FMI study touches on food packaging

Conducted for the Food Marketing Institute by Decision Analyst, Inc., Trends in the United States: Consumer Attitudes & the Supermarket, 2004 focuses primarily on the consumer shopping experience.

However, the 100-page report does offer some consumer packaging insights based on a telephone survey of about 500 respondents conducted this past January. Among the results were the following:

  • Although single-sized packages cost more, consumers are willing to pay for the convenience. One-third of shoppers said they would pay 20% more for a single-serving package.

  • Almost all shoppers indicated an awareness of sell-by or use-by dates on packages. Consumers most frequently checked dates on packages of milk and dairy products, uncooked meats, eggs, prepackaged deli meat, deli meat sliced in the store, bakery items, and canned goods.

  • Sixty percent of shoppers were aware that meat is packaged at a central location and then brought into the store. That’s up from 45% in 2003 and 38% the preceding year.

  • Forty-three percent believed meat packed at a central location is about the same quality as store-packaged meat; 30% indicated quality is better when packaged at store level; 10% preferred the quality of prepackaged meat quality; 17% weren’t certain. The change here is in the belief that prepackaged meat isn’t as good as store-packed, which declined from 39% in 2003.

  • Fifty-seven percent of shoppers said they purchase private-label products on a weekly basis if their store offers that choice.

  • In checking nutrition labels, consumers look most often at fat content. Total calories, sugar, carbohydrates, and salt were mentioned less frequently.

  • When it comes to food safety problems, shoppers believed that food processor and manufacturing plants were the most likely places for such difficulties to occur.

    The trends report is available for $45 to retailer and wholesaler members; $115 to associate members; $135 to nonmembers. FMI says multiple-copy discounts are available. For more information, call 202/452-8444 or visit

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