This report covers current trends in food packaging in complete detail. Inside the report you’ll find detail on what consumers want from food packaging and why, and relevant opportunities to capitalize on these consumer preferences and demands. Trends set by market leaders in food packaging are also revealed, as is how consumer behavior fits into these trends.

Below, we’ve summarized the key areas analyzed, and offer handpicked insights from the report itself.

Key Areas Analyzed

  • Price vs sustainability.
  • Attitudes about and experiences with packaging.
  • Important qualities in food packaging.
  • Perceptions and associations of packaging materials.
  • Attitudes about packaging and brand.

US Food Packaging Industry Overview

Navigating complex demands in 2023, the US food packaging industry grapples with delivering practical features like freshness preservation and resealability while increasing sustainability efforts. Amid regulatory skepticism, brands are expected to promote greener alternatives. Simultaneously, packaging is evolving into an informational resource through digital integration.

Food Packaging Trends in 2023

Striking a balance between safety and sustainability

In 2023, peace of mind takes precedence with safety and product integrity being fundamental drivers in food packaging choices. But the desire for sustainability is steadily growing, especially among younger consumers. Despite this, there currently remains a considerable gap between consumers’ eco-aspirations and their willingness to pay more for it.

Less is more: the power of minimalism in food packaging

Products with reduced or no packaging are emerging as potential winners in the industry. They cater to both environmental sensibilities and the practicalities of everyday life, enabling consumers to easily integrate products into their daily routines.

Interactive packaging: the digital connection

Interactivity through digital integration, such as QR codes, is redefining food packaging. This innovation bridges the virtual and “real” worlds, allowing brands to engage consumers in novel ways. Delve into how digitalization is shaping packaging trends and the opportunities it presents in our detailed report.

Opportunities in Food Packaging

By embracing established perceptions, brands can leverage traditional packaging materials to their advantage. Small steps like reducing plastic usage can enhance positive associations and dampen negatives.

Uncover how strategies like this can create purposeful packaging and boost brand appeal in our full report. You may also be interested in our Beverage Packaging Trends 2023 Report. Otherwise, you can browse our extensive food market research, or drinks market research.

What’s Covered and Brands Discussed

What’s covered: For the purposes of this Report, Mintel will cover trends in food packaging, including all packaging types commonly used for shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen food items. In addition, food labeling and claims are discussed, particularly as they relate to themes applicable to the Report. In addition, attitudes and behaviors regarding packaging materials and recycling are discussed, particularly as they relate to themes applicable to the Report. The Report also includes consumer behaviors and attitudes related to the themes of food/beverage packaging and sustainability as well as the connection between food/beverage packaging and value.

Brands discussed: A number of brands relevant to the scope of the report are discussed, including but not limited to Kellog, Albertson’s, Jali Fruit, Nestle, KFC, Pizza Hut, Sun and Swell Foods, Alter Eco, and 12 Tides.

Additional Features Included in Your Report

Different Digital Formats: PDF for conveniently sharing with your team, PowerPoint for quickly including in your presentation, as well as an Infographic and an Excel Databook.

Mintel’s Clients Portal: Our portal offers instant access to actionable analysis and trends pieces relevant to your industry that are published almost daily. You can also browse for more market research reports.

Expert Analysis from a Food Specialist

This report, written by Michele Scott, a leading food and beverage analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current food packaging trends, adding expert context to the numbers.

Consumers are mostly in sync with each other when it comes to packaging perceptions and priorities. Most don’t want to compromise on the effectiveness of packaging, or pay more for “better” options. Sustainability becomes negotiable, and a useful tool in product differentiation, especially if costs are kept down.

Michele Scott, Associate Director


Michele Scott
Associate Director

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top Takeaways
                • Consumer trends
                  • Safety first
                    • Figure 1: important information on packaging, 2023
                  • Reducing waste can’t come at a cost
                    • Figure 2: packaging features worth paying more for, 2023
                  • Easing inflation won’t shift sustainable attitudes
                    • Figure 3: Price versus sustainability, by Generation/financial situation, 2023
                  • Competitive strategies
                    • Sustainable efforts need to be targeted
                      • Figure 4: Innovative Sustainable Packaging, 2023
                    • Low-to-no packaging does triple duty
                      • Play around with packaging
                        • Figure 10: QR Codes on packaging, 2023
                      • Opportunities
                        • Make classic perception purposeful by leaning into them
                          • Figure 5: Associations with packaging materials, 2023
                        • Continue to differentiate through packaging, but take a new route
                          • Figure 6: Important packaging qualities, by gender, 2023
                      • Market Drivers

                        • Consumers have good environmental intentions…
                          • Figure 7: Key factors driving consumer behavior – ‘describes me very well’ or ‘somewhat describes me,’ 2021-23
                        • …still financial health supports sustainable habits
                          • Figure 8: Attitudes toward sustainability in food and drink – Affordability , by personal financial assessment, 2023
                        • Reduce, reuse recycle becomes recycle-upcycle-repurpose
                          • Government gets involved
                            • Shrinkflation causes commotion online
                            • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                              • Retailers and brands partner to simplify sustainability for consumers
                                • Figure 9: Kellogg x Albertsons Earth Day Events
                              • Low-to-no packaging
                                • Interactive tech takes messaging further without clutter
                                  • Figure 10: QR Codes on packaging, 2023
                                • More operators announce plans to take a stand
                                  • Trader Joe’s continues efforts to reduce waste
                                    • Innovative packaging materials may help ease a sustainability paradox
                                    • Food Packaging – Fast Facts

                                      • Packaging, messaging not top of mind
                                        • Consumers need a nudge to explore more than sell by dates
                                          • Brands can lead consumers to better sustainable habits, understanding
                                            • Packaging woes start with faulty delivery, end with excess
                                              • No one wants packaging to fail; those under 45 want a lot more
                                              • Price vs Sustainability

                                                  • Figure 11: Price versus sustainability, 2023
                                                • Sustainable tides are turning, slowly
                                                  • Figure 12: Price versus sustainability, by generation 2023
                                                • Inflation is a deterrent, but not the only one
                                                  • Figure 13: Price versus sustainability, by financial situation, 2023
                                                • Sustainable consumers are niche, but engaged, with all things packaging
                                                  • Figure 14: Price versus sustainability, by attitudes about packaging, 2023
                                                • Packaging failure is the great equalizer
                                                  • Figure 15: Price versus sustainability, by attitudes about packaging, 2023
                                              • Important Package Messaging

                                                • All roads should lead to freshness, quality
                                                  • Figure 16: important information on packaging, 2023
                                                • Younger adults more likely to seek holistic quality claims
                                                  • Figure 17: important information on packaging, by generation, 2023
                                                • Use packaging to build versatile routines, incentives into loyalty with parents
                                                  • Figure 18: important information on packaging, by parental status, 2023
                                              • Packaging Attitudes

                                                • Reducing waste can’t come at a cost
                                                  • Figure 19: Attitudes about packaging, 2023
                                                • New generations bring new priorities
                                                  • Figure 20: Attitudes about packaging, by generation, 2023
                                                • Waste reduction is a first step towards sustainable efforts
                                                  • Figure 21: Attitudes about packaging, by financial situation, 2023
                                              • Important Food Packaging Qualities

                                                • Let packaging provide simple solutions
                                                  • Figure 22: Important packaging qualities, 2023
                                                • Packaging that solves the food waste problem has real value
                                                  • Figure 23: Important packaging qualities, by financial situation, 2023
                                              • Packaging Material Perceptions and Associations

                                                • Packaging materials can specialize
                                                  • Figure 24: Associations with packaging materials, 2023
                                                • Generation divides reflect changing perceptions
                                                  • Figure 25: Associations with Plastic, by various demographics, 2023
                                                • Glass packaging’s perceptions may dim
                                                  • Figure 26: Associations with Glass, by various demographics, 2023
                                                • Paper wins on sustainability
                                                  • Figure 27: Associations with Paper, by various demographics, 2023
                                                • Perceptions on metal need help shifting
                                                  • Figure 28: Associations with Metal, by various demographics, 2023
                                                • Recycled materials need more to their narrative
                                                  • Figure 29: Associations with Recycled materials, by various demographics, 2023
                                              • Packaging Experiences and Influence

                                                • Despite consumer apathy, packaging is a critical choice for both manufacturers and shoppers
                                                  • Figure 30: Packaging experiences and influence, 2023
                                                • Younger consumers are more willing to pay
                                                  • Figure 31: Packaging experiences and influence, by generation, 2023
                                                • Packaging brings critical value
                                                  • Figure 32: Packaging experiences and influence, by financial situation, 2023
                                              • Consumer Attitudes About Brand and Sustainability

                                                • Environmental impacts are difficult to pin down
                                                  • Figure 33: Packaging and brand, 2023
                                                • Cost of environmentalism falls to younger generations
                                                  • Figure 34: Packaging and brand, 2023
                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                • Data sources
                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                        • Terms

                                                        About the report

                                                        This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


                                                        Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


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                                                        Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


                                                        Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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