Packaging Evolution

150 Years
  • From
  • Today

Paper may be the oldest form of what today is referred to as “flexible packaging.”

Prehistoric Packaging

Archaeologists and historians believe that packaging likely first arose when people became more nomadic because they needed ways to protect, store, and transport food and other goods. They used animal skins, gourds, and fashioned leaves and other natural materials to package their essentials.

3,500 years ago in Egypt


The Egyptian and Mesopotamian elders, are recognized as the pioneers in the creation of glass and later packaging through the invention and use of water containers.

China: Paper-making


Paper is known as the oldest flexible packaging in history. Its origin reports to China. The paper development process began around 200 B.C. with the use of mulberry bark. It was used by them to transport food.

The Birth of Packaging Design 

History Timeline

1805 Nicolas Appert – Father of Canning

French chef, confectioner, and distiller who invented the method of preserving food by enclosing it in hermetically sealed containers.

1886 First Coca-Cola bottle 

On May 8, 1886, Dr. John Pemberton sold the first glass of Coca-Cola at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta. Serving nine drinks per day in its first year,

1890- Robert Gair devised the concept of the paperboard folding carton.

It was invented after a metal rule that was used to fold bags changed its position and cut the bag. Later, he found that by slicing and folding paperboard in one operation, he could produce prefabricated cartons.

1896 Branded Packaging – Nabisco

Invested $1 Million in creating an identity for Uneeda Biscuits to take on its rival Cracker Jacks. This package is often cited as the birth of consumer packaging because of its widespread distribution and the dramatic effect that folding cartons were to have on retailing business in the century to come. Also represented the power of brand advertising that relied on packaging as a sales tool tied to an easily recognizable identity.

1906 The First Cereal Box

The Kellogg brothers, known for the invention of Corn Flake cereal in 1877, began using cardboard to distribute and market their cereal as early as 1906. Initially, the cereal box was wrapped in a heat-sealed bag, with the cereal loose on the inside of the box. Eventually, however, a plastic bag was placed inside of the cereal box to contain and protect the cereal.

1940 – 1949 Frozen food Packaging Idea

American frozen foods were originally considered a luxury product; the industry did not develop a mass market until the late 1940s envisioned themselves as providing the good life at a low cost to “average”

1970 – 1971 The recycling symbol

Was introduced, it was designed in 1970 by a student Gary Anderson. This symbol came as an entry for a graphic design competition held by the Container Corporation of America.

Packaging will be ‘smart’ and reusable

The future of packaging


Also known as intelligent and active packaging, Smart Packaging is seeing enormous growth in the packaging industry today. From a consumer perspective, smart packaging offers many value-added benefits, including enhanced unboxing experiences, eye-catching visuals, product preservation and protection, authentication, security, and connectivity. 

With the emergence of Augmented Reality (AR), we’ve started to see what role interactive tech will play in the future of packaging design. Over the next decade, consumers will be able to virtually test-drive products, examine packaging options, and interact with game elements, as companies build brand recognition and provide new forms of entertainment through packaging and products.

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