The concept of 'packaging' has been a cross and delight of all industrial development: on the one hand it guaranteed a better, faster and more widespread distribution and storage of food, on the other hand it helped to form a generation (more than one to be honest) "disposable" accustomed to not reusing anything and using things quickly and quickly.
In any case, the virtue lies in the middle: we need packs and containers, we will need them more and more. Here are 5 trends that we could find in the packaging of the future.
1. Smart containers with integrated electronics
The old wording "to be consumed by" can be replaced by sensors that will independently indicate when a product is no longer edible. With this increased accuracy, food waste will be reduced, sometimes still usable when thrown away. Store logistics will be optimized with the massive advent of RFID, which will help stores reduce the amount of unsold and ordered goods.
The 'electronic' packs will have a privileged communication channel with the new 'smart' appliances: imagine a "smartfridge" that updates us on the quality of the food it contains, suggests menus with the ingredients present and maybe alerts us when there is to buy back something that is no longer edible.
2. Portions made to measure and on the fly
With the increase of 'nuclear' single-person families (and the consequent change in lifestyles, less regular and more dynamic) it will be difficult to deal with bulky family packs. Why buy 10 eggs when you can only eat 2? With single packs and new formats, food waste could be dramatically reduced: just a small law is enough. In short, you just have to want it.
3. Custom packages
One of the main elements of packaging is the ability to 'tell' the product: the consumer's need to know the origin of a food and the food chain that brought it to his table is increasing. We will witness an even wider use of 'emotional' and 'familiar' elements in packaging: in this case, there will soon be a shift in 'perception', with packaging that is sometimes less alluring and colorful but closer to the appearance of natural objects ( stones, wood) and even 'customized' packaging that adapts to the buyer's tastes. Soft drink cans and chocolate jars are just the embryonic stage of a much larger process.
4. Sustainable packaging
For the public opinion (not wrongly) disposable packaging is one of the main causes of the increase in waste and a symbol of an unsustainable lifestyle: for this reason, the future is made of ecological and light materials such as bioresins or 'green' materials instead of plastic packaging. A return to the 'empty to make' so popular 30 years ago is not excluded. Today would be a blessing.
5. Augmented reality
If we want to hazard a prediction just a little further, the packaging can also serve to suggest the experience of using a product. The advent of new augmented reality devices (brothers or more likely sons of the “Google Glass”) will open up almost unlimited possibilities to surround a product with symbols, images, characteristics of its 'mythology'.
The success factor of all these trends will be the ability of a package to give meaning and body to the 'story' of a product, with shared values also by buyers. Communication, empathy and above all sharing will be fundamental: to these I add a touch of elasticity. Consumers are becoming more and more “fragmented” and articulated in their demand. The designers take up the challenge of products perceived more and more as 'personal' and 'own'.