ideas and trends

2019 Flexible Packaging Predictions & Emerging Trends


2018 taught marketers and brands a lot about what consumers care about. As they shared their opinions on the internet and noted their preferences in consumer studies, researchers and marketers alike were able to formulate predictions for the upcoming year.

We’ve searched high and low and dug into research to uncover packaging trends that will move the needle for brands in 2019. The opportunities for flexible reclosable packaging are exciting and offer chances to connect with consumers on an emotional, practical, and impactful level. Take a deep dive into three common themes that we see, and research supports.


Shareworthy, Experiential Packaging

trendy number 1 graphicThis year will be all about brands better connecting with consumers. Today’s shoppers are looking for something that speaks to them, stands out, and makes a bigger impact.

In a Forbes article, Angela Woo shares that 60 percent of millennials gravitate toward purchases that are an expression of their personality – “the brand must speak to them at this level and make them feel good.” In addition to that personal connection, half of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences over material things. Product packaging that creates exciting experiences and evokes curiosity is more likely to win the sale this year.

Brands can achieve this by taking messaging, package format, and technology to the next level. Whether developing an interactive pouch or using augmented reality to share the origin of the food and its journey to the consumer, moments that are personal and relevant speak volumes.

With its ability to produce multiple graphic variations in one run, digital printing is another way brands can create more customized experiences. From printing consumer names on packages to using graphics to share a series of stories, the opportunity to quickly pivot or update graphics with digital printing can be part of an impactful brand strategy.

The exciting news is that when packaging is impactful, personalized, and influential, young consumers turn to social media. Millennials are 13 percent more likely than Gen Xers to share their purchases on social media. Better yet, these shareable moments can be extremely persuasive between peers: 83 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising. This further demonstrates millennials’ power to influence each other’s purchasing decisions through social media when they find something they’re passionate about.

Honest Packaging

trendy graphic number 22018 reminded consumers that the decisions they make can affect the environment. For instance, as consumers learned about sustainability and waste implications on marine life and water pollution, public outcries had major brands pledging to make greener choices.

Today, “consumers are reviewing their own behaviors to prevent plastic pollution,” notes Mintel’s 2019 Global Trends Report. For brands, this means finding packaging solutions that provide a path toward waste reduction and reuse.

how 2 recycle instructions sustainable packaging

Forbes’ take on 2019 packaging predictions adds, “Consumers want packaging materials that reflect a brand’s environmental commitment.” Whether it comes from recycling, reuse, or reduction, sustainability is top of mind.

Brands can achieve this by outlining on their packaging when post consumer recycled (PCR) materials are used, how a pouch can be reused, or how to dispose of the package by using easy-to-understand disposal guidelines from programs like How2Recycle.

The How2Recycle guidelines teach end users what to do with each piece of the package. As part of Reynolds Consumer Products, Fresh-Lock is a proud member of How2Recycle and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

With the spotlight on sustainability, we expect to see more collaboration between brands, manufacturers, and material suppliers to create a circular approach to sustainable flexible packaging.

Fresh-Lock® contributes to sustainable practices by:

  • Developing closures that are compatible with emerging recyclable films
  • Continued relationship with the Sustainable Packaging Collation’s How2Recyle program
  • Promoting usage of multi-use packaging with zippers and sliders
  • Reusing and recycling zipper spools used in manufacturing reclosable flexible packages rather than disposing them

For more environmentally-friendly possibilities, watch our on-demand webinar, Growth in Green: Opportunities in Sustainable Flexible Packaging.

sustainable packaging webinar information

A New Level of Convenience – for all

trendy number 3 graphicThe need for convenience will never go away – at least not in this lifetime. In the packaging industry, we hear about its importance every year, but this year the consumer need for convenience will diversify across age groups and the desire for more premium options will intensify.

In 2019, consumers will expect packaging that works better for them and fits their lifestyles. This no longer means selecting any package format or closure that claims to be convenient, but truly digging deep into the needs of the consumer and how they will interact with the product and package to make stronger packaging decisions.

Mintel’s 2019 Global Trends report shares that today’s foodies, in pursuit of instant gratification, will need help bringing “speed-scratch” solutions with “restaurant-quality” flavors into their homes. “With a growing remote workforce, consumers’ daily lives are fluid and brands have to adapt to lifestyles no longer defined by 9-5 work cultures.”

For flexible packaging, this offers opportunities for convenient reclosable packaging to penetrate more markets from meal prep kits to beverages and healthy, shelf stable meal options that can be kept in desk drawers, the car, or briefcase.

The need for convenience extends further than just the working class. Mintel’s Director of Insights and Innovation Lynn Dornblaser says:

“Elevated convenience applies to many consumer groups. Young urbanites as well as suburban parents who are looking to feed their kids quick and healthy meals. Seniors also need convenience in new ways as they start to cook less because of inclination or ability. Working-class families need to get more done in less time, too. The common denominator: everyone is pressed for time.”

For flexible reclosable packaging, this can mean packaging that promotes self-feeding and usage for children with closures such as Fresh-Lock’s mini Slider for small format pouches. Or conversely, keeping children out of potentially harmful substances with options such as the Child-Guard® child-resistant slider.

Aging citizens can more easily open food and consumer packages with specially engineered ergonomic sliders. Additionally, pharmaceuticals can be packaged in flexible reclosable packaging with a Child-Guard® closure – offering an easy-to-open solution, while providing resistance from young children.

Opportunity Awaits

2019 is full of opportunities: consumers are expressing their expectations when it comes to products and packaging. As your brand considers various options to stand out and get noticed, keep in mind that getting found by a consumer is equally as important as a package that works like it’s supposed to. If your flexible package requires a zipper or slider closure, contact the team at Fresh-Lock to ensure your total package creates a positive brand impression. Not all closures are created equal, and not all closures do the same thing. Contact the Fresh-Lock team to get the conversation started. We’ll help you find the best closure for your application that will boost convenience and attract loyal, return customers.

fresh-lock ebook about packaging trends

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