Packaging Industry Trends: The Evolution of Corrugated Box Packaging

As we usher in 2024, the brand new year brings about significant shifts in the plastic manufacturing industry. With a growing emphasis on environmental awareness, the need to reassess packaging practices is more pressing than ever.

In this article, we explore 2024 packaging trends, such as interactive packaging, AI’s impact, sustainability movements, which will push the entire industry towards reusability.

Interactive Packaging: A Move Towards Mainstream Adoption

Interactive packaging, also known as connected or smart packaging, involves integrating technology to offer enhanced features and functionality. In 2024, this packaging trend may witness widespread acceptance. QR codes and RFID tags embedded in packaging provide businesses with various opportunities, including easy access to online manuals, links to purchase related items, and augmented reality experiences, thereby boosting consumer engagement and improving loyalty.

The incorporation of sensors and security features may also become prevalent, aiding in accurate supply chain tracing and counteracting counterfeit goods.

As businesses are just beginning to follow this trend, there exists a prime opportunity for them to secure a significant “first mover” advantage by integrating interactive features into their packaging.

The Emergence of AI in the Packaging Sector

The year 2023 marked the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a disruptive force across industries, especially within the packaging sector. AI holds vast potential, contributing to technological advancements, logistical and production benefits, waste stream material sorting, marketing campaigns, recycling, sustainability efforts (such as measuring carbon emissions), robotics, supply chain connectivity, and enhanced inspection performance.

AI is poised to address critical challenges, providing solutions and aiding decision-making in areas where human efforts often fall short, such as environmental interaction and sustainable development.

According to the research and markets report “Artificial Intelligence in Packaging: Thematic Research,” AI is set to impact all sectors, and industries that neglect to prioritize AI risk facing extinction. In the coming years, AI as a service is expected to drive adoption, democratizing AI technologies and contributing to their widespread use in the packaging industry.

Given the packaging industry’s increasing emphasis on data learning and transparency, AI has the potential to optimize and improve existing models beyond human capabilities, offering valuable support in streamlining processes.

Sustainability and the Reusability Movement in Packaging

The focus on reuse and refill, evident in major initiatives like the Global Plastics Treaty and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact, suggests that 2024 could witness progress in establishing viable reuse schemes within the packaging industry.

Promising startups, such as EcoCubly and Fyllar, along with major brands like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo, are actively participating in reuse pilots and setting specific reuse targets. However, the success of reuse and refill initiatives remains in its infancy, with challenges in achieving widespread adoption.

The year ahead may see a shift in approach, with a more agile and localized focus on reuse. Initiatives like London-based clean-tech start-up Again, which leverages automation and robotics for decentralized micro cleaning facilities, offer glimpses into potential models.

For reuse and refill to become integral to the packaging value chain, collaboration among global policymakers, manufacturers, supply chain members, retailers, and consumers is crucial. Clear legislation, defined reuse models, and a willingness to embrace innovative business and delivery models are essential for the success of these initiatives.

Print and Branding

In 2024, the use of print and branding for businesses is highlighted by the important role packaging plays in shaping the customer experience. The concept of first impressions, formed within seconds, resonates strongly, especially in the eCommerce world, where tangible interactions are limited.

Packaging, once merely a means of ensuring safe delivery, has transformed into a powerful branding tool. Different options of printing and branding give businesses numerous choices to make their packaging look impressive.

For instance, bold colors, full-color graphics, and the contemporary trend of white inks enable businesses to create packaging that is not only visually striking but also resonates authentically with their brand identity.

The white-out technique, a fusion of bold colors and white inks, exemplifies the potential for high contrast and impactful visual design. Spot laminating, internal print, and the use of kraft cardboard present additional avenues for businesses to surprise and delight customers during the unboxing experience.

Moreover, the combination of tessellating patterns, single-color logos, and labels provides businesses with the flexibility to craft a packaging strategy aligned with their brand identity. In today’s competitive business world, effective brand positioning and customer loyalty are of utmost importance. 

Additionally, the packaging becomes a tangible representation of the brand, influencing consumer perceptions and potentially garnering free advertising through unboxing videos and positive reviews. In short, as businesses step into 2024, print and branding become a must, influencing not only the way products look but also shaping the overall story of the brand’s journey.

Thong Guan’s Commitment in Reusability and Sustainability

As we step into 2024, Thong Guan remains steadfast in our commitment to sustainability and reusability. We continuously adapt our strategies to align with the latest trends in packaging. As a prominent provider of industrial packaging solutions, Thong Guan addresses B2B packaging requirements by offering sustainable plastic packaging, recycled stretch film, and more, catering to businesses in Malaysia and globally.

Our approach centres around creating value with a focus on the 3Ps—People, Planet, and Prosperity. As a responsible stakeholder and guardian of the environment, our sustainability and corporate citizenship initiatives cover various areas, including:

  • Recycling & Circular Economy
  • Climate Change & Energy
  • Health, Safety & Well-being
  • Corporate Social Responsibilities & Collaboration
  • Maintaining an Effective, Accountable & Transparent Organizational Structure & Culture


All in All

The upcoming packaging trends for 2024 mark an important turning point for the plastic manufacturing industry. It is a must for everyone to adapt to these changes sooner rather than later, as these trends are on track to become not just choices but necessary shifts.

Adopting innovation is not just a smart move; it is a commitment to creating a more sustainable future. Let’s work together to build a more eco-friendly and resilient packaging world. To discover how Thong Guan can support your business in achieving reusability and sustainability, please feel free to get in touch with our industrial packaging specialists.

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