Three Current Trends in the Packaging Industry

Matthäus Mayer05/07/2020
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Climate change, climate protection and sustainability—three buzzwords that we repeatedly find on our digital media, in magazines or on large billboards in cities. Living sustainably needs to be a watchword for every single inhabitant on earth if we want to guarantee that future generations will enjoy the same opportunities. Living sustainably also means paying attention to the products we buy and how they are packaged.

Big players in the packaging industry are striving to meet the expectations of consumers and legislators. What are the current trends in this particular industry? Read for yourself:

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1. Trend: Sustainability & Smart Packaging

More than ever, packaging companies have to meet the expectation of sustainability in their packaging. Until now, the main influencing factors have been regulatory requirements from legislators as well as customer expectations around shape, materials, colors and costs. However, there is also a strong trend directly towards the end consumer.  Environmental friendliness and multi-purpose suitability have emerged as important purchasing factors for consumers. Future trends will be even more towards technology-driven networking of sustainability strategies by using active packaging. What is active packaging?

Technologies such as QR codes, Near Field Communication (NFC) or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLW) create a seamless information chain. This means end consumers are able to use their smartphone to call up detailed information on the origin of both product and packaging, as well as contact the manufacturer or processing company directly. Of course, manufacturers also use these technologies to keep directly in touch with their customers via product packaging and improve customer loyalty.

The expectations of a sustainable, networked and secure recycling economy present new challenges for packaging material manufacturers in digitizing production processes. In addition, new, innovative packaging concepts and associated services are being developed by manufacturers to establish their packaging as “connected packaging” or “smart packaging”.

2. Trend: Digital Printing

Digital printing as an alternate printing technology for the packaging industry is certainly not a new thing. However, the strong dynamic development within the printing technology sector can definitely be seen as a trend. An increasing variety of goods with shorter product cycles and a move toward individualization and serialization of packaging are important drivers of this trend.

Digital printing will therefore no longer be used just for limited editions and individual products in future, but will also increasingly focus on the economic speed-to-market benefits for designing packaging in large-scale production. There is also a growing trend toward greater flexibility in processes and procedures which, helped by digital printing, is driving the digitization of production technology in the packaging industry.

Industry solution

The packaging industry is being challenged—companies must act efficiently, ecologically and economically. The right solution will support you in reacting flexibly to trends, to develop new products which sway the market.

3. Trend: Recycling

Packaging material producers are required, both by legislation and the growing sustainability awareness of their customers, to develop and market more recyclable packaging innovations. The challenge is often that the necessary amount of recycled material is simply not yet available on the recycling market. The recycling logistics and cooperation between households, communities, waste management companies and even industry that need to be in place are lagging behind demand. So, how do we meet this demand?

The key to success is sustainable collaboration: between brands, packaging manufacturers, the waste management industry and governments. This is needed to better inform consumers and to develop reusable packaging and recycling processes and systems that make recycling easier as a whole.


Sustainability is top of the agenda for both consumers and legislators. Society’s attitude has changed dramatically, and so has its purchasing behavior. More and more consumers are turning to more sustainable packaging or are even trying to buy food that is devoid of packaging. Packaging companies must actively address sustainable packaging if they are to stand any chance of viably remaining on the market in the long term.

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Matthäus Mayer
Senior Sales Manager, Sales | COSMO CONSULT SI GmbH