The resealability of a food or beverage package, along with easy-to-open/close features are the packaging attributes most valued by consumers. That’s according to a new report “Food and Beverage Packaging Trends in the U.S.” Consumer Viewpoints and Marketer Opportunities,” from Packaged Facts.
Less important features include attractiveness of design and, “perhaps more surprisingly,” says Packaged Facts, a realistic image of the product. Only 20% indicated that the ability to microwave in the package is especially important, although that's an increasingly popular package feature for frozen foods.
The study notes that with beverages and food products, consumers prize convenience-oriented features, including packaging that is easy to open and close, easy to pour and serve, and easy to hold. Packaging that makes it easy to eat or drink on the go ranked further down on the list, despite the popularity of single-serve and other convenient beverage formats. Product freshness ranked high, and is especially important in milk, juices, and ground coffee. Consumers also ranked environmentally friendly packaging as fairly high in importance.
According to David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts, while consumers generally aren't dissatisfied with the packaging options available to them, innovative packaging is a value-add that can determine product format or brand choice, especially since consumers aren't totally happy with packaging choices. Interestingly, he says, they don't necessarily think highly of manufacturers' packaging efforts.
The survey data revealed that 60% of consumers strongly or somewhat agree that manufacturers often make insignificant packaging changes; 45% think lighter-weight or less bulky packaging is important. Survey responses also showed some common complaints across major food and beverage categories, with most clustering around consumer frustrations with package opening and closing, resealing, maintaining freshness, and food-safety issues.