Supermarket sweep

* 4 min read

Over the last year or so I've seen some real innovations in shop floor packaging, with brands and retailers always looking for new ways to ensure their packaging stands out from the competition. Of course, any innovation by a company that is well received by consumers is soon copied by the competition; serving to create trends within the packaging industry. 

Here are some of the packaging trends I’ve been keeping an eye on recently…

Always on the go…

If your life is as hectic as mine, you’ll appreciate packaging that lets you consume the contents whilst on the move and there’s certainly an increased demand for ‘on the go’ packs. Robinsons is a great example of a brand that has taken advantage of this demand with their new SQUASH’D range – a super concentrated squash available in three flavours, that comes in a pocket sized bottle. 

The demand is by no means limited to the squash market, with OLOVES and McCoy’s crisps being further examples of brands looking to jump on this trend.    

That’s convenient for me…

I appreciate anything that is hassle free and can save me time, something that most consumers would agree with, The use of convenient packaging is certainly on the increase with useful functional elements being incorporated into the design. Tesco has achieved this with their Finest* soup range by adding a pourable lip to the packaging. 

Galaxy has also made their chocolate spread easier to use through the introduction of a squeezable toothpaste style bottles. 

Don’t interrupt me…oh, actually, do…

The next trend that I’ve noticed is the rise of unexpected and visually striking packaging, which seeks to disrupt shoppers as they make their way down the aisles. It’s all about standing out from the competition and triggering an emotional reaction from customers. Cat food brand Felix’s new pack design makes use of this technique, with each flavour displaying half of the mascot’s face. When the packs are positioned side by side on shelf the two boxes serve to create a complete image - certain to make consumers stop and take notice. 

Oooh, that looks good…

The ‘oh ahh’ trend sees brands looking to catch the attention of consumers by breaking the preconceived notion of how packaging should look. The packaging promises to add to the experience of using the product by offering a stimulating visual effect. William Fevre has helped to drive this trend and I love how their glow in the dark bottles look when under UV lights. 

Out of the kitchen, I’m a professional…

What I like to refer to as the ‘like the pros’ trend focusses particularly on the food sector and sees brands targeting consumers that enjoy the art of cooking. They want to feel as though they’re using the same products that the professional chefs might use and are prepared to pay a little more for the privilege. Lurpack’s Cook’s Range plays on this quality feel with visually striking packaging that I feel really jumps off the shelf.    

Can it…

Although drinks cans have been around for many years, some brands that’ve traditionally stayed away from them are now using this packaging format. Belvoir and J2O are two examples of brands that have added cans to their portfolio; creating a talking point that can make consumers stop and take note, whilst also tying in with the convenience trend. 

Sustain to gain…

Perhaps the trend that I am most excited and passionate about focusses on sustainability. In the past we’ve tended to see smaller niche brands using sustainable packaging in order to appeal to consumers that are environmentally conscious. However, more recently the larger mainstream brands are following suit, including Coca Cola, Heinz, Nike and Proctor & Gamble. It is great that such large brands are taking notice of the sustainability issue, even if it’s perhaps being driven more by consumer demand than corporate responsibility. 

One brand that is really making a difference with their approach to sustainable packing is Method; by harvesting plastic from Hawaiian beaches and recycling it for use in their bottles. 

Time for online…

My final trend relates to the increase in online shopping, with UK online grocery sales predicted to increase by £20 billion in the next 5 years. Supermarkets have already responded through the use of discount codes for orders placed online and reduced cost delivery passes. 

As online grocery shopping becomes more commonplace, brands will face the question of whether they need to adapt their packaging so that it translates as well in the digital world as it does on the shelf.