows on a compact, more personable scale.

For more information and to register for PACK EXPO East 2020, go to packexpoeast.com.