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Packaging Trends in Food and Drink - US - March 2009

This report focuses on current trends in food and beverage packaging in the U.S., with an emphasis on sustainability, health and wellness, and convenience trends. Mintel explores how changing consumer preferences—including a renewed interest in valuedriven by the economic recession and growing concern about the environment—are impacting packaging design.

The report includes Mintel’s exclusive consumer research and analysis, which explores behaviors, attitudes and preferences regarding food and drink packaging.

Topics include:

  • How the sustainability movement is impacting food and beverage packaging, from light-weight to more renewable materials
  • An in-depth look at how companies such as TerraCycle, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Coca Cola are “going green” and leading the way with unique approaches to sustainability
  • How the healthy eating trend continues to influence package design, from portion control packs to steam-in-bag technology
  • New trends in convenience packaging, including ergonomic designs targeting aging Boomers and improvements in resealable technology
  • How the current U.S. recession may hurt usage of convenience packaging
  • How active and intelligent packaging can help alleviate food safety concerns and help brands differentiate themselves from competitors
  • How the “minimalist” trend is impacting food and drink package design
  • How using color-coded labels makes it easier for consumers to find products on the shelf while creating a visual “brand block”

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Abbreviations and terms
              • Abbreviations
                • Terms
                • Executive Summary

                    • Sustainability
                      • What’s driving the trend
                        • How it’s playing out
                          • What the future holds?
                            • Health and wellness
                              • What’s driving the trend
                                • How it’s playing out
                                  • What the future holds?
                                    • Convenience and functionality
                                      • What’s driving the trend
                                        • How it’s playing out
                                          • What the future holds?
                                            • A balancing act for manufacturers
                                            • Insights and Opportunities

                                              • Common nutritional rating system is needed
                                                • Less “greenwashing” and more consumer education
                                                  • Address consumers concerns about food safety and quality
                                                    • Meet aging Boomers’ unique packaging needs
                                                      • Figure 1: Desirable functional packaging attributes, by age, December 2008
                                                    • Consider the risks of packaging face lifts
                                                      • Coke Zero shows how color can drive gender-based positioning
                                                        • Figure 2: Attitude towards health, 2004 and 2008
                                                    • Inspire Insights

                                                      • Simplicity and Convenience
                                                        • What’s it about?
                                                          • What we’ve seen
                                                            • Packaging can become an aid in simplifying food and beverage shopping
                                                              • Being seen to be see through
                                                                • But do brands actually have a choice?
                                                                  • So what does this mean for the future?
                                                                  • Market Factors: An Overview

                                                                      • Sustainability
                                                                        • Health and wellness
                                                                          • Figure 3: Factors that influence grocery shoppers’ purchase decisions “a lot,” 2006
                                                                        • Convenience and functionality
                                                                          • Suppliers need to balance trends
                                                                          • Sustainability: Market Factors

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Sustainability goes mainstream
                                                                                • Figure 4: Purchase frequency of green products, August 2006-October 2008
                                                                              • Companies are trying to reduce their carbon footprint
                                                                                • Light-weighting
                                                                                  • Improving raw materials
                                                                                    • Recycling programs
                                                                                    • Sustainability: Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Flood of eco-friendly packaging has reached supermarket aisles
                                                                                          • Figure 5: New food and beverage products featuring “environmentally friendly package” claims, 2005-08
                                                                                        • Light-weighting
                                                                                          • Raw materials—using recycled, renewable content
                                                                                            • Reducing carbon footprints
                                                                                              • Bio-plastics are on the way
                                                                                              • Sustainability: Companies Engaged in Improving “Green” Image

                                                                                                  • TerraCycle takes a new approach to recycling
                                                                                                    • Figure 6: Capri sun/TerraCycle magazine ad, 2009
                                                                                                  • Wal-Mart pledges to reduce packaging 5% by 2013
                                                                                                    • Whole Foods switches to biodegradable packaging for prepared food
                                                                                                      • Coca-Cola is practicing the Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
                                                                                                      • Sustainability: The Consumer

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • A majority of consumers—and more women than men—claim to recycle
                                                                                                              • Figure 7: Attitude toward and usage of plastic packaging, by gender, December 2008
                                                                                                            • Older consumers more likely to recycle, but less likely to “reuse”
                                                                                                                • Figure 8: Attitude toward and usage of plastic packaging, by age, December 2008
                                                                                                              • Plastics recycling highest among upper income households
                                                                                                                  • Figure 9: Attitude toward and usage of plastic packaging, by income, December 2008
                                                                                                                • Sustainability awareness skews toward higher income households
                                                                                                                    • Figure 10: Environmental attitudes, by household income, April 2007-June 2008
                                                                                                                  • Plastics recycling highest in Northeast and West
                                                                                                                      • Figure 11: Attitude toward and usage of plastic packaging, by region, December 2008
                                                                                                                  • Health and Wellness: Market Factors

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Manufacturers have tried to provide nutritional guidance
                                                                                                                        • Figure 12: Attitude towards health, 2004 and 2008
                                                                                                                        • Figure 13: Health and nutrient product claims for foods, 2005-08
                                                                                                                      • Proprietary symbols and seals of approval from partners on packaging: an effort to improve nutritional profile
                                                                                                                        • …but food labels remain a source of confusion
                                                                                                                          • Revolutionary, front-of-pack labeling system planned for mid-2009
                                                                                                                            • Portion control packaging at odds with sustainability trend
                                                                                                                            • Health and Wellness: Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Portion control
                                                                                                                                  • Steam-in-bag packaging courts consumers with nutrition, convenience
                                                                                                                                    • Communicating “better-for-you” through package design
                                                                                                                                    • Health and Wellness: The Consumer

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Usage of portion controlled packaging
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Usage of portion control packaging, December 2008
                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes toward portion control packaging
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Attitude toward portion control packaging, by gender, December 2008
                                                                                                                                            • Diet and health logos give an edge to some products
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Attitude toward diet program or health-promoting organization endorsement on packaging, by gender, December 2008
                                                                                                                                              • Americans are reading labels, but having trouble making sense of them
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Attitude and behavior toward using packaging as an information tool, by gender, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Serving sizes are a source of confusion
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Attitude toward the role of packaging in informing about the right serving size, by gender, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                  • Usage of food and beverage products with “Smart Spot” logo
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Usage of and attitudes toward “Smart Spot” products, by age, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                  • Convenience and Functionality: Market Factors

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Convenience trend shows no sign of slowing
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 20: New food products with convenience claims, 2005-08
                                                                                                                                                      • But some convenience packaging is at odds with other trends
                                                                                                                                                        • Ergonomic packaging gives products an edge
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Population aged 21 or older, 2003-13
                                                                                                                                                        • Packaging can help alleviate food safety concerns
                                                                                                                                                          • Putting the “fun” in functionality
                                                                                                                                                          • Convenience and Functionality: Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • You can take it with you
                                                                                                                                                                • Ergonomic
                                                                                                                                                                  • New technology helps keep food fresh longer
                                                                                                                                                                  • Convenience and Functionality: The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                      • Easy to open packaging is a must-have for aging population
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 22: Desirable functional packaging attributes, by age, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                        • Price still trumps convenience for some
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Preference for can versus plastic soup container, by age, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Preference for can versus plastic soup container, by presence of children, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                        • Innovation and Innovators: Emerging Trends in Food & Beverage Packaging

                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                            • Packaging is getting smarter…
                                                                                                                                                                              • …but it’s also getting smaller
                                                                                                                                                                                • When it comes to labels, some brands are finding that less is more
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Color-coded labels help break through the clutter
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Health conscious consumers are more likely to be green
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Environmental attitudes, by personality traits, May 2006-June 2007
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Health-minded Consumers more likely to read product labels and buy portion control packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Attitude toward reading packaging labels and purchasing products in portion control packaging, by primary shopper and healthy lifestyle followers, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Healthy, environmental-friendly, smart-spotters
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Self-sufficient, logo-averse
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Spotless unnaturals
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Attitude toward and usage of plastic packaging, by package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Usage of and attitudes toward “Smart Spot” products, by package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Usage of and attitudes toward “Smart Spot” products, package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Preference for can versus plastic soup container, by package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Usage of portion control packaging, by package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Attitude toward diet program or health-promoting organization endorsement on packaging, by package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Attitude and behavior toward using packaging as an information tool, by package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Attitude toward the role of packaging in informing about the right serving size, by package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Attitude toward following healthy lifestyle practices, package trend clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Package trend clusters by gender, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Package trend clusters by age group, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Package trend clusters by income group, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Package trend clusters by race, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Package trend clusters by Hispanic origin, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix: Other Useful Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes toward and usage of plastic packaging, by race/Hispanic origin
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Attitude toward and usage of plastic packaging, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Desirable functional packaging attributes, by race/Hispanic origin
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Desirable functional packaging attributes, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Desirable functional packaging attributes, by presence of children
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Desirable functional packaging attributes, by presence of children, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes toward portion control packaging, by age
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Attitude toward portion control packaging, by age, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • American Beverage Association, The
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • American Heart Association, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Arthritis Foundation
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Aseptic Packaging Council (APC)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Birds Eye Foods
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Food and Drug Administration
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Food Marketing Institute
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Frito-Lay, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gatorade
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kellogg Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kraft Foods Inc. (U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nestlé USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pepsi-Cola North America
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Quaker
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Signature Brands LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sun-Maid Growers
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Supervalu Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Trader Joe's Company Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tropicana Products Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Unilever USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Weight Watchers International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Wild Oats Markets, Inc

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Packaging Trends in Food and Drink - US - March 2009

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