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A new era of packaging

Colin Moyer Director 14/07/2020

Where are the greatest opportunities and what are the leading consumer needs and concerns?

Over the last few years, we have increasingly been turning our attention to plastic-free, recyclable, sustainable, and packaging-free solutions, as global environmental concerns have come to the forefront.

With recent developments leading the way for change, what is next for packaging? Where are the greatest opportunities?

As discussed in our recent environmental report we know that supermarket purchases provide potentially the most accessible way for consumers to do their part for the environment. But with recent developments leading the way for change, what is next for packaging?  Where are the greatest opportunities and what are the leading consumer needs and concerns?

Environmental versus health concerns

While the environment is still a high priority for consumers and manufacturers, trading this off against health and contamination is key.  We have seen how decreases in emissions from the worldwide reduction in manufacturing and travel is benefiting the environment, though individual choices may not be so straightforward.

Take packaging-free shopping, such as that being developed by Waitrose, where shoppers are all handling the same dispensers – sadly something that shoppers will unlikely continue to embrace in the near future. Though with only 22% seeing pre-packed and sealed food items as ‘very important’, it shows that there is still potential for such schemes in the future.’

While we may need to backtrack in terms of packaging-free for now, we still need to look for other ways of enabling consumers to make easy, environmentally conscious decisions and behavioural changes. Ensuring your packaging is made from recycled, sustainable materials and can be recycled or composted must still be a priority. Not only will it lead to longer-term brand equity and engagement, but it will also ensure that manufacturers and consumers are both doing the right thing. Our research shows that 85% of people rate recyclable/eco packaging as an important consideration, and 74% feel the same about biodegradable/compostable packaging, demonstrating environmental credentials are still high on the consumer agenda.


How best to execute your packaging is an evolving question – larger pack sizes as more households are cooking from scratch and families eat together?  While being able to reseal packaging is considered important by 75%, how can this be executed without incorporating additional plastic seals? Indeed, preserving freshness is key for consumers, with 88% citing this as an important factor, so how can you help consumers maintain product quality for longer via innovative eco-packaging?


Another key factor is price, particularly in the current economic climate. With high unemployment and questionable job security affecting many, being cost-conscious is a key consideration with 83% rating low price as being important to them. This means looking for ways to decrease your pricing, where possible, potentially via smaller pack sizes. This is also particularly relevant owing to the currently increased desire, and behaviour, of consumers to decrease their food waste, also explaining why multi-buy offers are less popular, with only 65% citing the importance of this promotion.

For more information on how we can help FMCG brands successfully navigate these times,  please get in touch.

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