With the public’s growing sense of alarm about damage to the global environment, and with governments around the world starting to react to these concerns, it is no surprise that green issues such as sustainability are at the top of current packaging trends.

Packaging has become very much apart of the whole product experience and brands are becoming aware of the need for quality packaging.

Less is more when it comes to current trends and brands that react to such consumer preferences may see a wider adoption of their product in the marketplace.

We delve into some specific examples below to help brands take advantage of packaging trends in 2020 and beyond.

Packaging Trends 2020

Closed-loop Recycling

Closed-loop recycling is essentially the production process in which waste is collected, recycled and then used to make new products. The process can be very simple as with recycling aluminium cans to make new ones, or it can be as complex as recycling plastic bottles into polyester for clothing and other products.

In 2020 there will be pressure on brands and the packaging industry to make their packaging totally recyclable.


Plastic pollution is now viewed in the UK as the most pressing environmental concern, with nearly half of UK adults citing it as the most important environmental issue. This is perhaps unsurprising when the average use for a plastic bag has been identified as around twelve minutes, while its life expectancy is up to a thousand years.

In response to this there is a huge amount of activity in plastic-free shopping, from shops offering plastic-free aisles to companies creating new, sustainable forms of paper-based packaging.

Adopting more multi-use designs and eco-friendly materials while also encouraging customers to view packaging as reusable, instead of single use, is likely to lessen packaging waste overall. Brands will need to act this year to engage in the emerging plastic-free areas by switching to acceptable package materials.

Green Packaging Material

The development of bio-based and renewable raw materials together with the adoption of compostable materials has increased the demand for green packaging solutions as one of the top packaging trends for 2020.

Compostable Packaging

Compostable packaging is packaging that breaks down in a garden compost pile or at a commercial composting facility. The decayed organic substances it forms can then be used as a fertiliser, bringing benefit to the soil. The length of the process varies according to conditions, but it generally takes a few months. In the UK there are strict criteria used to certify which packaging is suitable for composting.

Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging is a trend that lots of brands and manufacturers will adopt in 2020 because of its quality, cost-effectiveness, convenience, practicality and sustainability. Customers increasingly prefer packaging requiring a minimum time and effort to open. Features of flexible packaging include zipper re-closure, tear notches, peel-off lids, hang hole features and microwavable pouches. The food and beverage market is currently the largest user of flexible packaging, although the demand for flexible packaging in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry is expected to grow significantly in 2020 and beyond.

Aside from a structural design making it easier for the customer to use, a pouch’s adaptable shape often makes it easy to both carry and store. Furthermore, flexible packaging uses less material than rigid packaging, meaning that its lighter weight reduces transportation and e-commerce costs.

Connected Packaging

A highly significant development in retail packaging has been the incorporation of chips, codes and interactive elements allowing companies to connect directly with the customer, thereby creating new marketing opportunities to drive engagement and sales. The technology includes digital markers, Near Field Communication (NFC), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Bluetooth and Augmented Reality (AR). Not only does this technology allow companies to connect with the customer through online space, but it also provides the opportunity for data collection to improve knowledge of the customer and to access campaign performance. For the consumer, connected packaging provides an online platform through which they can receive promotional offers and discounts.

The concerns over this type of packaging are centred around privacy, specifically data collection and identity management when companies apply “user behaviour” analytics. There is also a concern that the presence of chips may compromise the ease in which this packaging can be recycled.

Nevertheless, with Europe seemingly leading the way in connected packaging, there are large trials scheduled to be rolled out across 2019, making it the year in which trialling will go further and wider than ever before.

Design and Colours

There is a trend towards neutral colours, pastels, and patterns which has been adopted by a number of businesses. We would expect 2020 to continue to see many packages having more of these soothing, gentle colour palettes.

Package designs with vintage elements, colours, or patterns, but with a modern twist are likely to be found in abundance in 2020. These designs convey exclusivity with an old-fashioned look that feels bespoke.

The growing use of artisan designs reflects the increased preference of customers to purchase products that feel local, handmade and intimately crafted rather than mass produced. This trend is primarily about impressing upon customers that products will provide its customers with a natural, fresh, handmade, and a genuine artisan experience.

Gradients will be an essential element of design in 2020, providing depth and dimension to compositions. With their bright and exciting colour combinations gradients are working their way up from being simply background detail to becoming the main component of designs.  We can expect to see luminous, colourful and neon gradients over packaging designs in 2020.

Learn More with Fillcon

The industry will have a busy time in 2020 and beyond, addressing the growing demand from the public for sustainable, green solutions to packaging, as well as new trends in colours, patterns and branding.

To request a quotation or further information on our liquid filling capabilities, our manufacturing and filling of sachets, tubes and bottles or simply to discuss the eco-friendly options available for sampling solutions within the cosmetic sector, get in touch with our friendly team here at Fillcon.

Get in touch today.