Packaging Trends From The Natural Products Expo West Tradeshow
The Natural Products Expo West has become a destination for food packaging trends. Gone are the handmade labels of 15 years ago, now we get to enjoy the best of professionally-designed packaging. With so many young brands in one place, this show has become a beacon of new design, labeling vocabulary, and product development. Influenced by trends on social media, and designed for peak shareability at shelf and on the consumer’s table, today’s labels are visually stunning.
Sustainable Packaging, Eco-Friendly, Regenerative Packaging
The hottest packaging trend was not aesthetic but was instead about the composition of the package itself. While this wasn’t as evident in the booth backdrops, it was one of the first reasons-to-believe the salespeople used in their pitches.
Many brands spent a lot of time educating buyers and the food community about how eco-friendly packaging differed from past iterations. We learned that recycled PET bottles are cloudy, but in a way that looks dirty and that easily compostable trays are not as sturdy as their plastic predecessors. These weren’t discussed as faults, but instead just another feature to be communicated to consumers.
Color has always played a role in packaging at this show, but this year many brands utilized a rainbow of colors to bring attention to their brand. The explosion of color is great for in-store wayfinding, but in many cases, it works really well for in-refrigerator or pantry wayfinding as well.
Designed for the Shelf Impact
Decorative design elements that came to life in large displays were also relatively new this year. Though these take a huge on-shelf presence to make an impact, they made the booth look amazing. They also serve as a great suggestion to buyers who are looking to make an impact in their store that this brand may need an endcap or feature space.
Claims Continue to Expand
The number of claims on packages continues to explode. Expo is a great place to test new claims to understand which ones are gaining traction. Like Gluten Free 10+ years ago, plant based is everywhere, so manufacturers are adding additional claims to stand out from the pack. Since Expo West is a great place to try new claims with retail buyers, some brands try out a few too many.