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EU packaging trends: Reflecting on Vitafoods Insights Virtual Expo 2021

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Exploring how brand owners can stay on top of the latest trends in the nutraceutical packaging space

Following on from his presentation on EU packaging trends for Vitafoods Insights Virtual Expo, Matthew Rogerson, Chief Editor of Packaging at Progressive Media International, spoke to Vitafoods Insights about recent developments in the packaging world, and how brand owners can leverage the latest packaging innovations.

Tell us a bit about you and your background in the packaging world.

I came to packaging in 2003 in my first role out of University as a sales executive. At first, I thought packaging was a singularly uninspired area and was jealous of all the colleagues working in architecture or other markets. That changed when I spoke with a packaging director at Cadbury, who explained the complexities, showed me how as a consumer I was able to impact packaging choices and really opened up the industry to me. It is an incredible and innovative and massive market that affect our lives and interacts with us daily and from that point on I embraced it!

Why should nutraceutical brand owners care about the way they package their products? 

Packaging protects the product, in fact these days it is almost indiscernible from the product. Good packaging will help consumers understand what your product is, why they should use it (instead of others) how they should use and dispose of it and can make the whole process seamless. If we cannot open the package or it does not perform the way we hope it would, consumers will simply move onto another brand or company that does.

What have consumers been demanding from nutraceutical and functional food packaging in recent years?​

That it fits their specific needs and targets, that it provides the health or wellness benefits they are seeking and that it accentuates their lives in some way.

Where do you believe the future of nutraceutical and functional food packaging lies?

Connected packaging means we can now scan labels or codes/tags with our phones and receive far more information and support on a product. This could include functional foods with exercise programs or nutrition advice, nutraceuticals that might include games to support cognitive development, or dexterity or other engaged, collaborative activities that go beyond the consumption of the product. 

What advice would you give to brand-owners trying to engage with innovative packaging methods?

True innovation is giving people something they could not ask for. There is a famous quote that had Henry Ford taken customer research about faster transport would have been told we need faster horses, as they did not know about cars. The key is to take a holistic approach, look at the entire supply chain and delivery of the product - look for where there are sticky issues - is it where they open, use, dispose of the packaging. When you are looking at innovation consider multiples; does it make using the product fun, is easy to dispose of and provides a connected engagement? There is nothing wrong with improvements rather than game changing innovation, the key is to make sure that the new packaging is better than what it replaces. Innovation should not subtract from your business or consumer experience or quality of your brand, it should only add. Ultimately, ask your customers. What are their pain points with your product? Remove them and add something extra to the experience and you will have happy customers and be in a great position!

Tell us about your presentation on EU packaging trends for Vitafoods Insights Virtual Expo. How did you find presenting at the event?

Loved it, I genuinely enjoy talking about packaging all day and love the opportunity to reach people. 

Why should people tune into the session on-demand?

I hope that they can learn about packaging and its role in delivering outstanding nutraceutical and functional food products. Packaging used to be an afterthought of product development, but the last 3 years have shown the critical importance of sustainability and packaging is our best tool to obtain a circular economy.

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