At one time not much thought went into packaging food products other than whatever it took to keep food from spoiling and provide the longest possible shelf life. But in recent decades, marketers have been diving deeper into psychological research that helps connect visual stimulation with consumer behaviour. Here are unique ideas for modern food packaging.
Mixing Up the Variables
An effective way to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to food packaging is to know what has been done successfully, what hasn't worked and what has yet to be tried. Getting inventive while staying within a sensible framework based on known knowns about consumers is the key to effective innovation in packaging design.
While the most visual aspects of packaging involve shapes, colours and sizes, there are other subtle variables that can be modified to create new forms of packaging. Different values and emotions can be associated with specific packaging concepts. Sharp and sleek designs, for example, are appropriate for innovative or elegant food products. Fun and playful images go great with children's candies.
Other variables that may not be as obvious include transparency, inner wrappers and texture of the material. A transparent window on a package gives consumers the opportunity to visually inspect the product, which can trigger memories of taste, emotion and satisfaction. The inner wrappers should be as impressive as the outer wrappers. The texture of the package relates to the sense of touch, which helps the consumers develop a more personalized feel for the item.
Keeping Design Simple Yet Creative
One of the most universal themes in all marketing is to keep designs simple, which allows them to be more memorable. At the same time, it's advantageous to somehow integrate the product experience with the packaging. The package should match the product in terms of the solution it provides and the feeling one gets after consuming the food.
Designers seeking a competitive edge should not be afraid to get creative. Using multiple shapes and patterns is often the foundation for developing completely unique images. Geometric patterns mixed with unexpected colours can be the secret to breaking the mold of stale, common packaging formulas. Those who can tell stories with packaging are the ones most likely to get inside consumers' heads.
More and more companies of all industries are moving toward sustainability as a company value. One of the keys to communicating an eco-friendly image is to make use of as much available space as possible, while limiting the amount of resources. A primary emphasis for clearly delivering an environmental message is waste reduction. Using nature imagery helps paint an even more clear picture.
Paying attention to recyclable materials is important, but another way to stand out is to give the package extra practical uses. Once the consumer is done with the product, instead of throwing away the package, it can be used as a storage container. Sustainable ideas that have not been overdone yet include making edible bags out of algae or designing a package that turns into a bowl. Giving a package a handle provides more flexibility in how it can be stored.
A growing trend in the packaging industry is to move away from plastic, since it's non biodegradable. Some supermarkets in Europe sell hundreds of products that are plastic-free, relying on glass bottles and plant-based materials. Biodegradable plastic can be made from egg whites. Another trend toward sustainability is to use less solvent-based inks in printing to reduce toxicity.
Modern Trends in Packaging
Breaking away from old ideas that are mostly traditional and aren't necessary is the dream of modern packaging designers. Appealing to all human senses has become a winning strategy for adventurous marketers. When it comes to shapes, designers can be different by thinking beyond squares and rectangles. Curves add a lot of character and uniqueness to a package, especially if the overall shape has no equivalent on the market.
Smart packaging has emerged this century as vital, as it encompasses RF technology for product tracking. One of the ways to make smart packaging more powerful is to synchronize it with real-time promotional campaigns. Ultimately, quality products should speak for themselves. The more the product can be part of the packaging, the closer it will be to the minds and hearts of consumers. In cases where too many similar products compete with another, it's better to stand out by giving the package an unexpected appearance.
While most designers consider the vibrant effects of bright colours, keep in mind that black and white is often overlooked as a classic or modern alternative. Restricting the number of colours is a strategy for creating a more cohesive image. Abstract images open the door to a wide range of possibilities that are only limited by the human imagination.