08 February 2018
by Tetra Pak Editorial Team
As many packaged goods companies know, what’s inside the package only tells part of the story. When store shelves are a battleground for winning the heart of consumers, offering a perfect product at the  right  price simply isn’t enough. After all, consumers only spend an average of 12 seconds looking at a whole category of products before making a decision.

This is not much time, so we must develop packaging designs that contribute to the direct recognition of the product positioning, the brand and its values, without being too overwhelming visually amid a plethora of options.

For 2018, we have identified six consumer packaging design trends that could help food and beverage brands create a more powerful visual impact that guides consumers to your products instead of the competition.

Trend 1 – An Honest Portrayal of Origin and Ingredients
What it is: Consumers don’t just read the ingredients when they look at packaging. They also scan the package for information about where products comes from, as well as details about quality and safety, so it’s important that this information be clearly articulated on the packaging.

Why it matters: We see a growing desire for transparency as people are concerned about food safety, and how their food arrives at the table. They are demanding more ethical behavior from producers and more information about their products. A Nielsen sustainability study found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, and 73% of global millennials will pay extra for sustainable offerings.

Trend 2 – Environmental Awareness Is Second Nature
What it is: Growing awareness of environmental issues means consumers now feel guilty when they don’t act responsibly. This means packages that use color themes inspired by nature are expected to perform well in 2018 as they align with their ideals more accurately.

Why it matters: It has to be easy for people to act according to their conscience or they won’t do it. Help in living more sustainably is no longer a value-added feature – companies are expected to act responsibly and showing this awareness through packaging can have a big impact.

Trend 3 – A More Holistic View of Healthy Living
What it is: New and hip combinations of fresh, vibrant colors are expected to resonate with consumers in 2018. While soft and friendly color schemes signal organic and wholesome product categories, the look when used with medicine and chemistry inspired elements creates a contemporary take on functional food.

Why it matters: Regulators and modern consumers alike are taking a much closer look at health issues. Brands can tap this desire by providing packaging for functional foods that can either reduce their risk of disease, and/or promote good health. A Nielsen global health report found that 45% percent of consumers want products fortified with vitamins or minerals, and another 37% seek products and services that help them live healthier.

Trend 4 – Simplifying Life with Geometry and Minimalism
What it is: In a visually noisy environment, consumers are increasingly attracted to simple products with a soothing look. What could be more simple than a basic geometrical design that is easy to spot on the shelf?

Why it matters: Many consumers are stressed and busy. They are on the lookout for new ways to save time – ideas and products that make life easier. A Mood of the World report by Roper Reports Worldwide found that 65% percent of consumers globally said they are stressed because they don’t have enough time. Meanwhile, 63% of consumers surveyed said they are willing to pay more for simpler experiences, according to the Simplicity Indies by Siegel+Gale.

Trend 5: Making Connections with a Human Touch
What it is: Consumers are increasingly looking for products that communicate local, small-scale production, as well as products that convey the appeal of being homemade. Packaging design that appears handcrafted and can communicate this artisanal design with authentic recipes and low-tech style are sure to do well in 2018.

Why it matters: Humans are hard-wired to connect. They constantly see each other’s opinions about which products and services to buy. They also favor brands that interact in a friendly, human manner. Brands that can engage in a compelling, natural way will likely be more successful in creating a lasting, trusted relationship with consumers.

Trend 6 – Making Details That Appeal to All Senses
What it is: Fashion, architecture, art and technology all provide sources of inspiration for creating packaging that can be unique and visually interesting. By paying attention to every detail, a drink can become a holistic brand experience – one that appeals to all the senses.

Why it matters: Today’s consumers crave interaction and expect experiences to be integrated into the whole consumption journey. Offering memorial experiences has become a must. It’s about focusing on the moments that matter most in life.

Putting It All Together
With winning or losing on the store shelf down to just a few seconds with consumers, it’s clearly more important than ever to grab their attention and then keep it. These design trends are just the start of a journey that can help brands turn curious customers into loyal followers. See our full report,  “Look Book 2017,” for more details on the full power of packaging design.

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