A survey sponsored by Packaging World, which partnered with DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, sought to identify trends in the packaging industry in 2022. Responses reflected the insights of nearly 500 industry professionals, predominantly in Europe and North America, working for consumer goods manufacturers and converters in marketing and packaging development roles, with food, beverage and healthcare ranking the highest.
A key finding revealed that the industry is “poised on the brink of change.” Top concerns ranked in order of importance were cost, food safety/security, and sustainability. After those came the emphasis on “right-sizing” which gives way to strategies to use renewable materials, recyclable materials and “smart packaging” by 2022, said the survey, as well as a “clear call for innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain.”
Another key finding was “maximum value, minimal impact.” By 2022, so the packaging industry believes, consumers will have “increased value for recyclability and perceived ‘greenness’ of packaging” while at the same time “demand proof of sustainability claims . . . for instance in the demand for the life cycle analysis data.
Right-sizing packaging in terms of efficient package shape/size, down-gauging of package material and minimizing package failures will dominate both the North American and European packaging landscape today. Materials play a critical role in these objectives, noted the survey.
The survey also revealed that plastics will continue to replace glass and metals and flexible packaging (i.e. pouches, etc.) will continue to replace rigid structures. (We also know that barrier packaging will continue to increase shelf life and keep food safer longer, certainly a goal as shown by the above survey results.)
Overall, with cost as the top “driving factor” for the industry (59%), respondents predicted that it will fall significantly in importance by 2022 (dropping 28%), to below factors like sustainability (51%) and food safety/security (37%).