An independent industry survey has revealed that advances in manufacturing has had the biggest influence on packaging over the last 30 years, but sustainability will be key to future trends. 

The survey was commissioned by brand empowerment specialist API Group and focused on gaining insight from brand owners and packaging designers. It revealed that 54% of industry professionals believe manufacturing techniques have had the biggest impact on packaging trends in the last three decades.  A further 48% believe material developments, such as advances in foils, have also contributed heavily to trend directions.


However, with the changing political agenda and legislation placing an increasing focus on plastic-free packaging, 42% of industry professionals believe sustainability will become the biggest trend driver over the next five years. 27% of survey respondents also predicted that smart technology and premiumisation effects will be key future trend drivers, as packaging embellishments continue to define and differentiate a brand’s proposition in a crowded market place. With 71% of brand owners seeing an alignment to trends as an opportunity and 78% believing it has a positive effect on consumer buying behaviour, packaging is a key point of consumer engagement. 

David Peters, Creative Development Manager, API Group, said: “Trends in packaging have always been a key consideration for brand owners.  Advances in technologies and large-scale manufacturing processes have previously helped drive innovation across the industry. 

“Key current and future fashion and cultural trends, are the main influences on print and decoration choice, but our survey reveals that brands are increasingly looking for something more than just style. Sustainability is one of the key issues driving the packaging agenda and to keep up, brands will need to adapt their packaging strategies to combine style and substance. Brands will need to evolve and innovate in line with consumer demand for more environmentally-friendly packaging. It is also important to remember that trends are just a steer. It is essential to understand and develop packaging solutions which are appropriate for the brand, consumer, category and the environment in which the product will be positioned.” 

API Group has developed its class-leading film-free Transmet™ solution which provides a recyclable option for paperboard packaging, which has all the benefits of traditional metalized polyester cartonboard laminates minus the plastic film content. It allows brands to reduce their environmental impact without compromising a premium design finish – making it an effective solution across a wide range of applications.  

David Peters added: “As a company that empowers brands by delivering the solutions they need, we will remain at the forefront of packaging trends and innovation.”