When it comes to packaging, consumers continue to hunt for convenience and seek out products that fit into their hectic urban lifestyles, according to the Global Packaging Trends 2019 report released by Euromonitor, UK, and PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, Reston, Va., in conjunction with the Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association, Australia; PPMA Group of Associations: Processing + Packaging Machinery Association, UK; Symop, France; and UCIMA, Modena, Mo. Packages suitable for on-the-go consumption, particularly in categories such as packaged food, continue to grow in preference by consumers globally.

Busier consumer lifestyles fuel this growth of convenience-oriented packaging such as flexible plastic and PET bottles. Being lightweight, these pack types are convenient to use while on-the-go. And, from a manufacturing perspective, these packages have a high degree of customization.

Consumers continue to value smaller pack sizes in food packaging, as they become increasingly health-conscious and opt for smaller portion sizes when looking for indulgence.

Food companies also introduce eco-friendly materials for green and sustainable packaging across various categories. Consumers are becoming aware of the environmental impact of their actions, making sustainability a key role in packaging decisions.

PMMI’s 2019 Global Trends report identifies other regional trends for manufacturers to keep an eye on, including premiumization, value-for-money packs and refillable packs. The report also highlights some key region-specific trends:

For example, in the Asia Pacific region, there is a growing trend toward premiumization and diversity in pack sizes. Premiumization occurs in categories such as confectionery and beverages, and is expected to grow into other market segments. There is also a movement to develop different packaging formats to meet the needs of varied demographics. For instance, the aging population prefers small pack types that easily open.

There is a shift toward sustainable packaging in Australia, as consumer demand rises for ecologically sound, recyclable and biodegradable pack types.

In China, health awareness shapes packaging trends. Increased health consciousness leads to increased interest in packaging materials and its impact on consumer health and the environment. Consumers are also paying more attention to the nutrition panels on food packs.

Sustainability is important to advanced markets in the Middle East and Africa, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Challenging economic situations impact the food industry in South Africa, thus fueling the growth of plastic pouches as a cost-effective solution.

In Eastern Europe, food packaging moves to smaller pack sizes. 2017 witnessed a trend of smaller and reduced packaging sizes driven by the rise in impulse consumption. Stand-up pouches gained popularity in categories such as sauces, snacks and baby food, due to their zip/press closures for resealing.

Convenience and sustainability are the key packaging trends in Western Europe. Rapid urbanization, busier lifestyles and smaller households drive the demand for mini formats and single-serve pack types. Rising concerns about the environment also prompt the development of new plastic-based packaging.

In Russia, modern packaging types like thin-walled plastic containers and folding cartons thrive, while traditional formats, like flexible packages, lose share. These modern packaging types offer more opportunities to develop an appealing pack design and other eye-catching packaging elements.

In North America, innovation revolves around portability and recyclability. Maximum pack sizes imposed by air travel rules and the growing need for portable pack types in daily life contribute to the rise of smaller pack sizes. The introduction of recyclable PET (r-PET) due to the sustainability trend was the highlight in this market.

Flexible packaging remains the most popular pack type in Latin America. Flexible plastic’s versatility supports its position as the most used packaging material in the food industry, and continues to offer the best growth opportunities through 2022. Small pack sizes, suitable for impulse purchases and on-the-go consumption, will drive the steady growth of flexible plastic.