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Trends in the labels and flexible packaging market

In this post we want to explain the tendencies that are being followed on the market of labels as well as flexible packaging, and which are pushing companies, product manufacturers and packaging manufacturers like us to adapt ourselves in order to be able to respond to this demand.

Let me start with the conclusions reached by the market study firm MINTEL in a relatively recent report and which I will summarize and classify here according to my criteria since I believe it is simpler this way.

From the point of view of labels, these should be:

  • Simple and clear labels where
    • the list of ingredients can be easily read
    • there are color codes allowing to identify the product according to its nutritional characteristics
    • there is access to web sites that supply more information than what is on the label itself, and consumers can even get advice on how to eat in a more healthy way, for example
    • recycling is encouraged in a clear way
  • Intelligent labels that inform us about the state of the food, it freshness, and which therefore allow us to reduce food waste (a very current topic, since with the amount of food that is thrown away all people who suffer from famine could be fed)

From the packaging point of view:

  • Packaging that can be totally or partially reused
  • Packaging that allows to see what is inside
  • Packaging that is easy to transport, reclosable, or in the case of large ones, that allow portions of its contents to be consumed individually

What do you think of these trends?

Surely some of you had already thought of them, right?


Simple and clear labels

How difficult it is at times to read the composition of what we buy!  Or its nutritional characteristics!  Or how to correctly recycle the empty container!

Well, this is a concern for many people – from the new generations that are very conscious of the quality or origin of food, to the elderly, for whom it is difficult to read what is on labels nowadays because of the extremely small print on them.

Communication via the label or packaging is in the process of changing, and without having to wait for the future, already today the excess information is being eliminated, thus simplifying the label.

But at the same time, there is more information, not through the label, but through access – with QR codes or hidden codes – to web sites where additional information can be consulted that is not possible to be printed on the label because of lack of space. In this regard, the pharmaceutical industry is very interested in this point due to the ever increasing number of requirements being requested by the regulatory bodies.

But do you know that many times the lack of space on a label is caused by the fact that manufacturers put the information about their product in several languages? And since the same packaging is sold in many countries, all the information does not fit, wherefore the writing gets smaller.

Nowadays there are already applications that through a simple capture of the packaging with your smartphone show the text of the packaging you are looking at in your language. This is especially useful for travelers, since in each country the information will of course be in the country’s language which you will not necessarily know.

Impressive, right?


rieusset bioSustainable and/or recyclable labels and packaging

The environmental issue is becoming more and more of a concern. The circular economy, whose principles are based on reusing resources, compels us already today to work on the materials we use so that they are biodegradable or at least recyclable. And additionally, if possible, to make them thinner.

In this area there is still important work to be done by the waste management industry so that it can dispose of the adequate processes to recover more than it is currently doing. But this is a job where all of us can contribute our grain of sand – we, the consumers, have the responsibility to manage waste correctly, and the Public Administrations must supply the necessary legislation.

In this section we must also focus on the companies that need to show a clear environmental commitment.


Preventing waste

Additionally, there is also a tendency towards packaging everything and in ever smaller units, since one of the demands of the market is reducing the global waste of food – in this regard I urge you to look up the initiative carried out by TESCO with which it has eliminated the sell-by date of the product – and this is directly linked to packaging.

If we add the “ready to go” trend or the need for smaller packages because of lack of space – a tendency which is especially prevalent in the cosmetics sector – the flexible packaging and labeling sector will take on increasingly more importance.


rieusset personalización



Another trend which is becoming noticeably stronger in the market is the need for personalization. We have been seeing products for some time now which bear different labels without changing the content of the package.

Do you remember the Coca-Cola campaign with the names of people or places? Or the Oreo campaign? Or KitKat?

Well even better. Nowadays it is already possible to personalize some of our favorite products with our name, a greeting for a family member, or even a photograph.


Isn’t it wonderful to give a present like this?


Labels and packaging that add experiences

Lastly, I would like to mention that we have observed a move towards conquering the senses, our senses, with labels and packaging that use texture, smell and even sound to attract consumers.

As you can see, what I have commented regarding market trends of labels and flexible packaging are not futuristic ideas but rather ideas that, in some cases, are already here. Perhaps they are not yet completely resolved or within everybody’s reach, but they are indeed real.

Lastly, these are the tendencies that we at Rieusset wanted to share with you, but we would be thrilled if you could share with us those trends that you know or think might be relevant for the coming years. We look forward to receiving your comments.

    If the topic of this post is of your interest and you would like to know what we can do for your brand, contact us.



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