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Food & Beverage Reporter Jan-Feb 2016

24 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 | FOOD & BEVERAGE REPORTER Own Correspondent F looded with choice, consumers will reward those brands that deliver innovative, flexible, personalised packaging in 2016, says research company Mintel in its 2016 forecast. Says David Luttenberger, global packaging director at Mintel: “There is a parallel path between brands striving to engage consumers on a more personal level and consumer expectations for packaging to deliver that experience.” These are the key themes Mintel says will resonate with consumers in 2016: Digital evolution Digital printing is capturing attention by creating opportunities to engage consumers on a local, personal and even emotional level, and is positioned to grow well beyond industry estimates. “In 2016 we will experience the tipping point for digital package printing, as brands move beyond using it for limited editions and personalisation, and capitalise on its economic and speed- to-market advantages for mainstream package decoration,” says Luttenberger. Phenomenal flexibles Flexible packaging (specifically pouches) is no longer considered a trade-off. Almost one third (32%) of consumers associate flexible packaging with being modern, and brands are tapping into flexibles’ marketing opportunities. Truly innovative brands will be looking to the next generation of rigid/ flexible hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence. Clean and Clear Consumers are demanding more information about what they are really buying, but also seeking less on-pack clutter that confuses their purchasing decisions. This is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in food, where clear and concise information about ingredients, functional product attributes and safety must be communicated with total transparency - but without clutter. Looking ahead, the concepts of clean labelling and clear on-pack communication are set to converge. Many sizes matter American families are seeking value in larger container sizes for milk, says Minitel, while British consumers are asking for more choices in size for alcoholic beverages. What’s more, as evident by the 50% of health-conscious snackers saying they would be willing to try a new product if it comes in a small, trial-size pack, the ability to reach consumers in time-shifting use occasions means brands must offer a greater range of pack sizes. In 2016, brands must deliver packaging that consumers see as right- sized for their shifting use-occasions in order to overcome the growing lack of brand loyalty. More than ‘just’ green Despite brands’ best efforts, package recycling is well below its potential. In the US, 63% of consumers have stated that re-usable and re-purposable packaging is a key purchasing driver. Going forward, when price and perceived quality are equal, consumers will be increasingly turning to these eco- and alternative-use attributes as the deciding purchasing factor, and brands cannot afford to ignore this as they develop their brand positioning and marketing strategies. Packaging mobil-ution There’s a revolution happening in mobile- engaged packaging. Unlike the previous generation that included clunky QR and text codes, this time brand owners are tapping near-field communication (NFC) and bluetooth low-energy (BLE) as primary engagement technologies. Moving forward, as brands clamour for innovative ways to engage with shoppers, mobile will become the new front line in the battle to win consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets. TRENDS 2016 TRENDS What makes winning packaging? Gurus say it’s got to be: * Personal * Flexible * Variable * Clean & * Eco-friendly Unilever’s Marmite has been hard at work turning a “boring old” yeast extract into a trendy brand using digital labelling to personalise the product. These are examples of its Christmas offering: London customers were able to purchase the personalised naughty or nice jars on its facebook page and collect them from a pop-up Marmite store in the city.

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