A packaged deal: packaging experts discuss the newest developments
HN talks to two packaging experts about manufacturing capabilities, the advantages it can offer clients, dominant trends and the elements that should be considered when it comes to hotel amenities
Lebanon’s packaging industr y as it stands today
Libanpack represents the first packaging center in the Middle East and remains the leading entity for packaging development. It offers a wide range of services for improving packing and the labeling of Lebanese products, as well as ensuring compliance with international standards. In an exclusive interview, HN talks to Soha Atallah, the company’s director, to learn more about an industry currently in full swing.
Types of demand
Lebanon has one of the best, if not the best packaging sector in the region, when it comes to corrugated paper and carton packaging. The quality of these products is top-notch and the designs superior. There has also been growing demand for sustainable packaging, which is being met on all levels and is on par with global standards. Still another type of packaging that is continuously growing is on-thego food packaging, supported by the rise in restaurants offering delivery services. This comes at a time when employees rarely have time to sit and have a proper meal during the working day, whatever their job. Even F&B brands are increasing production and creating new snacking options for people with little time on their hands, alongside those who are looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle without having to worry about cleanliness and hygiene. To ensure that our products comply with these levels of local and regional demand, we have laboratories that test the safety of the materials designed.
Trends and technologies
Aside from sustainable and on-the- go packing, we have witnessed rising demand for well-designed packaging. In that category, limited edition designs are all the rage and the World Cup football tournament is one such example, driving numerous brands to distinguish their offering and thereby increase sales. Equally important are the digital matrices added to these vessels, which, once scanned using a smartphone, automatically take the consumer to a site offering relevant information for added engagement. The last trend that should be highlighted relates to scale, in relation to size and unnecessary detail. Though this falls under sustainability, brands are realizing that cutting costs, especially when it comes to massproduced packaging, makes a big difference, not only to the general overall cost, but also the way the brand is perceived by today’s consumers, who value simplicity and transparency over complexity.
Our weakness remains metal and glass packaging. That was not the case prior to 2006, which was when one of our two factories was shelled. The second closed last year, which is why we no longer have a glasspackaging industry in Lebanon. The situation constitutes a major problem, given that we have large wine and j ui ce production i ndustri es. Currently, manufacturers in these industries are forced to import bottles from Italy and China, thereby raising overheads and driving up prices, without adding any actual value, which is not only unfair on consumers, but also affects the competitiveness of the producers.
Four trends impacting hotel packaging
With the hospitality industry constantly racing to offer unique experiences, offering downsized products in out-of-home lodgings to guests throughout their stay can make all the difference. Maya Karanouh, CEO and co-founder of award-winning branding and design agency Tagbrands, proposes tips that could help hotels, brands and packaging companies transform the guest experience into a truly engaging one.
Attaching digital triggers, such as QR codes, or even making these part of the packaging, is a great way to communicate with guests, gather statistical data and transform immaterial objects into interactive ones. Multifunctional packaging also operates as a highly relevant touchpoint, allowing guests to learn more about the things that matter to them. These items, unavailable elsewhere, can then either be delivered to their room or personally hand-chosen from the hotel’s in-house store. This will provide a ‘live-in’ shopping experience and extend a hotel’s offerings, lending it a sense of privilege and strengthening brand loyalty. Simultaneously, consumer feedback might result in the modification of some existing amenities or give rise to the creation of new ones.
Color and size matter
Hotel rooms are not created equal and the amenities should reflect that. When branding multi-sized spaces, duration of stay and room rates play instrumental roles in determining the amenities provided. ‘Direct to Shape’ is a 3D printing technology, generating variations of the same package for different spaces. Another factor generally overlooked relates to color, which should be used with purpose rather than left to chance. The four colors to keep in mind are: blue, which communicates trust; green, which has a soothing effect; yellow, which arouses appetite; and black, which adds a layer of sophistication and promotes luxury.
Recyclable and transparent
Hotel operators, in support of their clients’ demand for sustainability and transparency, are encouraged to use more environmentally-friendly materials for their packaging. To combine quality with maintaining value, hotels are using lighter materials to save on transportation and recycling costs. Foldable designs are engineered to further reduce shelf space, as well as do away with adhesives. Transparent packages are also becoming popular, as these eliminate the need to colormatch items with those found in rooms and to clearly display the contents of any given package.
The thrill effect
Guests expect to be wowed by amenities and hotel rooms offer operators the best chance to make an impact. Those temporarily rented living quarters provide guests with firsthand opportunities to experiment with the products for themselves. Therefore, offering a broad range of diverse amenities that cater to elements such as esthetics, scents and textures will prove quite effective in profiling customers. In turn, it will allow operators to offer the same customers, or new ones who fit the bill, a far better in-room experience the next time round, especially in light of the trending boutique revolution and the rise of lifestyle hotels.