It has been said that the North American market will be at the forefront of the global cereal packaging market between 2018 and 2028.
Along with the steady growth of this market, several factors have been consistently dominant. Technology, design, and sustainability have governed most of the changes that have and continue to occur.
As the years wear on toward 2028, here are some cereal packaging trends that you should look out for.
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1. Switching to Flexible Packaging
It is impressive just how fast, flexible packaging is overtaking rigid packaging.
Consumers are loving the use of resealable, stand-up, and other flexible pouches that are taking over various markets. The use of flexible cereal packaging brings convenience and innovation into the market. Single-serve pouches are also gaining popularity fast and should be dominant in the market in no time.
2. Using Sustainable Materials
Cardboard is poised to be one material that we won’t get rid of altogether. The material has biodegradable and compostable properties, and cereal companies are finding ways to repurpose it as the demand for more sustainable packaging rises.
For years, cereal packaging was dominantly made out of plastics like polypropylene, polyethylene, ethylene vinyl alcohol, polyamide, and polyethylene terephthalate. However, companies are looking more toward sustainable materials like plant-based materials and paper. This eliminates the need for the inner plastic bags that are used inside cardboard cereal packaging.
Other companies are switching from unsustainable plastic to recyclable plastic packaging alternatives. This move aims to reduce the waste that has been characteristic of traditional packaging. Watch out for the use of vegetable-based ink on labels.
3. No More Comical Mascots and Characters
Children have, for decades, loved eating cereal as much as they have grown attached to the bright and conspicuous mascots on the cereal packaging. They love the child-like nature of the mascots and their unforgettable catchphrases.
However, with the scrutiny that came with Tom Watson’s call for a ban on cereal mascots, we might be seeing their decline in coming years. In 2019, the UK shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media, and sport claimed that the mascots and characters contributed to child obesity. He called for the cartoon and monkey characters on high-sugar products to be scraped off their advertisements. His specific promise was that if the then government didn’t do it, the next one would find a way.
4. Exploring Augmented Reality Technology
Talking about technology being at the forefront of every industry is almost redundant. Therefore, it’s no surprise that technological innovations will gain more traction within the cereal packaging industry in the coming years.
One Australian cereal company partnered with a US-based art supplies company to create black and white cereal boxes that could be colored using a browser-based reality tool! The cereal company created a competition to encourage children to participate, whose prize was a gift pack to encourage children to participate. The children would pick the cereal character they wanted by aligning it with a mobile phone camera to view a virtual animation.
Packaging-free cereal isn’t quite the beloved trend among packaging companies. However, it is getting quite the love from eco-conscious shoppers. Provision of refillable zones for cereal, where customers can refill products, might be the next big development.
However, this trend doesn’t stand very high chances of success in the long term. This is because most shoppers don’t appreciate the inconvenience that accompanies lack of packaging along with the storage-related headache.
Conclusion: It’s All About Change and Convenience
All these trends are mostly attempting to accommodate the consumers’ need for convenience, their preferences, and the changes in technology. Be on the lookout for these and other trends. However, we’re willing to bet that at least a few of these will be quite dominant in the coming years.