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.
The market intelligence agency notes that packaging manufacturers and brands must continue to develop and commercialize recyclable package innovations—even if the capabilities to recycle them do not yet exist. Meanwhile, the rapid growth of independent packaging-free stores is encouraging bigger retailers to consider how to create engaging, branded in-store refilling opportunities.
According to Mintel global packaging director David Luttenberger, while single-use plastics will exist for decades to come, he says there is a “dire need” to explore new manufacturing technologies and to develop plastic alternatives. “Time is of the essence; these technologies must be developed today, ahead of their ability to be recycled, rather than the other way around,” he notes.
In-store refilling will be another iteration of the circular economy, and luxury brands are joining in. “Refillable packaging is becoming more commonly known and used,” remarks Luttenberger. “Consumers expect this to be a simple and mess-free transaction.” While he admits that without packaging to serve as a communications tool, “branding can become challenging”, there are ways around this.
Top-end fragrance boutiques, for example, can offer in-store refills not only to help build their environmental credentials, but as an opportunity to provide a personalized, one-to-one consultation with VIP customers. The fragrance fountain concept is an attractive crowd puller and pioneers in this area include Guerlain and Mugler. Kilian, Le Labo and Louis Vuitton also offer refill services in their boutiques.
“Brands should look to offer memorable experiences through refill in order to create engagement by bringing some theater to the refill moment,” underlines Luttenberger.