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Packaging plays meaty role in mealtime choices

Article-Packaging plays meaty role in mealtime choices

When it comes to grocery purchases, packaging is deeply ingrained in consumers' images of food and beverage products. We expect the packaging to protect these products all the way from processing to preparation, but it also helps us decide what to buy.

Consumers understand that packaging characteristics play an important role in supporting food and beverage product positioning and innovation, according to a new white paper produced by Packaged Facts that is available exclusively to registrants of Packaging Digest's Innovations in Food & Beverage Packaging conference to be held April 18-19 in Rosemont, IL.

Today's global supply chain has made a much wider variety of food and beverage choices available to consumers year-round. In fact, when we think of products for human consumption, most of the innovation has been in how they are packaged.

Authors of the white paper, whose conclusions are based on recent information compiled by Datamonitor, say that value is top of mind among U.S. consumers, especially the contect of of the nation's "lingering economic doldrums." This has given rise to the introduction in 2011 of 2,680 private-label food SKUs and 323 store-brand beverage SKUs, making private labels one of the top packaging claims measured in the study. The data also point out that packaging appeal and features have played a key role in portraying the value of private brands offering a combination of affordability and quality.

Even with "natural" and "organic" foods, packaging plays a role, as evidenced by salad kits sold in recycled PET clamshells. The use of recycled or "recyclable" materials in food and beverage packaging is becoming increasingly important, as the study relates 73 percent of consumers in the Datamonitor survey believe each individual "has a personal obligation to do what we can to be environmentally responsible."

The white paper also explores the top motivations for U.S. consumers' trips to the grocery store. In many cases, they are seeking food and beverages in single servings, microwavable or "quick" packaging. The authors point out that flexible, resealable pouches are the current "big thing" in convenience packaging, growing about 4 percent annually to sales of about $12.9 billion in 2015 on the strength of beverage, meat and snack food applications.

To learn more about the dynamic agenda for this conference and to register, please visit I hope to see you there.

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