Special Edition: Consumer friendly confectionery packaging unwrapped

White is the new black – but does it make a bland shelf?

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

White packaging trend goes global, but it could have retail implications. Photo credit: CPS International
White packaging trend goes global, but it could have retail implications. Photo credit: CPS International

Related tags Confectionery Recession

White packaging is on the rise globally, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out within the retail space, according to an industry commentator.

Teresa Tarantino, editor of the National Confectioners’ Association publication Candy & Snacks Today, told us: “It will be curious to see how much of it makes it to market once retailers look at a set and figure out they’ve got so much white.”

Andrew Streeter, director of Consumer Packaging Specialists International (CPS), and packaging innovations director for Datamonitor, said he first observed this trend in Japan two years ago and speculated it could be due to advancements made in the printing industry.

Why white?

Maya Chocolate
Packaging for Maya Chocolate from Eri Liougkou.

The packaging specialist said this shift could be down to a combination of elements. “Firstly, the relentless rise of print standards has enabled colors that might traditionally be a bit washed out,” ​he said.

White packaging could have a broad spectrum of representations – from health to milk – and had strong beneficial cues, he said. 

He said that ordinarily confectionery packaging was “strident”​ with bold, bright colors. “In a way I wonder if white comes in as a bit of freshness,”​ he said. 

He added that as we emerge from the economic recession, white could be in line with re-emerging consumer trends. “There is a purity cue with white and a luxury cue with white."

White as a sheet

CPS International white packaging trio
Image courtesy of CPS International

Tarantino said the shift has come mainly for premium products, replacing past trends like craft paper. 

“Everything is going white and I don’t know if that’s because it’s perceived to be fresh and natural,”​ she said. “It’s going to be interesting when all those products hit the shelf because you are going to have a shelf with a lot of white in it and I don’t know if any of it is going to stand out.”

Streeter echoed this saying in a 2012 report he conducted with CPS International, white packaging was very popular in confectionery, particularly for chocolate. He told ConfectioneryNews this was a big trend in Japan, but said trends in this market tended to be shorter lived than in markets like Europe. He said it would be very interesting to see this making its way over to other countries. 

[Additional reporting from Oliver Nieburg]

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