These four packaging trends are predicted to pop up in 2020, according to Bishop Beall, VP of Sales & Business Development at Chroma Color Corporation.
1. Reduce/ Reuse/ Recycle
You can’t go through a day without seeing a new story or press release about problems with plastic packaging. After a year of debate, it is clear to industry executives that there is no simple answer to resolving these issues. Everyone seems to agree that designers, processors, recycling equipment owners, Material Recovery Facilities (MRF), cities/ states, schools and citizens must work together to make improvements.
There are good ideas coming out of these tough conversations on how to improve recycling rates, increase use of post-consumer resins (PCR) and address current recycling infrastructure challenges.
For example, the cities that created educational programs for their communities about what can be recycled and what can’t be recycled have decreased contamination found in the stream. Also, MRF’s are adding new equipment with sorting robotics to reduce contamination. The word is still out if plastic bans are effective motivators and are producing desired results.
We can no longer ignore the increase in E-commerce orders for packaged products or the new requirements from companies such as Amazon ensuring that the container arrives without damage at its final destination.
If you are not aware of, or have not started to modify your packaging, Amazon has listed the criteria for packages shipped from the warehouses on its site, including one of the biggest packaging challenges---packages containing liquid.
Amazon has implemented a 3-foot drop test for liquid packaging. The package must be dropped onto a hard surface without breaking or leaking. The drop test consists of five drops: Flat on base, Flat on top, Flat on longest side, and Flat on shortest side. To learn more, visit: https://sellercentral.amazon.com.
There is also a problem with products that have too much packaging. Consumers currently consider over-engineered packages as “environmentally unfriendly.” However, going too far in the other direction with too little packaging will make your brand look cheap.
This is why it will be critical for you to spend extra time to find the right partner to help you meet these E-commerce guidelines so you don’t need to go back to the drawing board more than once.
3. Packaging Made from PCR
Many packaging brands are adding more PCR to their current product lines. The biggest challenge using PCR materials is to make sure it looks as great as the packaging you currently have on the shelves. Why? PCR material often has a grey/yellow tint, black flecks, and/ or gels in the resin that makes it difficult for the processor to produce a truly clear container or to match the brand colors exactly compared to those products made from virgin resins.
Fortunately, some PCR and color companies are meeting these challenges by partnering and deploying new colorant technologies like the G-Series. The patented G-Series is the most highly-loaded coloring solution in the industry and can more easily overcome the color variation inherent in most PCR. This type of ongoing development work coupled with continued innovation from color houses will be necessary to produce a package that delivers on packaging companies’ sustainability goals without compromising a product’s aesthetics or performance.
4. Packaging Supply Partners
Because of the current challenges with supply chains due to new tariffs and a slowing global economy, companies are rethinking their current strategy and packaging executives are looking for new value-add packaging supply partners.
What are the qualities executives should be looking for in a new partner?
Be on the lookout for a core group of packaging supply companies that have been investing heavily over the past five years in their customer service departments, improving their manufacturing processes, and maintaining a “real” culture of innovation.
Here are four good questions to ask a potential partner to determine if they are really a forward moving company you need to survive in this new economy:
- Are they investing in R&D at an above-market percentage?
- Did they have the ability to do rapid prototyping?
- Does their balance sheet allow for investment in new equipment, automation or other key process improvement initiatives?
- Do they have success stories? Are their current customers their biggest fan?
If you get a yes for all four, be sure to arrange a meeting to learn how they can help you overcome your packaging challenges.