Packaging is just not what it used to be. In fact, for most, packaging was just an added cost and support expense that came with manufacturing and distribution operations. You needed a fairly basic receptacle to contain and transport your goods.
Unless you’ve had your head stuck in a corrugated box for the last two decades, you may have noticed that things have changed dramatically in the landscape of packaging! No longer is packaging just a means of protection, it must now be convenient, safe, clever, eye-catching and environmentally-conscious. Indeed, packaging has become one of the most significant factors to companies’ success. Packaging can actually make or break your product sales given the vast plethora of product choices in the now-global market today.
GTI’s Packaging Engineers and Specialists are key staff resources, constantly providing expert, creative solutions to our clients on how to package their products in a way that will not only help them get their package to its destination intact, but also create a distinguished design that consumers can’t resist. GTI Industries President Steve Zuckerman said, “These staff members combine Madison Avenue marketing tactics with warehouse and transportation street smarts. You need both in order to create the most attractive yet functional packaging. We’ve even laughed about creating a C-level position called CPO (Chief Packaging Officer)—but maybe that’s not too unrealistic given the growing importance of packaging.”
Our team of Packaging Engineers and Specialists recently returned from PACK EXPO in Las Vegas, where we noticed five other trends heavily influencing our industry.
1 ROBOTS - It wasn’t long ago that Mr. Jetson was having it out with Rosie, the robotic maid, on The Jetsons cartoon show. Now, we’re seeing pick and pack robots working the line in greater frequency. Big corporations are moving quickly in the direction to automate with robots which, in turn, pushes small businesses to do the same
2 GREEN – Packaging is increasingly being evaluated for its sourcing, makeup, its weight and end of life—its ability to either break down or get recycled. Companies may also be looking to reduce their own carbon footprint which is greatly affected by packaging and distribution. Consumers are putting the burden on companies to provide green packaging, although they might not want to pay more for it (sigh!).
3 SAFETY – With recent scares of food contamination courtesy of unsafe packaging and the health concern over plastic and other containers laden with chemicals, food manufacturers are particularly concerned with how they contain and ship food safely. A technology called ‘vision inspection’ uses cameras that operate like a human eye looking at markings, tightness of a vacuum seal or contaminants. Packaging can also provide cues to where a product came from and can give a sense of accountability should something go wrong (example, tainted baby formula from China).
4 BRANDING – Companies employ various tactics to stand out on the shelf. These may include celebrating anniversaries, going back to a retro or classic look, rebranding in a new way, limited edition packaging, new flavors or twist on the item, and seasonal or holiday or event-driven packaging.
5 SIZE—As households shrink and folks move back to urban environments and those that are particularly affected by the economy buy more last minute instead of stocking up, the sizing of packaging has shifted smaller in many instances (despite what you see in your suburban Costco).
GTI Industries has been around the block to know that the second we hit ‘post’ on this blog, a new trend will surface in the industry. In some ways, the packaging industry was slow to move forward in breaking new ground, but its subsequent growth has been exponential thanks to market demands. As leaders in the industry, GTI Industries lives and breathes this stuff every day, enabling us to provide expert advice to customers evaluating packaging needs.