Fresh Trends in Food Packaging

Someone scans a QR code on the side of a food package with their phone

In recent blog posts I’ve looked at issues around food industry trends, compliance concerns and automation in food processing plants. However, I haven’t yet looked at emerging food packaging trends.

Food packaging can have an enormous impact on the success of a new product line, or play a part in reinvigorating an older established brand. It can be key to creating a brand identity, convey your brand story, and even be the start of creating a deeper relationship with your customers.

These are the top food packaging trends in 2022 that anyone in the food business should know about.

What are the latest trends in food packaging?

If you work in food production or food marketing, there are five innovative food packaging trends for 2022 and beyond you should definitely be aware of:

1. Eco-friendly packaging

With consumers becoming ever more ethically-minded and the new plastic tax encouraging businesses to avoid one-use plastics, sustainable packaging is the first food packaging trend to be aware of.

Using packaging made up of recycled, compostable or biodegradable materials not only helps you to avoid heavy financial sanctions, it can also allow customers to see your food or drink brand in a positive light and regard your company as in touch with wider environmental concerns.

2. Minimalist food and drink packaging

Minimalist drink packaging with colourful drinks inside

Ever heard the phrase “less is more?” That simple phrase inspires one of the top food packaging trends for 2022.

Where some brands go for big bold colours, huge logos and distinctive patterns, there are a growing number of other brands that opt for a minimal approach. It could be beer, tea, alcohol or herbs – as shown in this post by Creative Bloq. In some cases, minimal packaging has a way of letting the product inside do the talking. In others it allows the item to come across as clean, crisp and premium. Either way, the timeless quality of minimalistic food packaging makes doing more with less one of the freshest trends in food packaging for this or any year.

3. Customised food and drink packaging

Remember when you were a kid and you had your first McDonald’s Happy Meal? The excitement at the toy you might find inside. The creativity of folding the box to make something to accompany it. In many ways, that was the centre of the experience – far more than the actual food!

That same idea can make custom boxes one of the most innovative food packaging trends for 2022. 98% of marketers say that customisation can help them form deeper bonds between products and customers – which in turn can serve to increase loyalty. For some smaller brands, it can even lead to full personalisation, with the customer’s name being printed on the side for online orders!

4. Retro or vintage food and drink packaging

One of the reasons that sustainable and minimal ideas work so well is they often lean on retro or vintage stylings.

Food and drink are deeply personal experiences and so often are tied to childhood nostalgia. Eating foods that remind us of childhood or a loved one is scientifically proven to induce happy thoughts and fond memories – and seeing a vintage food package on a shelf can be what prompts that purchase.

Retro chicken food packaging

It’s little wonder that a power brand like Coca-Cola has changed its logo little since the eighties. With a little creativity and modern flair, some of the most popular packaging designs of yesteryear can also be some of the top food packaging trends in 2022.

5. QR codes unlocking technological opportunities

One of the most exciting emerging food packaging trends allows brands to take advantage of the smartphone revolution to build their brand in an entirely new way.

QR codes on food packaging are truly a marketer’s dream. They can be used to have customers enter competitions, view media that brings them closer to the brand, and even send customers to online leaflets or instruction guides – thus saving money on the cost of paper or card inserts, as well as being more environmentally friendly. As innovative food packaging trends for 2022 go, this might be the biggest of the lot.

Need marketing or manufacturing expertise to take your food business forward?

Whether operating as a marketer or a business consultant, my strategies and knowhow have helped food businesses innovate their processes, refresh their brands, and reach new customers for over 25 years.

If you’re in need of a fresh outlook, take a look at my food industry expertise and get in touch to see how I can help you.

Further Reading