Global demographic trends, such as population growth, urbanization and busier lifestyles, have an impact on the packaging industry as they do on all industries. The growing demand for packages in different sizes, language versions and package coding has resulted in the expansion of the use of digital printing methods.
Digital printing technology is developing further, as manufacturers seek new ways to minimize set-up time and lessen waste for better cost efficiency. Despite the advances in new technologies, digital printing will, for the time being, only complement offset printing in short runs, while offset printing will remain the principal technology for long and medium runs.
The rise of customization
Adapting packages for different markets and occasions is becoming more and more common. Brand owners have found it beneficial to customize packages not only for different target groups, but also for limited editions, tie-ins with events, and so on. The goal is to increase brand acceptance and connection with consumers, and to this end, digital printing offers opportunities for personalized packaging. There are at least three drivers shaping this custom:
Changes in retail: Retailers offer private-label alternatives to major brands.
Growth in online shopping: Branding is expected to have more importance in the online environment, where distinguishable packaging is an asset.
Increased consumer choice: Local preferences are important to acknowledge when selling in diverse global markets.
The trends in digital printing are visible in the upcoming packaging innovations event, Xeikon Café, in Belgium on March 10–12. Xeikon is an innovator in digital printing technology offering web-fed digital color presses for labelling and packaging applications. Metsä Board was recently appointed as Aura Partner of Xeikon, following rigorous testing and certification of six Metsä Board cartonboards.