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Trends in Food Packaging Design

December 18, 2018

Packaging design has evolved into a critical component of the consumer experience, and food packaging is no exception. Orora works closely with many customers in the food industry, and we are constantly creating new packaging designs to help our customers improve the consumer experience with produce, snack foods, meat and dairy products, other processed foods, ready-made meals and more.

fresh-produce-corrugated tray

Increasing Shelf Life

According to a study by the University of Vermont published in the journal Plos One, “About 25% of all food, by weight, available for consumption in the United States goes to waste every year.”

Meredith Niles from the University of Vermont explains, “As we improve our diet quality we should be thinking about the multiple strategies we have to make sure food isn’t getting wasted at the same time.”

One strategy on reducing food waste is creating packaging that increases the shelf life of various foods. Shifting to trays and barrier films is becoming a significant trend since they allow food products to stay fresher, longer.

As a result, a key component in food packaging design is preserving the shelf life of the food products which would help reduce food waste.


Even if a package is engineered to prevent food waste, the package itself creates waste. Now a days consumers are more concerned about what goes into their food and how that food is packaged. In addition, concerns about the environment and how our lifestyle affects the earth and its atmosphere is causing more and more consumers to change their purchasing behavior based on the way products are packaged.

Using more environmentally-friendly packaging materials and reducing over-packaging are critical trends shaping food packaging design. Companies are also taking the initiative a step further to try to reduce the environmental impacts of their supply chains by analyzing and optimizing how they are shipping and producing their products.

Whether it’s single serve containers, ready-made meals to go or, designs are shifting towards lighter weight materials as well to reduce impact on the environment.

Reusable Designs

Shifting towards sustainability means packaging doesn’t have to be just that. One trend we are seeing in sustainable packaging materials is creating packaging that can be reused for something else after it is no longer needed for packaging purposes. For example, WuDu Liquor created a bottle that becomes a beautiful vase.

Reusable designs are not limited to one physical state. Some packaging may be reusable when it breaks down and decomposes. Pangea Organics realized the importance of sustainability by embedding seeds into their pulp clamshells, so consumers can compost the packaging and be rewarded with a little patch of basil in return.

Switching from Rigid to Flexible Packaging Containers

Another packaging trend that we see is switching out rigid containers for lighter, more flexible ones. One example of this trend is using stand up pouches for certain food products. For example, Daisy sour cream switched from the classic round, plastic container to packaging their sour cream in squeezable pouches that stand up. We also see this shift occurring with other items, such as apple sauce and mayonnaise.




A package that has convenient functionality saves the consumer time and waste. For example switching from regular plastic bags to bags that can steam vegetables in a microwave is trending in the packaging industry. According to a study, “Growth will be driven by the conversion from rigid containers and the popularity of smaller packages for convenience and portion control. Stand-up pouches will experience faster growth, while flat pouches will maintain their advantage in unit terms.”

To put these trends into practice at your company, contact us here!