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A Review of 2014 Ruth Price, business development director at Sharpak Aylesham, talks about how the packaging industry has continued to develop in order to meet shifting consumer demands

December 2014

A Review of 2014

Ruth Price, business development director at Sharpak Aylesham, talks about how the packaging industry has continued to develop in order to meet shifting consumer demands

For the global packaging industry, 2014 marked another year of transformation, with the market’s players focusing on issues such as waste, design and innovation.

Waste not, want not
The global consumption conundrum of how we can effectively tackle food waste became even more prevalent this year. Recent statistics revealed that every year in the UK, a staggering 18 million tonnes of food end up in landfill, highlighting the extent of the damage on the environment. As a result, more and more consumers are supporting environmentally friendly produce.
The battle against food waste has therefore been at the top of the packaging agenda. As part of this, we have seen a growing emphasis on extended shelf life and initiatives aimed at dramatically reducing food waste, especially as consumers now expect their purchases to last for a longer period of time.

Shelf-appeal and brand packaging
For consumers, how the packaging looks on the shelf and how easy it is to open have been critical elements this year. Modernising these areas have helped to ensure they are attracted to and buy the packaged products. Therefore, for growers and packers, design innovation has been crucial in making sure packaging meets changing requirements to enable them to be competitive in the marketplace.

As well as the environmental attributes, 2014’s foodservice packaging trends focused on the ‘look’ of containers. For example, companies wanted packaging with unique colours, shapes and sizes which help to effectively incorporate their branding. However, transparent packaging remains very popular to ensure the provision of the visual cues on the product itself.

Incorporating innovation
The growing trend around innovation has undoubtedly continued in 2014 and will remain at the forefront of the packaging industry in 2015, as customers will want to see new and creative ways of not just presenting their products in an ever-changing industry, but also to improve them.
Innovation has enabled businesses to progress their overall offering through improved packaging design, logistics and functionality. Any improvement of this nature encourages the continuing pace towards environmental improvement and an ability to help products commercially as the market continues to be competitive.

The year ahead
The key challenge facing the industry in 2014 was to continue to educate the consumer on the beneficial and crucial role packaging plays in preserving and protecting a product, while also ensuring innovative design is helping packaging to meet the expectations of consumers who buy with their eyes.
In 2015 suppliers will need to refocus to ensure they are satisfying the changing needs of consumers – innovative design to provide healthier menu offerings and sustainability initiatives will be vital to this over the next 12 months.