According to the 2018 EcoFocus Trend Study conducted by EcoFocus Worldwide, grocery shoppers in 2018 have greater expectations of packaging than ever before – especially when it relates to healthy food and beverages. Brands in the healthy food and beverage category may have embraced CLEAN LABEL and CLEAN PROCESSING and now need to add CLEAN PACKAGING as a way to differentiate their products on the grocery shelves.
Brands and marketers need to view packaging as an extension of the ingredients list because grocery shoppers are increasingly looking at the total package – literally. Packaging is becoming as important as what is in the package for more grocery shoppers.
Specifically, the trends study shows that food and beverage packaging will be challenged to:
- Work harder to protect freshness, taste and nutrients
- Work harder to align with ingredients
Grocery shoppers care about the freshness and taste of their food and beverages and view packaging as playing a key role. Shoppers feel strongly that taste should not be compromised or altered because of the food’s or beverage’s packaging. In fact, 76% of grocery shoppers say that when they are shopping for healthy beverages, packaging that “doesn’t impact the taste” is extremely or very important to them. They go into the shopping experience with established views that certain packaging “can change the taste of my beverage.” Only 12% of shoppers feel glass bottles can change the taste of beverages and only 19% feel that refrigerated cartons can. At the other end of the scale, steel cans (51%), aluminum cans (47%) and plastic bottles (43%) are viewed as being able to change the taste.
The concept of packaging’s impact on freshness (i.e. so that contents will not need preservatives to stay fresh) is also very important to grocery shoppers. Some 70% say when shopping for healthy beverages, packaging that “keeps the beverage fresh without preservatives” is extremely or very important. For 66% of grocery shoppers “contains no preservatives” plays a strong role in telling them the beverage is fresh, and 64% say the “no preservatives” language on the food or beverage label is extremely or very important.
Protecting nutrients is another expectation held by grocery shoppers. When shopping for healthy beverages, 70% of grocery shoppers feel it is extremely or very important that packaging “protects the nutrients in the beverage.” And, 60% of grocery shoppers say, “packaging that protects the contents from light” plays a strong role in telling them the beverage is fresh, with 55% of grocery shoppers strongly agreeing or agreeing that “I try to buy products in packaging that protects the contents from light.”
Given the strong feelings about packaging’s role in protecting taste, freshness and nutrients, it is no surprise that the alignment of packaging and healthy ingredients has become very important.
While healthy ingredients have been important for years, now grocery shoppers are increasingly looking at additional attributes, such as where ingredients come from and how they are processed. Recently, packaging materials are having an increased impact on purchasing decisions.
In fact, grocery shoppers have already come to some of their own conclusions about which packaging best aligns with healthy beverages. Leading the list are glass bottles (71%) and refrigerated cartons (59%), which grocery shoppers are most likely to say “fit extremely or very well with how you (they) think about healthy beverages.”
Download the whitepaper from Evergreen Packaging to learn more.
Evergreen Packaging makes and supplies paper and paperboard products globally, including gable top cartons. Fiber used in Evergreen Packaging products comes from forests in the US where responsible forestry practices are used and where overall growth exceeds harvest. Evergreen Packaging cartons contain protective layers of plastic (including cap and spout). The data presented here is not intended to suggest that Evergreen Packaging products have all attributes discussed in this piece. This publication presents data on consumer perceptions because consumer perceptions matter when shoppers choose which products to purchase.
The EcoFocus Trend survey is an annual tracking study, conducted since 2010, examining wellness and sustainability trends impacting the food and beverage industry. The study is conducted online annually among 4,000 adults. The data is nationally projectable to the US adult population ages 18 to 65 years with a margin of error of +/- 1.39 points in 2018.