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 who have embraced CLEAN LABEL and CLEAN PROCESSING now have the opportunity to add CLEAN PACKAGING as a way to further differentiate their products on the grocery shelves.
More shoppers are choosing stores based on their offerings of healthy and environmentally friendly selections. Packaging is a factor in these decisions. 67% of grocery shoppers strongly agree or agree “retailers should choose what products they put on their shelves based on how environmentally friendly the packaging is.”
Retailers need to view packaging as an extension of the ingredients list on the products they sell, 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 all forms of food and beverage packaging, including store brands, 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 percent 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 percent of shoppers feel glass bottles can change the taste of beverages and only 19 percent 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 taste.
Protecting nutrients is another expectation held by grocery shoppers. When shopping for healthy beverages, 70 percent of grocery shoppers feel it is extremely or very important that packaging “protects the nutrients in the beverage.” And, 60 percent of grocery shoppers say, “packaging that protects the contents from light” plays a strong role in telling them the beverage is fresh, with 55 percent 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 to healthy ingredients has become very important.
While healthy ingredients have been important for years, now grocery shoppers are increasingly looking at additional attributes, including packaging. 71 percent of grocery shoppers strongly agree or agree “foods and beverages with healthier ingredient lists should use packaging materials that are healthier too,” and 61 percent of grocery shoppers strongly agree or agree “natural and organic products need to do a better job of packaging their products with recyclable materials.” 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.”
With packaging materials recently having an increased impact on purchasing decisions, retailers need to make healthy and environmentally friendly choices easier for shoppers in the store. By offering product and packaging selections that align with consumer expectations, retailers can differentiate themselves with grocery shoppers.
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.