Mintel Names Global Packaging Trends for 2023, Including Economic, Social, Legal Factors

Mintel, which focuses what consumers want and why, announced its Global Packaging Trends for 2023, featuring a PESTEL analysis that explores the macro-environmental factors impacting the packaging industry in 2023 and beyond.

A PESTEL analysis is a framework used to analyze and monitor the macro-environmental factors that have an impact on an organization, company or industry ,examining the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors (or PESTEL) impacting global packaging evaluations, planning and decision-making.

David Luttenberger, CPPL, global packaging director at Mintel, examined the PESTEL factors impacting global packaging evaluations, planning and decision-making, and his insights are worth the tea industry’s attention.

“The decision to use a PESTEL analysis was based on the fact that currently there are so many extraordinary outside influences on package innovation and the packaging supply chain,” said Luttenberger. “Pressures from the environmental perspective, the conflict in Ukraine, global inflation, social issues, legal challenges, extended producer responsibility, and other forces mean packaging must navigate new and more challenging routes to market. The PESTEL format enables us to succinctly identify the opportunities and present clear recommendations to retailers, brand owners, and package manufacturers.”

Economic Factors Impacting Packaging

Luttenberger said that economic uncertainty and the associated rising cost of goods have forced consumers to rethink budgets and discretionary spending. “Across categories, brands are tapping messaging, technology and retail strategies to show consumers how packaging can stretch a budget.”

He added: “Consumers will look to brands to help them overcome economic-induced stresses with products and packaging that mesh with purchasing abilities and reflect value without compromise. Offering packaging that represents financial value propositions, while not compromising quality, convenience, freshness, safety and environmental responsibility, will be a differentiator in 2023 and beyond.”

Social Factors Impacting Packaging

Luttenberger explained that from food shortages and ethical sourcing to responsible water and land use, consumers want to know more about the products they buy and the brands that produce them. “In addition to achievements, brands and package manufacturers must be transparent about their weaknesses,” he said. “Consumers are pursuing transparency through clearer labeling and what those claims mean for the greater good.”

Luttenberger advised: “In the future, packaging will paint a picture of a brand’s equity, which increasingly includes social and environmental capital. Consumers want to hear what companies have to say on controversial topics related to diversity, inclusion, and equity.”

Legal Factors Impacting Packaging

Luttenberger pointed out that a myriad of laws have been enacted to protect consumers from deceptive or fraudulent business practices. “New rules around the use of plastics and pollution-causing materials, as well as protecting human and planetary health, will greatly affect consumers,” he said. “To get ahead and stay competitive, companies must get a firm grip on current and future legislation around plastics, PFAS and EPR.” 

According to Luttenberger, consumers will rally behind legislation that benefits the environment. “Their support will spur additional bans which will put significant cost pressures on manufacturers in their quest to meet mandates and find suitable, though more costly, alternatives,” he said.

Packaging Perspective: Global Food & Drink

Mintel’s 2023 Global Packaging Trends also discusses the packaging industry implications of the 2023 Global Food and Drink industry, including the future of packaging within that industry, among other sectors.

“The macro factors impacting packaging are universal across all end-use categories, including what my colleagues outline in Mintel’s 2023 Global Food and Drink, Beauty and Personal Care, and Household Care trends,” said Luttenberger. “How the challenges manifest within each category varies, but the data, insights, and expert recommendations are applicable and actionable across all end-use categories, package formats, and regional markets.”

Food and Drink Packaging Trends

Luttenberger believes that although costs of living are rising globally, consumers will not be motivated solely by low prices in 2023.

“They will find value in affordable food and drink that promises clarity, nutrition and versatility,” he said. “Package manufacturers must enable clear communication of added-value nutritional content and provide efficient portioning and product preparation. Clean packaging designs that highlight natural ingredients and health benefits will stand out to shoppers. In the future, brands seeking to be trusted partners in the kitchen need to take energy consumption into account and deliver packaging that enables energy-efficient cooking.”

Mintel’s 2023 Global Packaging Trends is available as a free download here.

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