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If you want to know what to expect in terms of packaging trends for 2017, look no further than the “shopping lists” of pharmaceutical and medical companies. A recent survey of 210 professionals in the pharmaceutical and medical communities explored their expected packaging technology needs throughout the next year, and the results indicate a heavy emphasis on cost savings, package usability, and product identification.

Product Identification

The Unique Device Identification and item level serialization recently enacted under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act is leading more companies to increase spending on complying with such mandates. Nearly half of respondents in the survey were preparing for their companies to increase spending on things like digital printing, labels, decorating technology, and product identification techniques. Pressure sensitive labels in particular seem in high demand for 2017, as do preprinted direct package printing technologies. However, shrink sleeve labeling is falling behind the others with less than 20 percent of respondents indicating plans for its use.


Of the many packaging features available, a full 70 percent of people surveyed indicated that product usability is a critical component. This emphasizes the need for attractive packaging materials that also reliably and efficiently serve their purposes. Pizza boxes that sag and disintegrate, for example, are no good to anybody.


In addition to the usability mentioned above, cost reduction is also a major factor in 2017 packaging choices for pharmaceutical and medical companies. In fact, cost reduction was rated more important than barrier performance (moisture, oxygen, light, etc.). Companies don’t want to hurt their bottom lines by investing in expensive packaging, and instead are going to seek functional, attractive, yet affordable packaging that pleases customers while also meeting budgetary restraints.

No doubt that by the end of 2017, many more trends will make themselves known, especially as technology continues to advance and make anything possible.