How Millennials are forever changing the face of packaging

how Millennials are changing packaging

Millennials like to cook and spend big, according to the latest research by Tetra Pak. So what does this mean for brands and their packaging?

If there’s one question looming over brands today, it’s “How can we reach the Millennial market?” Not only are they the largest generation by population size, but Millennials — previously known as Generation Y — are undoubtedly the most intriguing, set apart by a unique sense of self, an optimistic outlook on life, and an untraditional approach to life stages. It’s no wonder brands across the world are scratching their heads to work out how they can get into the minds and hearts of the 20-35 age group.

Tetra Pak’s new report, Packaging up Millennial Success, helps shed some light on what makes them tick. Hint: it has a lot to do with food! Millennial consumers are self-confessed foodies, with nearly 58% saying they cook for fun at least once a week. That’s more than any other generation. (Who perhaps cook more because they need to — whether it’s fun or not!)

It goes without saying, then, that there is a huge opportunity for food and beverage brands to use their packaging to engage this powerful generation and build lasting relationships.

Let’s take a look at how brands can use packaging to reach out and engage Millennials:

  1. Go digital

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the internet and digital technology. According to AdAge, Millennials are spending an average of 25 hours a week online and, more than any other generation, are relying on mobiles and tablets to research and buy goods.

Forward-looking brands are innovating with smart labels to engage consumers and deliver an extended brand experience. Think exclusive videos, ads, reviews and recipes delivered straight to their mobile while they’re in-store. At the same time, interactive packaging can provide useful insights into customer behaviour.

  1. Convenience is king

When it comes to food and drink for outside of the home, convenience is a huge factor. There’s a definite “must have it now” mentality when it comes to eating and Millennials are looking for food and drink options that fit into their super-busy lives. In fact, 41% are prepared to pay more for products that make their lives easier. As a priority, brands should focus on packaging that:

  • makes it easy for consumers to consume straight from the packaging,
  • packages items in convenient portions, and
  • provides a resealable option — especially for larger portions.
  1. Push the boundaries

When it comes to food and drink, Millennials like to experiment. They are drawn to new and different ingredients, flavours and methods (nitro coffee, anyone? – you can have mine..!). As such, creating packaging with a focus on innovation can be the key to engaging Millennials and providing a sense of discovery and exclusivity. Think limited edition collections and designs that standout from the shelf. This year’s Dieline Packaging Design Awards winners offer plenty of inspiration.

  1. Feed them authentic information

Millennials trust what they feel is authentic. They want to feel informed and involved, not just marketed to. They are scouring websites, social media and blogs for the information they crave, whether that’s finding out the origin of the product or a detailed breakdown of the ingredients. Packaging needs to be open and honest with information. Clear labelling is a must, as is easy-to-understand language free from jargon and marketing speak. (See this article on labelling trends for some interesting information on clean, social good and smart labelling.)

In addition, it pays to look for ways to deliver educational content over and above the packaging label. Think unique content delivered digitally direct to their mobile device. For example, exciting recipes for an ingredient they have just bought. (There are some great ways this can be done via QR codes, see here how to crack using QR codes for promotion, why they’re a code every manufacturer should know and where they fit into that powerful, but very simple method of serialisation. If you’re wondering about their strength in connecting the manufacturer directly to the end consumer, see this article on why CDI uses them on infant formula tins to China and this case study on how.)

  1. Personalise packaging

You only have to look to the recent successes of Coca-Cola and Nutella to know that personalised packaging engages Millennials. This generation wants to feel like products have been created with their interests and needs in mind — not their wallets. They are interested in having a say and becoming co-creators of the products they use: 42% say they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. So open the door to collaboration, and let them become part of the product and packaging development process. (This collaboration idea is the next step on from how consumer trends have influenced dairy packaging.)

  1. Visibly sustainable

Eco-friendly packaging is a great way to boost your brand in the eyes of the Millennial consumer. They are not only actively seeking eco-conscious products; they are willing to pay for them. By using visibly sustainable packaging, you’re making it easier for them to choose your product. (You may find the “how can you go green with packaging” part interesting in this ultimate checklist to optimising your packaging & supply chain, and see how top French champagne maker Veuve Clicquot went green with its packaging – to great success.)

Closing thoughts

There’s a lot at stake here, but targeting your packaging to Millennials doesn’t have to be hard. Only by not understanding them and not finding ways to be relevant to them or engaging of them, will brands fail.

Remember these three key strategies:

  1. Make it authentic, honest and true.
  2. Provide the information they seek.
  3. Deliver the ultimate in convenience.

Download the Packaging Considerations infographic to find out more, and watch the quick video below to see if your packaging is doing its job as best as it can. You may also find this blog highlighting 2015 global packaging trends interesting. 

Contact us to find out how Matthews can help when it comes to redesigning your packaging.

Don’t forget, Matthews has a vast library of case studies, white papers, presentations, FAQ’s and news are free to download.

Illustration credit / Aleutie

Trent Munro

Trent Munro

Manager – Strategy & Business Development at Matthews Australasia
Trent Munro is an accomplished business strategist, marketing innovator and speaker specialising in business development and optimisation. Over the past 15 years, he has worked across a range of blue-chip and medium enterprises including Goodyear Automotive, Clariant, Corona Manufacturing and Matthews Australasia. Trent holds a range of postgraduate and graduate qualifications in Commerce, Psychology, Project Management and Science. At Matthews Australasia, he has overseen market development locally and abroad, launching class leading traceability and automation technologies across manufacturing, healthcare and logistics.

by Trent Munro

Trent Munro is an accomplished business strategist, marketing innovator and speaker specialising in business development and optimisation. Over the past 15 years, he has worked across a range of blue-chip and medium enterprises including Goodyear Automotive, Clariant, Corona Manufacturing and Matthews Australasia. Trent holds a range of postgraduate and graduate qualifications in Commerce, Psychology, Project Management and Science. At Matthews Australasia, he has overseen market development locally and abroad, launching class leading traceability and automation technologies across manufacturing, healthcare and logistics.

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