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As retailing changes, packaging designers must adapt

By Jim Johnson | PLASTICS NEWS


Global packaging and supply chain management company Havi expects to see new packaging options as more and more business moves from traditional retailers to electronic commerce.

The Downers Grove, Illinois-based company is out with a set of trends that will be in discussion in 2017, including the creation of packaging designed for shipping rather than purchase off of store shelves.

"This year, we'll see new packaging options and solutions to improve this important and growing drive to standardize packaging containers to handle shipping, as well as processes to streamline distribution and enable cross-brand bundling," the company said.

Havi also believes that holistic packaging is becoming the "new normal."

"Product and packaging integration has been at the forefront of many conceptual conversations in the industry for a few years now," Havi said.

"As the holistic approach to packaging design becomes more and more relevant across different silos of a business, realizing its relevance from end-to-end, we will begin to see more application of holistic packaging design principles ensuring its consideration at the earliest product development stages rather than just concept discussion," the company continued.

Phil McKiernan is vice president of packaging at Havi.

"As regional goals become global initiatives, and innovative ideas become technological advancements, packaging will continue to evolve as a holistic partner and leader in the supply chain," he said in a statement.

Havi began more than 40 years ago to help supply McDonald's restaurants in the Chicago area, and has grown into a business with locations around the world. Along with packaging design, the company also provides logistics, and recycling, waste and sustainability services.

And then there's the company's work to provide project management services for McDonald's promotions in the United States, including all those Happy Meal toys.

Another trend for 2017, Havi said, is the commercialization of packaging innovations.

"As new more advanced and sustainably sourced and processed materials emerge, more industries will have the opportunity to bring clean label packaging to market," the company predicts.

"Examples include high pressure packaging technology, more replacement material coming to the market, active/digital packaging and 3-D printing. We'll see strides in pharmaceutical packaging by way of traceability and tamper-alerts, as well as monitoring capabilities to ensure patient accountability," Havi said.

Prioritizing food safety and the reduction of food waste through packaging is another trend the company sees for this year.

"Not only has new processing and packaging technology been developed to actually extend the life of food, but technology built into packaging via freshness sensors will alert customers/consumers regarding the shelf life of their food and when it's safe to consume in order to avoid early disposal and excessive purchasing," Havi said.

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