The future of packaging: Size matters 2/2

by Tahir Idouri - July 2022


Once a month, creative director Tahir Idouri shares his ideas about the future of packaging. What is the role of packaging in the future, especially of FMCG? And what about our changing views on how packaging is designed, in light of technological development, changing consumer behaviour and the pursuit of sustainable solutions? This time, we talk to Tahir about:


Take care of the pennies…
Last time I talked about how the ever increasing size of packaging and portions impacts our health in a negative way, and the responsibility we have in that trend as manufacturers, retailers and packaging designers. Downsizing seems the inevitable solution and surprisingly enough, also comes with a lot of benefits!

Size impression
The concept of size impression has long been the standard for packaging designers, but this standard has shifted. Since the pandemic, online shopping has increased by no less than 20% in some countries. And, as we all know, the physical size of packaging is quite irrelevant in an online environment. Just like instore marketing and POS materials have lost much of their relevance. Nowadays, if you want to make an impact with your FMCG packaging, you need to pay considerably more attention to your online marketing and even use AR or VR to create more attention value, to entice consumers and inform them. It is also a way to prepare your packaging for their possible role in the Metaverse.

From negative to positive
Unfortunately, smaller packaging is sometimes experienced as negative, because of its relatively high price and a perceived excess use of materials. Another negative effect is caused by inflation. The contents (and also in some cases the size) of packaging is being reduced, whereas the price remains the same or goes up.

Still, the decision to reduce packaging and portions also comes with lots of benefits. The risk of excess calorie intake is reduced. Moreover, the average household has become smaller. For them, big packaging is unpractical and increases the chance of leftovers that spoil. Smaller packaging reduces food wastage.

Small choices, great effect
In categories like cleaning products, detergents and personal care, downsizing has already been on the rise for quite some time. By leaving out the component water, this smart ‘skinny’ packaging is a lot more sustainable in many ways. Furthermore, lots of packaging can be reduced in size by up to 30%, using innovative constructions, while retaining all its features. This can result in a reduction in emission levels during transport of approximately 23%. And when more products fit onto a shelf, it will also contribute to the shelf impact of your brand and product. Of course, this requires smart engineering of the packaging chain, from manufacturer to retailer. And yes, it is also up to us to be more creative to use packaging to your brand's advantage, despite its smaller size and the variation in physical and online outlets.

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