13 June 2016
By Tetra Pak Editorial Team
Tetra Pak's team carefully considers consumer trends in each new package design. Learn more in this article, which the company's Consumer Intelligence Director, Michela Vallalta, recently contributed to Soft Drinks International.

Package Design Trends in Review

The Food & Drink industry faces the challenge of adapting to changing consumer trends such as the growth of on-the-go consumption, changing demographics and growing interest from consumers in health and concern for food safety and provenance.

Understanding these consumer needs and translating this knowledge into the products of today and tomorrow is critical to the success of a drinks brand. That’s why Tetra Pak® invests in a deep understanding of the consumer through market research. Providing our customers with the packaging solutions which they are going to need tomorrow requires a detailed understanding of how the consumer landscape is going to evolve.

On-the-go consumption

On-the-go consumption is a trend that will continue to drive the global drinks industry in the years ahead as consumers demand more convenient packages to suit busier lifestyles.

Even today, the majority of Tetra Pak packages used by consumers are already in on-the-go sizes. We’ve responded to this need with a range of packages available to suit various customer needs. For example, the Tetra Prisma® Aseptic 330 with DreamCap incorporates a one-step open and re-sealable cap that is proving especially popular in high-value markets such as coconut water and iced coffee.

According to Mintel, food shoppers aged 18-34 are more likely to express interest in packaging that allows food to be eaten on-the-go. This finding is consistent with Millennials’ on-the-go lifestyles and strong interest in snacking. This offers a major opportunity for beverage brands. Brands can set themselves apart from the competition by using package designs that suit on-the-go consumption by including features such as innovative caps or by choosing a design that is ergonomic to handle.

The impact of changing demographics

The world’s food and beverage industries face the challenge of feeding more people today than at any point in history.In fact, the world’s population is expected to rise to 9.7 billion by 2050.

Economic growth, urbanisation and rising disposable incomes in developing countries are all driving demand.

More than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 per day. At least 80% of people live on less than $10 per day.  These consumers represent a golden opportunity for the industry. Today’s low-income consumers in developing countries are tomorrow’s middle classes and these consumers have aspirations to buy the brands that today are unaffordable to them.

This creates opportunities for brand owners to develop and package products differently; for example by considering how special low-cost packaging such as the Tetra Fino® Aseptic can make branded products available for the first time in what we at Tetra Pak call the “affordable one coin” market.

An equally important demographic impact and one of particular importance in Europe and North America is the trend for ageing consumers - the world’s population aged 60 or over is expected to more than double by 2050 and triple by 2100. Research shows that handgrip strength declines by approximately 20% from the age of 40 through to 65. 

This will result in major changes in the beverage and packaging industry. For example at a very simple level, reduced arm and handgrip strength may limit the market for very large packages. Yet even within smaller sizes, this demographic impact will still demand changes. For example the Tetra Prisma Aseptic is especially popular with older generations as the contoured side-panels increase grip, whilst the Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge range incorporates an angled top, which allows more space for the fingers, making the cap easier to grip.

Similarly, our latest investment in one-step caps and closures is specifically designed to make packages easier to open—the HeliCap notably is designed to offer a great grip with a clearly visible tamper evidence ring, making our packages more accessible to older consumers. Brands today can respond to changing demographic impacts such as older consumers by offering package designs that are designed to be accessible and easy to use.

Rising interest in health and concern for food safety and provenance

Across all markets, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of branding and design in meeting the challenge of consumer concern for food safety and provenance. Our latest research shows that nearly forty-five percent of developing market consumers agree that understanding where and how a product is made is a priority in making a purchase decision. This impacts package design, such as creating space and design for effective labelling.

One final trend to watch is consumer interest in healthier and added-value products. Research shows that demand for healthy and added-value products are forecast to grow, with drinkable yogurt set to expand by $13 billion by 2020. Additionally, 34% of energy drink launches in the U.S. from 2015-2016 featured a functional claim. This trend offers brands the opportunity to develop new products and pack them in different and innovative ways, thereby driving growth.

Package design therefore is not static and brands need to constantly evaluate their existing package designs to make sure that they are responsive to changing consumer needs. Our research demonstrates that consumers require better designs that are more adapted to current consumer needs than ever before. What is also clear is that the package design can be as important as the beverage itself in making a product a hit and this is something all brands need to take to heart as they target the opportunities of tomorrow.

Learn more about package design trends

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