Mintel announced two trends that are influencing the global packaging industry in 2020: Ahead of the Recycling Curve and Instore Refill. 

Mintel found that it’s going to be important to stay ahead of the recycling curve by developing and commercializing new recyclable package innovations even if the capabilities to recycle them do not yet exist.  

Only a fraction of the world’s recyclable plastic—which is often used for packaging—is actually being recycled and that’s a trend expected to continue, David Luttenberger, Mintel’s global director of packaging, says. He says it’s crucial to explore new next-generation-recyclable plastic alternatives ahead of their ability to be recycled rather than the other way around, so the industry is ready when those technologies do come. 

Luttenberger also highlights the importance of advertising recyclability of packaging on the product label and encouraging consumers to recycle by having proper recycling bins or store take-back programs. 

“The ultimate solution is brands, manufacturers, packaging industry bodies, governments and environmental non-profits working in harmony to better inform consumers, develop more easily recyclable packaging and establish better collection systems and recycling processes,” Luttenberger says. 

Many consumers don’t want to purchase items that come in single-use packaging, so refillable packaging is becoming more commonly used. But consumers still expect this to be a simple and mess-free transaction. Mintel found that it’s going to be vital to create simple, branded and engaging refill opportunities instore.  

“Whilst many smaller refill stores use Instagrammable containers (such as attractive heritage glass jars), if refill is to become mainstream, consumers will expect refillable options that are easy to use from start to finish,” Luttenberger says. 

Mintel’s full piece diving into the two packaging trends can be found here