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Delicious packaging developments in the food and beverage sector

  • By Chris Thorpe
  • March 24, 2017
  • Industry
  • General
  • Beverage
  • Food

The eco effect

Use of flexible plastic is on the rise, to the detriment of glass. Lighter, greener and easier to store, PET is the manufacturer’s choice of bottle material. And because it’s 100% recyclable, it answers the consumer call for eco-conscious packaging. PET is even being used increasingly for alcoholic beverages, with bars and clubs worldwide opting for the safer, softer bottle material over the breakable alternative. 

Sustainability and green-thinking is a food industry priority and has to be taken seriously. In July 2015 Tetra Pak ran an environmental survey encompassing 6,000 consumers across 12 countries. More than three-quarters of respondents stated that environmentally-friendly packaging influences the brand they buy. It’s why the future lies in packaging that’s fully biodegradable. And if you thought edible packaging was the stuff of culinary fantasy, think again.

Manufacturers that reduce materials waste are likely to win new customers.

Packaging is getting smarter

In Europe, a terrific new innovation is looking at reducing waste for the end user. Freshlabel is a packaging method that notifies the consumer when consumables have passed their use by date and should be disposed of. Cheap and ecological, it’s designed to put customer mind at rest via a sticky label that changes colour when products such as meat become inedible.

It’s smart. But it’s not smart packaging. That’s different - and is based on the use of NFC technology. Using thin chips that can be printed onto almost any substrate, smart packaging makes for simplified two-way communication with consumer smartphones. It allows manufacturers to share information such as video content, product guides and competition opportunities with ease. Such technology is already making in-roads on the food sector, with China, India and Russia all producing smart packaging.

Does the product still dictate the packaging?

Of course, packaging depends very much on what’s being packaged. But sometimes there’s more than one way to package a product - and offering the consumer variety can have fabulous results for the bottom-line.

Owing partly to sugar tax laws, consumer health concerns and the World Health Organization’s recommendations on glucose intake, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have produced a more humble-sized version (222ml) of their iconic regular cans (355ml). The move has seen enormous take-up and increased production.

It’s a pattern we have seen repeated by coffee manufacturers with the rise of the coffee pod, which has claimed one third of the £13.9 billion western European coffee market and given thirsty consumers an alternative to the instant coffee jar. And thanks to sustainability concerns, we are now seeing biodegradable coffee pods, made by manufacturer Ethical Coffee Company.

It might not be the spice of life, but consumers definitely want variety.

Where next for food and drink packaging?

The food and drinks market is in a constant state of flux. Thanks to global markets, there’s a healthy battle to produce the most innovative products at the lowest cost. Time will tell which innovations stick. But what is certain is that the food packaging industry as a whole is prepared to tackle growing sustainability concerns and the consumer desire for variety.

This almost unrelenting demand for innovation means manufacturers must have access to production line technology that can code quickly and clearly onto multiple products, packaged using a variety of substrates and materials. As a global leader in coding, marking and packaging technology, Domino Printing has the products that can help your business hit tomorrow’s consumer demands and drive the future of food and drink packaging.

Find out how - browse these products.

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