What were the top packaging trends of 2019?

Exploding SKUs, ecommerce, an American propensity for snacking and three other industry drivers enable brands to leverage the power of packaging design to their advantage. 


Knowing what trends are in vogue is essential for packaging professionals to understand the dynamics in their markets of interest—and where the best growth opportunities are. Which is why Packaging Digest has compiled a list of the six best-read trends posted since January 1. 

6. 8 global packaging trends and where they’re all heading 

First impressions count, and for many brands, this puts high importance on the product packaging. As with all forms of marketing, it shifts and changes due to customers’ tastes and global sentiments—such as the current appetite for sustainable packaging. 

Here are eight key trends that brands should be taking note of right now: 

1. Bold colors make an impact.

2. Creativity is key

3. Sustainable packaging is a priority

4. Less is more

5. The past makes a comeback

6. Transparency means honesty

7. Sell me an experience

 8. What’s your cause?

5. 10 tasting trends: See what’s ahead for snacks and sweets 

Financially, the candy and snack industry is in good health and so are a growing number of products.  Encouragement of more healthful snacking isn’t the only trend. At the NCA’s 2019 Sweets and Snacks Expo, attendees heard about notable market facts and trends: 

  1. Hot, hot, hot.
  2. Go with retro.
  3. Living single.
  4. Count on Keto.
  5. Rolling out redesigns
  6. Eating and activities
  7. Two-part harmony
  8. Premium experience
  9. Get the message?
  10. Sugar-free gets younger


4. 6 packaging reasons SKUs are exploding 

A survey of 250 consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies by L.E.K. Consulting found that 75% of brand owners say they’re going to spend significantly more on packaging—and one-third of them will increase spending by more than 10%. In fact, 90% of brand owners say packaging is critical to their brand’s success as they seek to adapt to an increasingly competitive landscape and rapidly changing consumer tastes. 

Jeff Cloetingh, managing director at L.E.K. and report coauthor, reports they were amazed by the reported magnitude of increasing trend in new stock-keeping units (SKUs). Cloetingh provides additional details in an exclusive Q&A including identifying the six reasons:  Convenience, premiumization, customization, healthy, green, and e-commerce.

Next: Snack, ecommerce and emerging trends  


3. 4 design trends shaping the snack industry 

Encompassing everything from traditional treats and indulgences like chips and cookies, to wellness products and meal replacement bars, the snack industry is enormous. Brands are responding to this demand by offering more products and snack choices than ever before and using packaging design to tell a story. 

Pamela Webber, chief operations officer at 99designs, discloses the details of these key market trends: 

Minimalism—the trend that keeps on giving, and for good reason. When it comes to compelling packaging design, less can definitely be more. 

Atypical designs—if you’re confident about the target audience you’re trying to reach, harnessing an element of surprise and fun in your packaging design can be hugely effective in ensuring your product stands out from the crowd.  

Nude color palettes—more and more packaging designers embrace neutral, earthy shades to ground their work. 

2. 3 challenges of ecommerce packaging (from an insider) 

The ecommerce channel is prime for promoting the circular economy, says Emmy Corman, package design engineer at Dollar Shave Club. And she’s got some ideas on how that can happen. But sustainability is just one of several challenges she sees for brands to up their ecommerce packaging game—Corman says brands face at least three challenges when it comes to ecommerce packaging: 

• To be less wasteful by using less materials or reusable packaging; 

• To offer a new type of “shelf presence” with better graphics or branding; or to elevate the unboxing experience. 

• To optimize returns via the small parcel shipping environment, which is a concern brick-and-mortar retailers don’t face.  

1. 5 packaging trends emerging in 2019 

In the ever-changing packaging industry, new styles come and go; consumers’ needs and desires shift and evolve; and brands are always on the lookout for a way to get ahead in their respective markets. 

This will prove no less true in 2019, as evidenced by the various trends on the horizon for the packaging industry. Take a look at five predictable packaging movements and their drivers… 

1. Flexibility.  

2. Changes in ecommerce.  

3. Environmental awareness.  

4. Less is more.  

5. The power of nostalgia.