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Packaging predictions for 2022

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A new year equals fresh starts. This has got the Network Packaging team thinking about what will happen within packaging in 2022.  What Packaging predictions can we make for this year?

What happened last year? 

Before we think about the year ahead, it’s important to look back at the past 12 months…

2021 was another demanding year in the packaging industry. As a result, price increases happened frequently and lead times got longer – both things that could become the new norm until manufacturing capabilities catch up.

The results of our parent company’s 6th annual unboxing survey also highlighted how important sustainable packaging is becoming to businesses, as well as consumers. Almost 20% of respondents said they would no longer shop with retailers who don’t use eco-friendly packaging materials.

Further stressing the importance of the sustainability agenda and reducing carbon emissions, COP26 and the Environmental Packaging Summit took place at the end of the year. We expect these will be critical in determining packaging trends in 2022.

Based on these events and our packaging expertise, here are our packaging predictions for 2022…

1 – Businesses taking stronger action on the environment

The world is tackling climate change, and there’s no doubt that packaging has a role to play in this. In fact, Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) will become law in the UK from April 2022.

Essentially, this means over 1,300 businesses will have a legal responsibility to report the steps they are taking to tackle climate change. This legislation tackles greenwashing and has another, long term, sustainability goal. It will encourage businesses to align their long-term strategies with the UK’s net-zero commitments.

So, our first packaging trend for 2022 is that we expect businesses to take true action on the environment. Naturally, this will impact packaging. We predict businesses will be:

–  Actively assessing the carbon impact of packaging from cradle to grave

–  Reviewing the sustainability of packaging materials

–  Supporting end-user recycling through clear labelling & recycling information

–  Investing in reusable packaging solutions to create circular economy

2 – A rise in highly recycled content packaging products on the market

Our second packaging trend for this year: that packaging producers and users will be making a big switch to high recycled content packaging. We predict more recycled content plastic packaging products will be launched, as a direct result of the UK Plastic Packaging Tax.

We can also expect many businesses to ditch plastic all together. In 2022 you’ll probably see companies make the permanent swap to paper-based packaging alternatives like gummed paper tape as well.

3 – Using packaging to connect the physical and digital customer experience

Elevating the unboxing experience is a crucial marketing tool for many businesses. It’s a physical extension of the online customer journey for most brands. That’s why connected packaging is our third packaging trend for 2022.

Connected packaging is the next step for brands who want to align their physical and digital customer touchpoints. In essence, connected packaging is printed with QR codes, barcodes or images that are scanned with a browser-based app. This then opens and connects them to relevant digital content and experiences.

A connected packaging experience can be as simple as opening a web page. Or, you can opt for an elaborate augmented reality event if your budget allows.

Using connected packaging can add value to your customer journey. It can also help elevate your brand in comparison to competitors, without using any extra packaging material. So, it’s a win for your marketing team and a win for the environment.

What do you think the latest packaging tends will be?

If you need help with your packaging this year, book a packaging review with one of our team. Simply complete our contact form or email