2024 Will Be a Game-changer for CPG Packaging

Packaging is now a smart, interactive tool that can enhance the consumer experience and contribute to sustainability initiatives and circular economy ambitions. Image courtesy of Avery Dennison.

Packaging is More Than Just a Container for Products

By Vladimir Tyulpin, Avery Dennison’s Market Segment Leader for Premium Packaging Solutions

This is a dynamic and exciting time to be in the packaging and label industry. Trends for 2024 point towards a future where packaging is more than just a container for products — but a smart, interactive tool that can enhance the consumer experience and contribute to sustainability initiatives and circular economy ambitions. From connected products to recyclable materials and reusable packaging models, the future of packaging is poised to be a game-changer in the world of consumer packaged goods (CPG).

In this fast-paced industry, brands and retailers are having to evolve rapidly to meet the needs of the modern consumer who wants quality products that don’t harm the environment. Furthermore, the packaging industry is undergoing rapid transformation as new regulations come into force. One of the key drivers is the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). The PPWR aims to ensure that all packaging in the EU is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030, in line with the EU Green Deal and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan.

As such, we are seeing an acceleration in initiatives and innovations that consider the entire life cycle of products from how products are designed to how they enable circularity, encourage sustainable consumption, and ensure that waste is prevented and resources are kept in the economy for as long as possible.

These new consumer preferences, technological advancements, and market dynamics are leading to key trends that are reshaping the landscape for the year ahead.

With that in mind, we recently launched AD LinrSave™ and AD LinrConvert™, the first generation of decorative linerless solutions enabled by patented micro-perforation technology. Both products are easily integrated into existing equipment, and because they fit up to 80% more labels per roll, mean more efficient runs and fewer changeovers.
These more sustainable, linerless labels follow the April launch of AD XeroLinr DT™, a sustainable, linerless alternative for variable information (VI) labels. According to our Carbon Trust footprinting tool, which measures environmental impact, this range results in a reduction of 30% in CO2 emissions and 40% in water usage.

1. Sustainability by design

We will see a significant shift towards sustainability practices and sustainable solutions in 2024 as brands and retailers are increasingly acknowledging the environmental impact of traditional packaging materials and are actively seeking alternatives.

This surge in awareness has fuelled a growing demand for biodegradable, recyclable materials. Simultaneously, there’s a noticeable emphasis on reducing packaging waste, driving innovations in minimalist and reusable packaging designs. Innovating to create more sustainable products will be crucial to moving the sustainability agenda forward. One key to progress, particularly in economically challenging periods, is ensuring that more sustainable alternatives are as simple as possible for partners to adopt and scale up.

2. Connected packaging

Product digitization is becoming table stakes for CPG companies. Specifically, brands turning their products into connected products by assigning them unique digital IDs using technology like QR codes and radio frequency identification (RFID). Connected packaging allows for a wide range of use cases, from product authentication to a more seamless consumer experience. In addition, product data that is collected throughout the product lifecycle provides brands with actionable insights to improve operations, product quality and marketing strategies.

For example, we recently partnered with Bastille Parfums, a young French company specializing in sustainable and natural fragrances, to leverage RFID sensor technology to track and trace tagged products across its entire supply chain. The partnership includes equipping two Bastille fragrances with a serialized QR code associated with the RFID tag. A single scan of the QR code with a smart device, such as a phone or tablet, will take users to a digital experience to unlock information regarding the origin of ingredients, date of bottling, olfactory values, fragrance composition and sustainability details.

By utilizing the unique digital ID for both the RFID and QR code, the experience provided is unique for every single item. In return, Bastille will benefit from interaction and engagement insights that help them to better understand their customers and identify trends. This new communication channel allows Bastille to create a stronger connection with their customers and reinforce their loyalty with an enriched CRM experience.

Within this context, the humble label, often taken for granted, is quietly performing a crucial role in the consumer experience. Once simply a way to communicate product information, labels have evolved into a powerful marketing and branding tool, capable of capturing attention, building trust, and influencing purchase decisions.

3. Storytelling at the centre

Packaging as a medium to convey the story and the values of the product and the brand will become more important in 2024 as consumers continue to seek brands that align with their own values and beliefs. Storytelling and emotion can include using illustrations, graphics, colors, materials, textures or copy to create a narrative and a mood that connects with the consumers and evokes an emotional response.

Connected to storytelling is the trend of personalization and customization, which can help to differentiate products by building loyalty and trust with the consumers.

The 2023 Make a Mark design projects are a great example of storytelling and personalization in action. Each of the twenty designs from some of the world’s top packaging designers put storytelling and values at their core.

For example, the design studio Lavernia & Cienfuegos from Spain created “EDIT (036)” which combines industrial techniques with artisanal processes in a unique customizable fragrance bottle.

The design incorporates two elements designed with strict sustainability standards: a custom ESTAL glass piece available in five finishes and another piece serving as a cap and bottle base. The latter comes in six forms, resulting in thirty-six potential combinations when paired with six plug geometries. Each option is offered in three materials, each with three finishes, allowing users to personalize their own bottles. In total, there are 40,500 possible combinations to choose from. The bottle features a unique label displaying perfume information, packaged in a sturdy, lined box sealed with a customizable label. Users can personalize the components through a website, viewing and choosing various characteristics for each element.

The Make a Mark design project from Mazarine Pascalie Design in France is an ultra-sustainable, zero-waste packaging collection for facial care products containing no plastic and no unnecessary cardboard, featuring a luxurious, 100% reusable design. NOGASHI is an affordable ecologic skincare concept based on concentrated formulas sold in powder form to dilute with water. The simple range includes three essential steps for face care: cleanser, serum, and cream. The range is made from recycled glass objects in natural colors that are endlessly refillable with additional products for an unlimited lifespan.

Overall, these CPG trends show point to packaging becoming more sustainable, but also tech-savvy and consumer-centric. For brands, it’s time to adapt and innovate; for consumers, the future holds a promise of more mindful, engaging, and dynamic packaging solutions.

About the Author

Vladimir Tyulpin is the Market Segment Leader for Premium Packaging Solutions, Europe, at Avery Dennison. He started at the company ten years ago, and he recently joined the leadership team.  Learn more at www.label.averydennison.com

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