Progressive Grocer - September 2011 - (Page 122)

Fresh Food Packaging Fresh Priorities By James Dudlicek Consumers say on-package ecomessages add value to brands Sustainability continues to grow in importance, while “active” solutions come on strong, among musts for fresh food packaging. S ustainability, safety and convenience continue to be the big three priorities for fresh food packaging among consumers, but add a fourth for grocery retailers trying to increase sales of their private label products: shelf appeal. These are among the key trends that packaging manufacturers are chasing as they attempt to meet the needs of consumers as well as their retail partners in the meat, produce and other fresh food categories. The growth in convenience stems from a number of factors, says Jim Mize, VP of global new opportunities for Duncan, S.C.-based Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Packaging. “We’ve seen a rising trend in the number of meals prepared at home, but consumers are still crunched for time,” Mize observes. “Also, changing demographics associated with the aging baby boomer population and the move toward smaller and dual-income households lend to the increased desire for convenient foods and packaging.” But Mize notes that the term “convenience” has different connotations for different consumer segments. “For some segments, convenience is good food that is available quickly with little involvement from the consumer. For others, convenience is quality food cooked at home, but in a format that requires minimal oversight and allows them to multitask during the cooking process,” he says. “For others, convenience means streamlining the preparation and cleanup process.” Still others might have more simple demands. “One key aspect in the fresh category is having a clear view of what is inside the package,” says Nick Dulcich, owner and director of sales of Sunlight International Sales, a Delano, Calif.-based grape supplier, “so a consumer can be assured the product they are selecting is truly fresh and safe.” Consumers’ perception of packaging is evolving, says Erin Reynolds, senior marketing manager for dairy at Memphis, Tenn.-based Evergreen Packaging. “They are demanding more from packaging, expecting it to be more than just a cost-effective and convenient tool for protecting the products they buy,” she notes. “Influencing their product selection process at the grocer’s shelf is thoughtful consideration about the environmental impact of a product’s packaging.” Reynolds cites a 2010 Beverage Pulse study in which 100 percent of respondents felt that adding package graphics trumpeting eco-friendly attributes added value to the brand. “Consumers stated they would choose a package with sustainability messaging over one without,” she says. Mize agrees that consumers are becoming more sophisticated about sustainability issues. “They’re not just concerned about whether a package is biodegradable or recyclable, they are also considering elements like carbon footprint and product lifestyle,” he says. “There is a great opportunity here to show the value of packaging when we are looking at its functionality across the supply and distribution chain, especially when it comes to reducing food waste.” Retailers are concerned as well when making packaging choices for their private label products. First 122 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What’s Next | September 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - September 2011

Progressive Grocer - September 2011
Table of Contents
New Era for Old World
Inside the Market Basket
Perfect Partners
Still Pink
Progressive Grocer Independent: Lasting Impressions
Breakfast Retailing Handbook: Breakfast Across the Store
Breakfast Foods/Frozen Waffles, Pancakes and French Toast
Cereal, Energy and Snack Bars, Q4 2010-Q1 2011
Fresh Priorities
Innovation in Focus
Goodness Grazing
Practical Implications of Food Safety Research
Gleaming Opportunities
Putting the Shine On
Seasonal Excitement
What Price Beauty?
Progressive Grocer Tech: Sourcing Savings
Bright Ideas
Supplier Side News
Editors’ Picks for Innovative Products

Progressive Grocer - September 2011