Conflicting demands put packaging innovation at risk

Sustainability and digitalisation often drive early discussions about packaging evolution, but failing to consider functionality, usability and consumer engagement upfront can hinder progress.

R&D consultancy Sagentia Innovation says that with so many factors to be accounted for, conflicting demands can arise which may be hard to resolve. This is especially true if they are identified late in the innovation process. It can also be difficult to know where to focus efforts when faced with mixed objectives and multiple avenues to explore.

To help businesses take a more methodical approach to this challenge, the R&D consultancy has developed a three-stage assessment detailed in a free whitepaper on packaging innovation. It outlines steps to define the purpose of packaging, consider material and design choices, then reimagine end of life.

Maria Spinetta, Sector Manager at Sagentia Innovation, authored the paper in response to challenges voiced by clients she has supported.

“Sustainability concerns have put packaging under the spotlight and the opportunities presented by digital technologies are very exciting. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that packaging fulfils many vital functions,” Spinetta explains. “Any strategy to evolve product packaging needs to identify what matters most and set clear objectives from the outset. Otherwise, it’s easy to get side-tracked with a solution that may look promising but doesn’t deliver on core requirements.”

The packaging innovation assessment is comprehensive but encourages a streamlined and focused approach. It ensures important factors are accounted for so that the exploration of designs, materials, and opportunities for packaging reduction can be fully aligned with functionality requirements, consumer needs, and end of life factors such as reuse and recycling.

“For packaging innovation to deliver effective and cost-efficient outcomes, it’s important to think holistically,” Spinetta continues. “We recommend engaging with consumers, materials suppliers, and waste management experts. Gaining insights from these different groups at an early stage in the process helps to refine objectives and it can also spark new ideas. Working in this way accelerates progress and increases the chances of landing on packaging solutions that satisfy multiple requirements.”

Packaging innovation: How to take a strategic approach to the evolution of packaging is available at /insights/packaging-innovation

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