Global Packaging Design Emphasizes Convenience, Ergonomics and Customization

DuPont Packaging Award judges discuss global trends in six-part video series.

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Today’s most innovative packaging design focuses on the end-user, with increasingly customizable packaging, convenience and enhanced ergonomics, according to leaders gathered from around the world to serve as judges in the 28th DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.

Asked to cite the latest trend in packaging design, the judges reported seeing sensitivity to environmental impact and a heightened focus on addressing consumer needs across all economies, improved functionality and smaller portions. The interviews were released in the first of a six-part series of video interviews on packaging trends. Sustainability and cost-effectiveness in production and consumer offerings were cited across the board.

“The latest trend in today’s packaging design and execution is innovation, bringing it at a cost-effective manner, while embracing sustainability goals,” said engineering fellow Brian Rivers, strategic sourcing, Sealed Air Corporation. Fashion Institute of Technology associate chairperson Marianne Rosner Klimchuk cited material reduction, sustainability and e-commerce, sharing that the packaging industry is “thinking about ways to reduce our impact on the environment.” Senior director and global head Sanjay Ghoshal, packaging of India-based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, has witnessed the mix of functionality with frugality, and packaging built “out of minimum resources that we can use from nature.”

Most judges recounted a litany of interwoven developments in packaging design: “I think there are a number of trends … everything from e-commerce [to] customization, but still trying to maintain mass production,” said Germany-based Colin Yates, global petcare packaging sustainability director for Mars. Likewise, Pepsico Brazil’s R&D packaging manager Eduardo Yugue, identified ergonomics, inclusive design, recloseability, ease of opening and readability, as well as small and single portions.

Sonoco’s staff vice president of global technology consumer packaging Jeff Schuetz observed that, among “important recent trends is designing packages with the end-user in mind, whether that is a food service or consumer application, there seem to be a number of design elements built in to satisfy the consumer.”

Sharing that view was Ramon Agustines, flexible packaging division general manager of Philippines-based Universal Robina Corp., who sees an effort “to make the consumer more attracted to the product, but at the same time to make the product more cost-effective. I see that in an improvement in some of the materials being used now to allow that to happen.”

Consumer information and customization are rising trends. Lead judge David Luttenberger, CPP, global packaging director for the Mintel Group, cited essentialism: “That’s giving consumers enough on-pack information to make an informed, enlightened purchasing decision while not overwhelming their shopping experience.”

Amazon’s senior manager of supply chain packaging Suzanne Fisher said, “As a brand owner, you want the consumer to be delighted with your package and your product. Whether it’s a package that has your favorite baseball team or a local high school, customization is huge, and it’s making the supply base figure out a way to offer lower quantity items [at a] cost-effective point.”

The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain and is recognized globally as the leading packaging awards program. The international competition honors innovations in packaging design, materials, technology and processes.

The independent panel of packaging experts from across the globe evaluated nearly 200 entries from more than 25 countries, selecting a total of 22 winners. The top Diamond Award recognizes the single entry that excelled beyond all others on all three criteria: technological advancement, responsible packaging and enhanced user experience.

New this year is the Diamond Finalist award, given to six companies, acknowledging the growing number of packaging innovations that excel in all three categories. Also introduced this year by the judges is the new Leadership in Innovation Award, acknowledging ground-breaking, cutting-edge excellence in the packaging marketplace. The judges also awarded five gold winners and nine silver winners based on “excellence” in one or two categories.


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