The 5 Trends Driving the Rapid Evolution of Packaging
"Packaging is one of the only growth areas in graphic communications," Harvey Levenson, professor emeritus at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), said during a recent packagePRINTING webinar. "The supplement of television, online and outdoor advertising and what they're promoting all enhance the need for packaging."
In fact, out of the 37 different industry segments in printing, publishing and packaging identified by Cal Poly, packaging is experiencing the most growth, despite competition from other media.
Levenson was joined by Carl Joachim, co-founder and CMO of ePac; and Chris Habets, business development manager, energy and sustainability at Nortec, to discuss the "5 Key Trends Driving Packaging’s Future" during a webinar hosted by packagePRINTING and sponsored by Nortec Humidity Ltd.
1. All segments of the packaging industry experiencing growth.
This first trend was addressed by Levenson, who explained that packaging has proven to be an opportunity for commercial printers. With the increase in digital technology and short runs, more printers are able to enter the packaging field and present consumers with solutions to their needs.
Levenson provided some growth projections, including a statistic from Printing Industries of America that projects the packaging industry will grow more than 12% from 2016 to 2024.
However, competition from commercial printers entering packaging and the possibilities of "international trade wars" resulting in higher paper and packaging costs could be of concern to those in the packaging industry.
2. Packaging is evolving to meet consumers' lifestyle needs.
Joachim followed up on Levenson's growth trend by explaining that much of the growth in packaging is driven by consumer needs. He broke down some of the key demographic trends, including more people living alone and concern for the environment, which in turn impacts consumer lifestyles – smaller portion sizes, buying local and more natural products – driving CPG brands to offer products and varieties that fit the consumer lifestyle and, finally, necessitating packaging to meet the needs of the products.
3. Technology advancements in digital and conventional package printing.
"While short runs are on the rise, high-volume, long run printing still accounts for a large percentage of packaging output," Cory Francer, Editor-in-Chief of packagePRINTING explained, when discussing the third trend driving packaging's future.
It's clear that conventional is still the best option for longer runs, however, the industry is rapidly changing, he said. Because of this, he explained that it is important to use your assets for what they're best suited for.
4. The expanding role of interactive packaging.
"As you know, your cellphone is your access to the world," Levenson said, as he began his discussion on the fourth trend.
Levenson described the variety of interactive, or "intelligent," packaging and it's role in the consumer lifestyle. In some cases, the packaging doesn't have to just employ technology, the packaging can become the technology, he explained. As consumers engage with packaging, the potential for a sale increases.
"The statistics show that interactions grow sales," he said.
5. Humidification can help meet sustainability goals.
Habets lead the discussion in a direction that many printers and converters deal with on a daily basis: the role of technology and processes in the effort to increase sustainability.
He explained that ideally, every printer should be using a humidification system in one of the following forms: electric, pressure steam, gas-fired or evaporative. Habets explored some real world examples of humidification costs across the U.S. and it's impact on costs and sustainability efforts.
To hear the full analysis of trends driving the packaging evolution, listen to the full webinar here. Or, to explore some of the other educational webinars offered by packagePRINTING, visit our webinar archive.