2024 Packaging Trends

Packaging has become so much more than delivering products safely to consumers. How you package your products, what materials you use and their appearance can contribute to your business’ overall success in the long run. Companies are now using different types of packaging as marketing tools to increase brand awareness and form connections with their customers.

If you’re interested in getting a competitive advantage for your business or curious about the 2024 packaging trends, this post will tell you more about which direction packaging will take in the new year. Because it can influence consumer perception and purchase decisions, while giving your products a perceived value and identity, any brand’s packaging must evolve to stay relevant to the target audience’s wants and needs.

The following trends are worth noting for the upcoming year.

Minimalist Packaging

Many marketing channels, including websites, focus on simplicity and ease of use. You’ll also see this trend mirrored in minimalist packaging trends. Minimalism is about keeping packaging simple and uncluttered. The emphasis is on functionality while using as few materials as you can. For many customers, minimalism and simplicity symbolize elegance. That’s why luxury brands use clean lines and restrained color palettes that resonate with their ideal customers who seek sophistication and exclusivity.

Additionally, minimalism and sustainability go hand in hand. Many companies are aware that their customers value environmental responsibility, so they keep finding ways for their customers to enjoy the unboxing experience without jeopardizing the packaging materials’ recyclability. If you still wonder if a minimalist packaging design is right for your business, here’s a list of how it can benefit your brand identity:

  • Relevant information and high-contrast elements stand out.
  • You can prevent excess waste by only using what you need.
  • Textures elevate flat surfaces.
  • Your brand style and logo can shine with no distractions.
  • Less material and streamlined printing processes mean higher cost savings.
  • Simple designs convey a sense of sophistication and quality.
  • Minimalist packaging can increase your products’ visual appeal.

Smart and Interactive Packaging

Packaging must tell a story about your brand. Interactive packages have revolutionized how customers experience products and bridged the gap between physical and virtual experiences. These smart applications allow for a more efficient supply management system, resulting in more engaging customer experiences. QR codes, near-field communication tags and augmented reality features can increase brand loyalty and sales.

QR codes, a type of two-dimensional matrix barcode, usually communicate relevant product details like benefits and uses, while NFC tags offer more interactive experiences. Imagine someone receiving a beautifully designed package and noticing a QR code or NFC tag inviting them to learn more. Scanning the code connects them to a unified shopping and brand experience.

AR can provide the following applications in interactive packaging:

  • Product information and instructions
  • Interactive games, riddles and challenges
  • A virtual try-on to experience different product ranges
  • Real-time inventory updates
  • Nutritional or allergen information and expiration dates
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Product safety information and usage instructions
  • Motivation to share experiences on social media channels

E-Commerce Packaging

As more online retail businesses enter the market, effectively overtaking traditional retail shopping, online shoppers’ wants and needs drive most e-commerce packaging trends. E-commerce is accessible and convenient for people with access to smartphones and the internet. Unlike packages on store shelves, e-commerce packages must be durable enough to protect the products they contain while traveling to their destination.

However, people are also becoming more aware of packaging’s impact on the environment, particularly the contribution to landfills. While traditional plastic packaging is durable and affordable, most plastic containers and packaging still end up in landfills.

This reality led to e-commerce businesses constantly exploring innovative packaging solutions that are still functional, yet more sustainable.

  • Fully renewable cellulose-based materials replace plastic coatings on packaging while still providing hydrophobic protection.
  • Processed grass fibers are a safe alternative to plastic, replacing groundwood pulp in cardboard structures.
  • Ultraviolet and electronic beam curable inks have lower energy consumption, contain no solvents and don’t emit harmful chemicals.
  • Biodegradable packing peanuts made from maize grit, water and herbal extracts can stand in for polystyrene.

Sustainable Packaging

Sustainability has been a strategic subject for the industry. Packaging is the largest market for plastic, accounting for more than 40% of all non-fiber plastics. The rise of people’s awareness of these environmental issues moved them to prefer companies and products that follow green initiatives and packaging trends. Consumers value sustainably sourced products and inventions. Though approximately 75% of organizations made clear and ambitious commitments to packaging sustainability, fewer than 30% are ready to meet those aspirations.

Policies and regulations are responding to the public’s sentiment for sustainable packaging, pushing organizations to invent eco-friendly packaging materials, designs and processes to fulfill their commitment. Sustainable packaging covers more than cardboard boxes and product coverings — it’s the holistic impact of applying eco-friendly practices in these five areas.

  1. Physical packaging: Lower the amount of packaging used in all phases.
  2. Design: Refresh design specifics using the latest customer and industry insights.
  3. Transport: Pack and ship products efficiently to lower carbon footprint.
  4. Materials: Use eco-friendly materials with lower life-cycle emissions.
  5. Recyclability: Reuse and recycle to optimize waste management as much as possible.

Many companies are already leading the way in sustainable packaging and practices. One of the best examples is the online retail giant Amazon, which seeks to maximize its use of low-waste packaging types. Another example is a consumer goods company called Reckitt, which gets 99.5% of its paper and boards from certified or recycled sources.

With our approach to sustainability, Great Northern Packaging has been on a mission to help and make a difference in the world. We intend to help the environment with these solutions.

  • Materials: More than half of our paper-based packaging comes from natural renewable sources.
  • Production: We use and invest in equipment that reduces energy consumption and waste during manufacturing.
  • Distribution: Our user-friendly packaging inventory management program optimizes performance across the supply chain.
  • Use: Our structural design team creates impactful, innovative and sustainable solutions that customers can reuse multiple times.
  • Product end-of-life: Corrugated packaging has a high recycling rate and can live on in new boxes and paper products.

Explore Great Northern’s Packaging Capabilities

The packaging trends for 2024 will emphasize creating minimalist and sustainable e-commerce packaging solutions with smart and interactive capabilities. Companies showing a corporate social responsibility toward sustainability, using eco-friendly options and biodegradable alternatives to their packaging, will dominate the industry in years to come. Interactive packages can show consumers who demand greener solutions how to reuse or recycle to increase brand awareness and loyalty.

Embracing these trends will enable you to stay competitive and connect more deeply with your customers. Explore our packaging capabilities or get in touch with us to see how we can exceed your expectations.

Great Expectations

Great Expectations is more than a tagline, it is an attitude. At Great Northern, customer challenges are met by an undying spirit to doing what others can’t or won’t. It’s in our DNA. And it is what our customers have come to expect with Great Northern.

How can we exceed your expectations?