Research

Future of food packaging: Four scenarios for 2030

How will food consumption and food packaging look like in 2030? Will food and packaging trends be driven by fragmented consumer demands or will the entire industry be highly regulated? Will consumers prefer specialized niche stores or have everything ordered and delivered? Or will the need for food packaging dramatically decrease due to the rise of package-free shops and reusable packaging? Our scenario survey paints pictures of the future of food packaging.

Future of food packaging: Four scenarios for 2030

Several megatrends are impacting the ways we consume and package food. The packaging industry has an important role to play in shaping the future of food, and as part of the fiber-based packaging value chain, we wanted to investigate what food and its packaging could look like in ten years’ time. We reached out to the industry experts, researchers, and key stakeholders: paper and board manufacturers, packaging converters, brand owners, and regulatory experts. The four future scenarios that resulted discuss consumer attitudes and behavior, packaging trends, recycling, and regulation, and provide plausible alternatives for what food consumption and food packaging could look like in 2030.

Scenario 1: Individualism to the max

“You are what you eat”. Food choices are an important part of the consumer identity and the food industry is focused on serving a diverse variety of customer interests and tastes. Food packaging is king: highly customizable, essential to brand differentiation, and using high volumes of materials. What is the role of regulation and recycling?

Scenario 1: Individualism to the max

Scenario 2: A totally green experience

Packaging-free shops and edible food packaging – consumers want to be able to say they are doing their part to fight climate change. Instead of being loyal to food brands, consumers seek out experiences for climate friendliness through their purchasing choices. How does this impact food brands and the packaging manufactures? What features are important for food packaging?

Scenario 2:  A totally green experience

Scenario 3: Practicality on-the-go

Convenience is the most important for consumers, with everything else – including sustainability –being secondary. For the busy consumers, food needs to be easy and functional. Packages fit the lifestyle: they are portable to enable food consumption on-the-go and lightweight to suit different delivery solutions. What kind of an impact does digitalization have on food purchasing, logistics, and consumption?

Scenario 3: Practicality on-the-go

Scenario 4: The effortless closed-loop

It’s all about fighting the climate change. Both the food industry and food packaging materials are highly regulated, and food brands innovate together with their packaging suppliers and work closely across the whole value chain to achieve common sustainability goals. Recycling rates are very high and closed-loop thinking prevails within the industry too. In this environment, what drives consumers in their choices?

Scenario 4: The effortless closed-loop

Let’s work together for a bright future of fiber-based packaging!

The future of food packaging a decade down the line remains unwritten. It will be a story that the entire industry creates together. This scenario report is an invitation to participate in open, transparent collaboration across the fiber-based packaging value chain. We hope these “what if” stories give food for thought for discussion between stakeholders and encourage new, innovative ways of thinking.

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Join us for our upcoming webinar

WEBINAR | MARCH 5. 2020, 2 PM CET

Food packaging 2030 - Opportunities in the value chain

Join our webinar for insights on how food is purchased, packaged, and consumed in a ten years’ time. You’ll learn about four possible scenarios for the future and find out what each of them would mean for the brand owners and the food packaging value chain, if they became a reality.

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