Welcome, readers, to our final edition of Packaging Today for 2017, and it has certainly been an incredibly busy year. With Interpack, Labelexpo Europe, Packaging Innovations, IPEX, PPMA and others all seeing record-breaking attendance figures and product launches, I am sure many of us will be grateful for the welcome respite of Christmas and New Year. It is important to stay with the new part of New Year, briefly as there has been an almighty struggle in recent years when it comes to new; new tastes, packaging, flavours, ingredients, health benefits and engagement have all appeared across innovation and major packaging changes in 2017. However, two of the most fundamental drivers of consumer behaviour remain nostalgia and heritage or story telling, neither of which are present in an absolutely brand new product or package.
This dichotomy has manifested itself more frequently in packaging this year and it presents those who are monitoring the industry like me or active participants like you with an interesting struggle. How do I continue to deliver value to my consumers and customers, stay ahead of the competition and generate growth through the sales? Do I systematically improve my mature product, delivering an insightful marketing campaign and use intelligent engagement, or do I try to re-invent the wheel, deliver an entirely new product and hope consumers want something so new they might not even know what it is until I tell them?
In an average week, most of us will see thousands of messages and media prompts or advertising, a high proportion of which will claim “new” as a selling benefit; “New Flavour/premium ingredients/fat free/sugar free etc”, most of which are not really new – they are simply an extension or improvement on an existing product. Which makes the actual new items that much more exciting; a wine bottle you can post through a letter box, a hover pack or autonomous flying car, self heating noodles that can be taken camping- these items do not have peers already in the market, mainly due to patent protection but also as no one else has engineered them yet.
This edition of Packaging Today contains examples of winners of some of the key awards this year, thoughts on some of the leading trends affecting us in 2018, and insight from experts on developments in responsible manufacturing and paper and metal packaging. I hope you will notice how rare it is to find something new and why it is so important to celebrate the new as we head into the next year.