Packaging Industry Trends 2022
Article by: Pak Factory Jana Iverson
While we only have a few months left of 2022, the year has brought about some interesting trends within the packaging industry.
With e-commerce continuing to be a consumer preference, technological advancement, and sustainability continue to be a priority. The packaging industry has implemented and adapted to various industry trends worldwide.
Let’s dive deeper into what the packaging industry has experienced so far and what the last few months of 2022 have in store for the industry, below!
Melding Technology and Packaging Solutions
Smart packaging does not refer to only one type of packaging; it’s actually an umbrella term for different types of technologically advanced packaging solutions.
Smart packaging offers valuable benefits of security, connectivity and authentication that businesses can easily monitor.
Especially with the pandemic leaving lingering effects worldwide, customers are looking for brands who can monitor and ensure the product they are purchasing and consuming are sanitary and haven’t been tampered with.
Active packaging: designed to interact with the contents inside the packaging to improve its shelf life and/or quality while being stored. Most common in food packaging to enhance shelf life of food.
Intelligent packaging: designed to provide more accuracy in communicating the quality of a product, product safety, and provide more valuable information about the product. Again, becoming more common in food packaging to communicate accurate ‘best by’ dates.
Connected packaging: designed for customer and logistics purposes. Things like QR codes and concealed URLs give customers the opportunity to actively interact with brands more conveniently. For example, Hershey’s was an early adopter of the transparency initiative with Smart Label.
Why are Businesses opting for Smart Packaging Solutions?
Smart Packaging is Gaining Market Share: Smart packaging is gaining market share fast, so being one of the early adopters will set your business apart from competitors. Smart packaging adds functionality, durability and convenience to not only your packaging but products too.
Enhanced Brand Transparency: Customers thrive to make authentic connections with brands that practice transparency. Connected packaging is the perfect way to give customers more insight into products while also keeping them safe and protected through QR codes and quality control processes using Intelligent packaging – a win-win.
Counterfeit-proof Products: With fakes and knockoffs causing concerns on the market, smart packaging can weed it all out and deepen trust between brands and customers by monitoring their packaging and products with RFID sensors.This allows businesses to ensure no counterfeit products will weave their way to customers.
Quality Control: Advanced sensors and other technologies can do constant Quality Control check ups on products from warehouses to the end destination, reducing worries and chances of missed revenue and damaged products.
E-Commerce and Digital Printing
While digital printing has been around for a while, the popularity of using this printing method for e-commerce packaging has started to gain much more popularity in 2022.
The reliance on e-commerce businesses has resulted in brands opting for more cost effective solutions in financially difficult times following the effects of COVID-19.
With brick and mortar stores seeing little to no business throughout periods of time in 2020 and 2021, spending on high quality printing methods, like offset printing, have proven to be less effective with the exterior of boxes being damaged during shipping.
In 2022, digital printing has become an affordable way to create impactful unboxing experiences and create some brand differentiation in a world of brown boxes.
While packaging still runs the risk of damage to the exterior, the cost efficiency of this printing method makes it worth the risk.
The unboxing experience and brand differentiation are the main driver to maintaining a strong brand narrative that customers remember.
Digital printing is also much more time efficient giving brands the opportunity to create custom packaging in tighter time frames.
Although digital printing may have a reputation of being lower quality in comparison to offset printing, smaller designs like logos, patterns or shapes can benefit from digital printing as the quality difference is not exceptionally noticeable.
Furthermore, with sustainability initiatives on the rise, modern digital printing also has a limited impact on the environment as it eliminates the need for prepress procedures or additional labeling which, in turn, reduces waste and lowers inventory requirements.
Adopting Packaging Automation
The main challenges the packaging industry has faced are in relation with productivity, precision and quality control.
A large number of companies are still actively using manual packaging inspection processes, leaving plenty of room for errors in the quality of the packaging.
Manual packaging inspection is ineffective, risky and the result is often complete packaging recalls, costing businesses a huge portion of their budget.
The consequences of such mistakes has moved the packaging industry to automated production processes for more accurate results.
Especially in the ‘renaissance’ of e-commerce we currently live in, packaging needs to be structurally sound and durable in order to withstand any potentially harsh shipping and handling conditions.
In order for businesses to protect themselves and, above all, consumers, manufacturers have been investing a lot more in packaging quality control automation.
Apart from the separate control of each stage of product production, automated technology enables manufacturers to implement an all-in-one quality control platform that can be integrated with other systems and hardware.
The advantages of such a production system include a maximum return on investment, time efficiency, and increased customer loyalty.
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