More people are living as singles, society is getting older and the market for convenience products is booming. Varying diet trends and changed consumer habits are serious challenges for the food industry, retailers and packaging manufacturers. Kristian Blomqvist, sales and marketing director central of the Finnish Wipak Group, talks about trends, innovations and the function of packaging in fast-moving and diversified markets.
Kristian Blomqvist: We noticed an increasing polarisation in the market. On the one side, there are more trade brands focused on quantity and cost-efficiency but, at the same time, also on differentiation. Even discounters are increasingly marketing their products as premium. On the other side, there are brand manufacturers that stand out by means of individual packages. One thing is true for all of them: the market is getting more difficult. The pressure on retailers and manufacturers to set themselves apart at the POS and to attract consumer attention grows. Packaging is the key to this process.
One factor is to reconsider proven or conventional concepts and to break new ground. Wipak has a multitude of film solutions offering new ways of differentiation. Concepts that increase efficiency, add value or promise an emotional user experience will come into focus.
Examples include single-portion packs, paper composites, stand-up pouches with heat-resistant WALOX films replacing aluminium packages; quadro-seal bags as an alternative to folded boxes; or state-of-the-art printing technology using glossy, matt, haptic or tactile lacquers. One thing is for sure: the individualisation of packaging is going to continue.
No matter if we are talking to discounters, regional manufacturers, or internationally acting food groups - the demands for cost-efficient, sustainable and premium-quality solutions have increased considerably over the past years. At the same time, development and production cycles are getting shorter. Flexibility and fast response, coupled with high quality and efficiency, are the key factors. This trend continues, and this is the general framework for the market.
Our goal and mission is to stand out from the competition based on innovative solutions, services and quality. For this reason, we have upgraded our development capacities and our range of service such as pack design or technical support. We offer our customers packaging consulting; we cooperate closely with product development, machine manufacturers and design agencies; and we invest in future technologies in order to anticipate trends.
Just imagine interactive packages. We have been working for some time on technologies for the integration of videos, 3D models, audio or images into packages. Packages that help brands and products to come 'alive' are offering new ways of approaching customers. This also includes watermarks and barcodes that are invisible to the human eye, but which include additional functions. Invisible EAN codes make shopping faster and more convenient as they can be scanned automatically. This also relieves pressure from retail employees. At the same time, interactive packaging adds new flexibility for package design.