2024 Packaging Trends Revolutionizing the Industry
As we step into 2024, we enter a pivotal moment for continued innovation paired with a heightened focus on corporate responsibility from all angles. With 2025 being just a few short months away, the packaging sector is likely to witness a profound shift as brands intensify their push to achieve set sustainability goals by this time next year.
Let’s dig into the trends that are already gaining momentum and are poised to define the narrative of the packaging industry in 2024.
A Growing Sense of Urgency Drives Sustainable Packaging Initiatives
Driven by consumer demand and evolving legislation, the pursuit of sustainable packaging is a trend that is continually on the rise. While sustainable packaging solutions continue to be a trending topic, it is anything but trendy—it’s become necessity. Notably, industry leaders like Coca-Cola and retail giants such as Target and Walmart have set ambitious targets to reduce waste and make their packaging recyclable, compostable, or reusable by 2025.
Navigating the trial-and-error process to align package performance with sustainable formats is expected. However, this journey can be streamlined through collaborative efforts. As 2024 goes on, we expect to see a lot of brands working together with their suppliers to accomplish their 2025 goals.
The Fresh-Lock team values collaboration in all we do and strives to continually connect with our colleagues to help navigate the ever-changing flexible packaging landscape. To learn more about how the Fresh-Lock team can assist you in reaching your flexible packaging goals, check out our WorldStar Award-winning packaging transformation for Kirkland Signature® Ultra Clean Premium Laundry Detergent Pacs. In collaboration with other innovators, the Fresh-Lock team helped the brand reduce their carbon footprint while ensuring its new packaging was fully recyclable with a child-resistant reclosable feature.
The Rise of Home-Compostable Packaging
While there are many initiatives in place to help improve recycling in the United States, from increased infrastructure to continued consumer education about proper recycling, compostability is also growing in popularity among brands and consumers as a waste management strategy.
PepsiCo’s Frito Lay and Quaker recently unveiled a commitment to home-compostable packaging, showcased at their new Greenhouse Learning Center—a facility set up to test packaging for suitability in both industrial and home composting scenarios. As industry leaders increasingly recognize the advantages of compostable packaging and actively explore new avenues for home composting, the trajectory of compostability as a sustainable solution is set for significant growth.
The Fresh-Lock team, in collaboration with TIPA, is also making strides in developing home-compostable packaging solutions. The home-compostable, reclosable pouch features a home-compostable version of a child-resistant, press-to-close zipper and is designed to biodegrade under compost conditions between 90-180 days. For those contemplating a shift to home-compostable packaging, contact us for more information.
A Consumer-Driven Shift Toward Flexible Paper Packaging
Another notable response to the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions, via consumer preferences and manufacturing practices, is the recent widespread adoption of paper-based flexible packaging. Given that many consumers believe paper packaging is better for the environment, it could become a top contender among brands for 2024. This trend was evident at PACK EXPO 2023, where numerous exhibiting suppliers showcased the industry’s shift toward paper packaging.
However, it’s important to note that paper-based packaging may not always be the optimal choice for your packaging goals. Nonetheless, it remains a compelling option for manufacturers due to its cost-effectiveness, lightweight nature, recyclability, and the flexibility it offers for customized designs. While paper packaging has its merits, its environmental impact will vary based on various contextual factors. To decide if paper-based packaging suits your brand, engage in a comprehensive discussion with your supplier partners. Open communication and collaboration is key to identifying the option that aligns best with your goals.
Innovating with Artificial Intelligence
Photo Credit: Hell Energy
Lastly, we cannot ignore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) made an unmistakable impact in 2023, permeating nearly every industry. Now an increasing number of brands are actively embracing its transformative power in packaging design and production. For example, Hell A.I. stands out as the first entirely AI-created energy drink, from formulation to packaging. The can’s design is said to embody the latest trends, exuding a youthful vibe that maintains the brand’s color scheme.
While entrusting every aspect of your business to AI may raise potential challenges and ethical concerns, there are still numerous ways in which packagers can derive significant benefits from its assistance. AI proves valuable in generating consumer preference data, optimizing supply chains through route planning, enhancing quality control by defect identification, and more. Looking ahead, the versatility of AI not only promises optimized efficiency, but also opens the doors to helping drive new innovations in the ever-evolving landscape of packaging processes. The future holds boundless possibilities as AI continues to shape the forefront of packaging innovation.
Stay Ahead of the Trends, Collaborate with your Suppliers
When navigating the rapidly changing trends of packaging, understanding and aligning with consumer expectations is key. To dive deeper into how your packaging strategies can continually align with what consumers want, while elevating their experience, connect with the Fresh-Lock team today. Our expertise and commitment to staying at the forefront of industry trends position us as your dedicated partner in driving packaging innovation. If you’re curious about last year’s major packaging trends, discover the major highlights in Packaging Trends to Watch in 2023.