6 Do’s and Don’t’s of Food Packaging

Today’s consumers are overwhelmed with choices when it comes to food shopping. Online grocery purchases are up 23.1% year over year, according to Coresight. With targeted social media advertisements becoming a crucial cog in the marketing wheel, shoppers are frequently influenced by posts from food brands and competition is fiercer than ever. How can you stand out from the crowd? The right packaging design can help catch shopper’s eyes.

Here are six do’s and don’ts for designing food packaging for today’s consumer:

1. Use clear packaging.

With the number of health-conscious consumers on the rise, your audience feels a ‘need to know.’ What is the product made of? Where were the ingredients sourced? What are the health benefits? Clear packaging can take the guesswork out of shopping and healthy eating. “Research shows that when given a choice, consumers will choose transparent packaging over opaque packaging,” according to FoodDive.com.

Keep in mind the color of your product is a great opportunity to ‘wow’ shoppers, allowing for a visually-appealing minimalist design.

2. Design beyond the box.

99Designs predicts 2020 will bring more unique packaging shapes to store shelves. Brands are exploring new ways to tell their brand story while capturing the limited attention of consumers. “For example, a paint brand that transforms their packaging into the shape of a palette or a fresh produce delivery service that packages their fruits and veggies in a bag constructed to look like a farmer.” Think outside of your typical box, bottle or bag when designing your packaging. How can you incorporate your brand story into your design?

3. Incorporate technology.

With technology at the fingertips of nearly every consumer, there are opportunities to tell your brand story beyond the packaging. NFC chips and QR codes are a unique way to engage your audience and can help differentiate you from a competing product. Adding a quick response or QR code to your labels allows you to add an element of education, inspiration or fun. Consumers will scan this code with their mobile device and the code will bring them to a webpage of your choice–perhaps a page with your brand mission, educational blog posts, or a silly video. Get creative! You can learn more about QR codes here.

Additionally, near-field communication or NFC chips are small devices with a stick-on back. These chips send data to other devices like phones, tablets and laptops. “Frito-Lay’s pack of tortilla-chip, Tostitos, came with an alcohol sensor, LED lights and NFC chips at the 2017 Super Bowl,” according to Bizongo.com

While younger generations’ attention spans grow smaller and smaller, it may take a big embrace around technology and some creative thinking to place your product as something that stands out in people’s minds.

4. Tell your brand story.

Storytelling is now at the crux of every brand. With an increase in competition due to today’s strong economy and the ease of which a start-up company can get off the ground thanks to technology, brands need to be relatable to their audience in order to steal attention away from their competitors.

“The coming year will also see a growing trend toward communicating a brand story that shows up in all of a company’s brand assets, as consumers gravitate towards products that match their lifestyle and dietary choices,” says FoodDive.com. Brands must stay true to their core values if they want to build and keep the trust of their consumers. Create a brand guide that contains a brand voice/tone and design kit so you can stay on track.

5. Don’t be wasteful. 

A major trend in packaging this year is recyclability. New technologies are changing plastic production and consumers want to see more recycled and compostable materials. “We can take a used coffee cup or use virgin fiber from renewable sources and transform it into beautiful packaging that really challenges plastic. With this innovation, brands such as those in the drinks industry have the capability to marry the need for responsible packaging with the desire for a premium experience,” says COLOURFORM marketing manager Hannah March.

Edible packaging is an even better alternative to single-use. Some food companies are creating edible straws, pouches, and utensils that can be enjoyed, adding another dimension to the product.

6. Don’t be minimalist.

While minimalism has been trending for the past several years, “2020 is not going to be the year to keep it simple with package design. As consumers look for more of a high-end experience with their products, more brands will start experimenting with a package design style that communicates a luxury experience—and focuses on beautiful details,” says 99designs.com. We can expect more gradients, extravagant patterns, and richer colors. Consumer studies say, “70% of consumers find graphics, color, & shape the most attractive aspects of packaging.”

Once your packaging is on the shelves, we can help get them into the hands of more consumers with better analytics. Learn more via a free demo!

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