12 Emerging Innovations and Trends in Food Packaging

Food packaging has a huge influence on customer behaviour, including who buys it, when, where, and why. Smart food packaging is both functional and marketing-friendly. With new consumer preferences comes new trends and innovations.

The food packaging industry has been going through some revolutionary changes as the technology grows more sophisticated. Design is becoming more cutting edge, and even the packaging testing methods have improved significantly. These trends help to make the food packaging industry more efficient and streamlined.

Here are twelve of the emerging trends in food packaging that no food supplier, seller, or manufacturer wants to ignore:

Trend #1: Dimensions

Food packaging can be so dynamic and creating. Your product doesn’t have to come in a rectangular box anymore. Choose packaging of a different shape or dimension that stands out on the shelf. Convenience is something to remember but as long as it fits together well on the grocery store shelf, you can be as creative as you like with the physical packaging design.

Trend #2: Big, bold colors

Big colors on food packaging is another emerging trend in food packaging. Bold, flat colors can make product stand out on the shelf and when it’s incorporated in a strong design layout, acts complementary to the consumer experience. Just ensure to choose a color palette that appropriately shows off the brand and which is industry appropriate.

Trend #3: Eco-friendly packaging

Environmentally sustainable, green, and biodegradable food packaging is an absolute must for any food companies starting out in today’s climate. For any single-use items, recyclable or reusable packaging is a smart approach. Trending in a big way, there’s more paper and biodegradables in food packaging than ever. There are even some making single-use food cutlery and pieces of food packaging from plant-based materials.

Trend #4: Protecting the freshness of food

If you’re selling contents with a very limited sell-by date, freshness is important. Packaging that’s functional and which keeps freshness wins the day. Ensure that whatever you choose for your packaging, it’s built well enough to retain freshness and the expected taste.

Trend #5: QR codes or embedded tech

Trendy tech incorporated into food packaging can help to provide the consumer with more information about a product and a way to connect to your brand. A printed QR code can be enough. Scan it with a smartphone and instantly, the consumer’s directed somewhere with a product’s ingredients, preparation details, and more. For food items, we all want the details of what we’re eating. This is a fast way to get it.

Trend #6: Color-coded product

Branding can sometimes take over packaging with two or three colors in a simple design. In packaging foods however, a lot of brands are color-coding different products. For example, McDonald’s has at times in the past few years color-coded different meals and sandwiches. Essentially, this provides a new brand-friendly identifier for each product.

Trend #7: Portability

If you’re selling food that’s close to a meal of the day or a snack, consider in your packaging design its’ portability. Food packaging that can be easily carried can help consumers make a choice, especially if it’s something they can eat right there and then. If you’re marketing specifically to breakfast, lunch, or supper, this may be your way to getting more attention and sales.

Trend #8: Minimalism

From a design perspective, the biggest trend in food packaging appearance is minimalism. Consumers like simple, whether that’s in the packaging that holds their food or in their home furniture. More are moving away from flamboyance and cluttered design, and more towards clear information, easy visibility for branding, and no extra frills.

Trend #9: Social media sharing

Consumers share a lot on social media. A lot of users are just looking for something interesting to post. With this in mind, food packaging with a chic, trendy looking design and branded with a logo should be share-friendly. You may want to encourage users to share the packaging by including a hashtag or providing a discount for a share. Take into account how shareable packaging. When people post about it on social media, that’s free word-of-mouth publicity.

Trend #10: A clean label

Along with a minimal aesthetic design, the labeling itself some food brands have put enlarged and clean right dead center for the consumer to see. Instead of leaving the ingredients only to fine print, if you’re a health-conscious company with a healthy product, show it off! Healthy ingredients can almost act as keywords, attracting the eye from the right consumer.

Trend #11: Transparency in ingredients

Consumers want to know what they’re eating and rightfully so. This has meant more food manufacturers with packaging that communicates clearly the ingredients used inside the food. Gaining consumer trust can be a process however being honest about what’s in a food, its background, and communicating a level of food safety is a promising approach.

Trend #12: Personalized labels

If you have strong branding already, a major food packaging trend is personalized wording on the front. Coca-Cola has revitalized its sales off incorporating personalized labels, sometimes purchased as a gift or out of humour. The campaign of putting different first names on a Coca-Cola bottle has spread worldwide, spiking sales in a big way. If you are a small food packaging company, for special orders, you may want to look into a way to personalize it.