Our New Blended Lives
published : 27 Mar 2023 at 16:32
Our company, Tetra Pak, has recently issued the findings from ‘Trendipedia 2023’ — an annual study of consumer shifts we shared with our customers to ensure they quickly react to the changes and adapt to the needs of consumers at present and beyond. As every year, it is packed with inspiring trends which open up new opportunities for Tetra Pak and our customers across categories, processing and packaging. Some of these trends are ongoing — like concerns about the environment or healthy diet. But some are relatively new and even more exciting, in particular the theme which was dubbed “blended lives” — the blending of physical and digital spaces which can boost convenient, hybrid living, and lead to joyful, sensory experiences.
The concept of blended lives is not only an accurate observation of what is going on around, but also a concept which resonates with many. I think we all continue to experience the big ongoing impacts of the pandemic on the transformation of our living spaces. Remote working, as facilitated by improved communication technologies is now common for many people in Thailand. As a result, physical and digital worlds are increasingly converging as people seek seamless experiences in their hybrid lives.
And of course, this process affects our consumption patterns, in particular in relation to food. Whether to take away or eat in-home, some now expect brick-and-mortar establishments to incorporate new technologies to make their transition from the digital to the real world as seamless as possible. Food experiences — both in the virtual online world and in-real-life — that enhance dining experiences through digital innovations are creating new ways for people to explore food and drink. With social media platforms
shaping what food discovery looks like, fun and relatable content is encouraging more of us to dare to try new things. Like-minded people are creating communities, sharing ideas, and co-creating new trends. Is it now time for brands to step back and let people set the trends?
E-commerce and Direct-to-Consumer go beyond convenience for those wanting to effortlessly blend their hybrid work and home lives. Live commerce, which is entering the world of food and beverage, takes seamless convenience a step further. For some people, the blending of their physical and digital worlds makes life easier, and more fulfilling, also creating new opportunities for enhanced dining experiences. As professional ambitions and personal aspirations continue to collide, people are seeking a more flexible way of life. The blending of physical and digital worlds optimises convenience, without sacrificing experience.
We have returned to post-pandemic living, but the new normal looks different for some. It facilitates important face-to-face connections. Some homes, shops and restaurants are adapting to suit the needs of those looking for a quick snack and a convenient place to work. People can easily blend their physical and digital worlds through immersive experiences and augmented reality.
E-commerce and Direct-to-Consumer innovations offer unique experiences at home or on-the-go, to augment the daily routine. Live commerce, the 21st century equivalent of televised home shopping, takes convenience to the next level. Whether technology is the solution to, or the cause of the speeding up of our hybrid lives, people can make the most of every moment with ease, and at a pace that could not have been previously imagined.
Another interesting trend within the overall theme of ‘blended spaces’ is what we at Tetra Pak call ‘eatertainment’. Social media platforms have opened up new possibilities for discovery and co-creation. The food community is now empowered and relatable. People are seeking joy, connection and ritualism through their eating and shopping experiences. Booming social media platforms bring people together through a shared passion where new ways of enjoying food can be discovered and celebrated.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, social media and gaming provided opportunities for some people to have fun and connect. Food became an outlet for creativity and joy, and this was a global phenomenon. Today, a new community of creators and explorers wants to keep growing their following across the world. Virtual experiences provide another outlet for multisensory creativity and “eatertainment”.
Social platforms enable millions to discover, experiment and share their food experiences, and TikTok has become a source of recipe inspiration. Some people are turning away from celebrity chefs and instead turning to fun, creative and relatable content. As they see thousands and even millions on their feed doing this, they dare to try it too. Creators, influencers and gamers play a key role in spreading the word about new ways to enjoy food and drink, and this can create extraordinary levels of global demand for exciting new products and experiences.
What it means for our industry?
As more and more consumers move to online shopping, the packaging (both primary and secondary) needs to be adapted for the requirements of e-commerce. In reality it means that robustness is becoming even more important.
Packaging and portions should allow for convenient, healthy and speed-driven living, as we work smartly and on-the go across different locations. Packaging formats need to offer more flexibility by being suitable for multiple consumption occasions.
Digital tools on packaging are needed for better product and brand communication. Package should be smart; using e.g. QR code to connect to social media platforms, and we should keep track on social media for new inspiration on packages and usage occasions.
Finally, packaging for blended living should encourage people to be creative — for example, inspire more at-home cooking with on-pack step-by-step instructions. Or suggest ideas on how to repurpose packaging materials to make gift wrapping or other creative endeavours like building a birdhouse.
For our industry and Tetra Pak as a world-leading processing and packaging solutions provider watching the world evolve in these directions is exciting. What will a world where anyone can do anything from anywhere look like? Or a world where we all 'enjoy' food via 360 immersion? What will be the next trendy food or drink? Now, that is up to people to decide.