Sustainable packaging innovations in 2020

According to research by Smithers, between 2018 the global packaging market is set to expand by almost 3% per annum, reaching over $1.2 trillion.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

With consumers getting more conscious about sustainability, brands and packaging companies are adapting to meet the demand for reducing ecological footprint. This means packaging needs to be a part of a more holistic process.

Last year, despite being a rough one, did not hold back sustainable innovations in packaging. There were many new products and packages on the shelves that made it to the list of top innovations from 2020. Here are some which stood out the most on sustainability front.

On an average, shoppers typically spend $1 in packaging for every $11 in purchase at retailers.

Johnnie Walker paper bottle – Transforming the liquor bottles to reduce carbon footprint by upto 90%


Johnnie Walker Paper Bottle – Transforming the liquor bottles to reduce carbon footprint by upto 90%

According to one of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage companies - Diageo, collaboration is the way to go when it comes to tackling climate change and sustainable options. It is set to launch a paper-based bottle for its Johnnie Walker whisky brand in 2021.

Diageo worked with venture company, Pilot Lite to create Pulpex, a company that will produce bottles from sustainably-sourced wood pulp, and invited others in non-competing industries to share the knowledge and take part, including PepsiCo and Unilever.

Pulpex claims its products will have a carbon footprint that is 90% less than glass, and the bottles are different to other types of pulp packaging because they do not have a plastic-based lining, which is harder to extract and recycle. Instead, the inside of the bottles will be sprayed with a coating to stop them from becoming soggy.

Key benefits of Johnnie Walker Paper Based Bottle vs Glass Bottle:

Tide Eco Box – Light on environment, perfect for e-commerce

P&G, the manufacturers of Tide, joined forces with Amazon to revamp an iconic design. The Tide Eco-Box has been developed as a packaging solution specifically for both the online and the rapidly expanding environment friendly consumers.


The primary aim of the Tide Eco-Box was to create product packaging focused on servicing the growing online market but ultimately it turned out to reduce packaging waste.

This packaging optimization is a win-win for both the business with reduced cost and ease of shipping as well as for the environment.

Key benefits of Tide Eco-Box vs Plastic Box:

Maybelline’s FitMe® Matte + Poreless Foundation - Designed for millennials – minimal, modern and E-commerce friendly


Maybelline’s FitMe® Matte + Poreless Foundation - Designed for millennials: minimal, modern and e-commerce friendly

The FitMe Matte + Poreless Foundation pouch was chosen by the IoPP for 2020 AmeriStar award in the Cosmetics Category.

Maybelline’s creative packaging redefines their traditional rigid glass bottle into a minimally packaged, on-the-go flexible pouch with custom spout suited for e-commerce retailers and requires no pre-shipping wrap. It is also tailored for professional use and is travel-proof.

The new pouch is is 41% lighter than the glass bottle it replaced and adds up to 1.3 ounces of additional product while reducing the raw materials for packaging. The new spout was designed to run on the current filling machine without any modifications. This package also features one of the first applications of digital print for a spouted pouch in a clear, high-barrier form.

Key benefits of FitMe® Matte + Poreless foundation Pouch vs Glass bottle:

As we can see in above examples - sustainable packaging entails new materials finishes and manufacturing processes. With consumers demanding a bigger focus, and understanding on the environmental impact of a product, more and more brands are gearing up to cater to this emerging need in the coming years.


Surbhi Chaudhari

Customer Success Consultant
at Packfora LLP.

Surbhi has experiences across customer relationship management, digital technologies & marketing. She is currently part of Packfora team supporting customer success & marketing initiatives.

Currently, Surbhi Chudhari is finding her niche in packaging by working at packfora LLP.

Leave a Comment

Changing facets of packaging in the post pandemic era


The global packaging industry worth 900 billion USD is getting reshaped post the pandemic.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The world is changing at a fast pace and packaging is no different when it comes to adapting those changes. Fundamental shift is expected in the way packaging is designed going into the future. Packaging must move on from its traditional roles of cost saving, performance and consumer benefits to sustainability benefits, design with hygiene in mind and perform well in e-commerce. These fundamental shifts can help packaging companies grow as the user organisations will demand improved designs to meet the new consumer aspirations.

Let us look at some of the mega trends that will unfold:

1 . While it is right to say that sustainability has taken a back seat in the pandemic environment, it should be noted that key FMCG and e-commerce companies have been working at potential sustainable solutions, albeit at slow pace than expected. However, that is not to say that these companies have abandoned their sustainability goals.

With hygiene requirements leap frogging to the apex of the consumer demand pyramid, companies might have to dovetail their sustainability plan. Low hanging fruits which do not have any effect on consumer use, efficiency in operations etc., will be gobbled up first. For e.g., removing unwanted packaging or adding recycled material in non-sensitive applications. Designers will be forced to look at tougher options considering circular economy and reducing the overall impact while the packaging material is produced. This can be achieved by close working between convertors, consumers, brand owners and raw material suppliers.

2. Consumers have drastically increased their involvement with online grocery shopping. This will have major implications for packaging design as today’s packaging is designed for the typical retail route and not for e-commerce. Future designs for e- com must factor creating consumer delight, reducing damage in handling, ease of filing and removal from secondary packs, track and trace etc.

3. Category and product preferences might undergo a major change with consumers demanding extra attention to health and hygienic products which will have ramifications in how packaging is designed. Today consumers are paranoid whenever a product delivered to their homes. Elaborate cleaning and disinfecting methods are used depending upon the product. This has resulted in a whole new range of cleaners hitting the shelves e.g., fruit and vegetable washing products. The earlier trend of avoiding single use packaging and carrying one’s own recyclable bags have taken a back seat in the pandemic era. Designs will have to feature better dispensing, closing mechanisms, tamper evident and have minimalistic touch points before consumption (in case of food, beverages and personal care products)

4. As consumers demand value, there is immense pressure on FMCG companies, packaging convertors and raw material suppliers to reduce cost in general. This has already taken shape in light weighting of packaging, reduced head space, underfill to retain sensitive price points etc. This trend is expected to further accelerate and accentuate cost reduction.

5. Digitization is expected to improve efficiencies in value chain with the use of AI etc. Costs will be optimised with real time tracking taking a front seat in showcasing transparency in supply chain. Innovative packaging designs incorporating RFID’s etc will become the new norms in the determining the design.

With all the changes that are bound to take place in the post-pandemic world, brands should be equipped to embrace them all. They must correctly use the power of packaging to leverage themselves and gain an edge in the market.

At Packfora, we offer expert solutions which encompass all your packaging needs, helping your brand attain the competitive edge over others.


Pradeep Nair photo

Mr. Pradeep Nair

Principal Consultant at Packfora LLP.

Pradeep Nair is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) and has an experience of 30+ years in the Packaging Industry. He has worked with top-rated FMCG companies like ITC and Unilever, leading functions across R&D, Packaging Design, Product Innovations, Supply Chain Management and Continuous Improvement.

Currently, Mr. Pradeep Nair is a Principal Consultant at Packfora LLP.

Leave a Comment

Let’s talk refillable – Changing the way we look at ‘use and throw’ packaging!


Let’s talk refillable – Changing the way we look at ‘use and throw’ packaging


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Reusable packaging systems often show environmental benefits over single-use systems.

Packaging plays an important role in safely distributing products throughout today's society and supply chains. With a consumption of about 40% of plastics and 50% of paper in Europe, the packaging sector is a large user of materials. Packaging has a lot of environmental impacts, while it also represents a significant cost in the current supply system. Reusable packaging has been suggested as an option to significantly reduce environmental impacts.

At the same time, consumers are also becoming more eco-conscious and abstaining from ‘use and throw’ - a culture which has drastically impacted our surroundings and given rise to modern-day calamities which can severely affect the planet and all its living habitats.

Refill packaging – Closing the loop

One of the most relevant ways to boost business, Refill packaging works well with a wide variety of products, including skincare and cosmetics, homecare products, FMCG, food & beverages, etc. By opting for refillable packaging, brands can capitalize on the sustainability movement and break into a new market of millennials who are actively seeking out such products.

Good things come in refillable packages

The major benefit of refill packaging is of course less wastage, but is that enough for big brands to switch to it over the traditional single-use packaging? They believe in big numbers, proven facts, and the impact it would create on buyers. Mintel’s Global Packaging Trends 2020 report suggests recyclable products and in-store refilling will be at the forefront of the global sustainability trends driving consumer buying decisions numbers and major influence on the way consumers purchase products.

Besides sustainability, refill packaging offers multiple advantages such as:

• Reduced packaging cost
• Lesser transportation cost
• Building long-term customer relationships

Refills in market - Ahead of the recycle curve

Olay Regenerist Whips


Olay Regenerist Whips

One of the most popular brands to embrace ‘refillables’, the actual container holds a jarful of moisturizer and comes with an additional recyclable refillable pod which is made from 100% recycled paper. After the original container is emptied, consumers can place the refillable pod into it and thus use it all over again.

This was one of P&G’s first attempt to tap into the potential refill packaging market, which was to be followed by several of their best-selling brands such as Cascade, Crest, Tide, Ariel and Pantene.

Dove Refillable Deodorant

Dove Refillable Deodorant

“Buy once, refill for life” – that’s the motto of the world’s leading brand, Dove in the deodorant category. The deodorant case is made of durable stainless steel, which gives it a sleek and minimalistic look, is good for the planet and comes with a lifetime guarantee, thus making it a one-time only investment for the consumers. It is conveniently designed to fit into the customer’s beauty routine and its refill uses 54% less plastic out of which 98% is recyclable as compared to the earlier variants.


Mugler Fontaine by L’Oreal


Mugler Fontaine by L’Oreal

L’Oreal has been much ahead of the game and seems to have adapted to the sustainable refill packaging trend more than two decades back with Mugler Fontaine range of perfumes. The brand offers in-store refilling stations where the perfume bottles can be refilled at much reduced prices.

Amid COVID-19, customers are becoming increasingly wary of visiting the stores to refill and brands now need to built safety and trust in them when it comes to hygienic refilling of their empty bottles.

They should aim to clearly communicate to customers the health and safety measures in place whilst operating in-store refill stations. Mugler is now extending its offering and delivering refill bottles directly to customers, which are available for a bigger selection of its fragrances.

Sustainability store by Unilever

Supermarket chain Asda in support with Unilever, launched its flagship sustainability store in UK comprising of a refill zone which includes muliple leading household and beauty brands from Unilever. With three different refill formats – it is an attempt for the FMCG giant to ‘trial & learn’ and understand what works best for the consumers.

Sustainability store by Unilever


The Touch - free refill machines provides dispensation in aluminium and stainless-steel bottles using the Return, Refill and Repeat supposition. According to Unilever, these three Refill Stations could save the equivalent of 30,000 plastic water bottles in just one store in one year, based on a 500ml bottle size and predicted sales of Persil, Radox, Alberto Balsam, and Simple refills.

The The In-home refills provides dispensation in aluminium offer Eco-Refill packages, allowing shoppers to use the Cif spray bottle for life. Eco-Refills use 75% less plastic than the standard cleaning bottle, having the potential to save 990 tonnes of plastic every year.

Self-serve containers allow PG Tips & Pukka loose tea to self-dispense fully into bio-degradable bags. The customers will be able to take their own reusable container or buy a new one from the store and once it is full, it will be weighed and printed with a label, ready to purchase!

Refill packaging combined with customization, sustainability and eco-friendliness can bring a world of change to the products. It can position a brand as eco-caring and speak about its propositions to the existing and potential customers. The refill packaging wave is sure to scaleup in the future and create a big difference on the impact of plastic waste generated over the years.

At Packfora, we offer comprehensive and sustainable packaging solutions which are pro-planet and pro-consumers while maximizing the impact of packaging for your business.

Leave a Comment