The Future of Packaging: Trends and Innovations

packaging trends

Have you ever wondered how the packaging industry will adapt to the ever-changing demands of consumers and the pressing need for sustainability? The packaging landscape will undergo significant transformations as we move forward into a future that prioritizes convenience and environmental responsibility. From innovative technologies and materials to new design approaches, the future of packaging holds exciting prospects. So, what can we expect? Stay tuned as we explore the latest trends and innovations shaping how we package and protect products.

Packaging Technology and Design

Packaging technology and design have revolutionized the industry, incorporating innovative solutions and sustainable materials to meet consumer demands and reduce environmental impact. As the packaging industry continues to evolve, various design trends and technologies are emerging to cater to the changing needs of consumers.

One of the latest design trends in packaging technology is the rise of sustainable packaging solutions. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of packaging materials, leading to a demand for eco-friendly alternatives. Biodegradable options and recyclable materials are gaining popularity as they help reduce waste and minimize the carbon footprint.

Another significant development in packaging technology is the advent of flexible packaging. This type of packaging allows for easier transportation, storage, and handling, making it a preferred choice for businesses and consumers. Flexible packaging also offers customization options, enabling brands to create unique, eye-catching designs that stand out on the shelves.

Moreover, custom packaging is becoming increasingly popular as businesses seek to create a memorable and personalized customer experience. Custom packaging allows companies to showcase their brand identity and differentiate themselves from competitors. It also enhances the unboxing experience, leaving a lasting impression on consumers.

E-Commerce and Sustainability

With the rise of e-commerce as the primary form of shopping and the increasing focus on sustainability, the packaging industry is undergoing significant transformations to meet the changing demands of consumers. E-commerce packaging plays a crucial role in ensuring that products are protected during transit and that customers have a positive unboxing experience. However, the environmental impact of packaging waste has become a major concern. Consumer attitudes are shifting towards eco-friendly options, with 1 in 3 consumers favoring sustainable packaging.

To address these concerns, the industry is actively working on sustainable packaging solutions. Plastic reduction is a key area of focus, with businesses exploring alternatives such as bio-based plastics, compostable materials, and paper-based packaging. Innovative designs that minimize material usage and optimize box space are also gaining popularity. This not only reduces waste but also lowers transportation costs and carbon emissions.

In addition to material choices, companies are collaborating with partners to find sustainable alternatives. For example, DS Smith is working with retailers to develop packaging that is easy to recycle and incorporates recycled materials. They also invest in research and development to create innovative packaging solutions that balance sustainability and functionality.

The future of e-commerce packaging lies in striking a balance between protecting products, meeting customer expectations, and minimizing environmental impact. As consumer awareness and demand for sustainable packaging continue to grow, the industry must remain agile and innovative to meet these changing needs.

New Tech Packaging Innovations

The packaging industry’s future is shaped by new technological innovations revolutionizing how products are packaged and delivered to consumers. These advancements are driven by the need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Here are four new tech packaging innovations that are making waves in the industry:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML technologies are used to optimize packaging processes, improve efficiency, and reduce waste. These technologies can analyze data to determine the most effective packaging materials and designs, resulting in cost savings and reduced environmental impact.

2. Active Packaging: Active packaging incorporates sensors and indicators to monitor and preserve product freshness and quality actively. This helps to extend the shelf life of products and reduce food waste, ultimately benefiting both consumers and the environment.

3. Internet of Packaging: The Internet enables real-time tracking and monitoring of packages throughout the supply chain. This technology provides transparency and visibility, ensuring product safety and timely delivery and reducing the risk of theft or damage.

4. Digital Printing: Digital printing allows customized designs and branding on packaging materials, enhancing product appeal and consumer engagement. This technology also enables eco-friendly inks and reduces the reliance on single-use plastics, contributing to a more sustainable packaging ecosystem.

These new tech packaging innovations are transforming the industry and addressing consumer demands for sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. By embracing these trends and innovations, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs of their customers.

Material Trends: Sustainable and Flexible

Sustainable and flexible material trends are shaping the future of packaging as consumer demand for environmentally friendly options continues to rise. With the growing environmental concern, businesses seek packaging materials that reduce waste and minimize their carbon footprint. Flexible packaging is gaining popularity due to its lightweight, durable, and adaptable nature. It offers a range of benefits, including reduced material usage, lower transportation costs, and improved product protection. This trend aligns with the push for sustainable packaging solutions prioritizing recyclability and resource efficiency.

One innovative approach to sustainable packaging is edible packaging. This alternative reduces reliance on fossil fuels and decreases the overall carbon footprint of packaging. Edible packaging materials, such as seaweed-based films, can be consumed along with the product, eliminating the need for disposal and reducing waste. Packaging manufacturing and logistics advancements, such as 3D printing and smart warehousing, are also driving efficiency and cost reduction.

The future of packaging materials lies in finding sustainable alternatives that meet the demands of both consumers and the environment. Businesses are shifting towards recyclable, compostable, and made-from-renewable materials. This focus on sustainability, combined with the flexibility of packaging materials, will shape the future of packaging by reducing waste, improving resource efficiency, and meeting consumer preferences for eco-friendly options.

Advancements in 3D Printing

Advancements in 3D printing revolutionize the packaging industry by enabling the creation of complex shapes, reducing costs, and providing customizable solutions for businesses. Here are four ways 3D printing is transforming packaging:

1. Creation of Edible Packaging: 3D printing allows for the development of edible packaging materials, which can help reduce waste and improve sustainability. Imagine enjoying a snack wrapped in an edible wrapper that eliminates the need for traditional packaging.

2. Customizable Solutions for Consumer Goods: With 3D printing, businesses can create unique and personalized product packaging. This enhances the consumer experience and helps differentiate brands in a competitive market.

3. Extended Shelf Life: 3D printing enables packaging production with enhanced barrier properties, such as oxygen and moisture resistance. This helps extend the shelf life of perishable goods, reducing food waste and improving sustainability.

4. Rapid Prototyping and Design Innovation: 3D printing allows for rapid prototyping, enabling businesses to iterate and refine packaging designs quickly. This speeds up product development and fosters creativity and innovation in packaging design.


In conclusion, the packaging industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation to meet the demands of consumers like you. With a focus on sustainability and innovation, companies like DS Smith are leading in providing durable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. As the industry explores new technologies and materials, it adapts to the changing landscape of e-commerce and consumer preferences. The future of packaging is like a chameleon, constantly evolving and adapting to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.


5 Packaging Innovations That Are Changing The Industry

Packaging Innovations That Are Changing The Industry

It’s an exciting time to be in the packaging industry. The economy is booming and the demand for innovative packaging solutions has never been higher. Companies pioneering these new technologies are revolutionizing the packaging process and changing the way we do business. Here are a few you should know about.

Lightweight Packaging Conserves Resources

A constantly evolving industry goal has always been lightweighting – packaging of comparable value that costs less and requires fewer materials to produce. These innovations benefit businesses and consumers alike as the savings can improve margins and lead to smaller shopping bills.

Key players in this category include AmcorBerry Global, and ProAmpac.

A great example of lightweighting is the PET bottle for Vitaminwater. Partnering with Amcor, The Coca-Cola Co. was able to reduce the product’s weight by 15% while improving packaging strength and performance at the same time. Amcor claims this change used 500,000 fewer pounds of resin and reduced CO2 emissions by roughly 1.8M pounds.

Lightweighting has gained favor with consumers over the last few years because of its sustainability benefits and reduced costs. And with continuous advancements in manufacturing and design, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.  

Smart Packaging Creates Interactive Brands

Technology has made inroads into every area of our lives and packaging is no exception. New high-tech add-ons can be used to monitor everything from product freshness and package integrity to delivering unique content and improving the customer experience.

A good case study of this technology comes from IoT vendor Inductive Intelligence. Their innovative product is used with paper, plastic, glass, foil or metal to create one-of-a-kind packaging that can be heated or used to transmit data.

When placed on a special base unit, the Inductive Intelligence packaging authenticates wirelessly and heats to the correct temperature automatically – faster and more efficiently than in a microwave. Using just the right amount of power for each application, this technology saves energy and reduces the need for separate serving containers.

But it doesn’t stop there – smart packaging serves as a marketing tool as well.

By embedding QR codes, RFID tags, or NFC technologies on product labels, the shopping experience takes on a whole new meaning. Using their smartphones, consumers can quickly scan these labels and gain access to product-specific content like:

  • Recipes
  • Ingredient sourcing
  • Nutritional information

And let’s not forget the opportunity to promote brand loyalty through rewards programs or in-store discounts.

Modern consumers are tech savvy and look for the same kind of intelligence in the products they buy. Being the first to offer these kinds of add-ons puts organizations in a more favorable light with consumers. It also makes products memorable and more likely to stand out amongst the competition.

Digital Printing Levels the Playing Field

High-quality printing has typically been reserved for big brands and their subsidiaries, but that’s no longer the case. Companies like ePac are disrupting the packaging industry by offering fast, print to demand service for startups and small companies. These on-demand services eliminate excess inventory and can include customized content and variable imaging on final products.

An ideal setup for small to mid-sized companies with short-run, high-change over assets that want to compete in established markets. Currently serving niches such as confections, pet food, and organic snacks, ePac’s advanced packaging and printing options allow most any organization to look like an established powerhouse CPG.  

Edible Packaging Improves How We Eat

Consumers are clamoring for packaging that’s ultra-portable and environmentally friendly. Not surprisingly, food packaging providers are experiencing unprecedented yearly growth. According to industry estimates, this segment expects to see a CAGR of 5.2% over the next 10 years with nearly $360 Billion in revenue.

One of the hottest trends in food storage is edible packaging.

Imagine, having all the ingredients necessary for a tasty meal pre-portioned in safe, ready-to-eat containers. Simply drop the ingredients into hot water, cook, and serve. Sounds like science fiction, but it’s happening today.

Companies like Monosol and WikiCell are designing food-grade packaging that’s shelf-stable and ready to eat. Contents are wrapped in water-soluble membranes that dissolve when cooked. Odorless, tasteless, and transparent, these plant-based containers are revolutionizing the way people cook and eat.

Besides being affordable, edible packaging virtually eliminates the need for plastic.

Products like these are easy to scale, provide safety and consistency for consumers, and are good for the environment. Brand names like Whole Foods and Stonyfield dairies are already on board with others expected to join in soon.   

Other non-edible food packaging options are seeing major advancements also.

Companies like Sealed Air and Mondi are designing products to maximize food shelf-life and enhance freshness. Not only do these new barriers provide excellent safety and security, but many include eco-friendly biodegradable options as well. All at prices that are comparable to (or below) traditional materials.

Non-Stick Packaging Eliminates Waste

Although not as heralded as their food specific counterparts, non-stick packaging solutions are shaking up the industry also. Companies like Liquiglide and Orkla are teaming up to produce containers featuring non-stick coatings that reduce waste and improve the customer experience.

Liquiglide’s “permanently wet” solution ensures every last drop of product is harnessed from Orkla’s bottles and bins. That means no more struggling to get the last few dollops of mayo or ketchup out of the bottle. Or scraping remains from the paint can to finish up your project.

A gentle squeeze is all it takes to get consistent, predictable results each and every time. Besides reducing the “frustration” factor, Liquiglide’s proprietary solution provides a number of other desirable benefits:

  • Easier recycling – since ingredients don’t stick to the container, less water is needed to clean items before disposal.
  • Reduced waste – every drop of product is used with nothing left behind. Fewer resources are required for creation and transport as compared with comparable items.    
  • Consistent dosages – even pressure means no overflows when a container is full or struggles when close to empty.  
  • New designs and innovations – containers need not be a certain size or shape any longer – items flow just as easily from one design to the next.
  • Entertainment – free-flowing contents are entertaining (especially for kids) and may promote healthy habits like brushing teeth and using mouthwash.

The Liquiglide product is odorless, tasteless, and created from FDA-approved materials. Which makes it suitable for many different applications. While food and consumer products have been the initial proving grounds, the company is also looking into industrial and healthcare applications as well.

Elmer’s glue recently incorporated this technology into their packaging along with roughly 30 other U.S. companies not far behind.  


With advancements in technology, materials, design and printing, packaging innovations are happening every day. Forward-thinking companies are creating packaging solutions that cut costs, reduce waste, and improve the environment. Consumers are taking notice and rewarding these brands with their shopping dollars.

Naturally, with a strong growth outlook and high-demand for qualified talent, starting a career in packaging has never looked better. Jobs are plentiful and so are the opportunities to advance. Packaging executives with the right skills and experience are leading the charge and creating solutions for the next generation and beyond.

What other innovations or brands do you think are changing the industry?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

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