The Essentialist Approach
David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director, Mintel
The clean label trend is something that has been present in the consumer market for some time—at least five years. One trend that we noticed proliferate during the clean label movement is the cluttering of labels with information. Food manufacturers especially feel it necessary to indicate that their products are GMO-free and free-range and beauty product brands want consumers to know that their products are paraben-free. While maximizing the call-outs to increasingly health-conscious consumers seems like a good idea, it can take the whole package design from clarity to chaos.
Cluttered labels create confusion. The consumer is looking for digestibility—for product information to be accessible and easy to understand with only the essential information featured. However, abiding by a minimialist ideology may result in too little on-pack information for the consumer to make an informed, enlightened purchasing decision. Between the extremes, Clean Label 2.0 aims to keep labels clean and succint while avoiding the clean label “creep” – where brands lack to discipline to stop adding more and more information to the point it becomes cluttered and choatic. Brands need to hone their clean label message. They should be presenting consumers with two or three pieces of essential information, which can include something to highlight the ingredients or packaging but does not overwhelm the consumer by throwing in too many identifiers.
For brands to re-establish themselves as a Clean Label 2.0 brand, they must consider a few factors, such as the impact a Clean Label 2.0 design will have across the company’s portfolio of products. Will this require repositioning in the market? Will a brand need to focus on graphics, or structure as well? In the end, brands must hold back from trying to be everything to everyone or risk confusing consumers. Some blank space is necessary for clarity, so prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
Lean on Technology
Jorge Izquierdo, VP Market Development, PMMI
Clean Label 2.0 asks brands to prove their credentials while meeting increased demands for customized and niche products. For many brands, this goal is a moving target, but Clean Label 2.0 practice is a marriage of equal parts science and social media. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all offer platforms on which the tides of consumer opinion can quickly change and new trends can take hold. When Clean Label 2.0 aims to reduce the number of claims made on packaging, these platforms also provide an important channel through which brands can communicate all of their value propositions in a measured, uncluttered way.
The challenge for brands lies in replacing the three seconds of at-shelf experience with a meaningful social media message. Social media provides these companies with several avenues to do this, necessitating consumer engagement to build robust feedback loops and support traditional sales alongside e-commerce growth. Other tools like QR codes allow brands to easily provide information on recipes, ingredients and product origins. New digital printing capabilities empower these companies with greater flexibility with shorter runs, blockchain capabilities and track and trace opportunities. Brands should consider all of these tools to build a deeper relationship with consumers alongside an understanding of their products.
Manufacturers looking to make it in the world of Clean Label 2.0 can start at PACK EXPO International co-located with Healthcare Packaging EXPO (Oct. 14-17; McCormick Place, Chicago). Attendees will find the latest package printing technology to elevate their efforts in designing an engaging, attractive package with clearly articulated value propositions. The PACKage Printing Pavilion (South Hall) will offer brand managers and packaging professionals an opportunity to see the next generation of digital printing and smart solutions in action. Additionally, the Innovation Stage (North Building, Booths N-4560, N-4570 and N-4585) offers free seminars to attendees where they can hear insights on some of the most pressing challenges to their package printing operations.
Registration for PACK EXPO International is open at www.packexpointernational.com.