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World packaging and trends, the challenges for the year 2020

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From sustainable to smart packaging: the innovative trends to watch out for next year

Every year, companies all over the world are preparing in anticipation of the next major trends in their market segment.

For several years already, sustainability has certainly been a major trend for all industry sectors. Data released by Nielsen have actually shown that about 80% of consumers are willing to spend few euros more on products that are subject to sustainability rules, either during their manufacturing process or for the use of green materials as, for instance,100% recyclable packages.

It is precisely on the packaging industry that I will focus today, because in PE.DI, we deal with fermentation caps, which are used for the production and packaging of traditional method sparkling wines, and for several years, now, we have been embracing the philosophy of sustainability in our manufacturing process.

Sostenibilità packaging

Sustainability in the packaging world

The choice of sustainable packaging and green values were certainly trends for 2019, and next year it will certainly not be different.

One of the main aspects on which this trend will focus will be the creation of packaging composed of 100% recyclable materials. In PE.DI, we already produce fully recyclable crown caps made of aluminum, which can be re-used to create new aluminum with the exact same properties.

Remaining in the packaging world, the Coca-Cola marketing campaign launched last October to encourage consumers to recycle their bottles should be highlighted. The goal is to create, over time, the Smartwater brand: the first brand that will use bottles made from 100% recycled plastic.

As of today, we cannot consider packaging as just a process to put goods into a container. There is no longer just a cap, whether it is dedicated to the final consumer or to the fermentation, and there is no longer just a bottle or a box. Packaging is the first visible proof that both the producing company and the product buyer are undergoing the change needed for sustainability. A change that is spreading like wildfire and that is rapidly shifting the mindset of more and more companies.

There is a growing concern about the increase of plastic waste. In the second half of the nineteenth century, when the first experiments were carried out with plastic materials, it was certainly not thought that they would eventually create real artificial islands within the oceans. Today we are in a critical situation, which is why every single company should find ways to reduce its plastic pollution and its CO2 emissions. So thinking outside the box becomes necessary and everyone should give his own little contribution to tackle this global problem.

As far as it concerns packaging, there is no doubt that the demand for packages created with recyclable or recycled materials will grow exponentially in 2020, both in the B2C and B2B worlds. Natural materials could soon replace commonly used plastic materials, thus helping each brand to highlight their will and work in helping the planet. All this should not neglect the end-costumer increasing need for premium experiences.

Smart packaging: another trend that should not be underestimated

Smart packaging will be very fashionable in 2020. Augmented reality, cloud labelling, anti-counterfeit packaging and track-and-trace technologies are all destined to grow.
2020 will be a crucial year for enabled and connected AR packaging, also because more and more consumers are looking for this kind of experiences. Here we would like to mention, as an example, an app created by us in PE.DI in collaboration with the physicist and bubble expert Gérard LIGER-BELAIR. This app is dedicated to winemakers and producers rather than to final consumers and it allows to predict the exact CO2 pressure in a bottle of wine produced with the traditional method.

But that’s not all: smart packaging technology can also be used successfully to educate consumers and companies on sustainability. Augmented reality, thanks to its great scalability potential, allows to encourage an ecological approach, while maintaining the brand good name and creating user engagement. With a simple smartphone it is possible to transform the packaging into a digital discovery tool, increasing transparency on the origin of the product and on its ingredients, creating amazing user-experience and reliable assistance, guiding at the same time the purchase intent and customer loyalty.

Connected packaging and AR are increasingly used to create engaging storytelling acts to surprise and amaze the user, but also and above all to inform and educate him on certain topics such as the origin of the ingredients and the sustainability of the brands.
Creating smart packaging is therefore an almost mandatory move for companies in order to avoid being left behind, especially with the introduction of 5G technology, expected in 2020, which will increase the speed and possibility of connections, and enable the use of AR cameras.

We can certainly say that in 2020 the next big wave of digital transformation is expected, a transformation that is still in its infancy in Italy, but it has become the basis of corporate survival abroad. The thought that this digital transformation is dedicated only to big companies is a paramount mistake. Companies of all sizes can take advantage of the productivity gains offered by these new technologies.

There is no need for huge budgets or even large IT teams. In the past it was only large companies and specialised employees that could afford to provide such systems for packaging. Nowadays, however, thanks to the process digitalisation and the advent of cloud and software as-a-service, there are far fewer barriers to entry the game even for smaller organisations.

What can we do?

The answer to this question is very simple: any company operating in the packaging world, whether designed for B2B or B2C, must necessarily change its asset and mindset in search of solutions to create a one-of-a-kind product, which is also sustainable, smart, and resilient to the upcoming technological changes.
Giulia Di Crescenzo – CEO of PE.DI s.r.l.

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