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  1. Analysis
July 18, 2019

Cereal packaging trends: Top five trends to look out for

According to market intelligence company Fact.MR, the North American market is expected to lead the global cereal packaging market during the forecast period 2018-2028. With this market continuing to grow, cereal packaging trends concerning technology, design and sustainability are predicted to govern the sector.

By Deborah Williams

Packaging Gateway takes a look at five cereal packaging trends to look out for.


1) Flexible packaging

Slowly infiltrating supermarket shelf over the past couple of years, the flexible packaging continues to overtake traditional rigid packaging.

Resealable, flexible and stand-up bags are set to become a more popular cereal packaging trend, meaning the humble cardboard box may be off our shelves sooner than we think. This is a way for companies to bring convenience and innovation into the market and reduce overall packaging.

Single-serve pouches will also come into play, similar to trends seen and predicted in the pet food packaging market.


 2) Sustainable materials

However, cardboard won’t be off our shelves altogether. As the material has compostable and biodegradable properties, cereal companies are repurposing it into tubs and other shapes to answer consumer demands for more sustainable packaging.

Currently, most cereals are currently packaged using plastics, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, ethylene vinyl alcohol, polyethylene terephthalate, polyamide and more. Now companies are looking towards sustainable materials, such as paper and plant-based packaging, totally eradicating the need for the plastic inner bags found inside traditional cardboard package cereals.

However, some companies are also changing their current unsustainable plastic packaging to recyclable plastic alternatives. This move will allow companies to keep the freshness of their products to a high standard, as well as bring peace of mind to those concerned about plastic waste.

Finally, labels will also become more sustainable with some even being printed using vegetable-based inks.


3) Farewell to characters and mascots

For children, one of the most exciting aspects of eating cereal or even just selecting the box is the bright, eye-catching mascots splattered across the packaging. From Tony the Tiger to Cap’n Crunch to Coco the Monkey, children are drawn to these cereal mascots for their child-like nature and memorable catchphrases.

However, the future of cereal packaging could see mascots being removed completely. Earlier this year, UK shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Tom Watson called for a ban on characters used to advertise sugary food and drink, attributing them to being a factor in child obesity

In a speech addressing the Advertising Association Watson said:For children under 10, cereal is their single biggest source of free sugar intake.

“When we have a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, when teenage diabetes is rising by 70%, we’ve got to ask ourselves – is this still acceptable? I don’t think it is.

“Advertising has contributed to making us a nation overweight, unhealthy and addicted to sugar, and the industry has got to play a part in getting us out of this mess. And it’s in your self-interest to do this, if the Ipsos Mori survey on trust is anything to go by.

“So when it comes to high-sugar products like Coco Pops, my argument to you today is: get that monkey off our packs. I want you to find a way to help us get healthier. Get cartoon characters off adverts for high-sugar foods. Help us kick our sugar habit.

“If you don’t find a way to do it, then I promise you that the next Labour government will.”


4) Augmented reality technology

On the other hand, cereal characters and mascots are still celebrated. And with technology at the forefront of every industry, it’s not a surprise that this is will also be a trend to gain more traction within the cereal packaging industry.

Earlier this month, Kellogg’s Australia and US-based art supplies company Crayola partnered to produce black and white cereal boxes that can be coloured-in using a browser-based augmented reality tool.

The collaboration is part of a competition for the chance to win a Family Crayola gift pack. The technology also allows children to select the cereal character they want on the packaging by aligning their mobile device camera to the box to view a virtual animation.


5) Packaging-free

Not the favourite trend amongst packaging companies, packaging-free cereal is something that has and is continuing to gain popularity for eco-conscious shoppers.

Last month, UK supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners launched its new packaging-free retail concept ‘Waitrose Unpacked,’ which saw packaging being removed from hundreds of products and the testing of refillable zones, where customers could refill products including cereal.

However, not all shoppers are willing to go packaging-free due to lack of convenience and storage. Ultimately, packaging companies can use this trend to improve the sustainability of their products to compete against this naked trend.



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