Japan offers packaging companies an opportunity to develop more attractive products, with the importance of aesthetics built into its culture, according to market research agency Canadean.
Flexible and rigid plastics will increase by 6.9bn packs between 2012 and 2017.
Ronan Stafford, senior analyst, Canadean, told FoodProductionDaily.com older generations want packaging that looks and feels good, and need items that are easy to use.
“The aging population is driving the importance of quality,” he said. “Aesthetics are an important part of Japanese culture to begin with, but older consumers have more specific needs for packs that are easy to carry, open, and use. They often have more disposable income.
“This drives them to look for better quality packaging.”
A report from Canadean said older consumers are insisting on ‘flawless’ packaging and pay close attention to detail, colour and labelling.
Japanese packaging manufacturer Jian Xiong claims the culture pays close attention to ‘a sense of quality’ and ‘traditional aesthetic and national culture.’ It adds that ‘it is difficult to find shoddy things in Japanese stores.’
This year Nestlé’s KitKat brand launched its first boutique, in Japan. KitKat flavours such as sakura green tea have special packaging and are only available in certain regions.
Canadean expects plastic packaging will be used more widely in the coming years, but consumers will expect packaging with a luxury look and feel in the food, drink and cosmetic sectors.
Like other nations, Japan has an aging population. According to government data, households headed by consumers aged 60 and over accounted for more than 40% of total consumption in 2011.
Timetric forecasts there will be an extra 5.5m consumers aged 60 and over by 2025 compared with 2011, increasing its share of the population to 36.8% in 2025.
Convenience and ease of use will be key factors in designs.
“The packaging industry in Japan has a significant opportunity to develop products to meet the specific needs of an aging population,” said Stafford.
He adds re-sealable packaging, packs with longer shelf life and clearer labelling are areas for development.
Growth in Japan’s packaging market will not be as fast as other Asian countries. Similar economies like South Korea have younger populations which consume more.
Canadean provides market research for the consumer goods sector, including food, packaging, ingredients, soft drinks, beer, foodservice and wine.