Jason Wiley, senior packaging development manager, formerly IGLO Group, encouraged packaging manufacturers to look beyond their own market segment to adopt new technologies ‘to add a functionality you never had before’.
Built-in ring pulls on cans
“Gone are the days when people did one big shop once a month then stored their products at home for six weeks. Nowadays, people shop once a week and look for packaging that produces minimal wastage,” he said.
“The innovations that are coming in use every last scrap of product and portion sizes are becoming smaller. From oversized chocolate Easter eggs that have been downsized to more functionality in the packaging itself, such as built-in ring pulls on cans.
“Innovation is already there cross-sector, it’s just a matter of implementing it to your own product and it’s about being smart. How do you get the consumer to go along with a new idea and excite them?”
According to Wiley, manufacturers need to look around at packaging in other market sectors and ask themselves what role is it fulfilling which the competition is not, what would it look like on my product and how can I make it relevant for my consumer; does it require full product redevelopment or just a modification.
Augmented reality and bar coding
“Don’t copy an idea without understanding the ‘why’, don’t just take it and copy it. You have to get underneath it and understand what value it has before you can modify it, bearing in mind due diligence with intellectual property,” he added.
“Very often a company will protect a product it has designed for their sector, they look at it from their own small competitive set, but when you transfer the design to meet your own sector you may be able to open up avenues you thought were otherwise closed.”
In the future, Wiley said he wants to see augmented reality and bar coding playing a greater role.
“With the current labeling and packaging laws asking for so much information on the back of packaging and as products get smaller there is no room for the branding so there is a little bit of a battle going on, consumers like clean labels,” he said.
“Packaging that has not got much information on the back of it is ‘more Apple than Microsoft’, consumers and marketeers want to be like apple but legislation drives us down the other route.
“I want to see more coding, smart phone reading, a reader to scan a product, but sometimes we are being asked to put more on a label because every lobby group wants their information on a piece of packaging.
Nearly everyone has a smart phone
“We are in an era where nearly everyone has a smart phone which in the future will leave us more room for branding on packages and more room for branding.
“Packaging now is more a bearer of information to the detriment of attraction and functionality.”
Talking about innovation, Wiley said manufacturers have to make sure modifying a product is relevant for their proposition.
“Sometimes you don’t have to go all the way but a step of the way to the insight you are trying to achieve can deliver a step change to the consumer and increase the importance of your brand and make it more relevant to today’s consumer,” he added.
“Find out what would success look like for you, is it apt, relevant, is it credible, do you need to modify your product to make it work, will your consumer get it, will it make you more money, innovation for the sake of innovation is no point unless it will make you more money.
“Sit down with your marketing team, be inspired and look at things outside of your sector you never looked at before, ie healthcare, toys, clothing, things are happening out there that are only sector closed but they are not, cross sector closed, innovation is easy to achieve.”