Less is More: Why simplicity in packaging is as important as bold packaging

Ismail Sutaria, lead consultant in packaging and materials has more than eight years’ experience in market research and consulting in the packaging and materials industry. Sutaria looks at how vacuum metallised films have transformed packaging solutions, plus how FMCG majors are advocating less is more for packaging formats. An exclusive WhatPackaging? series in partnership with Future Market Insights.

20 Jan 2023 | By WhatPackaging? Team

Ismail Sutaria says, “Packaging simplicity can reflect either the best use of material, visuals, cost-effectiveness, or functionality.”

Over the years, the packaging industry has made great strides, offering myriad approaches and solutions, depending upon each industry’s requirement. Set to surpass the trillion-dollar mark in the next two years, the packaging sector continues to experience breakthrough technological innovations.

However, the emphasis on simplicity in packaging designs is expected to grab major eyeballs. When considering packaging simplicity, it can reflect either the best use of material, visuals, cost-effectiveness, or functionality. Further benefits accrued from simple packaging include saving material and associated overheads, reduced shipping costs, use of fewer filler materials, and environmental sustainability. No doubt, permutations, and combinations of hundreds of structural and visual effects permit unprecedented creativity and variation in packaging design. For instance, imparting lenticular or holographic effects which induce a three-dimensional or textured appearance would definitely do wonders for any industry. However, at times, a bestselling product is one whose presentation is the simplest.

Indeed, it is very tempting to inundate space with graphics and text. However, companies need to consider consumer convenience. Often, consumers do not have the patience to read too many textual descriptions, and may even refuse to purchase the said product. Limiting your text to a few bold words against a solid background maximises the impact, and creates a more lasting impression on consumers.

In this article, we shall attempt to delve into the most prominent simplistic packaging trends which may assume shape in the future. The focus will be exclusively on the Indian landscape, with some prominent frontrunners being mapped for analysis.

Flexibility is the norm: How vacuum metallised films have transformed packaging solutions in India
Since 2020, the Indian packaging landscape has seen credible investments in large film lines. This points to significant long-term growth for flexible packaging. A format that has found favour with many film manufacturers and flexible packaging converters is the use of vacuum metallised films. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the Indian market absorbed over 30 vacuum metallisers.

The most prominent technology featured was Bobst’s AluBond technology- a process that involves the chelation of first aluminum particles creating a metallising seeding layer that provides superior bond strength properties. AluBond greatly enhances metal bond strength and adhesion on some of the most commonly used substrates, such as PET, BOPP, CPP, and PE.

In addition, the process innovation also significantly increases dyne level retention, which translates in improved ink wettability during printing and enhances structure stability during lamination. The adhesion technology generates added value by extending surface energy stability on metallised films over a long period and may eliminate the need for an additional surface treatment boost such as a corona refresh before converting. 

Developed initially for polyester films, AluBond is used with BOPP and PE films to provide the oxygen and moisture barrier properties required, especially for food packaging that is easily recyclable. The metallising process achieves high bonding strength on any substrate. It is an advanced metal adhesion technology that can achieve metal adhesion values of up to 5N/15mm. Moreover, the innovative approach has eliminated the need for chemically treated films.

FMCG to be the go-getter in terms of less is more packaging formats
The FMCG sector is one of the largest sectors of the Indian economy. According to an FMCG industry overview, revenues of the FMCG sector reached USD 52.75 billion in FY18, and further to USD 103.7 billion in 2020. As consumption in India grows at an unprecedented rate, the FMCG industry remains a key sector for investors, especially for packaging giants. Around 74% of younger consumers in-between the age of 18-25 says they will share a recent purchase on their social media platform only if the packaging design of the product is unique and engaging.

Many times, the uniqueness of any product is reflected in its simple appearance. While colour combinations do play a role in enhancing the aesthetic appeal of any product, it has to be balanced. Products such as jams, for instance, are made to look attractive, with the primary target audience being children. Just like other products, jam bottles have two aspects of packaging design: label and box design. Any jam packaging has to be colourful and merry so that it appeals to children and inspires a feed good factor. Bright colours and delicious-looking images help enhance the appeal of jam packaging. However, inundating the jar with information or too many colours may not motivate consumers to purchase the product.

Likewise, candles, especially scented ones, inspire a similar packaging design that appeals to the inner senses of the buyers. The packaging design must be in soothing colours to build an ethereal atmosphere. Pastel soft shades and mystical artwork attract buyers for a feel-good factor.

Also, footwear products have a wide range from sportswear to fancy fashion wear. The packaging would vary according to the type of footwear. Sports footwear is often branded by companies such as Nike, Adidas etc. which follow their own company identity pattern. Fancy footwear packaging involving shoes, sandals, boots and all kinds of heels need eye-catching packaging. Apart from being attractive, the packaging must be easy to handle. Shoes packaging is designed in such a way that buyers can try the footwear size without disturbing or ruining the packaging artwork.

Another FMCG category which is expected to generate high demand for simple packaging is the beverage sector. Packaging for beverages is another dimension of product packaging. There are set norms for beverage labels as it has to be practical and attractive as well. A fleeing of flow and freshness is essential for the design of beverage labels. Visual appeal is paramount in beverage packaging as often beverages are selected on the spur of the moment decision. Usually, this is influenced by the look and visual effect of the design.

About Future Market Insights: Future Market Insights is an ESOMAR-certified business consulting and market research firm, a member of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and is headquartered in Delaware, US. The firm has been collaborating with global enterprises in their business transformation journey and helping them deliver on their business ambitions. 80% of the largest Forbes 1000 enterprises are our clients. Future Market Insights serves global clients across all leading and niche market segments across all major industries.

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The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

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