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13 Packaging Facts from Packola

13 Awesome Packaging Facts and Trivia

By: Packola | Nov 18, 2022

Packaging is a massive industry that is rich in history. What started as something completely utilitarian eventually evolved into the vehicle for branding we know today. We’ve combed through decades of stories, data, and factoids to bring you thirteen of the most interesting packaging trivia!


Cardboard boxes are more than 150 Years Old – We've enjoyed more than a century of cardboard boxes. The first patent for the boxes were issued way back in1856. The same patent has been used for customized shipping boxes since 1903. Nothing much has changed since then. Good design is timeless!

FedEx has the largest fleet of airplanes – To give a glimpse of how massive the packaging and delivery industry is, FedEx is the world's largest airline in terms of fleet size and freight tons flown. They operate over 371 mainline aircraft and are the only cargo airline in the top 10 largest airlines in the world.

36 million packages are shipped daily – Shipping has come a long way since packages were delivered on horseback. Thanks to technology, new innovations, and the rise of e-commerce, sending out packages is easier than ever. Nowadays, an estimated 36 million packages are sent out on a daily basis.

Over 80% of food and products sold in the US are packaged in cardboard – The cardboard packaging industry is massive. To put it into perspective, a whopping 80% of food and retail products in the market are packaged using cardboard. This amounts to about 100 billion boxes used per year.

Cardboard packaging is currently the most environmentally friendly packaging – It might come as a surprise, but cardboard boxes are the best eco-friendly packaging option. Out of all the other packaging options such as plastic, glass, and others, cardboard is biodegradable, non-toxic, recycled, recyclable, and takes up less space during transit.

Cats use cardboard boxes as stress relief – We've all seen (and adored) the viral videos of cats going crazy over cardboard boxes. What people might not know is that there’s some logic behind their antics. According to Pawtracks, the small, confined space gives them a sense of security and safety.

Online shoppers prefer personalized shipping boxes – There’s nothing wrong with plain boxes, but studies show how personalized packaging goes a long way in building brand loyalty. According to a survey done by GWP, one of the leaders of packaging in the UK, more than half of people having received custom packaging say they would use the same company for future orders.

In 2020 nearly 70% of US people had numerous subscription boxes – You can chalk this up as an effect of the pandemic’s lockdown restrictions. Subscription boxes have been gaining steam over the past few years, but it reached a high during the first year of Covid since everyone was stuck at home.

Over 60% of subscription boxes come from beauty products and food itemsMajority of the subscription boxes sold in 2018 were either food or beauty products. These categories have enjoyed the lead throughout the pandemic years because of the lack of in-store shopping access. Customers at home want to try out new and exciting food and grocery items while beauty and cosmetic sales can be attributed to DIY home glowups.

52% of flexible packaging came from food shipments – Flexible packaging is a packaging category comprised of non-rigid materials. Pouches would be the most common type. More than half of the flexible packaging, for both retail and institutional, was used for food. The other notable markets are 9% medical and pharmaceutical, 8% consumer products, 6% personal care, and 4% pet food.

Louis Doyen invented the first stand-up pouch – Did you know that the humble stand-up pouch is a trademarked product? The Thimmonnier Doy style pouch was devised in 1963 by French inventor Louis Doyen, then president of Thimmonnier Company, and trademarked internationally under the name 'Doypack'. Thimmonnier reports that today over 40 billion Doypack pouches are sold per year.

US employs 79,000 people in the flexible packaging industry – The flexible packaging industry is relatively young, but it’s vibrant and growing. In fact, in the US alone, the industry employs over 79,000 people. That’s quite a lot for something relatively niche!

The flexible packaging industry is projected to reach 300.18 billion by 2026 – Flexible packaging might seem small compared to the older, more established options such as corrugated boxes, but it’s surely on its way to breaking out. Demand is growing day by day. As of 2020, the industry is valued at $233.32 billion. Experts project that by 2026, it will be worth $300.18 billion.

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