Sustainability as ‘the norm’
Sustainability is shifting from being a trend to becoming an expectation for beauty brands and consumers, according to Quadpack’s Market Insight Lead, Marcia Bardauil.
Bardauil notes that sustainable packaging was originally linked with the minimalist ‘back-to-basics’ product approach that was initiated by ‘clean’ cosmetics brands. But new legislation changes are accelerating the pace and the majority of beauty and personal care brands are hurrying to switch to eco-friendly packaging that also fits with their brand image.
“So far, sustainability has been about resetting the base of packaging essentials,” she says. “Now, we are starting to see the end of that reset, as we move towards next-generation sustainable packaging. I believe we’ll be seeing a lot of innovation in sustainable materials as well.”
According to Bardauil, the beauty market is polarising and this continually influences packaging trends.
“On the one hand, you have the minimalist-approach brands that focus on inclusivity and clean beauty,” she says. In our most recent market analysis, we’ve identified a couple of trends we call ‘Normally rare’, for brands focused on ‘embracing imperfections’; and ‘Make it clear/n’ for brands emphasising authenticity, transparency and clinical-like products. The packaging for these concentrates on simple and functional design.”
On the other hand, Bardauil says Quadpack has also detected a “shift towards joyful interaction with beauty, with ‘Exaggerators’ unapologetically looking for glamour, and a ‘Beautytainment’ trend, where consumers are looking for exciting routines”.
In terms of packaging, the latter is driving more technical and added-value delivery systems.
With the rise of waterless formulations, emphasis has been placed on water-saving packaging too, says Meiyume’s Claire Vitteau, Executive – Marketing EU & UK.
This trend has two different aspects: protecting solid or waterless formulas and saving water in the manufacturing process.
“Noting the increased interest for paper or wood packaging that requires a lot of water in the process, professionals will stress the need for reduced use of water, or closed loop like it is widely practised in pulp and paper making,” says Vitteau. “Packaging with openings or pumps that helps deliver the right amount of formula will be key.”
Biotech on micro-organisms
According to Vitteau, biotech on micro-organisms is an innovation more beauty and personal care companies are exploring, using mycelium, algae or bacteria.
“The current applications mostly work for secondary packaging, because of restrictions with water interaction, but the chances are that suppliers are working hard to develop innovative materials from seaweed or mushroom,” she says.
This development also runs parallel to the development of biotechnologies for the supply of ingredients, and the replacement of petrochemicals in the formulations.
According to Vitteau, it’s not about pitting one world against the other; naturals versus petrochemicals. Instead, it’s about exploring innovative ways to package without demonising the opposition. “New materials, like any new technologies, are costly to develop and sometimes fail to become mainstream due to lack of funding for R&D,” she says. “Governments and willing professionals will need to invest to develop new avenues for our future.”
Vitteau is also noting a growing interest in smart packaging, which uses technology to enhance the functionality of the packaging.
“Thanks to our expertise in digital solutions Meiyume can anticipate this trend with the development of smart packaging,” she says. “This could include features such as QR codes that link to product information, or packaging that changes colour to indicate when a product is running low.
Gamification & digitalisation
Following the lead of the Asian cosmetics markets, EU brands are also adopting gamification in their marketing campaigns, with gamified ads, pop-ups and mobile apps.
The metaverse has also been an area of exploration with brands presenting collections here, participating in fashion shows and selling NFTs to better interact with their customers in this space.
“Meiyume is already involved in the metaverse technology,” shares Vitteau. “We can collaborate with our clients to launch their products in the virtual space and build immersive experiences through tailored solutions such as gamification campaigns, virtual showrooms, live shopping storefronts, digital assets of beauty product ranges and many more.”
Vitteau says the growing digitalisation and gamification packaging trend can also be used by cosmetics brands to create a sense of community around a brand or product. “By encouraging customers to share their experiences and interact with each other on social media platforms, brands can create a sense of belonging and foster a loyal customer base. It can also be used to gather valuable data and insights on customer behaviour and preferences.”
Vitteau also highlights the potential to analyse the data on customer interactions and engagement with the digital and gamified experiences, to gain insights into the needs of their target audience for future NPD marketing strategies. “Our data experts and analysts at Meiyume are unearthing this information to create actionable insights that shape our clients’ business strategies,” she says.