by Greg Kishbaugh
The ability of converters to anticipate trends in retail is key to their long-term success and survival. The demographics of consumers are rapidly changing and will heavily influence the ways in which converters and their CPG partners position their products and packaging.
A new report from Packaged Facts called Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives, concludes that changes in demographics, lifestyles and eating patterns are creating new opportunities for food and beverage packaging.
According to the report, changing population distribution, fewer married couples, more people living alone, smaller household size and multi-generational households are all demographic mega-trends that will influence package development.
The report focuses on five key trends currently shaping food and beverage packaging.
Targeting Millennials. Despite representing a wide range of consumers, Millennials definitely share in some important traits. One is that they are much more environmentally conscious than past generations and these beliefs are demonstrated in the brands they support and the packaging they buy. Additionally, Millennials prefer fresher, less processed foods and they spend much more time on the perimeter of grocery stores where the fresh and non-packaged foods are found.
Smaller Packages. One- or two-person households now represent more than 60 percent of U.S. households, so packaging sizes that serve smaller portions are trending. Single-serve and resealable packaging are being spurred on by this demographic shift.
Convenient Packaging. Food and beverage packaging relies heavily on convenience as a major selling point. Ease of opening, resealability, portability, lighter weight (which also plays into the sustainability issue) and no-mess dispensing are packaging benefits that drive consumer purchasing decisions.
See-Through Packaging. Because consumers desire transparency concerning how food and beverages are produced, see-through packaging or packaging that contains see-through windows is rising in popularity.
Eco-Friendly Packaging. Perhaps the biggest trend over the course of the past few years has been sustainability. And seeing as the younger generation just now entering the workforce demands it in ever-increasing ways, this is one trend that is key to future viability for CPGs and converters. The report speculates that recyclability and sustainability will become even more important in the single-cup brew market, which is facing backlash as has the single-serve bottled water market.