Culture change drives packaging innovation

TRENDAFRiCA January 27, 2014

Packaging and new product trends for 2014, across the consumer packaged goods markets globally, reveal the increasing use of vegetables in unique formulations; a growing focus on ‘extreme’ flavours; an emphasis on ‘clean’ ingredients and sustainability; and packaging innovation driven by changing consumer lifestyles. Publishing Editor of TREND., Louise Marsland, unpacks the latest new product, design and packaging trends in her weekly Shelf Life column on partner site, MarkLives.com.

1.       Content shopping: Rakuten, one of the largest ecommerce marketplaces and owner of Play.com, says shoppers are looking for a richer, more personal shopping experience, as the growth of ecommerce changes shopper behaviour globally, reports Digital Strategy Consulting. In 2014, global ecommerce sales are expected to top $1.4 trillion for the first time, as more consumers use mobile and tablet devices to shop. “The lines between entertainment and shopping are blurring further and 2014 will see more retailers offer shoppers a richer, content-led shopping experience. Savvy retailers are using multimedia content to make the shopping experience more engaging.”

2.       Veggie variety: New US yogurt flavour, Blue Hill, has launched an extensive range of vegetable flavours that offer yogurt lovers the world’s first savoury yogurt to help consumers boost their veggie consumption. This product is the Datamonitor Consumer Product Launch Analytics innovation of the week. This “all-natural” product is made with the milk of 100% grass-fed cows, and comes in the following veggie variants – butternut squash, beet, carrot, tomato, sweet potato, and parsnip. It can be eaten the usual way, but also added as an ingredient in salad dressings or used as a condiment.

3.       Hyper targeting: Apple’s launch of iBeacon in 2013 which allowed precise, low-cost indoor tracking in stores, means retailers can target shoppers in store in real-time with relevant and personalised location-based offers, reports Rakuten via Digital Strategy Consulting. “In 2014 retailers will begin to take this proposition more seriously. We expect to see a number of high profile trials of hyper-targeting technology as retailers grapple to deliver the highly personalised experience that shoppers now expect online in their high street stores.”

4.       Slow energy: Research that suggests cutting down on carbohydrates can help weight loss and sufferers of diabetes or prediabetes, and that low GI foods are preferable to high GI, is driving interest worldwide in products delivering ‘slow release’ or ‘sustained’ energy. Although many companies are thinking about slow energy and blood glucose control in relation to diabetes, in fact the biggest opportunity for the food and beverage industry lies in providing sustained energy to the mass market, says Foodbev.com.

5.       Health halo: Products that are “naturally healthy” can give products in this category a “health halo”, leading to a significant increase in sales, reports Foodbev.com. Examples include, coconut water where sales in the US surged from zero in 2007 to $390 million on its “naturally healthy” and “nothing added” image; almond milk sales have risen from zero in four years to $497 million due to the nutritional profile that all almond products have in the minds of consumers, a veritable “health halo”; and then Canadian maple water is expected to be a growth area in the next five years for the same reason.

6.       Go green: Bioresins and plant-based packaging continue to come to market, but the twist here, says Landor, is that manufacturers are giving consumers extra product benefits by finding innovative uses for biological packaging. “The potato starch and paper container from Veuve Clicquot is not only 100% biodegradable and recyclable, it also insulates the bottle, keeping it cool for up to two hours. Many brands have zero-waste options in the works, such as edible rice paper food wrappers and packaging that washes away in water.” Then there is the Dutch company that sells light bulbs with packaging that can turn into a lampshade!

7.       Natural touch: Landor also predicts that since consumers want to know the origin of their food and what is in it (remember the horsemeat scandal?!), that food brands will roll out packaging that “communicates simplicity, purity, and natural origins” with “beautifully photographed, fresh-looking ingredients”.

8.       Repackaging online: One overlooked area where packaging is also on show, is online. In an article in Packagingnews.co.uk Perception Research Services VP Europe, Herve Turpault, says poor quality pack images can be spotted on e-tailer sites. “Shoppers sometimes have difficulty gauging quantities online, as small packages look similar to larger ones. There are certainly opportunities to ‘rethink’ packaging in an online context.”

9.       Transparency: Food ingredients are not the only category that consumers are hammering brands to be transparent in. Sustainability is another. It is not enough to proclaim packaging or brands to be ‘green’ – that is a given now and expected. Consumers are more sceptical and want to know more – they want proof and that has to be communicated on the packaging and in all brand communication. This comes through in almost every trend predictions article.

10.   Portability: According to Fooddive.com, consumers want new delivery systems and packaging for their food so they can multitask, like eating breakfast while commuting. This has led to new disposable, single-use packaging solutions such as re-sealable pouches or edible packaging.

11.   Just-in-time purchasing: Hard times have meant that consumers globally are reassessing budgets and there is less “pantry loading” taking place on shopping trips and more “just-in-time” purchasing behaviour which means that express retail formats and smaller, easier-to-carry packs with smaller price points are needed, reports Packagingdigest.com. A case in point is the extension of major retailers like Woolworths locally, to the garage forecourts for convenience and “top-up shopping”.

12.   Portable tillpoint: At global consumer technology trade show, CES 2014 in Las Vegas, The Griffin’s Merchant Case + Square Reader have collaborated to launch ‘The Griffin’s Merchant Case,’ which enables credit card swiping and storage from an iPhone case itself at CES 2014, as TREND.hunter.com explains. The Griffin Case is like a cash register in your pocket! The nifty accessory will be beneficial for retail merchants and interactive businesses around the globe, optimising portable sales.

13.   Single serve: Packagingeurope.com reports that single serve portions are on the rise in the UK and Europe, driven by more people living alone and busy, fragmented eating times.

14.   Braai banter: Also on show at CES 2014, Lynx Grills debuted its Smart Grill which is connected to WiFi and allows the user to cook their food to their exact specifications simply by talking to it, reports TREND.hunter.com. Upon initial use, the user is asked a few questions and the grill figures out the best way to cook your food. It even figures out all the little things like cook time and what should go where for maximum satisfaction. AND it remembers the way you cooked your food before! The grill also shuts off after 30 minutes of not hearing any instruction, so you don’t need to worry about the house burning down if you get distracted…


* This column was first published on MarkLives.com here, for Louise Marsland’s weekly Shelf Life column, appearing every Thursday on MarkLives.com.



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