2022 Packaging Focus

Jan. 10, 2022

Between the pandemic and recent global events, the world has seen so much change over the last two years. This, of course, has had a significant impact on companies and individuals alike and has led to consumers developing a more thoughtful approach to consumption.

Now, consumers have clear expectations from the purchases they make and the brands they choose, which extends to packaging. From consumer insights and research, it’s clear to see that consumers are expecting three main things from packaging companies in 2022:

Brand Connection

Consumers want to feel connected to the products they buy and feel as though brands communicate with them individually. Whether consumers are purchasing your product in-store or online, there are many opportunities to build a strong connection with your customer:

  • QR Codes: Consumers can scan these to access your website, social media, or personalized content that can add value to their purchase. For example, food brands could offer recipes that include the product; beauty brands could share videos showing the product in use, and so on.
  • Website: When consumers purchase from a new brand online, they are likely to research the company they’re purchasing from and will check out your website. It’s imperative that your website is up-to-date, interactive, and shares information about your brand and brand story to help build a connection with the consumer.
  • Social Media: Consumers are likely to check out a brand’s social media to find out more about the brand itself before buying from them, or even find a product through social media. In addition to staying active and engaging with your followers on social media, it’s imperative only to publish well-thought-out content that contributes to your brand story.
  • Packaging Design: In addition to unique designs and tactile finishes, variable printing can offer mass personalization to one-of-a-kind personalization and everything in between. There are many options to create something customized for your desired customers.

Protective Packaging

With the rise of e-commerce, there is more demand for protective packaging. Delivering your product directly to a customer’s door means that your product will encounter more touchpoints before it gets to the customer than if it was purchased at a brick-and-mortar store. This may require you to think more about how protected your product will be by its packaging, which could mean:

  • Barrier Protection: Depending on what your product is, you may need to consider adapting your barrier properties for a longer shelf-life.
  • Materials & Specialty Finishes: Whether you’re using labels or flexible packaging, it’s important to analyze the materials you use to ensure that they don’t arrive to the customer torn, scuffed, or peeling. Utilizing stronger materials, specialty finishes, or even shrink sleeves in place of labels could be a great alternative, especially when packaging liquids.
  • Tamper-Resistance & Traceability: Now more than ever, consumers need to feel assured that their product has arrived to them without interference. Integrating functions like tamper-evident shrink seals or labels, tear notches, or child-resistant zippers into your packaging can add an extra level of security for your customers.

Further, there is demand for protective packaging where there wasn’t before. For example, restaurants that have introduced take-out or curbside pickup options need protective films and other items to keep their food and drink intact until the moment the customer gets home.

Sustainable Initiatives

Consumers have been demanding more sustainable initiatives from brands for many years now. However, since the pandemic, consumers hold sustainability at much higher importance given the piles of packaging accumulated from their rising e-commerce purchases. Although it may not be realistic to make the product itself more sustainable, there are many ways to incorporate sustainability into your product and packaging:Ba

  • Barrier Properties: Integrating specialized barrier properties into the construction of your packaging is one of the best ways to extend your product's shelf life.
  • Downgauge: When possible, you can downgauge your packaging thickness or reduce the number of layers that make up your packaging.
  • Flexible Packaging: Converting to flexible packaging from rigid packaging has many sustainable benefits. Due to their structure, flexible packaging takes up less space, requiring less storage, fewer pallets, and fewer trucks for transportation. This results in a reduction of energy consumption in addition to reduced vehicle maintenance and shipping costs.
  • Sustainable Packaging: Switch to compostable or recyclable packaging where possible.


At Associated, we have the capabilities to accommodate any client with their ideal packaging solution. Reach out to our team for more information or request a quote online here!