Four Notable Food Packaging Trends

Do you think all that consumers care about is what’s in the bag when buying packaged foods? If so, those beliefs are wrong. According to a study conducted by EcoFocus Worldwide, a consumer research company, the package itself is becoming as important as the product inside. In fact, they expect that clean packaging will become the next great frontier for healthy food and beverage producers as grocery shoppers’ expectations continue to evolve.

If you’re wondering what clean packaging actually is, the definition is pretty simple. It’s packaging that protects the freshness, taste, and nutrients of the food or beverage it contains. It’s packaging that aligns with the product’s ingredients. And it’s environmentally responsible to boot.

Let’s take a closer look at four of the specifics today’s grocery shoppers are looking for in the packaged foods and beverages they purchase.

  1. Protecting Freshness, Taste, and Nutrients

Grocery shoppers want packaging that has minimal impact on the flavor of the products they’re purchasing. For example, when shopping for healthy beverages, 76 percent of grocery shoppers say that packaging that “doesn’t impact the taste” is extremely or very important.

They rate glass bottles as the least likely to have a negative effect on the taste of their beverage, with refrigerated cartons a close second. Alternatively, poorly rated packaging includes steel cans, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles.

Also of note: 70 percent of grocery shoppers feel that packaging that “protects the nutrients of the beverage” is extremely or very important. And 60 percent believe that “packaging that protects the contents from light” is more likely to keep the beverage fresh.

  1. Aligning with Ingredients

Grocery shoppers have been keen to purchase products with healthy ingredients for years. But recently, they’ve begun considering the healthiness of packaging materials as well. According to the EcoFocus Worldwide survey, 71 percent of grocery shoppers agree or strongly agree that “food and beverages with healthier ingredient lists should use packaging materials that are healthier too.”

This is an especially important trend for organic and natural product manufacturers to note. In fact, 61 percent of grocery shoppers believe that these manufacturers need to “do a better job” of packaging their products with recyclable materials. And as far as healthy beverage brands, 65 percent of shoppers want them to “provide alternatives” to plastic packaging.

  1. Environmentally Responsible

Choosing foods or beverages that are packaged responsibly is extremely or very important to 68 percent of grocery shoppers. So important, in fact, that 51 percent say they’ve changed what they buy as a result. What else are they looking for? Basically, today’s grocery shoppers want products that use less plastic in their packaging, rely on recyclable materials, or are made with plant-based and renewable materials.

  1. Reflect Consumer’s Values

From organic ingredients to environmentally conscious packaging, grocery shoppers want to buy products from brands and retailers who share their values. This means that retailers who want to maximize their market share need to consider the environmental friendliness of both the product and its packaging when stocking their shelves. And brands should focus on promoting their social and environmentally responsible practices as an additional way to capture the attention of today’s consumers.