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Magazines Archives - 2009 August

Packaging trends shifting towards sustainability and efficiency
Story 10 - Food Business Asia

The recession that has gripped the world is triggering changes in food packaging, recent studies established.

UK-based consultancy fi rm Datamonitor plc noted in its recent report, Sustainable Packaging Trends: Consumer Perspectives and Product Opportunities, that the downturn has paved the way for sustainable packaging.

Canadean Ltd, another UK consultancy, detected in its new report — Innovation in Liquid Food Packaging — a “re-configuring” of packaging designs, particularly for the packaging of liquids, to accommodate cost-conscious, budgetrestricted consumers.

“Market trends are spawning a new range of products and brands. These in turn are driving demand for new packaging types and designs more frequently aimed at offering simplicity, cost reduction and material savings without sacrificing the benefits” of convenience, usage ease and environmental-friendliness, Canadean stated.

It noted a progressive shift towards flexible plastics and pouches as the demand for cost and material reduction, and the need for versatility in shape, size and design continue to be felt in the market.

For example, there is a growing presence of plastic pots for value-added, single-portion products for some liquid goods that are traditionally canned, the firm added.

Packaging for tomato products, too, sees “greater diversification”, with “aseptic cartons, tubes, flexible bags and bag-in boxes” among the choices, Canadean stated.

There is also a heightened use, it observed, of liquid cartons for condensed and evaporated milk, as well as of shallow plastic pots and aluminium trays for ready meals, including innovations such as microwaveable portion pots for baked beans.

“Together, these factors mean that, in spite of a general slowdown in consumer spending throughout the world and the intense pressure on margins, packaging innovation in the liquidfood sector remains rife. It continues to play a key role and remains at the leading edge of marketing and new brand development in the changed market conditions,” the company reported.

Meanwhile, Datamonitor’s findings indicated that the recession has pushed consumers to act “in a more self-serving manner”, with everyone tending to “act more efficiently”, resulting in fewer purchases made and hence “potentially less waste”.

“Rising fuel costs have also made numerous consumer-packaged-goods companies question their current practices and seek cost savings by reducing packaging in order to cut the amount of weight that is transported from factory to shop and end-consumer,” the report added.

Datamonitor’s survey showed that 51% of consumers in 15 markets globally affirm that packaging design has a mid- to high-level influence on their choice of food and drink products.

The company inferred from the rising consumer concern over ecological matters that “packaging is an issue that is rising to prominence”. It also noted that 44% of consumers have expressed an average to high degree of concern about the over-packaging of household goods, highlighting this as a threat to non-responsive producers.

“Consumers may react to continued excessive packaging with their own proactive, pre-emptive methods,” its report warned.

Given the results of the survey, “all consumer-packaged-goods companies should continue to evaluate their packaging in order to align themselves with the emerging consumer trend”, it urged.

“Sustainable packaging would not only benefit the environment but also manufacturers and consumers. Updating packaging can also be a more credible way to [achieve] cost savings than using methods such as package shrink or, more accurately, portion shrink where a smaller amount of the product is sold at the same price,” Datamonitor added.

Published last April, its study covered China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the US, Brazil, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Russia.


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Explore ways to expand locally and overseas at FLAsia 2009

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Packaging trends shifting towards sustainability and efficiency

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