Competition among FMCG manufacturers is tougher than ever. To be successful, your packaging has to stand out from the crowd, instantly connect with consumers, and even anticipate emerging consumer trends – all while maintaining downward pressure on packaging production costs.
So how can the latest packaging production trends help give your brand the leading edge in 2019?
#1 New print technology cuts costs without sacrificing quality
Gravure printing has always been considered the gold standard among brands wanting to achieve fine print detail and the best print result. The downside was the premium cost and slow turnaround due to longer lead times to produce the gravure cylinders and the lack of flexibility for new product development.
Brands that consider moving their gravure printing offshore face potential pitfalls, chiefly extended production lead-times, larger production runs (resulting in greater stock holding and capital outlay), limited local technical support, and the risk of poor aesthetics and inconsistent packaging, ultimately costing brands more than they expected.
Now there is an excellent local print alternative that delivers the same high quality but at a lower cost. Recent improvements to flexographic (flexo) print technology are enabling brands to achieve results rivalling gravure, with significantly faster production times and cost reduction of up to 30 per cent.
With the latest flexo print capability and newly defined colour strategies, the four colour process (CMYK) is delivering brands the design clarity and colour densities previously achieved through seven or eight-colour gravure printing, but at a significantly reduced cost and capital outlay.
#2 Eco-friendly packaging
According to Sustainable Brands, more than 91 per cent of consumers expect the companies they purchase from to act responsibly in regard to social and environmental issues, - and more than two-thirds are willing to pay more for products that demonstrate sustainability.
This growing demand for more environmentally-friendly business practices will drive more eco-friendly packaging in the coming years. Sustainability is a new standard and expectation in production.
And brands are already responding to consumer expectations by reducing the amount of packaging used, as well as using recyclable, biodegradable and compostable materials.
Further along the supply chain, the printing industry is also responding. Eco-friendly plate-imaging systems now use water-based production methods rather than harsh solvents and chemicals harmful to the environment. This new form of solvent-free plate imaging has a much greener footprint with significant reduction in carbon emissions.
By opting for sustainable production processes, brands can communicate their sustainability credentials to consumers, further building brand loyalty.
#3 Packaging made personal
There has been a lot of buzz in recent years about personalised packaging – think Coca Cola’s Share a Can and named Nutella jars - and how digital printing enables such marketing campaigns. Moving into 2019, the question remains: How can brands capitalise on this trend and is the quality and speed to market of digital printing what it needs to be to be viable?
For the majority of FMCG brands, digital printing has typically been prohibitive due to slower production speeds for larger format packaging, with additional time required for inks to dry and also due to poorer quality adhesion, thereby minimising the range of packaging substrates that can be used.
This has resulted in a reliance on traditional print methods, which come with higher production costs and larger production runs, making it difficult to secure additional budgets to test and launch new products, run seasonal campaigns or truly personalise packaging.
This problem has been overcome through the evolution of technology and local availability of hybrid digital and traditional print presses. These machines combine the high quality and fast-production speed of traditional flexo printers, with the lower cost of digital printing.
Using this process, a base design is first printed using conventional flexo print, with the customisable element then overlayed using the digital part of the printer - all in the same print run.
This hybrid technology offers brands and marketing teams opportunities to be more dynamic and responsive to the market, cutting costs associated with new product development and goods delivered to market in a shorter timeframe.
Brands adopting this technology can gain an edge over competitors by expanding marketing strategies to include seasonal, localised or personalised campaigns, or testing and launching products with less capital outlay and a faster turnaround.
This gives brands a commercially viable way to create unique packaging tailored to their end user and push their branding boundaries to extend reach and customer conversion.
For more information about new print technologies and how they could benefit your business, please contact us today.