Top packaging trends we saw at Natural Products Expo West
It was another Natural Products Expo West for the books! We caught up with our experts post-show to quiz them about the natural/organic product packaging trends they saw at the expo. Here are the top four, in no particular order:
1. E-commerce challenges
New Hope Network, in their State of the Industry 2018 webcast, reported that one of the top challenges of e-commerce for natural products food & beverage companies is standing out from their competition. With 60% of their CPG survey respondents saying they will place greater importance on e-commerce over the next 5 years, the challenges of this unique channel must be addressed.
Unlike brick and mortar retail, where consumers can touch and experience a product before purchasing, e-commerce consumers must pay for a product after only seeing a picture. And as we all know, the camera can be less than flattering. This creates a unique challenge for brands who want to differentiate their product from the competition.
One major way vendors can ensure their products stand out is by using novel package design, like the premade pouch. Providing a prime canvas for advertising and appealing to emerging demographics that purchase for convenience, preformed pouches are a great choice for brand differentiation. With Millennials showing 190% growth over the past 10 years in the use of online shopping for natural products, providing this group with packaging that meets their needs is paramount.
Natural products companies can also use value-added packaging techniques to differentiate themselves. For instance, Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a way in which perishable products can be packaged to ensure a longer shelf life for often preservative-free natural products. With MAP technologies, your product can be preservative free AND have a longer shelf life than the competition, which has the added bonus of allowing it to be shipped over wider distances.
2. Compostable packaging breakthroughs
As a natural products company, you want your packaging to match your values. It’s not only great marketing but what consumers demand. Creating a clean, healthy product and to package it in plastic that will end up in a landfill for quite some time seems anathema to those goals.
The problem is, the technology required to create fully compostable plastic packaging isn’t easy, according to New Hope Network. But that’s turning around, though. Breakthroughs have been made in compostable packaging that closely mimics the properties of biodegradable materials. And as this technology catches on, it will become more affordable and accessible for smaller, niche companies as well.
3. Packaging: Not just a throwaway
The NRDC reports that "up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten. But at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table." That's a big problem. One part of the solution: proper protective packaging. We know, packaging contributes to landfill waste, but hear us out: Packaging Digest reports that "ten times more resources—materials, energy, water—are used to make and distribute food than are used to make the packaging to protect it."
Love or hate packaging, it provides an essential function in the effort to reduce food waste, especially for perishable natural and organic products. Packaging protects the product from contaminants, maintains integrity when products must be shipped over large distances, and extends of product shelf life so it can be viable for a longer time.
4. Cleaning up clean label
Honest, clear labeling and ingredient transparency have been a push in the market at large for many years now. But for some companies, the effort to inform has resulted in information overload as far as package labeling is concerned. When consumers are bombarded with multiple messaging on the same package, it can all become noise.
As a result, brands are simplifying and only highlighting certain key messages and certifications on-package, says New Hope Network. Consumers welcome white space in advertising, especially on increasingly crowded store shelves. So make it easy for your consumers to choose your product: Clean up your clean labels to keep them clear and simple.
Catch us in a city near you
Want to see our packaging equipment live and in person and ask questions of our experts about your packaging needs? Check out our trade show schedule to see when we will be in a city near you: