How Packaging Offers Beyond-the-Food Opportunities

Our lives are fundamentally changing, so don’t you think our packaging should too? Apurva Shah Dow Packaging

There’s no question about it—social media and the age of hyper connectivity have desensitized our outlook on advertising. I, for one, can’t remember the last time I purposely clicked on an ad while scrolling through Facebook or didn’t frantically click the “Skip Ad” pop-up on YouTube.

Whether foods are in colorful containers or deliberately clear packaging, brands are actively advertising and doing their best to catch consumers’ attention. With that in mind, I realize how valuable those moments in a grocery store aisle are when a brand is trying to communicate: “I am all natural,” “Our brand is made with the highest quality ingredients” or even “Take me for lunch, I am ready to go!”

Packaging and urbanization 2.0
According to the Wall Street Journal, cities are surpassing population growth over suburbs for the first time in 20 years. Americans are choosing urban environments in an effort to shorten commutes while being within walking distance of amenities like parks, grocery stores and restaurants.

In response to this trend, grocery stores are rolling out smaller, more “city-friendly” store concepts that have fewer SKUs, and offer a variety of ready-made meals and prepared food sections that target the “on-the-go” eater. In fact, a report produced by Chicago-based Information Resources, Inc. titled “How America Eats: Capturing Growth with Food on the Run” mentioned that over 20% of Americans are classified as “opportunist” eaters. These consumers don’t eat three meals a day, but rather eat when they are hungry and when it’s most convenient.

While packaging can’t affect when we are hungry, it is an important aspect to delivering convenience. One solution is lighter weight packaging that requires fewer production materials. This trend has propelled flexible packaging into markets predominately using only glass or metal canisters. Some examples include bag-in-box packaging used for wines and other beverages; stand-up pouches for a range of items like juices; and aseptic cartons for anything from broth to soups, sauces and even energy drinks.

In addition to promoting convenience, these applications help differentiate products on the shelf from glass and metal counterparts, and offer a refreshing new look to underperforming categories. The plastic manufacturing industry has developed a variety of innovative plastic resins that address this trend, delivering lighter weight packages while maintaining shelf life.

Frozen dinners 2.0—a bright future for frozen foods
The days where frozen food options only included TV dinners, pizza and ice cream are long gone. With dual-income families on the rise and the price of dining out increasing, consumers want to eat healthier right-sized portions without all the fuss. Add in the fact that virtually every age group is more adventurous with their food, the frozen food aisle is now gleaming with new options that bring the restaurant experience home. Consumers can chose from a variety of cultural cuisines that are perfectly portioned and easy to prepare. They even trick us into thinking we’re cooking, when in fact all we are doing is prepping at a fraction of the cost.

Packaging solutions like ELITE enhanced polyethylene resins enable stiffer flexible pouches that are less likely to slouch on store shelves and also provide fully hermetic seals to protect from freezer burn. Newer technologies like matte coatings aid in reversing the negative perception that frozen food lacks in nutrition, since the matte finish typically resembles more of a natural feel. Combining these enhancements and consumers’ renewed focus to reduce food waste and eat healthier is the future of frozen foods.

So, the next time you’re in the refrigerated and frozen foods aisles, I challenge you to think beyond the food you’re buying and take a look at all the great features packaging has to offer. Packaging isn’t as simple as you may initially think. In fact, it offers consumers and brand owners a slew of benefits, like portability and convenience. While many just think about what they’ll make for dinner, industry professionals are being challenged to find new ways to “pack in the future.”

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Refrigerated & Frozen Foods magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

OSI, 2014 Refrigerated Foods Processor of the Year

Find out how this global food provider secured a new supply chain global trading platform, opened a new culinary innovation center and continues to keep food safety top of mind.

Read cover story here.
Read plant story here.

7/31/14 12:00 pm EDT

Engaging the Manufacturing Workforce to Drive Business Improvement

AIOE’s Workforce Development Solutions Group will soon release its work product, “The Engagement Framework”. This is a robust resource tool that both CPGs and suppliers should find useful in their organizations. Attendees will learn of the key attributes of Engagement, and cases and lessons learned on how to apply these guiding lessons within your company. The value proposition is fundamental to business success in our industry: business performance, competitive globally, recruitment and retention.

Processors On The Rise...

What aspects of an up-and-coming company are most important for it to become successful in the cold food marketplace?
View Results Poll Archive

Refrigerated and Frozen Foods Magazine


2014 September

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods' September 2014 issue features the six Processors to Watch in 2015 and the Cold Storage Construction Guide.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

The Refrigerated and Frozen Food Store

Cold Packaging Materials Guide

A guide to cold packaging containers and materials.

More Products

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Delivers

RFF Infographic 133x133Click here to see a snapshot of the many different ways Refrigerated & Frozen Foods delivers business and technology solutions to cold chain professionals.

Buyer's Guide

Visit our Buyer's Guide!

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods offers a Cold Packaging Materials Guide, as well as a Cold Storage Warehouse Guide, the most comprehensive listing of cold storage warehouses.

Visit the Buyer's Guide page today!


facebook_2014 twitter_40px youtube_40pxlinkedin_40px