What can we expect from packaging and labels in 2024?

By Ives Declerck, CEO at Asteria Group, Belgium

Sustainable packaging can be expected to continue its prominence with a focus on recyclability and eco-friendly materials. Brands who understand that this is crucial for their growth will increase the use of recycled and eco-friendly materials to minimise their environmental impact.

As a result, we will see more efforts and support for the idea of reusing resources, which is directly connected to reusable packaging models. Companies that contribute to a more circular economy, not only promote sustainable practices but also appeal to a growing base of environmentally conscious consumers.

We can anticipate a growing emphasis on transparent and honest labelling. The challenge in 2024 lies in empowering clients with comprehensive information about sourcing, production practices and social responsibilities while maintaining the brand’s appeal. We also expect a rise in the adoption of multilayer labels and booklet labels to meet the rising demand for enhanced customer information such as multilingual usage guidelines, culinary instructions, safety precautions, exclusive discounts and exciting competitions. Booklet labels offer a compact solution for presenting extensive information within a confined space.

Design trends that will influence packaging in 2024         

– Eco-friendly materials: sustainable packaging options will combine eco-friendliness with creative designs.

– Organic earthy charm: natural looks with textures and recycled materials will convey a rustic feel.

– Simplified packaging design: minimalist options reduce waste and resonate with consumers seeking simplicity.

– Bold typography: high-contrast, stand-out typography will be a significant trend used to communicate product messages effectively.

– Stylish minimalism: clean and airy designs with generous negative space will communicate sophistication.

– Multi-face wrap-around design elements: designs will span across multiple faces of packaging, encouraging interaction while offering extensive details packed in a seamless experience.

– Sustainable minimalism: simple and clean designs with a focus on sustainability, using eco-friendly materials and natural colours.

– The use of fewer but more innovative materials and coatings to enable circularity

– Interactivity: the integration of technology, including QR codes, NFC and RFID tags into packaging for digital experience transparent traceability, complete product information or unique consumer experience.

– Personalisation: labels designed to adapt to consumer preferences, either through personalised visual elements or product-specific information.

– Transparency :information about product origin, sustainable practices or manufacturing details to build consumer trust.

– Retro and vintage styles: a return to more classic and nostalgic design styles, which can evoke a sense of authenticity and emotional connection to the brand.

In summary, clean lines, minimal graphics and environmentally conscious design and materials will continue to shape packaging aesthetics. These trends are a reflection of the growing importance of sustainability, interactivity and emotional connection. The need for identification, product information and marketing will remain relevant.

The future of adhesive labels definitely includes the following topics:

– Advances in more sustainable technologies, such as curing using UV LED technology.

– Innovations in smart printing to facilitate traceability and consumer interactivity.

– Improvements in production efficiency and more customised applications.

– Development of automated processes and supply chain optimisation contributes to more efficient and sustainable manufacturing.

– More personalised applications could include NFC-enabled stickers to provide consumers with detailed information about a specific product, such as its origin, date of manufacture or personalised instructions.

NFC or Near Field Communication, is a form of wireless communication that allows data to be transferred over short distances between compatible devices. In the context of self-adhesive labels, it can be used to provide interactivity by allowing users to scan or touch the sticker with their mobile devices to access additional information, web links or perform specific actions related to the product or brand.

Advances in biodegradable and environmentally friendly materials could be key to improving the sustainability of adhesive labels. In addition, research into materials that offer durability and adhesion without compromising eco-friendliness would be key to reducing the environmental impact of these products.

Consumer preferences for transparency and authenticity

Transparent labelling will gain importance as consumers seek authenticity, driving brands to use packaging as a tool to convey honesty and credibility. The recent EU Parliament proposal aimed at preventing greenwashing practices will significantly impact labelling and packaging standards.

Consequently, companies will be required to adapt and create innovative solutions to provide accurate information while keeping their visuals compelling enough. Multilayer labels and booklet labels are a growing trend, the perfect solution to present comprehensive details without sacrificing the brand identity and designs.

Packaging trends affect branding and market competitiveness

These trends allow brands to stand out in the market by offering unique experiences, communicating brand values and enhancing product appeal. Bold designs, eco-friendly materials and the right choice of embellishments contribute to a brand’s competitiveness by creating a lasting impact that conveys the brand’s narrative to its customers.