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What is the metaverse?

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is coming and it will replace the Internet as we know it. But just what is the metaverse? It will replace the two dimensional, search based internet with a fully immersive 3-D world that mirrors the world we live in and provide a space where we can shop, attend concerts, go to school, meet friends and clients and be whoever we want!

It is also a space that is rich for advertisers to promote products and brands.

This shouldn’t sound too far-fetched, it is a space children already know about and inhabit. Brands such as Fortnite and Minecraft already provide vast environments to play and interact. Last year, Travis Scott held concert within the Fortnight game that attracted no less than 27 million viewers ! No more sticky dance floors and ‘overly enthusiastic’ door staff in the metaverse!

Fortnite creator Tim Sweeney isn’t alone in creating a metaverse. Silicon Valley is currently in a race to build the next version of the Internet. Facebook have already announced that moving forward the as a company, now branded Meta, their main focus will be the opportunities created by the metaverse. Facebook Horizon is a user generated, virtual reality world is also competing for space. Whilst Fortnite exists on a two-dimensional screen, Facebook Horizon has created a fully immersive virtual reality world where participants can meet, be creative, socialise, play games and work together.

Whilst the Internet is based on coding and software, the metaverse is based on 3-D worlds created by engines from brands such as Unreal Engine and Unity. Originally these engines created landscapes for virtual worlds in games but their platforms are increasingly being used outside of this, such as in Hollywood for creating super realistic special effect scenes. Think of Unity and Unreal as the metaverse equivalents of Android and iOS.

So what does this metaverse mean for us

Well, no more keyboards and searching as we will utilise virtual assistants to do the searching for us. The metaverse will provide fully immersive spaces that we can explore without the need to search the internet as we currently do. Instead of individual apps we will just travel from world to world in order to access and interact with it.

So instead of travelling to see the pyramids in Egypt we could visit and explore them through the meta verse. Obviously this gives advertisers an incredible opportunity to showcase products and brands from particular countries within the space. International business meetings will be as simple as popping on your VR glasses!

It’s hard to believe but in the next 10 years or so, the Internet and mobile phones will be considered very much a thing of the past in the same way as technology such as pagers and fax machines are today.

The advance of technology is allowing this change to happen at pace. With the advent and rollout of 5G we can now access our phones at 100 times the speed that we previously could with 4G. This makes accessing the metaverse much easier and helps create a seamless link between the world we occupy and the metaverse!

So how do we access the metaverse?

We’ve all seen these huge virtual reality goggles that double the size of our heads! The big brands such as Google and Apple are already working on much smaller VR headsets that are much closer in size and shape to spectacles. These glasses will completely replace the mobile phones we have today and create an almost immediate portal from our world to the metaverse.

The Internet as we know it may currently fit on a single book on a shelf in the library in the metaverse or will be projected on a virtual cinema screen as we walk through this new immersive world!

How will the metaverse change business?

The opportunities for our world and FMCG is immense. Imagine replacing online shopping with fully immersive supermarket environments that you can explore and interact with the products. With a single click or nod of the head products will be packed and sent to you in the real world. No more waiting for shop assistant to scurry out to the back to see if they have the trainers in your size. We can simply try them on in an environment of our choosing with whatever clothing takes our fancy!

The metaverse could also completely transform the design studio workspace. We already saw with lockdown the challenges for teams working in isolation. Teams work and function best when they work together. The metaverse will provide environments where teams can work collaboratively popping in and out of meetings with clients and colleagues alike. Presenting documents, interacting with physical objects collaboratively and in real time.

With the removal of real-world interaction it also provides an opportunity for global commerce, industry and business to continue as normal in the eventuality of a global pandemic.

Crypto currencies will provide the basis for all financial transactions. These crypto currencies is already utilise blockchain chain technology, something that will also power the metaverse.

Whether this provides a fantastic opportunity or dystopian nightmare is ultimately up for debate. It is undoubtedly an exciting new platform but it needs careful policing to ensure that standards are upheld in these new worlds.

What is the metaverse? Read More »

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Eco friendly packaging alternatives to plastic

We are all very familiar with images of swirling plastic islands floating in the middle of the oceans. In many instances, plastic is actually the best option. But what are the Eco friendly packaging alternatives to plastic?

Each year it is estimated that 80 billion plastic bottles are produced, 80% of which end up in landfill sites globally. It takes on average 800 years for a plastic bottle to decompose.

The word plastic has become intrinsically linked with disposable. You could argue that the main challenge is changing consumer habits rather than eradicating plastic packaging completely. 

Firstly, let’s put one point straight, plastic is widely recyclable and often best and safest option for food packaging design. Therefore the issue is often not the plastic itself but how people dispose of it. 

Additionally, millennials are pushing brands to be much more responsible with their approach towards environmental concerns. New market places are being created that push social responsibility and zero waste in an attempt to change shoppers habits.

So what are the alternatives and what is the best strategy to adopt moving forwards?

Sustainability – what is it?

There is currently a lot of buzz around the term sustainable packaging. Sustainable packaging refers to the use of packaging materials that have a minimal environmental impact and carbon footprint.  

This reduction can happen in a number of ways. Firstly, by using 100% recycled or raw materials in manufacture and minimising the production process. Also by extending its life cycle and usability.

In order to be considered sustainable, packaging needs to meet eight specific criteria. As detailed by the sustainable packaging coalition. These are:

  • Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its lifecycle.
  • Meets market criteria for performance and cost.
  • Sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy.
  • Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials.
  • Manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices.
  • Made from materials healthy throughout the life cycle.
  • Physically designed to optimize materials and energy.
  • Effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed-loop cycles.

Below are a list of strategies and packaging design innovations you can adopt to become more eco-friendly with your packaging.

1. Reduce the amount of packaging.

The first and most obvious strategy is to reduce the overall amount packaging that you use on a product. This could mean moving from six sided cartons to pillow packs. Using smaller boxes or bags not only helps reduce the amount packaging materials. This can also can help reduce your distribution costs and ensure that you’re not shipping ‘dead space’ and filling shelves space more efficiently. Consumers always respond negatively to packs that are substantially bigger than the product inside. Reducing the amount of packaging can positively effect the perception of your brand.

2. Plant based packaging.

Simply put, these are are made out of organic materials. From fungi and seaweed to corn and even food waste.

Choosing the correct material will ultimately depend on what you’re planning to pack. Bio plastics such as those from companies like Good Natured, are often better for items such as food that need protecting from contamination and increasing shelflife. More robust examples could utilise packaging made from much more durable plant materials such as mushrooms.

Polylactic acid (PLA), also known as Bioplastic is a biodegradable polyester derived from renewable plant materials such as corn starch. Bioplastics big advantage is that has a carbon footprint up to 75% less than traditional packaging materials and is now commercially composted. The trade off is that it can be prohibitively expensive on smaller runs.

Mushroom Packaging consists of 100 percent biodegradable and renewable plant based material that can be recycled both in and by nature.

Saltwater Brewery in America have developed a material for their six-pack rings which is not only biodegradable and compostable, but also completely edible! The rings are made from barley and wheat remnants which are a by-product of the brewing process which will actually benefit the sea life if they find their way into the ocean.

3. Recycled materials in packaging.

Aluminum cans are one of the most recyclable materials. Turning recycled aluminum cans into brand spanking new cans uses on average 95% less energy than making new ones from scratch. It has been estimated that the energy saved by recycling one single aluminum can is equivalent to what is needed to run a television for 3 hours.

Brands such as Rightwater have gone plastic-free using 100% recyclable aluminum cans. These are also free from BPA to make them suitable for consumers concerned about possible plastic contaminants in their water.

The most widely recycled plastic globally is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Recycling PET preserves circa two-thirds of the energy usually required to make new plastic bottle which successfully lowers greenhouse gas emissions. PET plastic is an inert material. This means that it resistant to attack by microorganisms so reducing the risk of ground water contamination. As mentioned previously though, the issue is that much of this plastic ends up in the oceans.

Some brands such as Method, successfully use this ocean reclaimed plastic rather than create plastic bottles from scratch. Sports brands such as Adidas are successfully adopting this process in the soles of their trainers.

4. Compostable and biodegradable alternatives.

Compostable packaging is made out of materials that can be composted at home and commercially. Hence why they are often made from plant-based polymer that can break down in compost.

Depending on what the source material is, a commercial compost facility can break down this type of packaging in around 3 months. Domestic composting such as the type in your garden, achieves the same in a little longer at around 6 months.

Fazer and Sulapac to bring an eco-friendly chocolate that consists of handmade pralines from Fazer that are held within the wood chip derived, biodegradable box.

Snact is a snack brand on a mission, fighting food waste and plastic pollution. The packaging is made in conjunction with startup TIPA from surplus fruit and veg that would otherwise be thrown away.

It is just as durable and impermeable as ordinary plastic but it decomposes within just 180 days. This innovative packaging is available in 100% home compostable packaging which is the first of its kind in the UK.

5. Organic coatings.

Most paper or card packaged food products needs a plastic coating to separate the contents from the less durable outer. So whilst it may look compostable and eco friendly, the fact is, it often isn’t.

The UK-based ice cream brand, Northern Bloc, has launched tubs for its products that are recyclable and biodegradable. The tubs are treated with an organic coating instead of plastic to ensure the product stays contained. Additionally this allows the sealant to break down when the packaging is being recycled.

Normally separating the paper and coating is difficult at the recycling stage due to the by-product of the two ends up being too contaminated to reuse. However, the tub protected instead by a fully natural organic compound made from sugarcane which is fully reusable and therefore breaks down naturally.

The Sherwood Group’s Puracoat® has created a product for use in food barrier packaging. Hence, offering food manufacturers an eco friendly solution to conventional plastic, PE and other forms of barrier control. The growing problem is plastic waste as attributed to the development of this. The coating is:

  • Suitable for direct food contact
  • An eco friendly, water-based barrier control
  • Grease resistant to highest ‘Kit 12’ rating
  • Verified independently by Smithers Pira
  • Fully recyclable and biodegradable in line with BS EN 13432
  • Suitable for frozen conditions
  • Microwaveable and ovenable up to 220 C
  • Flexible application levels to meet end use requirements
  • Reduced turnaround time, improving speed to market
  • Used in conjunction with biodegradable window films for an optimum eco friendly solution

6. Refillable parent packaging.

The use of refillable containers operates on a simple principle. The store provides products in bulk, and customers bring their empty refillable containers and fill them with product. The cleaning and personal care sector widely adopts this practice.

Refillable containers reduces both transportation and manufacturing costs. The biggest challenge is acceptance by the public and having the availability of the source containers to fill in the first place.

7. Paper pulp bottles.

There has been lots of innovation in the area of paper pulp bottles. The huge cost of collection and recycling both plastic glass and in some cases aluminium has led to the need for a more compostable solution.

Carlsberg Group has been busy working on 2 new research prototypes. These are 100 per cent bio-based and fully recyclable and made from sustainably sourced wood fibres.

One of these bottles uses a thin, recycled PET polymer film barrier to separate the liquid from the pulp, and the second a 100 per cent bio-based PEF polymer film barrier.

Companies such as Paper Water Bottle for creating bottle structures with an eco-skeleton constructed from a combination of wheat straw, bamboo, husks, sugar cane, and/or bulrush. They are incorporating increasingly less barrier material with more sustainable content. The ultimate goal is 100% biodegradable layer.

8. Bagasse.

Bagasse is a made from dry pulpy fibrous material that remains after crushing sugarcane to extract the juice. It is very similar to polystyrene in that it can be easily moulded into packaging suitable for take-aways. The big advantage though is that, it’s 100% biodegradable and compostable, and as it is a by-product of sugarcane processing, it is much more sustainable to manufacture.

Bagasse takes around 4 months to fully decompose in the ground.

9. Palm leaves.

One of the biggest pet hates for consumers is plastic packaging on fruit and veg on supermarket shelves.

Holy Lama use palm leaves to create stunning packaging for their handmade soap range. The leaves are harvested from the natural waste and leaf fall of the plant and moulded into the delicate clam shapes to contain the soap. The end result is fully biodegradable.

Berlin startup Arekapak is developing packaging for the fresh food industry and beyond using the same palm leaf packaging technology.

They produce their products in cooperation with small producers in rural areas in southern India. This helps support local manufacturers and ensure the employment of workers from the surrounding villages.

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Home Care Trends 2021

With the majority of the country working from home during lockdown, it’s no surprise that home care and DIY has sky rocketed in interest. Whether it’s tackling your garden fence you’ve been putting off for years or fixing that wonky picture frame you always stare at during your zoom calls, consumers are spending the time transforming their home.

Today we look at the upcoming home care and DIY trends for 2021. We will also be analysing how home care has evolved over the past year and what exactly people were searching for. 

Lockdown Searches

On the 23rd March 2020, the first lockdown was announced. The very thought of people having to work and live in the same 4 walls encouraged a significant amount of searches that day for the following home care terms according to Google Trends:

  • DIY
  • How to paint
  • How to fix
  • Fence paint
  • House extensions 

As we couldn’t hire a professional during lockdown, many people tried to quickly work on their DIY skills and turned to brands and tutorials for guidance. Whereas before any home issue could be fixed with a phone call to a tradesman, consumers had to rely on themselves to solve their DIY disasters. 

Following the lockdown, there an a shortage of paint across the entire country. Consumers have now perfected their DIY skills and we predict a lot more consumers turning to home care brands as opposed to calling in a professional in the future. It’s key brands offer guidance for people who are still unsure and need the extra confidence boost that they can do it themselves. 

The word “Paint” saw a 77% increase in searches between March and April, but which type of paint were consumers looking for? Below are the top searches and increases between March and April 2020. Interestingly Kitchen paint topped the highest searches however bedroom paint saw the highest increase. With many people setting up their living room as their office, the bedroom may have been the room to relax in the evening therefore invoking a makeover!

  1. Kitchen paint – 20,097 – 29,137 (45% increase in monthly searches)
  2. Bedroom paint – 3,927 – 7,057 (80% increase in monthly searches)
  3. Bathroom paint – 30,000 – 35,031 (17% increase in monthly searches)

Google Trends shows a huge increase in searches related to garden fence paint. This search term increase from 172.9k to 511.3k in just one month which is a total increase of 196%! With this amount of people searching for garden fence paint, we predict this trend won’t slow down anytime soon. There will certainly be some green fingers who will need to redo their garden fence again shortly due to sun damage and they will turn to DIY brands to assist with this. 

1. Bigger spaces

Being confined in your home for so long in recent times may be a factor as to why 25% ok UK residents want to move to a bigger space within the next year. People are looking to create more space within their home. Whether you are redecorating with new colour to open up your space, or adding decorations like mirror to elongate the room, consumers are searching for products that can make their home appear larger. 

2. Outdoor Focus

Homeowners are now favouring properties with gardens. Those of us without gardens during lockdown flocked to parks in the hope for some greenery so it’s clear why a garden would be a priority for future properties. Those with gardens during lockdown paid a lot of attention to their outdoor space as a hobby and something to do in the evening or weekend. Sheds, fire pits, summerhouses and fence paint saw a huge growth in popularity and the upkeep of these who gave their garden a makeover means this trend will continue to rise.  

3. Redecorating

With people living and working in the same 4 walls, it’s no surprise that redecorating remains hugely popular. The most popular redecorating trends include: Vintage furniture, colourful bathrooms, interesting bathroom features, nature inspired pallets, all white kitchens, modern kitchen finishings and bathrooms with baths and showers together. 

4. Bathroom 

One of the most popular rooms to redecorate is the bathroom. The latest bathroom trends are marble, wood features, eco-friendly, black details, brass and industrial. Marble has seen the highest increase with wood features following closely behind. The most popular colour scheme for bathroom paint is blue with a 95% increase following by pink which has seen a 79% increase. Other popular colours include green and grey. A survey revealed the number one reason we renovate our bathroom is to make it more modern. 

5. Marble & Brass

Finishes such as marble and brass are seeing a significant spike in popularity. With people spending so much time at home, consumers are turning to luxurious finishes to give their home a dramatic makeover. Marble features saw a gigantic rise of 366% in 2020 and brass sales increased by 120%. Both of these finishes as a touch of class and go well with any colour scheme.

6. Industrial 

Features such as metal framework, piping and stone features are amongst a few of the industrial trends which have seen a significant rise in searches. There has been a 58% increase in industrial features recently. Whether this is people working from home who are trying to feel like they are at work, or people trying something dramatically different, look out for this upcoming trend. 

With so many people tackling their home and taking on DIY themselves during lockdown, brands will have a whole new set of consumers to appeal to. Trends such as making space bigger and innovative ways to redecorate are fantastic NPD opportunities for DIY and home care brands. Consumers will be looking for guidance and exciting new opportunities that are easy to execute and can inspire! Trends are courtesy of MoveIQ

If you would like to talk to us about packaging design drop us a line here

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Personal Care Trends 2021

With the pandemic affecting everything from our shopping habits to our skincare routines, today we look at 6 of the upcoming personal care trends of 2021. 

Wellness and relaxation is now integral to regimes and brands are consciously creating products that keep consumers protected and valued. With the new movement in the industry there are plenty of upcoming trends to look out for. 

1. At Home Peels

With the increase in Covid has come an increase in at home beauty treatments. Our usual go-to facial or dermatologist appointments have been put on pause and consumers are opting for products that can aid in giving them that salon glow. Currently Sephora’s most popular skincare product is Dr. Dennis Gross’s Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel. There is also a rise in consumers investing in home treatments that focus on the jaw and neck area. 

Digital LED masks have also seen a rise in popularity recently. Performance skincare and high tech tools offer a go-to solution as they revolutionise skincare routines. These smart beauty products produce faster and easier results which is ideal for the busy consumer. 

Sephora’s Brand Director, David Razzano says “This past year saw most of us stuck at home, without access to salons and spas, and combating things like ‘maskne’ breakouts. As such, we saw a large number of people turn to products that allowed them to create a spa-like experience at home with the same professional-level results.” 

2. Hero Ingredients

It’s hard to keep up with what the latest “Hero” ingredient is within personal care that everyone will reach for. Previous years have been everything from hyaluronic acid to bakuchiol. So what is the next hot hero ingredient? The answer is Polygluatamic Acid. What is that you ask. The up and coming skincare ingredient is ultra hydrating and perfect for those with dry and dehydrated skin. 

It is popping up in more and more skincare launches, derived from fermented soybeans and naturally occurs in our bodies. Polygluatamic Acid can also boost skin elasticity, minimise pigmentation, help reduce the appearance of fine lines and can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water! Pretty powerful stuff!

There is a growing interest in ingredients like sea plasma and marine collagen to protect skin against blue light radiation. Blue light damage is a growing concert due to working from home, so consumers are seeking ingredients that can help and protect them. These particular ingredients harness the power of marine ingredients and being termed “Oceanic Beauty.”

3. Beyond Bath & Body 

The past year has been seen a focus on the importance of self care due to the stress of the pandemic. With the majority of the country working from home and spending all time indoors, a new or improved beauty routine has proved to be a positive distraction. 

There is a real focus at the moment for mood-boosting, energy and stress relieving products such as masks, oils and fragrances which have seen a staggering rise in sales. With consumers beginning to rate how products make them feel, these new types of skincare products termed “Emotional Beauty” will only continue to rise and inspire new innovations. 

With a huge focus on self care due to Covid 19, experts also predict seeing a growing demand for luxury bath oils and aromatherapy products. Turn your bathroom into your own personal spa and relax!

4. Scalp Care

There has always been such a huge focus on skincare routines, that it’s time for something else to take centre stage. Recently there has been an increase in discussions around the importance and benefits of scalp care routines. Advancements in LED hair masks as well as scalp specific products such as scrubs and serums means scalp care is front of mind. Experts predict that hair care aisle will see a rise in scalp care products and treatments due to the rise in more holistic beauty regimes.

Aleixa Inge, Cult Beauty’s Co-Founder states “The scalp has huge wellness potential, particularly in the realm of aromatherapy. Owing to how quickly essential oils applied there can hit your bloodstream. ‘Hair tea’ infusions aka formulas steeped with natural tea ingredients are also a growing trend that we’re seeing.”

5. Biotech Beauty 

Experts are predicting that biotech beauty will be everywhere! As eco friendly and sustainability issues continue to be addressed, brands are now exploring biotech to innovate and actively enhance sustainability. Biotech beauty describes lab made ingredients that either fuse natural ingredients with synthetic chemicals or create synthetic alternatives to natural ingredients. 

Biotech ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and squalene are also claimed to be more portent and efficacious. Combined with the increased sustainability, it’s no surprise that brands and consumers are showing an increased interest in Biotech and eco friendly packaging.

Director of Content and Curation, Maureen Choi says “Innovation in biotech beauty will advance beyond our imaginations this year. We’ve already seen beauty brands tap into the biotech space with many breakthroughs”

6. Focus on Eyes

As wearing a mask indoors and on transport is the new normal, there is a focus on the eye category. When it comes to make up, consumers are being much more experimental about eye make up shades. The reason being, this is the only part of their make up they can experiment with. As your eye will be the sole focus of your face wearing a mask, brands are upping their formulas. These include creating more creamy products that deliver unique and perfect results. 

Due to the increased attention on eyes, eyeshadow palettes remain ever popular. They hold a large variety of shades for consumers to play and experiment with. Innovations with eye make up currently include multi chrome eyeshadow to creates a colour shift for a truly unique look. Products that focus on increased eye improvement such as creams that target fine lines and tighten will continue to rise. 

That’s our top 6 Personal Care Trends of 2021! Which of these trends will you be looking into first? All trends are courtesy of Editorial List. 

If you would like to contact us about your personal care packaging design, drop us a line or pop in. We are located in the centre of Hammersmith, London.

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Design trends: Why follow the herd?

Keeping on-trend.

Making sure that Pack designs are ‘on trend’ seems to be an industry buzz-word. Sure, it’s important that your pack design looks contemporary but should this be at the risk of looking like everything else thats out there?

Sticking to these trends also create situations where design executions are shoehorned into a brand. Form should follow function, not the other way round.

Design trends seem to work against the core principles of branding and differentiation. If you want to stand out from the crowd then why follow the same design trends that all your competitors are also following? It also makes showcasing a unique selling point much more difficult.

Fundamentally, the end design should answer the brief. That’s sacrosanct. It should also force differentiation and explain to consumers (and buyers) why they should use you and not your competition. If Brand X looks the same as Brand Y, you have got a mighty difficult task on your hands!

 

Agency offers.

This desire to stay ‘on-trend’ with packaging design can also affect agency offers. I have had a few conversations with clients where they have mentioned to me that they were considering changing their design agency because the designs that their current agency had created (for both themselves and other brands) were looking too similar.

Some design agencies have a very distinct core style, and that’s fine if that’s what you feel is right for the brand. However, if you are paying your design agency to come up with a variety of different options, that’s what they should do, not present back variations on a theme.

Design is about problem-solving, not dipping into a library of pre-created assets and force fitting them into the design ideas.

It is important for design team to draw on a wide range of inspirations and references. This makes for a much richer and rewarding solution.

If you’d like to see how we create differentiation for brands, you can see more of our work here.

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2021 Pharmaceutical Packaging Trends

Over the years the Pharmaceutical industry has evolved greatly from its traditional form to high-tech equipments and inspiring innovations. With an increasing awareness of sustainability and the ever growing population, advancements in the market are expected to drive further growth and could exceed £84 billion by 2024. 

The Pharmaceutical industry has faced many changes in the past year. The pandemic has causing companies to revalue their strategy and approach. With all eyes on this sector, today we look at 5 emerging Pharmaceutical Packaging trends.

1. Eco-friendly packaging

Consumers have become much more aware of how their everyday activities effect the world. As the increasing trends towards ethical shopping continues there is a rise in green, sustainable packaging. With safety top of mind for the Pharmaceutical industry, it is not as simple as it is other industries to adjust their packaging solutions. However, we do have a solution. PLA Packaging which would help reduce emissions as well as producing more sustainable end product. PLA uses 65% less energy during production and is also combustible.

2. Accessible packaging

When it comes to Pharmaceutical packaging, it’s key that consumers have all information they need to understand the product. They need to be able to find the details required fast and clearly e.g dosage or ingredients without turning the product every angle to source what they are after.  Accessible product packaging should be one of the main considerations of Pharmaceutical packaging design. The increase in self-medication means that clear instructions are vital to ensure medication is taken correctly and safely.

3. Glass Formats

There is a rising demand for glass and container pharmaceutical packaging, mainly from densely populated countries such as India and China. Due to increased opportunities in these markets, Schott AG invested BRL 50 million in its pharmaceutical tubing production in Brazil. The increasing number of people with diabetes is also fluctuating the growth and demand of glass bottles for injectable pharmaceuticals. The World Health Organisation estimated 422 million people have diabetes across the world. Look out for more innovations in glass packaging due to the increased interest. 

5. Blister Packaging 

Blister packages are a popular way of packaging pharmaceutical products and this isn’t slowing down any time soon. They have gained popularity in particular to protect medicine from moisture. Companies such as Buropak and Ecobliss have recently developed blister packaging that is child proof. There are also in increasing number of companies that require visible evidence of tamping. This has driven the need for tamper evident packaging and with blister packs being deterrent to tampering, they are the ‘go to’ packaging solution. Other benefits include improved shelf life, light weight, clean area for instructions, product visibility and cost effectiveness. 

5. Smart Technology 

With ever increasing stock levels and demands, pharmaceutical companies are exploring how smart technology can be incorporated into packaging. Smart technology such a Bluetooth, NFC and QR codes are set to transform the industry. One example of smart technology for pharmaceutical packaging is temperature tracking that helps eliminate the use of unsafe products. Very smart!

With the market constantly changing to meet consumer health priorities, we expect many more trends in this fast growing sector. Furthermore, Pharmaceutical companies have a chance to meet consumer needs with their packaging that innovates and inspires. All trends are courtesy of Modor and Packaging360

If you would like to contact us about packaging design, drop us a line or meet us in person. We are located in the centre of Hammersmith, London.

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Design agency jargon buster.

So much jargon. How often have you sat there in front of 6 people from the agency as they regurgitate ‘word salad’ at you with supreme confidence? They use a smorgasbord of verbal dexterity to explain the simplest of tasks. Then everyone in the room looks at one another, hoping that subtitles will pop up in front of the Strategic Planner to translate the gobbledegook that they’ve just spouted.

Here we try to break down the jargon with our dictionary definitions of agency bull.

“Archetypes”

(Adjective)
Are you a hero, explorer, lover or creator? Whilst this may be relevant if you are writing the next Harry Potter novel, it has little relevance to your brand.

“Consultants”

(Noun)
About 10 years ago, design agencies became design consultancies almost overnight. In our opinion consultants belong in hospitals not design studios.

“Equity Analysis”

(Verb)
Stock market planning? Or reminding you of your logo and other important bits, again. 

“Ethnographics”

(Noun)
Research done by nosey ‘ologists’ who look in people’s bins for insights.

“Futurescaping”

(Verb)
The dark art of seeing into the future usually undertaken by visionary (see below) who tell us that in 2026, Harrow On The Hill will all be painted lime and the only people that live there will be called Sebastian. Even some of the dogs.

“International Agency Network”

(Noun)
This is often a small outpost in some far off glamorous location masquerading as a fully functioning design agency.“Yes, of course we have an office in Shanghai. No, we’d rather not share your project with them.”

“Retail Safari”

(Verb)
Paying for a member of the design team to scurry round Tesco’s taking photo’s whilst avoiding security guards. Shouldn’t they know what the competition looks like anyway?

“Semiotics”

(Verb)
Paying someone to tell you that red = danger and that blue = corporate. Genius.

Process”

(Verb)
Some agencies utilise fancy trademark processes in order to qualify why this “process” cost you so much. Ask them to see the trademarking documentation.

‘Visionary”

(Noun)
For those of us that played Dungeons & Dragons in the early 80s this sounds like something from page 267 in the Monster Manual. In fact, this is someone who can apparently see into the future.

“Visual Planning”

(Verb)
This is usually a combination of a A1 mood board and long words. Very long words.

Feel free to send us any that you’ve encountered that we can add to the list.

Please send all entries on a postcard to:

Slice Jargon Buster, Slice design Ltd, 12 Glenthorne Mews, Hammersmith, W6 0LJ

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2021 Confectionary Trends

From spicy flavours to unusual combinations, which of these confectionary packaging design trends below would grab your attention first.. 

1. Tropical flavours 

With Summer on it’s way and everyone dreaming of beach holidays that are unlikely to happen this year, it’s not surprising that consumers are opting for tropical flavours to put them in the holiday spirit. In particular flavours such as pineapple and coconut are favourites amongst consumers. These confectionary flavours may help make our staycations a bit more exotic this year!

2. Mix & Match 

In the mood for something sweet or savoury? How about both! If you can’t decide which flavour you feel like there, there is an emerging trend that brands are mixing and matching flavours combinations. This is a great way for brands to get consumers to try more of their range and offer intriguing new propositions. Pairing sweet fruity flavours with salty or spicy flavours will be sure to take you on a taste adventure!

3. Smaller pack sizes 

Brands are jumping on the permissible snacking trend and more companies are now developing smaller pack sizes into the market that contain 200 calories of less. These smaller pack sizes are great for a ‘healthier’ snack when consumers want to treat themselves and not feel guilty. The smaller sizes are also perfect for making informed choices and carrying on the go. 

4. Spice up confectionary

The hottest trend of them all! Confectionary brands are turning up the heat and introducing spicy snacks to their portfolio including flavours such as chilli, jalapeño and habanero to name a few. We can see this trend catching on for the surprising factor and curiosity as to what it will actually taste like. 

Between June 22nd – 25th, some of the biggest names in the confectionery sector will be at the Sweets and Snacks Expo. They are due to showcase exciting new products as well as discuss the latest upcoming trends. Look out for our blog post following the Expo for a round up of the event.

John Downs, president of the National Confectioners Association says “The Sweets & Snacks Expo is where the top candy and snack companies showcase their newest products. This year is even more important as we get back to business. While consumer purchasing habits may have shifted, manufacturers are exceeding expectations with new products, flavours and innovations.”

Let us know which of the above trends you would try out first. We certainly would want to try the spicy sweets! All trends in this post are curiosity of Confectionary Production. 

You can see some examples of our confectionary branding and packaging design on our Behance credentials page.

2021 Confectionary Trends Read More »

Lixir Tonic Water branding and packaging design

2020’s Top 20 Food & Drink Trends

Happy New Year! 2019 was certainly a year of inspiration in terms of food trends and exciting combinations such as plant-based foods and cronuts.

It’s now 2020 and BBC Good Food have once again predicted the food, drink and eating trends for the upcoming year. Have a look at their top 20 trends below.

1. Low-sugar chocolate

Many of us are already aware of the health benefits of dark chocolate as The Grocer’s Emma Weinbren states: “We’ve seen a big increase in dark chocolate’s value sales. People see it as healthier – higher cocoa, lower sugar content,” however it is predicated there will be an increased interest in lower sugar chocolate this year.

Nestlé launched 2 chocolates that contain 30% less sugar: Milkybar Wowsomes and a new variant of Dairy Milk. This is an exciting development for 2020 and we are sure many brands will soon follow suit.

2. Food Halls

The next trend is an eating experience. Food Halls are huge spaces full of many street kitchens, bars and communal seating areas and although these can already be found around the country, Food Halls are set to expand in 2020. Watch out for the arrival of Eataly and Market Hall Canary Wharf as well as Time Out Waterloo in 2021 and Kings Cross’ Goods Way.

3. Local Produce

With the increased interest in environmental impact, it doesn’t surprise us that that use of local produce makes it onto 2020’s trends list. Many chefs are now growing and using their own produce. The Pig is an example of a restaurant that has introduced a new ‘garden to plate ethos’. Booths Supermarket is also at the forefront with their ‘dug today’ potatoes and ‘picked today’ berries.

4. Unpacked

Waitrose were one of the first supermarkets to hop onto the ‘Unpacked’ trend and have launched pasta dispensers, tap beer and pick ’n’ mix frozen veg in a bid to go plastic free with great results! Their Oxford Botley Road store is seeing unpackaged product outselling packed products with reports of 90% of shoppers saying they are happy to bring refillable containers. Look out for phase two of Waitrose & Partners Unpacked initiative which will be announced in Spring. Dedicated shops for refill stations of everyday ingredients are also increasing in popularity around the country.

5. Bar snacks

With the increased demand for exciting, light bites in bars, 2020 will see a rise in bar snack options. Bar snacks are growing in popularity and many bars have already introduced new options set for 2020. Sabor have introduced chicken oyster bocadllio, Gridiron now offer lamb belly fritters and the The Moorcook Inn’s has introduced crispy smoked potatoes.

6. Plant Food

Now we know this was a trend last year too, but this is a trend that won’t be easing down for a while. With consumers ever conscious of health and the benefits of a plant based diet, it is a trend that will continue into 2020. January sees the influx of new plant based products and offerings for ‘Veganuary’ and many chains and supermarkets seems to have hopped on the bandwagon. 

Greggs have launched their vegan sausage roll and as of this week, their vegan steak bake. KFC have also launched their vegan version of a chicken burger. The majority of all UK supermarkets now have a dedicated plant based range with new products launching this January. April Preston, director of product development at M&S, “It’s shown absolutely no sign of slowing down. Our customers are adopting flexitarian lifestyles and we’ve a pipeline of new plant-based products planned, including a no-chicken Kiev.”

7. Gastro


A trend predicted for the following year is the rise in gastro tourists and therefore the popularity of gastro restaurants. With Tom Kerridge’s Bull & Bear and Culturplex as well as Restaurant Mana, there is no short of restaurants to fulfil the trend in 2020.

8. Pea Milk

There are already many variants of plant based milk but 2020’s trend is Pea Milk. Made from yellow split peas, this delicious new alternative is something we are already familiar with at Slice Design. We designed a Pea Milk range (including a sweetened and unsweetened variant) for the plant based snack brand Qwrkee. Find out more about our designs for Qwrkee Pea Milk here. Pea milk is perfect for use in cooking, breakfast, smoothies or as a drink on it’s own. This milk alternative is also full off added benefits as it’s high in Omega 3, protein and a source of fibre. Senior Ocado buyer Anthony Sharpe, believes in the Pea Milk trends as “It has one of the lowest environmental footprints.”

9. The rise of frozen food

The conscious consumer is in favour of little to no waste food options and this trend certainly tackles that. Frozen options such as chopped garlic cubes and entire meal kits eliminate any excess waste. M&S’s new Hempstead Valley store has a freezer section that is 75% bigger than other branches with a huge 291 lines available. April Preston, director of product development at M&S, states “We’re seeing new challenger brands and convenient no-waste options that make it more appealing.”

10. All things Japan

It is predicated that in 2020, our fascination with Japanese cuisine and culture will continue to grow. Examples include Lakeland’s cherry blossom baking moulds and sushi platters as well as Ocado’s brand new range of Japanese products. Adam Smith, check at Coworth Park states “We’ve seen a slow influx of Japanese techniques and ingredients and, in 2020, we’ll see this a lot more.”

11. Gut Food

This was a well known trend from last year that again makes it’s way into 2020. With the increased focus on gut friendly foods, it is no surprise that brands are jumping on this trend. M&S has a wide range of probiotic food and drink options that include kefir and kombucha. Two words we are sure you have heard before! Qwrkee’s range includes plant based puffs that contain probiotics. These packs were designed by us at Slice Design and they taste delicious! The Grocer’s Emma Weinbren states. “In March, we got stats from Kantar that more than 40% of kefir is consumed by over-65s. People think it’s a cool millennial drink but it’s the older generation driving it.”

12. Middle Eastern Cuisine

This trend is predicated by Waitrose and it’s senior development chef Zoe Simons credits the “Winning blend of spice, heat and sweetness. Home cooks will soon think nothing of whipping up baba ganoush or tabbouleh.” Due to cooking schools Moroccan Kitchen, Turkish Delight and Chicken Shawarma selling out it’s courses we can certainly see there is a spike in interest for North African and Middle Eastern food this year.

13. Filipino BBQ

This delicious trend is all thanks to the appearance of BBQ Dreamz on BBC Two’s My Million Pound Menu last year. Restaurant Magazine editor Stefan Chomka says “Known for its duck heart skewers and crispy pork belly, BBQ Dreamz is likely to leap from street food to bricks and mortar in 2020 with a nine-month residency at a new site on Hackney Road. It will be under the banner “BBQ Dreamz presents Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen”.

14. Grown Up Ice Cream

Innovative ice cream flavours have become a huge trend in recent years with the increase of instagramable ice cream spots such as Milk Train and other chains having introduced charcoal and matcha flavours. 2020 will show no sign of stopping with unusual flavours such as goat’s cheese, liquorice and gin flavoured ice creams available now. What flavour would you like to see?

15. Sandwiches

Sandwiches are now back in fashion in 2020! Thanks to the delicious shots of stacked sandwiches filling out Instagram feeds, restaurants are coming up with new creations to excite and inspire consumers. Tou’s famous sandwich is a Japanese style sandwich of pack crumbled pork neck fried in lard, with cabbage and raspberry brown sauce. What would be your creation?

16. Seacuterie

This trend is all thanks to Josh Niland’s fin to tail ethos in ‘The Whole Fish Cookbook.’ Aarik Persaud of Heritage says “Everyone’s going to be trying all manner of sea offal.” The process is to dry age or cure the fish for intensity of flavour and Seacuterie is popping up on more and more restaurant menus. Look out for this trend in 2020!

17. Funugreek seeds

Funugreek seeds are tipped to be the new turmeric this year and Vivek Singh, owner of the Cinnamon Collection restaurants says that “Bitter tastes will be sought after in 2020.” Chefs have also tipped black tahini as a trend this year due to it’s strong flavour.

18. Less waste

As the interest in sustainability grows, there is a need for no waste ingredients. An example of this is Dash Water who use naturally formed ingredients in their drinks. Rubble have also adopted the same concept for their condiments. Domini Hogg, founder of specialist food distribution platform, Tried & Supplied “We’ve seen a real trend in snacks, drinks and sauces that use surplus foods, such as Urban Cordial’s surplus fruit cordials or Sea Chips’ healthy, crispy salmon skin snacks.”

19. Whey-hey

Whey is a waste product of cheesemaking and going hand in hand with trend number 18, whey is now being incorporated into many recipes and dishes. Chef Tommy Banks says “It’s super flavoursome and sweet.” In some of his creations he uses raw milk whey, to make ricotta and sauces. What creations could you come up with?

20. CBD

This trend is one we expected to see on the list! There is a lot of buzz around CBD products due to it’s many health benefits and many chains (such as Holland & Barrett) have released their own CBD product line. Expect in 2020 to see more CBD product creations including gins, hummus and ice cream. The Grocer’s Daniel Woolfson says ‘‘Every week, we get sent a new sparkling CBD drink.”

So there you have it.. 2020’s Top 20 Food & Drink Trends. Let us know if there are any another trends you predict for the coming year.

Linked are credited to BBC Good Food’s article.

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