Food and Beverage Packaging Trends 2020

The food and beverage packaging trends for 2020 are a reflection of our fast moving global world. The major trends encompass bringing a better consumer experience whilst not compromising on business profitability.

Shelf- Ready Packaging

To cut down on costs and warehousing, companies are pushing for more and more shelf ready packaging. As retailers in Australia such as Coles and Woolworths move further down the path towards requiring shelf-ready packaging from their external suppliers, both companies say they need to consider the change in their role in the retail sector as they are forced to consider the store environment more than the distribution centre and back-room storage areas.

Woolworths’ ‘Five Easys’: easy to identify; easy to open; easy to shelf; easy to shop; and easy to dispose are the bench mark for the shelf-ready packaging movement. With the emergence of these philosophies by Woolworths, smaller companies are being all but forced to adapt by the big players in the industry.

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Custom Packaging

Another packaging trend for 2020 is the greater utilisation of custom packaging with the rise of niche markets and products. The ability for companies to create custom boxes for food packaging by making use of manufacturers shorter runs allows for much greater flexibility.

Technological advances in printing with processes such as litho-laminated boxes becoming more accessible mean that the packaging industry can now create more personalised packaging for products with a short turn around.

The ability to combine short runs and custom packaging means that products will be brought onto the market more quickly than ever before.

Functional Design Packaging Solutions

With the drive for shelf-ready packaging increasing, and the speed at which products can now be created and ready for sale, the need for functional and consumer based packaging also becomes more important.

With our fast moving world and the emergence of an everyday reliability on technology, more are more people are eating and drinking on the go, often times, one handed (their smart phone in the other). Food and beverage package design needs to facilitate the ability for consumers to ingest whilst walking. For example, ideal beverage packaging design would include openings that produce a smooth and even stream as well as closures that seal tightly to prevent spillage.

Not only this, with the emergence of the selfie, consumers are more and more aware of the fact that they may be photographed at any time. This has caused more emphasis on image than there has ever been before. The smart phone held in one hand is judged equally by the food or beverage product in the other.

Function as well as style of products then becomes a significant factor in purchasing habits for those image conscious. Packaging design needs to reflect the importance that style plays with modern consumers, who increasingly have food and drinks in hand everywhere, at all times.

Young couple unpacking cardboard boxes at new home moving in concept

Environmentally-Friendly Design

Another packaging trend for 2015 is the importance of understanding the consumers concern for the environment and the role this plays in purchasing habits.

Every person in our modern world understands the importance of taking care of our planet. “Recent years have seen us leave an increasingly negative impact on it, which is why more and more companies are working towards introducing eco-friendly packaging solutions.”

An emphasis on reusable packaging and recyclable packaging materials is a primary way that companies can keep atop of this trend, better serve their customers and have greater appeal for the consumer.

By making packaging that serves more than one purpose and is reusable, companies show much needed concern for our environment. Utilising recyclable materials such as paper and cardboard (as well as many others) is also an important factor in appealing to consumers environmental fears.

Cardboard boxes and cardboard packaging is where it begins for the consumer to get involved with recycling but it’s also important for packaging companies to realise their role in creating and maintaining sustainable practices within their day to day operations.


The emergence of goals that encompass improving sustainability in manufacturing processes has seen reduced production costs, greater supply chain engagement, improved ability to anticipate future risks and opportunities, and improved staff satisfaction. These benefits coupled with the consumers environmental concern is seeing that the objective for companies is not just sustainable manufacturing and packaging, but sustainable living on earth.

There is a push towards all new products, including their packaging, needing to be planned with the full consideration of sustainability. This starts with the raw materials, goes through to the manufacturing and usage efficiency and includes the planned recovery of all the waste or unused portions of the product and its packaging.

Wholesale Packaging and Supply Chain Management

Another concern for companies in the packaging industry is improving on supply chain management. The commercial advantages of creating more integrated, collaborative, co-operative and long-term procedures to the supply chain will see that companies experience reduced costs, higher profitability and a competitive advantage.

The manufacturers and users of packaging will become much more closely involved. This close relationship will see greater profitability with the ability of manufacturers to stay ahead of packaging innovation and design as well as identifying changes in market trends.

Supply chain strategic alliances will become more common. The companies that are the most advanced in the management of the supply chain are likely to be the most successful and profitable.