Packaging Innovations - What's on the horizon

* 6 min read
There was a lot to take in at this year’s Packaging Innovations conference. With over 180 leading suppliers eager to showcase their latest innovations, we’ve highlighted below a few of our favourite topics.

Saving on packaging

It was no surprise that this area was a hot topic, what was surprising was the innovative ways brands are reducing and creating the packaging for their products.

Take Naked shower gel for instance from LUSH. At first glance it may look like soap but these showering products don’t contain any soap base, they instead share most of the same ingredients as liquid shower gel and in Lush’s case are double the concentrate, which means you get more bang for your buck.


Lush has been championing naked products for some time, starting with the shampoo bar in the late eighties, and their range of naked products is now extensive. If we look back to 2007 you may remember when Lush campaigned against the over packaging of products with their ‘Go Naked’ campaign. In 55 cities in the UK Lush staff took the streets wearing nothing but their aprons, enlightening the public about a number of ways to reduce packaging where they could.

Lush Naked min

In the same vein, another take away from this year's show highlighted that plastic isn’t the enemy, but the way we spec it, use it and dispose of it often is. We must not forget the primary function of packaging is to contain, protect and promote, and without plastic we would not be able to preserve our food products or distribute them efficiently. Garçon Wines is a business that recognises this; they specialise in delivering their wines straight through your letterbox. The bottles are slimline and made from 100% recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic and are 100% recyclable - a hassle-free, environmentally friendly way to receive wine.

“Plastic bottles do not have to equal pollution from plastic waste; plastic is not evil but harmful human actions are, resulting in environmental pollution.”

Santiago Navarro - CEO - Garçon Wines

Garcon min

It’s also a stance that we here at Sun Branding Solutions share, working with multiple packaging manufactures, identifying and then implementing innovative ways to offer more responsible packaging solutions for our clients.

“We have seen so much in the press about packaging, and specifically plastic packaging and the damage it can cause when not disposed of responsibly. I cannot, and will not demonise plastic, as it provides us with the means to protect and preserve the products we need and helps us to reduce food waste which can create wider environmental issues.”

Gillian Garside-Wight - Packaging Technology Director - Sun Branding Solutions

It’s safe to say that majority of us appreciate a personised product or service, and in recent years, brands have fuelled a growing trend for personalisation, with marketing campaigns that appeal to the shopper’s ego, while creating PR buzz. Coke, Marmite and Kit Kat have all famously jumped on the personalisation bandwagon with their products, and the majority of savvy online retailers already recommend and personalise their offer based on your past shopping behaviour.

Take Hawthorn, a new brand that is embracing personalisation and is changing the way men shop for cologne. After taking a 10-question quiz about yourself, Hawthorne uses study-backed data and the expertise of renowned perfumers to formulate colognes just for you. The brand even goes as far as creating a fragrance for work and one for play.

hawthorne min

Another brand that follows a similar suit is Function of Beauty, a haircare start-up founded in 2015. They spent years building their own algorithm and machines, that pull hundreds of ingredients to potentially create billions of completely unique shampoo and conditioner combinations. In the same way as Hawthorn it gets customers to fill out a questionnaire on their website and asks for such things as your hair type, colour and scent to formulate and fill a product unique to the customer.


Hands on with digital technology

Whether we’re out at work, spending time with the family or relaxing at home, technological developments give us more access to the things we want and need right now than ever before, so it’s vital that brands keep up. From the Amazon Dash button that sits on your washing machine and reorders a specific brand of laundry detergent with one click, to the development of smart fridges that can order ingredients to make a meal with what’s left inside (Australian retailer Woolworths is working with Samsung to develop this), there’s a real focus on using artificial intelligence to make our everyday lives easier.

The show this year had a particularly interesting talk about how Domino's got to the top of their game leveraging the digital playing field using their large portfolio of digital ordering tools, such as the Domino’s Tracker that provides customers with real-time tracking of their order from start to finish and a Pizza profile feature that gives customers the ability to save all their personal information.

Dominos Pizza Zero Clicks App

Domino's had other innovations as well such as an Easy Order profile, which represents a customers favourite order. Once created customers can place their favourite order in less than a minute. One of the greatest drivers of convenience in recent years has been technology, opening up new markets and giving brands and retailers direct access to their core customers at the most relevant moments in their lives. This certainly played a key part in helping Domino’s undercut its rivals such Pizza Hut to help them climb to the global pizza throne.

Whatever your attitude towards innovation, it needs to be central to everything you do, even if you’re not planning to act on it right now. It’s something that should always be bubbling under, ready to bring to the fore when you want to lead, build or simply defend. Keeping abreast of technology, trends and consumer behaviour is vital to ensure you’re ready to move when the time is right for you.