Dairy Packaging Trends

That there are trends for customer preferences regarding dairy packaging is not news, but identifying those trends in advance of their early onset is key for companies that wish to gain or grow market share in this industry. Over the years, dairy packaging methods have changed, driven in large part by consumer demand. When a manufacturer is positioned at the leading edge of a packaging trend or is the instigator of the said trend, their profits will often reflect this.

The momentum toward eating healthy, sustainable foods that are environmentally friendly continues at a rapid pace. Consumers around the world are increasingly turning to dairy products as an attractive alternative to sugar-laden drinks and recognizing the health benefits of consuming yogurt and other dairy-based food. For instance, the per capita volume of market growth in the dairy industry among consumers in China is a whopping 48%.

Insofar as dairy packaging trends are concerned, additional trends have emerged. Here are several that we have identified:

1.    On the go dairy packaging trends. In today’s world, the majority of people are constantly on the go, and the consumption of food (including dairy products) may as easily occur while someone is walking down the street or commuting to work. This demands a packaging solution that is convenient for those on the go. Dairy packaging trends reflect this with the move toward plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate. More commonly referred to as PET plastic, these are recognized as food safe. PET bottles are portable and easy to reseal, thus reducing waste. They are also attractive to consumers for these additional reasons:

  • They are available in single-serving containers.
  • They are available for drinkable dairy as well as for yogurt and other popular dairy products.
  • They are lightweight and shatterproof.
  • They are flexible from a design standpoint. PET bottles can be molded to accommodate dairy packaging trends as well as mirror the dairy manufacturing company’s branding.
  • They are more transparent than many other types of dairy packaging options, which suggests a higher quality of product to consumers, thus offering greater consumer confidence.

2.    Scalable packaging. Products that are packaged in inflexible containers such as cardboard or hard plastic will retain their physical footprint regardless of how much of the contents are consumed. This can take up unnecessary space on a consumer’s shelf or in their cupboard. By contrast, packaging that can be reduced in size as the contents are consumed can reduce their footprint and allow for more products to be purchased and stored in the same area. It also offers these additional advantages:

  • Scalable packaging is among the emerging dairy packaging trends because it can reduce or eliminate air, thus keeping products fresher for a longer period of time.
  • Scalable packaging that can be resealed does not have to be consumed all at once, which is attractive to consumers who require smaller portion sizes.
  • Scalable packaging can be used for yogurt and is increasingly used to accommodate children who consume smaller portions. Flexible dairy packaging is also easier for small children to hold in their hands as they can squeeze and sip from them.