2021 packaging trends

2021 Packaging Trends

2021 Packaging Trends That Are Sustainable & Environmentally Friendly 

Sustainability and environmentally friendly packaging has been the biggest packaging trend of 2021 (by far!), and we truly hope it stays this way! Every day, we see more and more focusing on solutions to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Packaging initiatives are a great way for companies to work on improving their environmental impact.

There is a growing movement to reduce or completely eliminate plastic from packaging because of its harmful effects to the environment. Until we develop better end of life options for plastic and non-biodegradable / non-compostable materials, companies are choosing to go with more expensive packaging solutions simply for the environmental benefits.

Some simple solutions include: paper or plant-based materials, using water-based coatings instead of plastic film lamination, using soy-based inks for printing, replacing foam with corrugated inserts, and various other options to reduce plastic usage or improve end of life treatment of packaging. Simple changes such as these can significantly reduce your company’s environmental impact. Consumers are paying attention to this!


Another growing trend in 2021 is sourcing and supply chain transparency. Consumers want to know how and what your company is sourcing. Is it fair trade? Was it ethically sourced? No animal testing, right?

More than ever, consumers are interested in what companies are doing “behind the scenes.” Companies are using this heightened consumer awareness to explain why their product or brand is the right decision. Do not waste that empty panel of marketing space on the side of your packaging… Be honest, talk about your product, and tell your story while the audience is listening!


Less is more… especially in 2021!

Does every item in your package have a purpose? What is the unboxing experience when the customer first opens and interacts with your product?

With consumers wanting to be more environmentally friendly and reduce waste, a growing 2021 packaging trend is to use less extravagant packaging. The simpler – the better. Instead of adding all the bells and whistles that make your packaging bad for the environment, consider focusing on smart and efficient packaging design that protects the product and creates and unique opening experience.

Natural-Looking Packaging

Sticking with the eco-friendly packaging theme, another common packaging trend of 2021 is designing packaging that looks more natural and organic. The overall goal is to make the packaging look less fake, processed, plastic, etc. because those features make the packaging more wasteful, i.e. bad for the environment.

Instead of flashy colors, shiny foils, and other various print embellishments, companies are electing to go with more neutral tones like kraft, white, black or grey.

Soft touch coatings are also trending because it complements that natural, organic feel. The challenge is finding a good balance between “natural” and your brand’s identity. How can you show that your company cares about the environment, yet looks cool and trendy? PAX Solutions would love to help with your journey! Contact us today to discuss your next environmentally friendly packaging project.