What’s Happening with Packaging for Ecommerce Grocery?

Recent robust online grocery sales — along with an impressive 12% expected growth rate for the next several years — have food and beverage companies rethinking their packaging strategy for this channel.

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

June 29, 2023

Winning packaging designs are overcoming significant challenges that food and beverage brands face today in the ecommerce grocery channel. The timing is right, too. Overall ecommerce sales (not just the grocery segment of it) topped $1 billion in 2022, with consumer acceptance of online ordering remaining high.

In this video presentation, I’ll walk you through a quick definition of ecommerce grocery, show you where we are today, and explain the market drivers. Then we’ll cover some of the packaging challenges specific to online grocery. You’ll see some good examples; and some questionable packaging tactics. We explore new strategies for ecommerce grocery packaging from leading etailers Walmart and Amazon, as well as look at advanced designs for shipping shelf-stable and perishable products in the same box.

Best of all, let’s look at what to expect for the future of packaging for ecommerce grocery and why:

• More flexible packaging (heat vs cold seals?)
• More concentrated products (collapsible packaging?)
• Shelf-stable packaging (aseptic, retort, freeze dried?)
• Packaging that can be automatically picked and placed
• Reusable packaging?

Earlier, I gave a preview of key points I wanted to make. Now you can see and hear the entire presentation, including questions at the end from the audience.

You’ll also learn what attendees say is their biggest reason for not buying groceries online when we share the results of our informal poll. We asked them to pick one of these three statements:

“I’ve been slow to use ecommerce for grocery because …”

1. I worry about food safety.
2. The cost is too high.
3. I don’t see the value in it.

How do their answers track with your own sentiments? Find out around the nine-and-a-half-minute mark.

Bottom line: Omni-channel packaging designs don’t seem to be as effective as packages specifically developed for direct-to-consumer shipping. So expect to see brands rev up their efforts to design product packaging specifically for the ecommerce grocery market.

This presentation was given at The Pack Place Theater during EastPack 2023.

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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