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Five key packaging-industry trends to look out for in 2024

The packaging industry is currently in a state of flux due to changing consumer preferences, new regulations on recyclability and a general shift away from multilayer plastics materials to more easily recycled materials. These are five key trends affecting the industry that you, as a brand owner or converter, need to know about.

1. The impact of the EU Packaging Regulation

Perhaps the most important development for the packaging industry in the coming years, is the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)1, which if adopted, will come into force in 2025. It requires, among other things, that packaging must be labelled with recycling information and overall be considered as part of a more circular economy, where the material can either be recycled or reused as it is. There are also requirements on how much recycled material must be included in plastic packaging placed on the market after 2030. Read more here, and get in touch with us if you are unsure whether your packaging solutions fulfil the requirements of the regulation.

2. Consumers want more sustainable packaging

Today’s consumers are getting increasingly aware of the environmental impact of what they buy and how it is packaged. The biggest trend affecting the packaging industry in this regard is without doubt the increased demand from consumers for more sustainable packaging. One example of this is the UK market, where as of January 2023, the percentage of consumers that are demanding sustainable packaging has risen to 81%.2 The takeaway for brands and converters is that sustainable packaging is the way forward and if they are concerned about customer loyalty, they need to switch to more resource-efficient materials that are easy to recycle in the established recycling streams.

Read how you can go sustainable

3. The move away from plastics is gaining speed

Recent research shows that we have now reached a tipping point where UK consumers not only have a negative image of plastics but are actually willing to pay up to 16% more for a product whose packaging is partly paper-made3. This is undoubtedly good news for the environment, but what about traditional packaging lines that use plastic materials, can they use paper materials instead? In many cases, the answer is yes. Billerud is already offering a growing range of fiber-based packaging opportunities, along with a smooth process to help brand owners transition and meet new consumer demand.

Learn more about innovative and sustainable packaging

4. Using packaging to combat climate impact

Conventional packaging, often characterized by single-use plastics, excessive materials and emissions from fossil fuels during production, has detrimental consequences for the climate. Now, more and more brands are discovering that turning to new packaging materials can be a cost-efficient way of lowering their CO2 footprint and improving their sustainability credentials. One such example is the introduction of recyclable paper-based flow wrap, that depending on the thickness and type of plastic polymer currently used, can offer a CO2 reduction of nearly 50%4.

Discover Billerud Recyclable Flow Wrap

5. New, cost-saving packaging innovations

With the rapid growth in the world’s population, it’s essential that we take measures to conserve resources. Packaging solutions that keep products and produce safe throughout the supply chain is a key part of this effort. New innovations in lighter, stronger, food-contact safe and sustainable virgin fiber-based packaging materials allow brands to achieve lower packaging weights, while at the same time reduce costs for damage during transport and handling, and lower their carbon footprint.

Packaging for direct food contact


1 Carriages preview | Legislative Train Schedule (europa.eu)
2 https://protega-global.com/2023/01/25/demand-for-sustainable-packaging-sky-rockets-to-64/
3 https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article/50/3/468/7008764?login=false
4 Based on an internal calculation of a similar paper type and barrier coating.