From paperization to promotional messaging: How are plant-based milk brands differentiating?

From bare-paper looks to labels dominated by marketing messages, plant-based milk alternatives choose different ways to catch the eye of the consumer. But with sales falling in the past year, how are brands looking to innovate? We speak to experts from packaging manufacturers SIG and Tetra Pak to find out more.

“Manufacturers of plant-based dairy and cream alternatives often focus on minimalistic designs that are visual signifiers of clarity, naturalness, and purity, designed to appeal to consumers seeking a healthier and simpler lifestyle,” opened Julia Trebels, category and consumer insight manager at SIG. “Soft, earthy colors and clean, uncluttered layouts contribute to a minimalist aesthetic and reinforce the character of simplicity. However, our customers and their consumers not only pay attention to the visual design, but also specifically to the nature of the packaging itself.

“Naturalness must not be expressed in the visual language alone but must be anchored in the core of the packaging itself. Customers are consciously opting for packaging that not only optimally protects the quality of their products, but also forms a holistic concept of product and packaging.”

In order to emphasize the natural, plant-based origin of their products, packaging that scores in terms of the environment is equally in demand, she added.

Tetra Pak vice-president packaging materials, sales and distribution solutions Marco Marchetti agrees that the growth in the segment – predicted to continue at a CAGR of 6.6% to 2033 – is presenting brands with challenges to stand out on the shelf. The company’s Tetra Pak Artistry portfolio of packaging material effects is a response to that, he told us. “This includes Tetra Pak Craft, which gives the package the natural look of bare paperboard with wood fibres and is particularly suited to any product that needs to convey a sense of natural authenticity, which is often the case in the plant-based category.