Packaging ready for its revolution

In the run-up to the trade show ALL4PACK Paris, to be held from 26 to 29 November 2018, and in association with the European Brand & Packaging Design Association (EPDA), the exhibition asked 22 designers from 16 European and North African countries for their opinions on the challenges which lie ahead for the packaging sector.

Drawing on their contributions, the research Institute YouGov then surveyed 8,253 consumers from six countries to find out what innovations they expected from the sector in the future. What follows is a summary of the major challenges which will take us towards 2050 and the packaging revolution…


  • Population ageing,
  • Resource depletion,
  • The development of artificial intelligence,
  • Increased mobility in autonomous vehicles and as far as into space

1/ Population ageing

Improving the readability of packaging is quite simply essential! People in their 40s start experiencing problems with their sight which then worsen over time. The findings of the YouGov survey also show that the priority for European “Baby Boomers” (50 years of age and over) and Millennials (18-34 years of age) is packaging that is easier to open and reseal.

This is a natural development avenue for packaging, given that the Millennials of today will be over 60 in 2050!

  • 42% of European consumers say that packaging is too hard to read.
  • 47% of people surveyed think that improving how packaging opens and reseals is an issue that deserves more attention.
  • 31.5% of French, Spanish, British and Italian consumers raise the problem of certain packaging being too heavy.
  • 32% of Belgians and Germans complain that some packaging formats are inappropriate for their consumption needs.

2/ Resource depletion

Educating people remains the best solution to disseminate good practices regarding environmental protection. We can observe nevertheless that efforts are as yet insufficient to yield results. The Europeans surveyed call for more obligations and more encouragement! They would like to see nonrecyclable packaging and overpackaging being banned. They also favour the introduction of financial reward schemes for the return of used packaging.

These radical measures prove that consumers are keener than ever about eradicating unnecessary packaging and encouraging recycling.

  • 47% of the British and 49% of Germans would like to ban overpackaging;
  • 52% of the Spanish and 40% of Italians would like to see financial rewards for the return of used packaging.
  • 40% of Europeans are in favour of banning nonrecyclable packaging.

3/ The development of artificial intelligence 

This technological progress should help to make packaging more responsible. In the view of both European Baby Boomers and Millennials, artificial intelligence will be best employed by helping to sort and recycle used packaging better and by helping to reduce waste by alerting consumers to use by dates, for example.

To a lesser extent, they also see in artificial intelligence a way of getting more information about the product and using it more effectively.

These objectives would justify making a shift towards smart packaging.

  • 34% of respondents view artificial intelligence as an opportunity for economic benefits: in particular that of reducing waste by alerting the consumer to use-by dates.
  • 38% believe that there will also be environmental benefits to be gained, by helping populations to sort waste packaging.

4/ Increased mobility in autonomous vehicles and as far as into space

The recyclability of packaging and how easy it is to open and reseal without the risk of leakage are two factors that matter more to people when they travel as opposed to consuming at home.

The main cause of concern for Europeans is how to dispose of packaging once it is empty. In second place comes opening and resealing, highlighted by slightly more Baby Boomers than Millennials.

These clear expectations once again emphasise the importance of the functionality of packaging and to what extent it can “disappear easily” towards the recycling chain.

  • 35% of respondents wish to improve the way packaging is dealt with once it is empty
  • 37% wish to see improvements in how packaging opens and reseals between two uses.
  • 29% say that packaging formats are unsuitable for today’s consumers and want to see them revisited.

It can be observed that the packaging sector is in a state of constant flux. Driven by innovations such as artificial intelligence or new forms of mobility, packaging will continue to remain at the forefront, and is certain to be more environmentally friendly and attentive to the needs of people.

© Survey conducted by YouGov for ALL4PACK Paris–COMEXPOSIUM Group
© Research conducted in association with EPDA by Fabrice Peltier for ALL4PACK Paris–COMEXPOSIUM Group

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Find out more about packaging ready for its revolution 

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