Blog Post

Sourceful's Top Packaging Trends 2024: Part II (Technology)

Supply Chain

In our last blog, we covered our packaging trend predictions for this year, focused on sustainability. If you haven’t read it, we recommend starting there.

Read Part I (Sustainability)

In this blog, we’re diving into even more packaging trends, only this time zooming in on technology.

Now, a lot of brands don’t immediately see the connection between packaging and technology. But packaging is always part of a bigger picture: the supply chain. And there technology is king. So much so that 71% of business leaders say they’re investing in technology to improve their packaging operations. Mostly this is simply common sense: brands know that technology is a fast track to higher efficiency, lower costs and fewer operational errors. But it’s also because supply chains are fundamentally old-fashioned. Technology is here to fix that.

But, that said, the supply chain is not the only place where technology is thriving. New developments in AI have led to a new wave of powerful packaging design tools. Manual tasks are being automated. And parts of the process that used to be offline are rapidly coming online. In short: technology is very much a part of packaging, and this year it’s centre stage.

1. Collision course

As we said just a few weeks ago, AI is changing our world in dramatic ways. And there’s nowhere in the packaging world feeling this more than design. We’re biased, but the best example of this: Spring, our — and the world’s first — AI packaging design tool.

Spring uses generative AI (the same as MidJourney) to create unique packaging design ideas based on your inputs, all in a few minutes. So instead of relying on external and expensive designers to simply start your packaging project, you can skip the blank page with Spring. As we put it in the launch press release, it’s like having an entire team of packaging designers at your fingertips, ready to shower you with inspiration whenever you need it. It’s also completely free.

It’s like having an entire team of packaging designers at your fingertips, ready to shower you with inspiration whenever you need it.

Our recommendation: try it out and watch the ideas flow. AI is here and here to stay. Don’t get left behind.

Our take: brands will increasingly use AI in the packaging design process to leapfrog creative block and do more faster without the need for extra capital.  

2. Automation acceleration

Next up: supply chain automation. It may not sound as slick as AI packaging design, but it’s just as important.

Automation generally means using technology to automate previously manual tasks. In packaging, this means tasks like quoting and inventory management. All of which used to be (and often still are) manual; a shorthand way of saying time-consuming.

Not only are these tasks now rapidly being automated by packaging suppliers (like Sourceful), but brands are investing heavily as well. In fact, according to our study, 71% of company leaders intend to invest in technology to improve their packaging operations. This isn’t surprising and the value for brands can’t be overstated. Lower costs, faster operations, more resilience, better forecasting and fewer errors, to name just a few. What you can expect this year: more brands automating more and moving faster than ever.

Our take: automation can help almost any business, from flourishing startups to established players. For this reason, we’d recommend talking to your packaging supplier regardless of where you are in your journey.

3. Packaging online

Whilst we’ve all been surfing the internet for decades, the packaging industry has lagged behind. Parts of the packaging process like design, for example, have mostly been left in forgotten folders. Tracking has largely remained as clunky emails. And documentation has stayed as bits of paper, at risk of being lost or misplaced at any moment.

But — things are changing, with more and more brands ditching outdated and offline ways of working for a more efficient digital world. Whilst in the last few years we saw the launch of online design studios, allowing for rapid and seamless prototyping, this year we’ll see more parts of packaging come online, from project management to collaboration.

We’ll also see more of these online parts come together in one place; an extra opportunity for brands to be even more efficient and cut costs through consolidation.

Our take: the benefits of bringing your packaging online can’t be overstated. We’ve seen countless brands save hundreds of hours simply from moving a handful of packaging tasks online. Read Floom’s story.

Discover more packaging trends

sourceful insights
Other articles you might be interested in
Impact Report
Sourceful's First Impact Report: A Testament to Sustainable Sourcing
Written by Albert, Head of Sustainability at Sourceful about the new impact report that Sourceful have created
Carbon Removal
Carbon offsetting
Blog Post
Betting big on Manchester: why we are building Sourceful in the World’s Original Industrialised City
Written by Wing, co-founder of Sourceful on why he moved from London and chose Manchester as the HQ for Sourceful
Sourceful News
Blog Post
Sourceful's Top Packaging Trends 2024: Part II (Technology)
Our second installment of the top packaging trends for 2024. Next up: technology.

Interested in creating the perfect packaging for your brand?

We love to help you further with any questions
about your printing needs.
Talk to Sales