Market Trends

| 28 September 2012

7 new trends in packaging in fast moving consumer goods

Packaging between simplicity, story-telling and masstige. Why in consumer goods some products go un-noticed, while others leave the mark, and packaging can make the difference. Packaging, the silent salesman, adds value to the relationship and dialogue between brands and consumers: originally conceived as a medium to contain and preserve products, it has broadened more and more its functions, which have come to include protecting, identifying, differentiating, displaying, saving space, and most of all communicating. Packaging is a key element of the marketing of a brand, and has to be designed keeping in mind market trends on one side, and brand essence on the other side.

Each brand has its own essence which translates into the choice of a specific packaging, but market trends impact on all packaging, being it designed for luxury brands or value brands, industrial brands or private labels, global brands or local brands, national brands or niche brands. If we observe the packs of new consumer products that have been launched in the last 3 years, we identify seven main trends:

  1. SIMPLICITY
  2. AUTHENTICITY
  3. REDUCING
  4. STORY TELLING
  5. HIGH-TECH
  6. VINTAGE
  7. MASSTIGE

Since they are not rules, not all packs obey to all trends; rather, new packaging decisions should be taken considering which are the trends most coherent with the brand.

New packs are simple, clean, easy to read, because their mission is to simplify consumer choice in points of sales crowded by monumental assortments.

Packaging must convey the authentic soul of the brand; whatever the brand, its pack has to communicate to target customers a sense of warmth, genuineness, even human identity. The pack should tell the story of a slow world, of the human beings who have made the products.

Environmental sustainability has become a must-have in packaging: many products have strongly modified their packaging philosophy, going from abundant packs to reduced packs, from over-packaging to under-packaging, but without giving up communication effectiveness. The use of green materials is a component of this trend, which is named with different labels: eco-sustainability, green marketing, environmentally friendly. The common meaning shared by all these expressions is that packs should inflict minimal or no harm on the environment.

In their shopping decisions, consumers are not looking for many information, but rather for relevant information: besides basic data which help understand the product and its intended use, they want to know what is behind, why the product should be unique, if it is an ethic product. The material, the shape, the colors, images and text printed on the packs should coherently tell the story of the product and of the brand.

Packaging materials are constantly evolving to meet the latest demands of the marketplace, and are gradually absorbing the new technologies of materials, inks, of preserving, shaping, printing. Bio-bottles, biodegradable films, tough bags, digital inking and printing are a few examples of tech innovations that can add value to a pack.

Some brands are going back to the origin of the product and of the brand, and are revisiting its historical  packs in vintage mood. Vintage packs are old and new at the same time, classic and modern, global and local. Vintage packs pair with story-telling, because they implicitly communicate the glorious story of the past and the time resistance of the brand.

Masstige is a portmanteau of the words “mass” and “prestige” to mean the goal of offering prestige or luxury for the masses. Masstige products and packs are perceived premium but attainable, and they have been able to trade off two elements: (1) they are considered luxury or premium products, and (2) their price tier is positioned between mid-market and super premium prices.