Mintel has announced two trends that are impacting the global packaging industry this year: Ahead of the Recycling Curve and In-Store Refill.

Ahead of the Recycling Curve. Packaging manufacturers and brands must continue to develop and commercialize recyclable package innovations even if the capabilities to recycle them do not yet exist. “With a fraction of the world’s plastic waste actually being recycled, there is a dire need to explore technologies that are ‘technically’ recyclable now, and for the development of plastic alternatives—not just single-use plastics, but for all types of plastics and packaging,” said David Luttenberger, Mintel global packaging director. “Time is of the essence; these technologies must be developed today, ahead of their ability to be recycled, rather than the other way around.”

In-Store Refill. The rapid growth of independent packaging-free stores is driving retailers across the industry to consider how to create simple, branded, and engaging refill opportunities in-store. “With single-use now a toxic phrase for many consumers, refillable packaging is becoming more and more commonly known and used,” explained Luttenberger. “While consumers want packaging reduction that comes from reuse, they expect this to be a simple and mess-free transaction. But without packaging to serve as one of the main communication channels from brands to consumers, branding can become challenging. Brands should look to offer memorable experiences through refill in order to create brand engagement, with those bringing some theatre to the refill moment most likely to succeed.”

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