MARKET TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS
IN PACKAGING, EMAP, BRUSSELS 2001
Françoise Pardos, Pardos Marketing, February 2006
Packaging, the future in the developed
and the emerging worlds
In the developed world
Main factors to affect packaging are:
Smaller households, singles, one person households are close to
30% of total households in the cities.
Fewer children families.
Older consumers, but keeping their younger age habits.
Health and fitness requirements
People eat less, a slightly down trend for packaging overall quantity.
Meat consumption has started declining ten years ago, and this
More interest in more diversified food, ethnic variety.
Recent trends, or fakes, stopped, like the low-calorie foods and
drinks. Now the vitamin and mineral enriched foods are strongly
questioned, and this trend might stop as well.
Search for convenience product and packaging, but without excess,
only within reasonable limits and cost. Loose self-select is likely
to continue for most of fresh produce, fruit and vegetables.
Streamlining product range
This is a new strategy from major groups, with fewer shapes, sizes,
packages, colors, formulas. This is part of a general strategy of
Serve consumers better, with product line transparency.
Expand globally, doing fewer and bigger things.
This is a complete reverse change from the teeming market segmentation
of the late eighties. The new credo is less is more.
The overall dominance of supermarket retailing is to continue in
the Western world, and to achieve a comparable level elsewhere,
in Eastern Europe, most of Asia, Latin America. This means that
CAP or MAP, controlled or modified atmosphere packaging, and aseptic
processes, will be increasingly used to extend the shelf life of
There is a minor development of gas station shopping, the new corner
shops, with smaller size packages, for convenience.
The fast trend to hard discount and shed shopping for staple, non
perishable products, very successful in 1991-1993, is now stagnant
The much written about shopping from Internet, and home delivery,
is not to come soon and to have any major impact, anywhere. When
it comes, to some extent, home delivery might mean still simpler
and less flashy packaging. But recent surveys indicate that customers
will expect the same packages for their familiar brands as they
find in the supermarkets.
Complicated innovations are to stay marginal. By 2010 most people
will continue to eat fresh foods, simply packaged for just-needed
protection and for counting.
In the emerging economies
All world areas, with fast growing cities, gradually come to achieve
a pattern of consumption /packaging / distribution close to that
of the developed world, yet, hopefully, with the advantages and
without the shortcomings and excesses.
Quantitatively, the perspectives for packaging are huge, a minimum
three-four times of the tonnage that has been reached in Western
Europe-USA, all within the next ten years.
The economies of Central Europe are currently growing at 5-8 % annually
and are ready to replay the story of the last thirty years in Western
Europe, with many short cuts and leapfrogs, but with the pattern
of supermarkets and sophisticated retail packages of the European
In the very vast and populated emerging countries China, India,
Russia, Latin America, the pace may not be as rapid, and much individual
tradition in rural areas will be maintained. Yet, wherever they
are analyzed, through various studies under way, the forecasts for
plastics packaging are staggering, whether in Brazil, Mexico, China,
India, even Mediterranean Africa or Russia.
Even outside cities, a major trend will boost packaging, within
very few years, to protect all valuable crops of which up to 50
% is sometimes lost to pests and hard transportation and storage
For transit as for retail packaging, the major emphasis is likely
to be ever more on plastics films, plain and sophisticated, even
pouches for liquids, clearly the cleverest solution to packaging,
with only the needed requirements, without unnecessary frills.
Making quantitative forecasts, to ten years, for packaging in emerging
economics, would be a hazardous exercise, but the guide is "very
much, very simple, and very clever".
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