Sustainable, multisensory and white - the latest confectionery packaging trends

Monday, 14 December, 2009

Several central trends can currently be identified in the area of confectionery packaging: First of all, there is the integration of multisensory effects, which provide more differentiation in the shops and aim to boost impulse purchases.

The second trend is the growing significance of seasonal business, which is increasing in importance throughout the whole of the confectionery business. Here, special packaging for promotional activities - often so-called ‘one-off’ promotions - is increasingly in demand.

Sustainability is naturally also an important topic in the packaging industry. And in the area of packaging design - white is the new black.

Multisensory effects

For a while now, multisensory effects have been a topic of great interest to the manufacturers of packaging. Market research proved long ago that addressing several senses at once through product packaging increases consumers’ brand loyalty by 30 to 60%.

The term multisensory applies to the finishing of packaging. This is why buyers in the confectionery industry are increasingly appreciating technologies such as foil lamination, positive, negative and textured embossing, varnishes and many more, as ways of bringing a new dimension to the look and feel of their packaging.

At no point is the topic of ecology ignored. Material downsizing and the use of environmentally friendly, favourably certified packaging materials are the central points, which are focused on during the development and manufacturing of confectionery products. Which is the most ecologically sensible packaging material continues to depend on the specific product.

The card used for flat-folding boxes is now tested to determine its ecological compatibility. Card is a favourite material in the packaging field as it is based on renewable raw materials and can be recycled along with paper. Materials derived from neutrally monitored and sustainable forestry are increasingly being used. And with the right measures, the already comparably low energy requirements for the printing and finishing of packaging can be lowered even further and made even more energy efficient. Here, the primary objective is climate-neutral printing.

Water-based inks and varnishes reduce the use of chemicals without loss of quality. Colour mixing systems make it possible to precisely create colours using modern thermal printing plates, almost completely eliminating the use of chemicals. New technologies represent efficient, environmentally friendly processes, which guarantee sustainability and are very well received by the consumer. This topic is currently helping companies win market shares.

This is why responsibility for sustainability is now a topic for the top level of management at the world’s consumer goods giants, such as Nestlé and Unilever. Naturally, this is also because the overall social problem of scarce resources and emissions and energy problems must also be recognised and resolved along the value chain.

This is why sustainable packaging has become even more appealing. Today’s predominant, ecologically aware consumer is by no means ‘ecological’ in the traditional sense of the word. In comparison to the previous generation, today’s consumer enjoys consumption - he or she has money and enjoys spending it. However, today’s consumer is decisively influenced by aspects of sustainability when making purchasing decisions.

Market researchers assume that this consumer type already characterises up to 30% of all consumers. The beneficiaries of this new consumer behaviour are the large supermarkets. Here, brand name manufacturers can present themselves with new looks and considerably more shelf appeal in order to score points with the customers for their innovative packaging designs. This is where confectionery in particular is managing to defy the crisis. The industry is profiting from the fact that consumers like to treat themselves. In many segments, brand names are profiting at the expense of private labels, even among the discount stores.

Even in the area of sugar confectionery, there are no signs of crisis. The fruit and wine gum, foam sugar and liquorice segment is experiencing single-digit growth. New products are one reason for the growth of the overall confectionery turnover. As the market researchers from Nielsen found out, every 10th Euro spent in 2008 went on a new product. In total, innovations earned €900 million last year - a volume that corresponds to 100,000 tonnes of confectionery products.

In food retailers, drug stores and petrol stations, mainly impulse purchases of confectionery products were generated. One particular success factor is the thrill of experiencing something new. Product innovations, new flavours and attractive packaging with the added benefit of convenience help to increase customer interest in the confectionery product range. This is why chocolate is now available in the form of a CD (Zotter Schokoladenmanufaktur), Confiserie Riegelein are selling chocolate hearts in gift cups or slide-out boxes and Lambertz is presenting an elaborate embossed tin box under the name 'Gloria Thurn und Taxis'.

The new black

In the area of chocolate, a trend towards simplicity is currently also being observed. A plain white is increasingly becoming the stylish colour in the design of new premium products. This trend has a psychological background: “White is perceived as pure and virginal and offers plenty of room for projection”, the trade publication Lebensmittel Zeitung quotes the Cologne-based rheingold institute.

In the food industry the colour white also symbolises freshness and lightness - and as it’s a reserved colour, it also reflects a certain qualitative value. In Switzerland, the trading firm Migros has already taken on this design trend and integrated it in its premium line. Under the motto 'making everyday into a holiday', the Swiss manufacturers have reduced their packaging design to just a few elements.

This leaves room for the photography and the simple white graphic to take effect as a central design element. The packaging presents the product aesthetically and detached from a concrete consumption situation. The visual language is self-assured and modern and, in the area of colours, the design agency has integrated a classic premium element: gold. For Sélection, an individual, warm shade of gold was created, which will, as far as possible, be used in the form of hot foil stamping for all products. Most packaging also features a viewing window, which enables the customer to actually see the product. The contours often follow those of the product, which produces unusual design effects. The base of the packaging design for folding boxes is created by a pure white stock (cellulose chromo card), which is finished using offset printing and gold hot foil stamping. Due to the extensiveness of the product range and the high aesthetic standards, it is important that the packaging materials and colours are exactly defined and that the motif can be identically replicated on corrugated packaging, as well as card folding boxes.

Nestlé has also converted to white as the premium colour. The Nespresso packaging series stands out with its special finishing: mainly designed in white, the packaging reflects high-class understatement. The Nespresso logo is simply positive-embossed onto the smooth, matt surface. Fine finishing effects, used to a limited extent and combined with elegant white shades, ensure the stylish presentation of the premium chocolate.

ProSweets Cologne, which will take place for the fourth time in Cologne from 31 January to 3 February 2010, will present many more inspirational ideas on the topic of packaging in the confectionery sector. With ProSweets Cologne and the leading trade fair ISM, Koelnmesse presents the confectionery industry’s entire value chain at one trade fair location, from individual raw ingredients and process and packaging technology to the packaging itself and the product ready for retail sale. The conceptual sponsors of ProSweets are the Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI), Sweets Global Network (SG), the German Agricultural Society (DLG) and the Central College of the German Confectionery Industry (ZDS).

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