Top 5 Packaging Industry Trends for 2022

Posted on January 22nd, 2022 / Jesse Drori / , , , / Packaging
  1. 1. Costs rising all around
  2. 2. A holistic approach to sustainability
  3. 3. No end in sight for the global supply chain disruption
  4. 4. Tamper-evident packaging continues to expand to new segments
  5. 5. Smart packaging will continue to amaze us
  6. Conclusion

The past two years have tested the resilience of the packaging industry in unprecedented ways.

As we enter 2022, it’s worth asking what lessons have been learned and what are the opportunities packaging designers, converters, and brand owners should look out for.

1. Costs rising all around

Over the past two years, businesses have been forced to deal with unexpected price increases almost everywhere.

These cost increases and the resulting inflation are driven by many factors: the unavailability of certain raw materials, soaring energy and transportation prices, supply chain snags, and labour shortages, to name a few.

As market volatility continues, companies will need to explore all possible options to save on energy costs, minimize wastage, and improve production efficiency.

Will it be enough? While many businesses have managed to absorb some degree of profit erosion, there comes a time when there is no other choice but to pass these extra costs on to the next buyer in the supply chain.

Business owners should be prepared to justify price increases, provide value-added services, and show the concrete steps being taken to keep the situation under control.

2. A holistic approach to sustainability

There are great examples of collaboration between packaging designers and converters to bring to market circular packaging solutions that are reusable, recyclable, and compostable. But sustainability is more than just climate change.

It’s time to develop a more comprehensive approach for the packaging industry. One that encompasses fair trade and fair labour practices while also reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. In other words, sustainability should be at the center of everything converters do to reduce their social, economic, and environmental impacts.

This is bound to impact their investment decisions in digital technology and automation solutions. Reconciling profitability and sustainability is no small challenge. But it should favour the emergence of innovative products, new designs, and even new business models.

3. No end in sight for the global supply chain disruption

We all know by now how fragile the global supply chain is. Whether it’s an unprecedented pandemic, a ship blocking the Suez Canal, enormous rainfalls, floods, or wildfires, the global chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

And it’s likely that 2022 will be yet another year marked by instability and uncertainty, even when the pandemic recedes. Natural disasters linked to climate change are increasingly frequent and finding solutions to labour and material shortages to mitigate delays requires a certain amount of ingenuity.

While businesses may not be able to control all variables that affect lead times, they need to explore how they can offset the risk of disruptions.

This can take different forms: replacing JIT inventory management systems with stockpiling, investing in technology solutions that enhance supply chain visibility, or other options.


4. Tamper-evident packaging continues to expand to new segments

COVID-19 has made consumers more aware of their health and safety risks. They have become accustomed to tamper-evident food packaging for take-out orders. Now, they expect the same level of protection for a wider range of products.

This is particularly true for e-commerce deliveries, as products go through many intermediaries. Given the choice, consumers prefer to receive their items in tamper-proof poly mailers since they offer better protection than regular poly mailers.

Bag converters shouldn’t miss this opportunity to add a new innovative product to their existing product portfolio. The value proposition for e-tailers is clear: high-quality reduce the risk of bad delivery experiences and send the message that the brand cares about its customers.

E-commerce deliveries have been driving demand for tamper-evident packaging in the warehousing sector since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2022, this trend will continue as providers of third-party logistics (3PL) worry about the growing cost of inventory shrinkage in the warehouse.

5. Smart packaging will continue to amaze us

Last year, it was already clear that more brands would seek to integrate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) elements into their packaging.

This year will be no different. Forward-thinking brands should explore how they can connect their physical packaging to the metaverse to strengthen relationships with consumers.

That’s not to say smart packaging can’t help them achieve other ambitious goals. Take sustainability. It’s quite fascinating to see that it is now possible to embed bio-markers into packaging to let consumers know their food is safe to eat, which helps cut down on food waste.

Innovation will undoubtedly come from the combination of smart packaging with other technologies. Brandmark, a company that specializes in anti-counterfeiting technology, provides another interesting example. By partnering with Tamperguard, it came up with a packaging solution that combines the benefits of tamper-evident packaging tape with those of using a proprietary icon and smartphone to easily scan and authenticate products.

The packaging industry has not finished to surprise us.


Many of us expected that the success of vaccination campaigns in developed countries would mark the end of the disruptions associated with COVID-19. The emergence of the delta and omicron variants has tempered this optimism.

The packaging industry has always been innovative, however it will all depend on how converters and brand owners embrace these new trends.

While the constraints linked to the shortage of labour and the global supply chain crisis are likely to continue to increase costs and delays in 2022, the perspectives aren’t as gloomy as they were in 2020.

The evolution of customer behaviours and expectations with regard to sustainable development, their health and safety issues, as well as the adoption of new technologies offer interesting growth opportunities for those who know how to seize them.

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