The Future of Flexible Plastic Packaging: Key Trends to Keep in Mind
Keeping customers informed of the latest trends and opportunities is just one way a polymer supplier can assist converters. Flexible plastic packaging is an area seeing growth and innovation year after year, and the latest trends are worth keeping in mind as you plan for the future.
1. Take advantage of smart packaging opportunities
Packaging has always been a sector ripe with innovation. For example, frustration-free packaging has been popularized by online retailers as a way to provide recycled packaging that doesn’t come with excess materials. It both cuts down on the amount of material used and provides a better customer experience for opening and recycling.
New kinds of packaging include active packaging, intelligent packaging, and connected packaging:
- Active packaging has a controlled release component that keeps perishable products fresher for longer,
- Intelligent packaging refers to packaging that provides more valuable information like product safety or quality,
- Connected packaging involves the use of QR codes or URLs to give customers a way to interact with brands.
2. Sustainability is still in demand
The shift to more sustainable materials in plastic packaging continues to grow in popularity. This includes the use of biodegradable and compostable plastics, as well as the development of recyclable and recycled content plastics.
As consumers demand more sustainable products and packaging, brands must answer. This is leading to new ways to reduce plastic waste and promote a more circular economy. Whether that is through the use of reusable packaging, refillable packaging, or post-consumer recycled packaging, the innovation is ever-present.
Pyrolysis is also on the table when it comes to new ways to promote recyclability and reduce the usage of virgin plastics. This chemical-based recycling breaks down plastics into reusable feedstock that can be made into plastic, promoting a more circular solution.
3. Digital printing’s growing popularity
Digital printing technology has changed how flexible plastic packaging is designed and produced. From a brand standpoint, digital printing is used to more effectively customize and personalize packaging.
The benefits include:
- Shorter print runs,
- Reduced waste,
- More unique designs or messaging for specific audiences.
Digital printing also increases flexibility around quick design changes or adaptations, a major benefit in consumer goods markets. Converters that can work with brands to capitalize on these trends have the potential to differentiate themselves from competitors.
Keeping up-to-date on the latest trends is only a piece of the puzzle for converters. There is also a need to keep up with the latest equipment and best practices when it comes to addressing these new needs bubbling up from brands and consumers. Whether it’s incorporating smart packaging opportunities, helping brands meet sustainability demands, or incorporating digital printing, converters have numerous ways to capitalize on the latest trends.