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ANALYSIS

US shoppers looking at origin of ingredients and methods of processing
Thursday, 06 December, 2018, 16 : 00 PM [IST]
Memphis
Shoppers in the United States are increasingly looking at where ingredients come from and how they are processed. These were the findings of a white paper, which was titled 2019 Food and Beverage Packaging Trends and released by Evergreen Packaging, a global leader in fibre-based packaging solutions recently.

The trends were based on data from the annual EcoFocus Trend Study, which forecasts key trends that will shape the food and beverage (F&B) industries in the US in the year ahead. Now in its ninth year, the EcoFocus Trend Study examined how consumer attitudes, actions, preferences and values are reshaping grocery purchasing decisions.

“More shoppers today want packaging that works harder for their health and the health of the environment,” said DeWitt Clark, vice-president, sales and marketing, North American Packaging, Evergreen Packaging.

“Brands and marketers need to begin thinking of packaging as an extension of the ingredients list, to recognise that grocery shoppers are looking at the total package – literally,” he added.

Clark said, “For those brands who have responded to consumer demand for clean label and perhaps even clean processing, the next challenge is clean packaging.”

“Through our work with EcoFocus Worldwide we are able to help our customers leverage this important trend. Our company offers packaging that meets many of consumers’ demands, and we will continue to innovate to meet evolving consumer needs,” he added.

Evergreen Packaging has identified opportunities for healthy food and beverage brands and retailers related to packaging innovation. These innovation challenges call for packaging to:

Work harder to protect taste, freshness and nutrients
Shoppers care about the freshness and taste of their food and beverages, and they have clear views of the role that packaging should play in delivering these attributes. They feel strongly that taste should not be compromised or altered because of its packaging. According to the study, 76 per cent of shoppers stated that when they were shopping for healthy beverages, packaging that did not impact the taste was extremely or very important to them. The study also showed that they went into the shopping experience with strong views already established that certain packaging can change the taste of their beverages.

Work harder to align with ingredients
Healthy ingredients have been important for years. Packaging materials are having an increased impact on purchasing decisions. This creates innovation opportunities as brands seek to meet evolving consumer demands.

Work harder to be responsible
How much packaging? Is the packaging recyclable? Is the packaging made with renewable materials? Are the packaging materials plant-based? All these issues come into grocery shoppers’ minds as they decide on a food or beverage purchase. The study shows 68 per cent of grocery shoppers said it was extremely or very important to choose foods or beverages that are packaged responsibly, and the same percentage of shoppers strongly agreed or agreed that they tried to buy products in packaging that was recyclable.

“Brands and retailers need to make these choices easier for shoppers by promoting responsible packaging, on the label and in the store,” said Clark, adding, “The study shows that 62 per cent of grocery shoppers want to learn more about plant-based food or beverage packaging.”

Work harder to share values
Not only is the package itself and the information on the label important to shoppers, but their environmental responsibility interests go much deeper too.

“Shoppers are increasingly expecting more out of brands and retailers in terms of environmentally-friendly products and packaging, and the social responsibility of the companies involved,” said Linda Gilbert, study author and chief executive officer, EcoFocus Worldwide.

“The focus on environmental responsibility goes beyond the product on the shelf being considered for purchase. Consumers have a focus on authentic values and shared values of the corporations producing the products and the retailers selling them, and that is reshaping purchasing decisions,” she added.
 
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