Package Design Key Component To Private Label Growth

Maria Dubuc spoke with Store Brands and offered insights on trends and why design is so important in a product line's success.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
Greg Sleter headshot
Maria Dubuc
Maria Dubuc, Marketing By Design

Product packaging is playing an ever more important role in the world of private label as retailers look to make their store branded product stand out on the shelves. 

But what are the latest trends in the world of packaging? How can retailers further enhance the look of items on their shelves? And what new government regulations at the federal and state levels will impact the information that will be required on packaging in the years ahead?

Recently, Store Brands spoke with Maria Dubuc, owner of Marketing By Design to gain insight into the current day trends in packaging design.

STORE BRANDS: Overall, when working with retailers, what is their focus today when developing new packaging for private label product lines?

MARIA DUBUC: Retailers are looking for great design and brands that evoke trust in their brands and their products. They are really beefing up their creative leadership. And they know they don’t know everything. They're doing their research, they're stepping out further and really investing in their brands. They are also thinking about their voice and their position in the marketplace. Retailers want to have ownable brands that really resonate with their consumers and they are finally treating their private brands like national brands. They want to understand the landscape and they care about the audits and the trends that are going on in the marketplace.

STORE BRANDS: What new packaging trends are you seeing in the marketplace?

DUBUC: We’re seeing lighter color palettes, patterns, and some fun graphics that are really helping to communicate the products and their features to consumers. There is still a lot of positive vibes happening with packaging, which is really nice to see. Authenticity remains important and we cannot talk about packaging without talking about sustainability. Once of the challenges we continue to face is the amount of information that needs to be placed on packaging. This includes ingredients and nutritional information along with claims and certifications for items. We’re losing a lot of real estate on packaging on the front and the back. 

One other trend we’re seeing is fine art in packaging design. Retailers are looking to delight their customers with unexpected experiences. One example is Sprouts Farmers Market, which is stepping up and violating the norms with unexpected colors and designs.

STORE BRANDS: With retailers looking for packaging that is more sustainable, is the technology available to meet their needs?

DUBUC: The technology is available, but there is more that needs to be done. Retailers know that they want to be more sustainable with packaging, but they have to be willing to spend some money in order to do some research and development. It’s also important to have all parties – the retailer, supplier, material manufacturer and design agency – together at the table to have open and honest discussions. That’s where we are drawing out the opportunities. We always thought the CPGs and national brands would lead the charge, but it looks to me more like the retailers are the ones that are taking the leap with sustainability.

STORE BRANDS: As sales of private label products continue to grow, what impact is this having on packaging designs?

DUBUC: Package design is going to play even a bigger role in the narrative of private brands. If they’re not already doing so, retailers will need to elevate the quality of their packaging and enhance the communication even further than national brands who aren’t going to give up the fight. Consumers just want to see that strong and professional voice. We are essentially the Cokes in the Nikes of the future. Investments will need to be made in packaging design to make it look more professional and aesthetically pleasing to the shopper.

STORE BRANDS: Are there any new laws now in place or coming in the future that relate to packaging that retailers and suppliers need to know about?

DUBUC: It’s insane the amount of new regulations that are coming from both the federal and state levels of government. Much of what we’ll be dealing with includes information about ingredients such as use of salt substitutes, nitrates and plant-based milk alternatives. We’ll also be dealing with more information about guidelines such as front of pack labeling, pet labeling, claims about how animals are raised and claims about “healthy” food. All of this and more will impact how product packaging is designed.

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