The exciting future of food and drink packaging

on Wednesday, 14 October 2015. Posted in Trade shows, Packaging Innovations, Aegg Opinions

The exciting future of food and drink packaging

Innovative packaging is a necessity for a product to keep the public’s attention. 

At the NEC Packaging Innovations show in London this summer I heard some of views from the current leaders of innovative packaging, and when you combine their thoughts with my experience as a packaging designer at Aegg I think that the following points will help shape the next possibilities for the development of appealing food and drink packaging.


Where should we start?

All innovation starts with concepts and design, and it should be understood early on where the end product will be seen by a potential buyer; the white screen of online shopping, the busy shop shelves, the rows of drinks behind the bar, and even a friends kitchen, are a few possible environments that a designer should try to remind themselves about in order to create an eye grabbing final product.


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery 

When a product is successful a Copycats product will appear soon after it. It happens in all types of business, from coffee shops to movie plotlines. With food the copycat product also has a price reduction, which is normally due to lower quality ingredients and less time spent within design. In recent years copycat products have had a revamp of the packaging, making them in some cases almost undistinguishable to the original when on the shelf.

Companies have prevented major sale declines by ensuring that there is a good relationship between buyer and brand, as well as developing a more appealing brand and shaped product.

You can have any colour as long as it is black

Buyers love personalised products, its makes their shopping experience unique and different to everyone else’s one. Companies such as Coca Cola have done this very well with the ‘share a coke’ promotion. It can also work with smaller numbers: for Valentine’s Day Innocent Smoothies released a printable label that people could write loved ones names on and give as gifts.


3D Packaging

3D printing is becoming a part of this personalisation with some drinks companies releasing online 3D files of drinks sleeves that can be downloaded and then printed by the buyer to enhance the final product aesthetics.


Product Details and Consumer Information

When you buy some food or a drink there is often a lot of information to read. Some is skimmed over by the buyer, but often it’s ignored due to its direct approach language. Soap and Glory has a wonderful way to counter this dull and dry labelling by adding more amusing warnings to its products.

It is also important to try and add recognisable detail on all sides of the packaging. If sachets are needed, a simple one tone print can be a place for motivational or amusing comments to build a relationship between brand and customer.


Food within food

A concept that’s been around for a while is edible packaging.  However this is often passed by due to hygiene issues. I would love to see a concept that tries to embrace the difficulty of edible packaging within the next few years.


Eco Plastics

Ocean Plastic has become more popular, and is the process of recycling the plastics that are currently found in the bodies of water around the world and reusing them to create a new product. This has seen a revamp of the eco aesthetic so that it now includes bright and bold coloured packaging with details that hint towards a natural form.

Plant based PET which was announced earlier this year, is another avenue towards sustainable plastics since it uses only plant material to create a clear packaging item, such as a drinks bottle.

Thermochromic plastics and Photochromic Inks

The development of these inks are a really interesting way to gain a customer’s attention.

Thermochromic plastics, which change colour or transparency when the temperature changes, are useful for close up interaction between user and product, or in situations where there is temperature change during the process of eating the food. Whereas Photochromic ink, which reacts to different lighting levels, is excellent for glass bottles in situations such as pubs and bars where good lighting can be an issue. It also enables two forms of graphic design on one bottle since only one ink can be seen during the dark, and the other during the light. 


Premium Plus packaging

This is a phrase I have heard more of recently and is the next development of premium packaging. A number of these developments have been using the virtual world as a platform for the product, with augmented reality and paper tabs that know when you have opened your bottle and then send you drink recipes. Any product that sells itself as ‘premium plus’ has to have that extra bit of interest to it.


We will be following the development of many of these ideas and talking further about certain ideas over the following weeks. Contact us with any opinions by clicking on the Facebook link below, or if you think that there is something you would like to include in your packaging development either email us or pick up the phone and have a chat with one of us today.  

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