Trends in the Packaging Industry

The packaging industry is more than ever a dynamic, innovative, and challenging space in which to do business. The technology being developed shifts as rapidly as consumer expectations and desires around packaging.


It is crucial that businesses selling food packaging keep aware and up to date with these key developing trends.

Sustainable Packaging:

The most obvious new trend in packaging is the sudden imperative for greater sustainability. It is driven by consumers, legislators, and the industry itself, as Australia’s collective environmental consciousness skyrockets.


The last few years have seen the development of industry bodies like the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation and a swathe of new regulations and bans put in place by both state and federal governments.


The industry’s aims in this sustainable trend are summarised as the four R’s– reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle.


Reduction means designing packaging that is thinner, lighter, or with less components. Reuse and repurpose are straightforward – packaging that has a second use without diminishment in function.


Designing for recycling is complex, due to Australian recycling limitations, but can be achieved either by creating packaging which meets the recycling constraints or through incorporating already recycled plastic into new products.

Seafood in printed vacuum packaging

Multi-Colour Printing:

Another important expectational shift for businesses to note is that multi-colour print on packaging is trending towards a requirement rather than an optional extra. As consumer attention spans shorten, while their aesthetic expectations only increase, a brand has only a few precious seconds to grab a potential end user’s attention and generate interest.


Unprinted, or single colour packaging is at a significant – and growing – disadvantage in shelf appeal.


As technology booms, while the costs and difficulty of acquiring labour rise; investing into labour saving packaging for use with automated packaging solutions is the obvious direction our industry is shifting in.


More people are opting to use thermoforming, flow wrap and vacuum film as well as taped bags – as these need very little manual intervention to pack – compared to more traditional packaging options.

Design Innovation:

While food packaging design may not seem an area prone to extensive innovation, this could not be further from the truth.


In recent years, packaging technology has improved significantly, both in its functionality and presentation properties. The current focus is innovating to achieve more with less – creating packaging that retains maximum shelf life and consumer appeal with less complex layers and total thickness.


Another massive trend is the concept of increased traceability. People want to know where their products come from, and businesses want greater control over our supply chain.


Improved technology – including IoT and blockchain options – now available makes it easier to track any individual pack right back to its base resin. This helps businesses isolate issues when they arise and allows for greater trust and transparency between manufacturer and consumer.

QR Codes:

Customer interaction through QR codes is becoming a fundamental method of turning ordinary food packaging into marketing for your business with little extra effort. QR codes can be used for advertising websites, requesting feedback, promotions, and even event sign ups.


Printing the QR code of choice on the packaging brings a whole new level of interaction with end users.


Its also one of the simplest ways to inform customers about the recyclability status of packaging and reduce confusion around what steps a consumer needs to take to make sure their packaging is recycled.


Food packaging in Australia is a rapidly expanding industry. It is important to review the packaging you use to ensure you are fully utilising the new innovations and inclinations currently transforming the way we package our food.