Experience-oriented flexible packaging on the rise

Packaging design has become influenced particularly by the need for brand recognition and information transfer. However, consumers are increasingly looking for user-friendly and functional packaging solutions, e.g. flexible packaging designs such as peel-off lids, zippers or microwavable pouches that provide consumers with added value such as convenience in consuming, opening/closing or disposing of products. Such designs are also in line with the growing global demand for ease of use, nutritional value, quality, safety, sustainability and product appeal.

Single-serve packaging
Consumer lifestyles are driving the trend towards single-serve packaging. Besides healthcare products, this trend especially applies to food and beverage products. The reasons for single-serve packaging are multifaceted. First, there is a growing number of single households. According to a study of the US Census Bureau, the number of single-person households in the United States went up from 26.6 million to about 34.2 million between 1999 and 2014, constituting an average annual rise of 1.7 percent. Second, the consumer habits are increasingly characterized by in-between snacks due to an increasingly mobile private and professional life. Freshness and waste reduction are further key drivers in this development. Consequently, the need for smaller packaging is growing while the demand for large economy packs is steadily diminishing. Henkel is supporting its customers in optimizing their packaging production processes to meet the changing consumer requirements. Henkel adhesives offer bonding flexibility such as fast running, easy processing and easy cleaning.

Having the possibility to reclose a packaging is not only consumer-friendly, but also crucial in order to preserve food quality and freshness. Flexible zipper solutions are a reliable option to reclose opened packaging in favor of longer storage periods. They also offer advantages for brand owners as they can utilize the entire front of a package without losing part of the header branding graphics after opening. Henkel is offering a broad range of adhesive solutions for reclosable food (e.g. cold cuts) and non-food (e.g. tissues) packaging.

Another trend which will affect future packaging design is our ageing population. According to recent reports, the number of people aged 65 and older will triple by 2050. Due to e.g. arthrosis or other signs of aging, decreasing strength of fingers and hands can lead to problems during the opening process. This calls for easy-to-open solutions, e.g. flexible packaging for cheese that offers convenient first opening while ensuring permanent reclosability. Opening mechanisms should also be designed to support a handling for people suffering from visual impairment. Henkel's role is the development and improvement of adhesives for food packaging with special focus on easier opening and closing properties.

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