How often do you go into a store and look at the packaging before you buy? Do you automatically do so because you are in the packaging industry? 

I find myself looking at packaging, even if the item isn’t on my list. I do an overall look just to see if any new packaging has come out. This includes the packaging, the price, the product (especially food, meat, dairy) and most recently, the level of commitment a brand has to the environment. Can I recycle the packaging once the product is gone? 

As we have seen in the last year, more brands than ever are making commitments to lightweighting, reducing packaging waste and offering an easier way for consumers to note if the packaging is recyclable — i.e., the How2Recycle label. Protective packaging supplier Pregis even uses the label on its square pillow packaging.

A tip: Watch consumers and how they choose products. What makes a product move from the shelf to checkout? Many things, it turns out. Important factors include price as well as brand loyalty. Some shoppers may go in, not even look at the price yet be familiar with a product’s packaging, and grab it and place it in the cart.

This differs for purchasing through e-commerce due to the nature of how online platforms are set up, as well as the package’s journey through the entire supply chain.

In a recent HPP Summit Series webinar called “Trends in Fresh Foods: Finding the Right Packaging Solutions for HPP,” Berry Global reveals that in a typical retail distribution supply chain, each package saw five “touches”; but in e-commerce, packages are now handled 20 or more times. Therefore, companies must consider rigor, exposure and challenges of supply chain in package design — especially for delicate items including fresh food/meats and pharmaceuticals.

For these products, active packaging elements, such as oxygen scavengers and temperature controls, are placed onto the packaging so each “handler” can note if the product’s temperature, moisture, gas and oxygen levels, and so forth are correct. This means it is tracked right from the packaging of the food or pharmaceutical item, through shipping and distribution.

In this issue, you will find active and intelligent packaging solutions. And our market trends feature is all about poultry packaging, which features not only trends but new packaging designs. 

What are you seeing that sticks out on store shelves or online shopping platforms?