Mar 25 | 2019
Over the past year, the global packaging industry has seen a number of leading megatrends in the global packaging industry. We delve in to find out more about them
The digital transformationIn 2018, the use of digital printing machines surpassed the use of flexo for the first time, signalling a turning point for the industry. With digital printing only set to continue in the future, we’re sure this is not only a trend that is here to stay, it’s the way forward for the industry.
Many major food production companies are increasingly turning to digital printing presses for packaging. It enables individualised, personalised packaging and has already proven its effectiveness in attracting customers and increasing brand loyalty. Do you recall these major campaigns?
- Coca-Cola’s personalised name cans #ShareaCoke
- Frito-Lay’s portrait packs #SmileWithLays
- Bud Light’s NFL branded beer cans
In 2019, the industry is continuing to introduce new digital innovations in production.
With digital label printing directly onto the package eliminating one step in the manufacturing process and thus significantly reducing costs, it’s in great demand. In 2018, it practically replaced the sticker.
Barcode technology and QR codes integrated with packaging machines is another benefit. This enables you to print directly on the package at the time of product packing, which greatly improves performance and reduces costs.
Digitalisation not only affects individual machines and technological processes, it can change entire production lines with artificial intelligence. “Using artificial intelligence, we want to make self-learning and self-optimising systems that will be easier to manage, therefore making the work more efficient and profitable,” said Matthias Schopp, Head of Engineering Systems at German company KHS.
Digital technologies bring with them not only new business opportunities, but also risks. Now, packaging manufacturers need to invest to keep up with competitors and meet the growing needs of the market.
Sustainable packagingThe second megatrend of 2019 is sustainability.
With awareness of environmental issues growing, recycling and reducing waste has become a major concern for many consumers. Many are contributing to the fight against litter and packed landfills by choosing recyclable or biodegradable packaging and avoiding anything packaged in non-recyclable materials.
Russia has an acute problem with waste disposal, which it is making small steps to tackle. On 1 January 2019, the Federal Law on Production and Consumption Waste came into force, obliging producers and importers to recycle goods and packaging or pay a recycling fee. This year, separate rubbish collection was also introduced in the Moscow Region, and consumers are increasingly paying attention to recyclable packaging.
This sea change is something the industry cannot ignore and even offers an opportunity for exciting innovations in packaging. This global challenge for the industry has already seen manufacturers produce biodegradable packaging made of starch or plant-based materials, and even reusable packaging.
E-commerce growthThere’s no denying that e-commerce is on the rise, eMarketer reports a 22% increase in global e-commerce sales in 2018 totalling $2.8T and that’s set to rise another 75% by 2021 to reach $4.9T. With that comes a growth in demand for packaging solutions.
What’s needed? Light materials to reduce costs, attractive packaging to boost customer experience and retention, and solutions that are easy to open and return if need be. There will be a heavy focus on packaging that can fulfil these demands as e-commerce continues to go from strength to strength.
Subscription boxesSubscription boxes have been a huge success in recent years, with many companies offering a monthly goody-box full of new surprises for their customers from cosmetics to food, comic books to video games.
What does this mean for the packaging industry? Not to mention a rise in packaging volumes, subscription boxes bring with them a challenge to create beautiful and eye-catching designs that are an extension of the brand and the contents within.
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