Packaging With Added Value Creates Competitive Advantages
Market research institute Mintel has published the global packaging trends for 2023. The study examines which macro-environmental factors will influence the packaging industry.
More than just a green snack: those who buy baked peas from the U.S. brand Harvest Snaps can have their own music inspired by the snack composed by TikTok via the QR code on the packaging. Market researcher Mintel included this example in its Global Packaging Trends 2023 study to highlight the importance of technological factors to the packaging industry. When companies and packaging manufacturers combine materials, components, and digital technologies to create a shopping and user experience, they can gain a significant competitive advantage, according to a statement in the study. Using PESTEL analysis, a framework for evaluating and reviewing macro-economic factors that influence industries, the study authors examined trends that are impacting the packaging industry.
Dr. Benjamin Punchard, Global Packaging Insights Director at Mintel, analyzed the political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal factors impacting the packaging industry in the areas of evaluation, planning, and decision making. “The decision to use the PESTEL analysis was based on the fact that there are an unusually large number of external influences affecting packaging innovation and the entire packaging supply chain at the moment. Against the backdrop of environmental pressures, conflict in Ukraine, global inflation, social issues, legal challenges, extended producer responsibility, and other influences, packaging is having to navigate new and more difficult routes to market.”
Many consumers would expect companies to match products and packaging to their purchasing power and give a clear picture of their financial value, the study found. “Companies can differentiate themselves from the competition through packaging that adds financial value, and they can do so without compromising quality, convenience, freshness, safety, and environmental friendliness.” For example, if a packaging film is proven to extend the shelf life of a product, he says, this is an added value that should be appropriately stated as such on the packaging. In the case of food, claims about healthy eating can add value because many people care about healthy eating, he says.
Packaging Shows Equity
Transparency and accurate origin information on packaging will also be more important in the future. From food availability and ethical sourcing to fair payment and responsible use of water. Consumers want to know more about the products they buy and the companies they buy from.
However, companies and packaging manufacturers should not only highlight their achievements and strengths, but also be upfront about what their weaknesses are and how they plan to address them, Punchard says. “Consumers want clear, transparent labeling and are particularly concerned with what the claims mean for the greater good. In the future, packaging will paint a clear picture of a company’s equity, and that increasingly includes social and environmental capital.”
Also of relevance, he says, are laws: new regulations on the use of plastics and materials that contribute to environmental pollution and endanger health will impact consumers. Therefore, to stay ahead of the competition, companies need to have a good knowledge of current and future legislation related to plastics, PFAS and EPR, he says.
“Consumers will look to legislation that benefits the environment. There will most likely be further bans, which will put significant cost pressure on manufacturers in their efforts to comply and find suitable, albeit more expensive, alternatives,” Punchard says.