The Biggest Packaging Trends of 2016

We were impressed with this review of the packaging market that was written by Corey Francer of PackagePRINTING magazine.

In his role covering the industry, Corey attended many events and press conferences, talking to a wide range of label and packaging producers. Based on this experience, he’s written a thoughtful look at the trends that made 2016 an exciting year, and what we can expect in 2017.

In discussing the state of the printing industry for 2016, he notes:

It wasn’t too long ago that the outlook for the printing industry was bleak. The worst recession in decades, combined with the continuing societal shift from print to online, made for uneasy times for those who made their living by adhering ink to paper (or plastic or foil).

 This year saw a great bounce back for the printing industry, marked by incredible technological leaps and the industry’s ability to quickly adapt to new technology and leverage it to its full potential.

 … the overall outlook on printing’s future was decidedly far more positive than in preceding years. Certainly the economic uptick helps, but it was clear throughout the year that the industry is excited about the new directions print is heading in.”

He goes on to note that packaging is driving much of this progress, and is now among the strongest growth areas in printing.

In looking forward to 2017, Corey’s observations include:

A New Digital Perception

“ This year saw a shifting mindset in terms of how to best use digital printing in packaging. As the quality gap has closed between digital and analog, more converters are taking on digital to target short-run work, while maintaining their conventional presses for long run, mass-production jobs.”

 Hybrids and All-in-Ones

On the digital topic, what was particularly striking this year was how suppliers are making digital printing a more comprehensive solution by creating hybrid presses and adding in-line converting capabilities to digital assets.

 The issue that converters were facing was that despite digital printing’s many benefits, without a finishing process that can keep up, there will likely be bottlenecks as digital output heads to its final production stages.

 But, with hybrid solutions, presses are becoming far more robust and can do more than just print. That goes equally for digital presses that are starting to feature modular in-line converting capabilities. While there’s no question that traditional flexo and offset printing is here to stay for the long run, it will be interesting to see how hybrid presses and end-to-end digital can compete.”

 Corrugated’s Time to Shine

“Corrugated has historically been seen as the packaging segment that has lagged behind in terms of printing innovation. But right around drupa, that perception started to change drastically. Several suppliers brought digital, single-pass, direct-to-board corrugated presses to the show, eager to bring this packaging segment on par with the others that have already realized the benefits of digital.

 It seems that suppliers and converters are recognizing that e-commerce, in-store displays and the rise of seasonality in the food and beverage markets provides a perfect fit for digital to make its way into the corrugated segment. It appears it’s just a matter of time until personalized boxes are being delivered to our doorsteps.”

 The Learning Trend

 Are you trying to make sense of how these trends will impact your business in 2017 and beyond? We’ve got you covered.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll take a closer look at these trends and the way Memjet-powered solutions are helping printers and providers keep pace and monetize these opportunities. Subscribe to our blog to be notified about these posts.

Memjet also provides educational resources on these very topics.

Click here to access a recording of the “Your Digital Opportunity is Closer Than You Think” webinar and white paper. It will guide you through the opportunities that a retrofit solution enables, and give you real world examples from label printers who have transformed their processes with a retrofit solution.

And, if you want to learn how food and beverage manufacturers are transforming their operations by producing their own labels, click here. You’ll be taken to a wealth of educational resources and success stories that will help you understand how label production has changed in the last year.

Next month, Memjet will be hosting a webinar on how inkjet printing is transforming the corrugated segment, giving users the ability to produce the highly customized packaging Corey mentions in his article. We will be posting the date and time of that webinar soon, but if you are interested in attending our corrugated webinar, e-mail us at