Packaging Trends for 2017

Root founder, Tracy Sutton

2017 will see a variety of exciting material, technology and circular economy inspired packaging innovations come to market.

Circular Economy

The number of brands offering a refill proposition as part of their range will continue to grow. The beauty category will see the number of fragrance and haircare refills increase alongside newer product formats such as luxury body and facial skincare. L’Occitane, Victor and Rolf and Rituals are three great examples of brands with successful refill packaging on the market today.

We will also see the refill business model emerge via brands within the food and beverage sector as the more entrepreneurial brands look for new strategies to differentiate themselves on the crowded supermarket shelves.


Progressive chemical and material developments in the world of bio-based polymers will help brands to replace finite fossil-based plastics with renewable polymers that will help them reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainability credentials.


Following increased media attention surrounding coffee cup recycling claims, packaging manufacturers and brands will slowly improve their transparency about what consumers can really do with their packaging waste.

From composite coffee cups to tetrapak and laminate film – more information about the actual infrastructure and end of life options for compostable materials, biopolymers and multi-layer composite packs will be revealed as consumers demand honesty from brands.

Technology shifts

In particular the growth of e-commerce – will continue to be a key aspect of packaging design briefs next year. Today, few brands are truly harnessing the value of e-commerce packaging, and in 2017 we will see more time and budget allocated to optimising the brand connection and consumer experience of home delivery packaging.


The concept of shopping via a virtual reality interface will begin to be addressed by FMCG brands as they follow in the footsteps of fashion and furniture icons including Ikea and Asos. As mobile purchases continue to be prioritised over in-store experience, designers will have to fight the traditional tools that they have historically used to engage consumers with brands in a physical retail environment. Physical, material and ergonomic assessment will need to be tempered by a more 2 dimensional analysis.

It’s an exiting time in packaging. More and more businesses are seeing the financial benefits of being resource efficient, reducing food waste through intelligent packaging and begin to focus their attention on the realities of waste infrastructure and recycling in the uk.

As originally published in Packaging News, December 2016

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