Beyond sustainability, readers also weighed in on trending design elements that affect the look of the packaging. Often, their perceptions conflict. For instance, many in the survey tout the use of more vibrant colors in packaging. They see a trend toward a more earthy, natural look with a soft finish. Meanwhile, others say black and white is back. They see increasing use of more minimalist and abstract designs in packaging.

Both may be right, as these design choices depend on the product and target market audience. “The color of a package has everything to do with the brand,” says another study participant. “Look at all those blue boxes of mac ‘n’ cheese on the grocery store shelves.”

Some other trending design features with multiple mentions include:

  • Smaller packages for single servings and portion control
  • Increased use of flexible packaging, especially stand-up pouches
  • Digital printing for mass customization
  • Convenience features, such as easy-open and reclosability
  • Light-weighting of materials
  • Smart and active packaging and labels
  • E-commerce friendly packaging