GAS to Fuel the Packaging Industry

Packaging is an industry closely influenced by the growing discourse on sustainability given the link between packaging and waste. Sustainability, however, is not just the only factor impacting the industry – changing lifestyle afforded by a faster pace of urbanisation and the associated space constriction are also influencing the pack sizes. Consumers expect to connect with the products they buy to gain a customised experience and packaging plays an important role in it. Packaging is an integral part of the consumer economy and as of 2016, packaging in packaged food equalled 1,985,540 million units in off-trade retail volume. An important question for the industry is how the evolving socio-economic and environmental indicators will affect the future of packaging.

The key factors to help drive growth for the packaging industry can be abbreviated as GAS standing for green, aspiring and small, but the common thread linking them all is personalisation:

Green – This means that packaging will have to be both environmentally friendly and healthy. Environmentally friendly indicates using recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials. Recycling, particularly for metal, has increased in the developed countries between the years 2011 and 2016 (please see chart below). 84.4% of the people in the Euromontor Global Consumer Trends Survey 2016 claimed eating fruits and vegetables to be very important to extreamely important health factor while another 51.9% considered eating limited processed food as a healthy option. Given the growing interest in natural foods in relation to a healthier lifestyle, it is important that packagingadapts to this changing trend through innovations that retains the nutritious value of food.

Waste Recycled by Types in Developed Countries: 2011-2016

Source: Euromonitor International from Eurostat

Aspiring – In order to make the product experience a positive one, packaging needs to be exciting and closely fit consumer needs. Tetra Pak introduced a packaging type that shows the time left for expiry for dairy products. This feature caters to the health needs while making the experience exciting and targeted.

Small – Packaging need to be small in line with the changing consumer lifestyles on account of less space for storage in the cities and an increase in the number of the smaller households. The number of households consisting of 1 person is projected to grow 12.6% (period growth) and households consisting of 2 people is projected to grow 11.6% (perod growth) between 2016 and 2021, compared to 2.0% for households with 6 people during the same period.

For more, please stay tuned for the strategy briefing on the Sustainable Development Goals.