Trends In Packaging: Focus on Value

Packaging design changes a lot. They evolve from one version to another, and the field of packaging design evolves continuously year after year.

This year, the final trend we analyzed includes a renewed focus on value. In light of the high cost of, well everything, businesses and consumers alike are trying to find ways to make every penny count, and food packaging is no exception. At the same time, your food packaging is both an extension of your brand and a silent salesperson. It’s not something that you want to disinvest in.

So, what’s a business to do?

In a phrase, focus on value. Without further ado, here are the value-focused trends we expect to see in 2024.

Multipurpose Packaging Reduces SKUs and Costs

One way that you can get more for your buck is to use multipurpose packaging. These packages can often hold many different kinds of products, which allows you to stock more of one kind of packaging rather than stocking a bunch of different packages.

When evaluating multipurpose food packaging, or really any change to your food packaging operations, you have to be careful in making the switch. Someone likely chose all those different packages for a reason or even several reasons. Finding a package that fits multiple uses involves weighing a number of tradeoffs against each other and settling on the best one.

Inno-Pak can help you explore packaging that fits more than one use. We have many different cartons and packages that can fit a wide variety of products. One of these, our INNOBOX EDGE Inserts, helps you organize food into leak-resistant compartments, so you can add two, three, or four compartments to a package as needed—or leave it out when it’s not needed.

Balancing Domestic and International Suppliers

Often, companies look to international suppliers to drive down costs, but they also have very long and complicated logistics networks. A North American supplier can bring a competitively priced product to bear far more nimbly. While no one wants to pay more for a product, you might find that your business thrives when it has quick and responsive service that international suppliers just can’t provide.

The COVID pandemic strained logistics networks across the world, and companies all over the U.S. got used to hearing that something was late or unavailable or out of stock. At Inno-Pak, we responded by investing in our domestic manufacturing capabilities so that we could eliminate those long transit times and become a nimbler company while still working with international suppliers who can provide unique and cost-effective packaging. Today, we’re able to bring you the best packaging the world has to offer through our unique domestic and international network.

Getting Hot Food Packaging That Works

We’ve talked a lot about tradeoffs and potentially switching packaging in this article, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t caution you to evaluate your packaging’s heat performance.

No supplier or amount of SKU rationalization can make up for food packaging that doesn’t perform. If you’re serving hot food, you have to be sure that your packaging can keep it hot and crispy until customers get it home to eat it. Otherwise, they will have a bad experience and won’t buy it again.

We talk frequently about thinking of your packaging as an investment in your business. After all, good packaging supports your brand, enhances your reputation, and protects your food. Why buy packaging if it can’t keep your food hot and crispy?

So before you make the switch to a domestically sourced or multipurpose package, make sure that you get samples or a small order, put your food in it, and drive it home. See if the temperature holds and if the hot foods stay crispy. You owe it to your business and to your customers.

Protect Your Product: Invest in Tamper-Evident Packaging

Another investment that you can make in your food is tamper-evident packaging. Tamper-evident packaging is any packaging that creates evidence when someone tries to tamper with it whether that’s by trying to open it to steal part of an order or trying to recreate a viral social media stunt.

The benefits of tamper-evident packaging are that you don’t have to worry about whether a delivery person or someone else messed with your food—it would be obvious if they had. It’s also superior to staples on bags, which can fall into customers’ food or cut their hands or arms when they reach into the bag.

As 2024 comes and goes, we expect to see more brands expressing an interest and investing in tamper-evident packaging. They want it to protect the investment that is their food, and their customers want it because it’ll give them peace of mind.

For more about tamper-evident packaging, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide.

Enhance the Customer Experience with Connected Packaging

The final design trend we expect to see in 2024 is connectivity in packaging. We’ve identified this trend for a couple of years now, but it continues to catch on.

The gist of connected packaging is that more and more brands will invest in their packaging to enhance the customer experience. Some will use QR codes to show you how to compost or recycle that package. Others will promote a product, share some history, or otherwise provide media via augmented reality (which differs from virtual reality by adding to rather than replacing the world around you).

However, don’t think that all interactivity has to be high tech. There are plenty of low-tech ways that you can enhance your packaging, such as reusing your packaging to create something else, like a speaker or a projector. Even something as simple as printing a coupon onto your packaging can enhance your customer’s experience with your packaging and make more use of something you’re buying already.

Want to promote your restaurant with QR codes? We’ve got a guide for that, too.

Investing in Your Packaging. Invest in Your Business.

At Inno-Pak, we value the relationships we build with our customers. We don’t see ourselves as a vendor selling packaging but as a partner in your success. It’s why we bring you the latest and greatest packaging from around the world, analyze packaging trends, and are constantly investing in our business and our sustainable packaging portfolio.

You work hard to deliver value to your customers, and you deserve the same treatment from your packaging. If you’re looking to get more value out of your packaging, then contact us today. Our expert team can find solutions that will work for your business, and if we don’t already have it, we can work with you to create one!