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Packaging and its trends over time

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Model AG, CH-Weinfelden - The packaging industry has always adapted to social trends. But it is by no means a one-way relationship.

Packaging and its trends over time
Packaging derives from the word ‘pack‘, which itself derives etymologically from the Middle Dutch pac, or Middle Low German pak. These terms are drawn from the Middle Flemish pac, examples of which are found from the 12th century onwards. The word was used to refer to the bundling which wrapped several items together. It first appeared in connection with the Flemish wool trade, and was also a unit of measurement. ‘Pac’ was then adopted into other languages, such as in the Italian pacco and the French paquet. The term ‘packaging’ first entered general and specialist use as a collective term for all types of material used to enclose or contain in the second half of the 19th century. In the Swiss context, the German ‘Verpackung’ is the most common term, although for a long time the French ‘emballage’ was used synonymously. This word has its roots in the Mid High German balle – or bale – but later came to apply to the entire packaging sector. In the German-speaking world, ‘emballage’ was used up to the second half of the last century, primarily in the commercial sector, to refer to packaging made of thin sheet metal.

Cardboard folding boxes at the top
These historical examples show what packaging can do, and that we cannot do without it. Around 90 percent of all goods need to be wrapped in some way. On the international packaging market, folding boxes take one of the top spots, especially where foodstuffs, cosmetics and pharmaceutical items are concerned. Retailing has become one of the key factors in packaging design, and as retail companies have evolved, so too has the role of packaging. The more developed a market economy, the higher the standards that its packaging must meet.

We are looking forward to seeing what the age of e-commerce and digitalisation will bring to the packaging industry. One thing is clear, however – and that is that internet shopping has meant a boom in transport packaging. Here, there is development potential to be found in the creation of secure and consumer-friendly solutions that also save on materials. 

Investing in the packaging of the future
The trend towards using sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging materials is also high on the agenda. This development will also impact manufacturing processes in the packaging industry. Smaller batches, more individualised packaging solutions, stricter quality standards and digital elements will transform our production facilities. Model understood these changes early on, and has made investments and works developments accordingly. Yes, the movement is already bearing fruit and will shape the way we develop as a society in the digital age.


Edoardo Finotti
CTO, Model Group
Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. / Hüthig Verlag

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