There is a very popular saying in the culinary world “We eat with our eyes first”. For a very long time, food presentation has been given great importance, especially in the restaurant industry. For the last 5 years, the presentation has gained paramount importance in the packaged food and beverage industry as well. Packaging has become one of the important features that impacts sales, improve marketing efforts, and influences consumer perception of the brand as well.
Beverage and Food Packaging trends have been constantly evolving in line with consumer sentiments, and market feedback. This is especially true in growing markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Asia, and Africa where the FMCG companies are still evolving.
Let us take a look at some of the food packaging trends in 2020.
- Technology-based Packaging
The packaging on the food products you find on every supermarket shelves is no longer just about the brand name and price display. In the connected age, these packages are now a medium of communication for the brands and their customers. Using technologies such as QR Code, embedded NFC chips to provide information about the product to the customer, manufacturers have managed to attract the tech-savvy clientele. Technology-based solutions have always been popular in the Middle East and especially Dubai. So, many of the companies working on food packaging in Dubai have increasingly started to adopt such smart solutions for their clients.
- Sustainable packaging
Consumers especially in the food industry are growing more and more discerning. They are looking at sustainable options for their food products, snacks, and even the packaging materials which are used in their favorite product. Given that food packaging contributes to 5% of the total footprint of a food product and eventually to 25-30% of the total waste generated in a year, sustainable packaging is the need of the hour. More and more companies are opting to use recycled paper, plant-based products, and biodegradable options to satisfy their customers and save the planet in one go. The Dubai government, for example, has been encouraging the manufacturers to use eco-friendly food packaging in Dubai and supporting the companies in this initiative. In the Asian markets as well, customers are found to be willing to pay extra for sustainable food packaging.
- Clear labels
Like we said earlier, consumers today are extra cautious about what goes inside the food that they will be consuming. Studies find that consumers are willing to choose products which have ingredients and nutrition values clearly printed on the labels, over their favorite products which lack the necessary information. This is a major game-changer. Companies who have been working in the healthy food and natural produce niche have now an edge on companies who may have something to hide. In a bid of transparency, many manufacturers now opt to print the ingredients front and center for customers to locate easily. Many food packaging companies in Dubai, India, Africa, and Iran have been asked to modify their design to suit this trend.
- Easy to carry
If there is something customers love more than information, it is convenience. Food packaging that is easy to carry and has special designs to enhance portability wins a lot of brownie points from their users. The McDonald’s model of giving a foldable tray that could hold an entire happy meal on the go improved their sales quickly a bit. Beverages that come with a little handle on the bigger size bottles, big containers with wheels to push, and salad boxes that can be carried like a bag are just some examples of this trend. Portable packages also make it easy for e-commerce companies to safely deliver the products to the consumers.
- Transparent packaging
As we said, information is everything. The more you bombard your customers with it, the more they come back to you. Transparent packaging especially works best with grains, salad boxes, fresh fruits, and even chocolates. This kind of food packaging has two main benefits: you tell your customers there is nothing to hide, they get what they see. Secondly, the product does the marketing for itself without any fancy labels on it. Countries like Dubai, Qatar, Iran, India, China, and Canada where the food delivery business is very big, also ensures that the customer can see the quality of the product through the packaging itself. Accordingly, transparent packaging has been one of the consistent trends for food packaging in Dubai.
- Story-based packaging
This one is textbook marketing. We all know that consumers tend to have emotional connections with the products they buy. Food packaging that tells a story about the brand, or the place they come from can keep the consumer hooked on the brand for long. Sometimes brands also use major sporting events to connect with the customer. For example, Budweiser beer which came in cups that glowed brightly when cheering for your football team, Paperboat talks about nostalgic times and Lays products packaged in cricket-themed covers.
- Flexible Food Packaging
Flexible packaging is defined as the form of packaging whose shape can be changed quite easily. It is the new kid on the block and is gaining a lot of popularity. One of the biggest innovations in the food packaging industry, this solution combines the best of paper, glass, and plastic. Since the packaging can be made to change shape, they have the property of reusability thereby making it attractive to the sustainable clientele. Flexible packaging is also known to be less resource-intensive during production. This trend is fast catching up and can be expected to be popular in sustainability centered economies. Specifically, companies who are working in food packaging in Dubai can expect this to be a game-changer for them.