In today's ever-busy environment, packaging competes for the shopper's attention.

Before every new year, various organizations make predictions about trends that will impact the following months. From culinary trends (purple foods, plant protein and sardines as snacks will be a thing in 2017, say some) to consumer drivers (online grocery buying, ongoing interest in healthy eating and a continued quest for value), prognosticators take aim at factors that are shaping up to influence or change buying behavior.  

Those in the business of making predications have also focused on packaging trends for 2017. Market research firm Mintel, for example, recently came out with its list of packaging trend projections for this year.

Mintel identified five trends that will impact packaging and, subsequently, manufacturers and brands. Those trends include: “The [Re] Union of Package Structure and Branding;” “The Face and Role of Packaging Online;” “Packaging Gets Smart, Active and Intelligent;” “The Experience of Packaging;” and “Extend My Brand.” The takeaway for bakery and snack manufacturers is that brands are looking at unique packaging structures that support and create brand identity both in store and online, and that “smart” or “active” packaging that somehow engages with the end user is something for both the present and future.

David Luttenberger, global packaging director at Mintel, said that in today’s ever-busy and cacophonic environment, packaging also competes for the shopper’s attention. “However, the impact of the combination of superior structures and succinct branding, the way packaging and our mobile devices are becoming inextricably intertwined, and the way brands are using packaging to reach out to consumers beyond their traditional categories — to include the influence of online shopping — is having more of an impact than consumers realize. At least for now,” he remarked.

Other organizations have gazed into the crystal ball of packaging for 2017 as well.  Trinity Brand Group, with US offices in Berkeley, CA, advised customers to “keep your package dynamic” going forward into the year. Packaging machinery supplier Viking Masek, Oostburg, WI, projects that premade custom pouches will continue to gain momentum in 2017 and, with that, machinery to fill and seal premade pouches.  For its part, PBFY, Brea, CA, says that one trend bound to get traction is the use of “carefully designed windows to show off your product … a window can be used to observe the product, could be cleverly integrated into a logo, a funny shape or even encourage physical interaction.”