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Brand Challenges for the Global Packaging Industry


The global packaging industry is growing. There is a lot to discuss around global issues in branding and packaging. When it comes to the business of packaging, it is vital for brands to deliver an experience that delights consumers, while at the same time engaging consumers on a more personal level. To achieve this, there are key challenges that consumer packaged goods (CPG) face in terms of consumer needs and packaging innovations. Marketers need to be aware of them when developing packaging. The future of global packaging has several trends you should keep an eye on. Outlined here are the biggest challenges in packaging today.

Mintel, the international market intelligence agency, has identified six key trends in the global packaging industry:

  1. Increased use of digital print to create hyper-personal experiences.
  2. Preference for clean-label messaging that improves purchasing confidence by enhancing brand transparency.
  3. Move towards flexible packaging and next-generation hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits.
  4. Acceptance that packaging cannot simply be “green”, it must also be eco-responsible.
  5. More focus on size relevance as it relates to use.
  6. Customized apps that support packaging in a way that is “mobile engaged”.

According to the research presented by Mintel, these trends and models were subject to in-depth analysis and identified using comprehensive market, consumer, and competitive data. Mintel researchers also provided examples of leading brands along with their packaging services that operate according to these trends.

Evolution of Digital Print

Until recently, retailers, and brand owners have predominately used digital package printing for personalization and limited edition runs. For example, Coca-Cola was one of the first to utilize economic advantages and  speed-to-market for “mainstream package decoration.” With the company’s highly successful campaign Share a Coke, first names were used on labels which allowed Coca-Cola to connect with consumers on a more personal level. The US and China were their primary markets, with approximately one in five US millennials and about 25% of Chinese consumers stating they were content with paying more for soft drinks that included personalized packaging.

Clean-label Messaging

Clean-label messaging improves brand transparency - literally and figuratively. Clean-label messaging relies on easy to read, simple to follow ingredient information directly on packaging. For instance, in the UK, research shows that 76% of consumers are concerned about artificial preservatives additives in their food products and if they can’t find the relevant information on the packaging, chances are they won’t buy the product.

Flexible Hybrids

Flexible packaging and pouches are considered a compromise. Close to one third of consumers today associate flexible packaging with a more modern and contemporary approach. As a result of this, a large number of brands have seized the opportunity to use flexible  packaging “decoration” to support extremley successful marketing campaigns. Although many food brands have used flexible packaging since 2010 – predominately in the form of stand-up pouches, Mintel predicts that innovative and forward thinking brands will use “next generation” options that combine both rigid and flexible packaging. In addition to delivering a very effective shelf presence, both offer environmental and functional benefits.


Consumers are increasingly demanding eco-friendly packaging. Among the biggest industry challenges is cost. Along with the desire to be responsible environmentally, there is often a reluctance from consumers to pay more for it. Furthermore, very few consumers fully understand the process of package recycling and the implication that come along with it. Even less consumers understand what to do with compostable packaging. Even so, Mintel estimates that 63% of US consumers are committed to packaging that is reusable or recyclable.


Believe it or not, size does matter to consumers. While larger families recognize value in larger container sizes for certain products, such as milk, a large percent recognize value in smaller containers. For example, 39% of UK consumers prefer smaller bottles for their alcoholic beverages. There is also extremely high demand for small trial-pack sizes for products such as healthy snacks. In 2015, Kelloggs was one of the first brands  to launch a downsizing strategy for its cereal-snack products such as Special K Moments. Since then, other brands followed suit to meet consumer needs for “right-sized” packaging.

Mobile Apps

Mobile-engaged packaging is the most revolutionary type of packaging available today. Mobile interactions have come a long way since augmented reality experiences and early text codes. Today Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and near-field communication (NFC) are amongst the newest innovation features.

Quality Packaging Specialists International stays ahead of industry trends and can help navigate a range of different industries with brand challenges. If you would like to discuss our packaging services or learn more about our supply chain solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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