Secure Smart Sustainable

3 Trends Affecting the Future of Packaging


Which factors will determine the future of packaging? And what will the packaging of the future look like? Here are three trends we see affecting the industry.

Text Isabel Überhoff

Packaging protects sensitive goods and makes them easier to handle, stack, and transport. However, packaging also plays a variety of other roles, like a useful marketing tool to an environmental statement. Packaging has become a product class of its own: creative, innovative, individual – and increasingly interactive. Safety, smart packaging, and sustainability are the three topics concerning current packaging trends.


In the global retail world, product safety has become a greater focus of manufacturers and customers. Track & Trace technologies increasingly come into play in Safe Food, Consumer Protection, and general Counterfeit Protection. They support traceability and transparency along the supply chain. Due to the worldwide increase in counterfeit goods, features like these have turned into a must-have for every manufacturer. Especially those who manufacture sensitive goods within the pharmaceutical and food industry. 

Maximum protection tampering, theft and product switching: The security labels and adhesive tapes of tesa scribos® safeguard product and transport packaging throughout the entire logistics chain with easily recognisable proof of first opening.

As a leading solution provider in this area, tesa scribos® connects goods with the digital world. Such as sealing solutions that mark packaging with a label that clearly indicates the first opening and prevents refilling. Unique product identities combined with online modules allow single products to be tracked through all production and distribution channels right up to the consumer. Next to the quality guarantee for the consumer, the “sealed” packaging ensures maximum protection against counterfeiting and security in terms of product quality and originality.

Smart Packaging

The combination of hard goods and the digital world allows an opportunity for new doors to be opened – from A for augmented reality to Q for QR code – and turns the idea of “smart packaging” into a top seller. The aim is to turn packaging into exciting intermediaries between manufacturers and customers. The spectrum expands with every technological innovation. Whether it’s spirits or toys: Multimedia and interactive elements are already integrated into the packaging in various product categories.


RFID applications, for example, help to trace the journey of the product to the customer (and vice versa), while gamification elements allow consumers to playfully interact with the products or the dealer and/or manufacturer. It’s like crossing vinyl recordings with MP3 players: The future sees the development of ever more packaging that combines traditional materials such as cardboard with digital technologies.

A combination of product marking and digital tools provides reliable protection and innovative product experiences.

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the use of game-typical elements in a non-game context. For example, gamification is successfully used in advertising and entertainment as a means of creating customer loyalty. However, it is also more and more being used in areas such as fitness, health, ecology or further education. The goal is to increase user motivation to interact strongly with the applications. Gamified applications use the natural interest of people to participate in games in order to integrate them into a topic that is not related to the game.


The call from consumers and politicians for more sustainability also echoes in the packaging sector. The devil is often in the details. Even small elements, such as plastic viewing windows or plastic-based packaging tapes, can make recyclable packaging environmentally harmful. However, provided with elements such as paper-based packing tapes, glued cardboard boxes remain compatible with the regular paper and cardboard recycling processes. Furthermore, solvent-free methods in adhesive tape production, as well as sustainable and bio-based raw materials, offer invisible yet sustainably effective environmental advantages.
tesa follows the trend towards more paper instead of plastic with tesa® 4313, a paper-based tape that can be used universally to seal medium-weight shipping boxes. Several tesa® tapes are manufactured without solvents. Material- and process-oriented innovations like these are on the rise and will further advance the environmental compatibility of packaging.


78 million tons

Plastic packaging circulate worldwide every year. A third of it ends up uncontrolled in the environment as garbage.

Source: WWF

"We have adhesive tapes in our portfolio that don’t require solvents during the manufacturing process, and we are continuing to expand the necessary technologies. This unlocks extra potential in terms of sustainable bonding and packaging."
Alexander Weis

Group Product Manager, General Industrial Markets


Ecological Innovation by Law

On January 1, 2019, the German Packaging Law (“Gesetz über das Inverkehrbringen, die Rücknahme und die hochwertige Verwertung von Verpackungen” meaning “Law on the putting into circulation, redemption and high-quality recycling of packaging”) came into force. It is devised to encourage manufacturers to make packaging as resource efficient as possible. Disposers, on the other hand, are encouraged to promote packaging that can be easily recycled, for example through financial incentives. The law is intended to help “prevent or reduce the effects of packaging waste on the environment”. A trend that is also taking hold worldwide beyond the German legislative initiative.