Rockville, Md. – When it comes to food packaging, food processors and grocery retailers must understand what matters most to consumers and which packaging innovations deliver benefits that actually impact behaviour, says a new report.
Called Food and Beverage Packaging Trends in the U.S., the report from PackagedFacts.com says food and beverage categories and brands have benefited greatly when packaging manufacturers and grocery retailers have managed to fuse packaging innovation with emerging consumer trends.
Most and least important features
The food packaging features that are most important to consumers reinforce the importance consumers place on convenience.
Resealability and easy to open and close packaging lead the list of attributes that consumers value most, followed by the ability to maintain freshness.
Less important features include attractiveness of design and a realistic image of the product on the package.
Only 20 per cent of U.S. consumers indicated that the ability to microwave in the package is especially important.
With beverages, as with food products, consumers prize convenience-oriented features, including packaging that is easy to open and close, easy to pour and serve, and easy to hold.
Packaging that makes it easy to eat or drink on the go ranked further down on the list, despite the popularity of single serve and other convenient beverage formats.
Product freshness again ranks high, and is especially important in milk, juices, and ground coffee. Consumers also ranked environmentally friendly packaging as fairly high in importance.
Packaging can be a value-add
While consumers generally aren’t dissatisfied with the packaging options available to them, innovative packaging is a value-add that can determine product format or brand choice, says David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts, especially since consumers aren’t totally happy with packaging choices, either.
Paradoxically, and perhaps unfairly, they don’t necessarily think highly of manufacturers’ packaging efforts.
A Packaged Facts survey shows that 60 per cent of consumers strongly or somewhat agree that manufacturers often make insignificant packaging changes. And 45 per cent think lighter weight or less bulky packaging is important.
Survey responses also turn up some common complaints across major food and beverage categories, with most clustering around consumer frustrations with package opening and closing, resealing, maintaining freshness, and food safety issues.