A Look at 2022 and Box Manufacturing Trends for 2023 

2022 and 2023 box manufacturing trends

As we look back on 2022 and the future of packaging in 2023, some vital box manufacturing trends will shape the industry’s future. Manufacturers will need innovative solutions for sustainable packaging, personalized boxing and intelligent packaging. Customers will also demand increased transparency from manufacturers as their consumers seek eco-friendly brands. Businesses must keep shipping times and supply chain efficiency at the forefront to fulfill consumer demands.

Smart technology and automation have pushed the industry to evolve. These trends and changes give manufacturers opportunities to create a better customer experience. 

2022 Packaging Industry Highlights

The packaging market enjoyed dramatic growth in 2022, driven by increased food delivery and takeout services. The industry’s rise also highlighted the waste it produces. Consumers became more conscious of the boxes and packages brands used as they searched for sustainable features. Social media platforms and e-commerce combined to create a more seamless online shopping experience for consumers, increasing the demand for boxes. 

In 2022, digitization and automation were still in the early stages, as manufacturers began introducing robotics and solutions to streamline production and the supply chain. A trending theme was the use of robotic arms to sort through recycling. As manufacturers seek to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction and preempt opportunities and threats, there will be greater technology integration. 

The pandemic increased consumers’ awareness of individual and collective health, which meant they became more conscious of the information and claims on product packaging. Brands adapted to this need by increasing transparency and explaining the benefits users could expect to receive. 

2023 Top Trends

While the packaging industry has undergone many changes, some significant opportunities lie ahead for manufacturers to embrace. Let’s dive into the top trends of 2023. 

Sustainable Packaging 

In the quest for improved sustainability, manufacturers that use greenwashing won’t cut it for customers. People are willing to pay more for green materials, and box manufacturers must meet this demand. Biodegradable materials such as cellulose, starch, polyhydroxybutyrate and polyhydroxyalkanoates are better replacements for single-use plastics because they break down quickly, reducing the waste in landfills. 

Plant-based materials are leading the way in 2023. Boxes made from coconut, sugarcane, hemp and cornstarch are eco-friendly, biodegradable and compostable. This trend is gaining traction in the food industry, as restaurants ditch Styrofoam for plant-based takeout containers. 

Digital Printing

Printing on a box can be tricky. Manufacturers face challenges that include inaccuracy, the high labor cost of printing and low color quality. 

Box manufacturers are turning to digital printing to overcome these challenges. Unlike the traditional offset or flexo printing techniques that use separate plates for prints, digital printing allows you to print all your content in one pass, which is less laborious. Digital printing removes the need for prepress procedures or more labeling, reducing inventory requirements and waste. This flexible and quicker printing method enables box manufacturers to offer customized box options for more customers. 

Smart Packaging

Smart packaging capabilities

Innovative packaging brings technology to traditional boxes, allowing consumers to better connect with brands. The cutting-edge technologies manufacturers use include QR codes, smart labels, radiofrequency identification tags and near-field communication chips. These technological solutions offer a range of benefits for customers:

  • Security for tracking boxes throughout the supply chain
  • Confirmation of product authenticity by scanning QR codes
  • Connectivity allows consumers to interact with the brand by scanning smart labels for detailed information on the brand and product.

Brands are turning to smart boxes and packaging to better engage with their customers and provide value-added solutions like product content, discount codes and even video tutorials on using their products. 

Quick Shipping 

Supply chain optimization has become crucial as consumers seek a more streamlined, personalized experience with manufacturers. Many supply chains move slowly, impacting manufacturers’ bottom line and performance. Companies are turning to distribution centers for faster shipping solutions. These operate from a central location, which lowers operation costs and ensures improved delivery time to customers. Companies with many delivery locations strategically situate distribution centers to handle different time zones. 

Integrating enterprise resource planning and product life cycle management software will also help manufacturers improve shipping efficiency and give increased insight into their supply chain. 

Custom Printed Boxes

Product box design plays a vital role in attracting attention. Brands can boost their sales by using eye-catching packaging design that makes the unboxing process personalized and unique. Manufacturers note this by allowing businesses to create custom designs for their boxes. Some manufacturers have an online platform that enables any brand to design their packaging and upload artwork without hiring a designer. Using solutions like this, you can also view a 3D render of the box and get an instant quote. 

Artificial Intelligence and Automation

Manufacturers use AI and automation to solve productivity, precision and quality control issues. Robotic arms reduce human errors that disrupt production and ensure the correct handling of boxes. They can also complete repetitive tasks such as palletizing and depalletizing. 

AI streamlines the manufacturing process by providing precision and monitoring quality. Manufacturers use AI-powered vision systems to take pictures of the final boxes to ensure the quality is up to standard. This automation reduces waste, shortens lead times and improves efficiency. 

AI also gives manufacturers data with insights into their processes. They can use this information to further optimize and streamline their operations. 


The increase in online shopping has brought new demands for manufacturers, especially for sustainable and protective packaging. Manufacturers must adapt to creating boxes tailored to optimize supply chain efficiency. Packaging for online retailers should also focus on the experience of unboxing purchases at home. E-commerce brands are looking for custom, ready-to-ship packages with no need for added labels or designs. 

Boxes must be robust to survive the supply chain and ensure products reach consumers undamaged. Developing practical, sustainable packaging is essential as e-commerce brands move to reduce plastic waste. 

Active Packaging

Active packaging maintains a product’s quality and shelf life using specific additives in the materials. The food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries primarily use this practice. They use intelligent packaging solutions that provide information about the quality of the contents. Several factors are driving the demand for active packaging, including the rise of ready-to-eat meals and the increasing complexity of delivering products to remote locations while maintaining product integrity. 

Order Custom Boxes and Packaging From Bolt Boxes

Your packaging plays a vital role in your customer experience and product delivery. At Bolt Boxes, we provide world-class packages made from 100% recyclable materials. We’ll design the ideal boxes to fit your products for added protection during shipping. To make an unforgettable impression on your customers, we offer various printing capabilities, including digital printing, to create a unique unboxing experience. You can add your logo and choice of color, text and artwork. Our entire manufacturing process is in-house, enabling us to deliver your packaging faster than our competitors. 

If you are interested in ordering custom boxes, get in touch with us today!