A year in packaging: highlights of 2015 global packaging trends

2015 global packaging trends

Consumer trends have a stronger influence on the packaging world than ever before. We’ve already seen this in the Millennials’ impact on packaging, and how consumer trends have shaped dairy packaging. Not only is product packaging considered to be the ultimate opportunity for brand owners to communicate the brand’s message visually, but the type and form of packaging are also proven to influence the consumer’s decision.

Euromonitor International’s “Global Packaging Trends 2015” report lifts the lid on packaging demand, product categories and global growth markets, from the rise of bottled water to premium products. Here we pull out key trends and insights of 2015 global packaging trends that you need to know. (You may find these 4 bottled water trends to watch in 2017 interesting, too.)


More than ever before, consumers are focusing on health & wellness when buying goods. It’s one of the top three trends affecting the packaging market in every region of the world. As a result, those categories associated with health & wellness are seeing significant growth: bottled water, yoghurt, sour milk drinks and ready-to-drink tea, to name but a few.

PKN recently reported on the growing number of flexitarians, or “flexible vegetarians”, which has prompted manufacturers to provide cleaner, greener packaging. (Check out the “clean labelling” section in this piece too.) Flexitarians have a meat-free meal at least once a week or on rare occasions. Studies show that, like other consumers focused on health & wellbeing, flexitarians tend to prefer green-coloured and environmentally friendly packaging. Retailers and manufacturers therefore, need to ensure their products appeal to the market with packaging that emphasises its eco-friendliness. (You may find the “How can you go green’ with packaging?” section interesting in this ultimate checklist to optimise your packaging & supply chain. And just how high-end brand Veuve Clicquot, which is known for its sustainable packaging dedication, increased its eco-friendly commitment proves that innovation, sustainability and a high-quality brand image are not mutually exclusive. It’s well worth the read.)


Recyclable and reusable packaging is becoming an increasingly influential buying factor for global consumers — especially within packaging types such as PET and glass bottles. It’s no coincidence that, in Australia, packaging bodies AIP and WPO have launched the Save Food Packaging Awards to recognise packaging design that could reduce food waste. Recent studies show that 50% of edible foods produced are not consumed, and consumers’ awareness of this is helping to drive their purchase decisions.


Premium packaging for products is on the rise, as brand owners around the world strive to grab the attention of consumers with larger disposable incomes and greater purchasing power. While the trend is particularly prevalent in alcoholic beverages, food products are in close pursuit.


When it comes to dominant packaging types, flexible plastic takes the global number one spot. However, packaging types like brick liquid cartons and PET bottles are also growing fast. In fact, PET bottles are forecast to experience one of the largest volume growth rates. Categories such as confectionery and biscuits are also fuelling the popularity of flexible plastic. (And flexible packaging is easy to code.)

Aside from flexible plastic, high forecast growth rates are also expected for non-traditional pack types such as pouches. These, along with other shelf-ready packaging (SRP) types, are already entrenched on supermarket shelves in Australia, with market research pointing to their presence only increasing.


The growth of PET bottles can be mostly attributed to bottled water, which accounts for more than half (54%) of the absolute volume growth for PET bottles. It’s a result of both the trend towards health & wellness, as well as the push for recyclable and reusable packaging by consumers.

The report predicts that bottled water will see largest unit growth in Asia Pacific (up 55.6 billion units), followed by Latin America (up 11.6 billion units) and North America (up 6.2 billion units).


  • Asia Pacific: Flexible plastic is dominant while the health & wellness trend is fuelling a growing demand for PET bottles, especially for bottled water.
  • Western Europe: Fast-paced lifestyles are leading consumers to demand smaller, more convenient pack sizes, resulting in a trend for “on the go” that obviously impacts snack foods and beverages.
  • North America: While the market might be experiencing slow growth overall, there is interest in health categories (bottled water) and innovative packaging categories (wine and confectionery).
  • Latin America: An urbanising population and higher incomes mean more consumers can purchase packaged goods, such as beer and bottled water, at modern retail outlets.
  • Eastern Europe: Packaging continues to experience growth, especially with regards to local product and packaging manufacturing in bottled water and beer.
  • The Middle East and Africa: The influence of modern lifestyles on consumers is providing a significant growth opportunity for packaging in carbonated beverages, biscuits, yoghurt and sour milk products.


The report reveals plenty of growth opportunities in the packaging market — so long as we take heed of the top consumer trends. Around the world, and here in Australia, the focus on health & wellness, environmental issues and premium products is fuelling the growth of various packaging types. The stakes have never been higher for brand owners and manufacturers to grab consumers’ attention using the right packaging. Those who deliver will be rewarded with higher profits and loyal customers.

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

Photo credit / Simotion

Matt Nichol
Matt is a laser marking expert and has in-depth knowledge of product ID technologies. He is a regular at international trade shows like Pack Expo and is constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies.
Matt Nichol

by Matt Nichol

Matt is a laser marking expert and has in-depth knowledge of product ID technologies. He is a regular at international trade shows like Pack Expo and is constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies.

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