Food packaging has undergone many revolutions over the years – from the invention of freezable foods and packaging, to the invention of the microwave, the only constant in the industry of food packaging is change.
And the food packaging industry continues to change in the 21st century. In the modern world, time is one of the most precious commodities of all – and more people than ever are turning to the world of convenience foods to help them save time by eating tasty, pre-prepared meals – without the inconvenience of cooking and cleanup.
Let’s take a look at three of the biggest trends that will continue to shape the packaging industry as modern convenience foods continue to gain market share.
1. Single Serving and Multi-Portion Packs
As millennials and the younger generations continue the trend of late marriage and parenthood, the market for convenient single-serving foods continues to grow.
These smaller packages offer a smaller price point, which can be appealing for less-affluent shoppers – or those who wish to sample a large variety of products.
Single serving portions are also very convenient and help a more health-conscious population, control their eating habits more easily – you’re less likely to rip open a new package of snacks than you are to take another handful from a big bag.
2. Eco-Friendly Packaging
Climate change and the environmental impact of packaging and human industry will continue to be a hot issue, especially with a young, growing population that is more likely to understand the impact of environmental issues on nature.
Eco-friendly packaging is already on the rise – technologies like corn-based plastics, biodegradable packaging materials are becoming very common in brands that have eco- focused positioning.
In addition, most traditional manufacturers are now looking to minimize waste and maximize recyclability to help reduce the impact that used packaging has on the environment.
3. Convenient Packaging for Easy Cooking
The consumers of today demand their convenience foods be, well, convenient. Features like resealable bags, micro-perforations, and lightweight, no-mess dispensing designs are all becoming increasingly popular on the market.
In addition, there is a marked increase in technology related to convenience cooking – in both microwave and oven cooking.
While they have existed since 2006, sales of convenient frozen foods like steamable vegetable medleys continue to increase, as the convenience factor of both defrosting and cooking vegetables in the same convenient bag appeals to young consumers who are short on time. What was once a premium item is even regularly offered as private label at nationwide grocers for more budget-conscious households.
As for oven cooking, more recent innovations like Cryovac® Oven Ease® ovenable packaging by Sealed Air allows consumers to both store and cook raw meat in the same package – an innovation that would have been unheard of even a few decades ago.
As time goes on, we can expect to see the market for convenience foods and their influence on packaging continue to grow. So many in our modern world are pressed for time and need easy- to-use product packaging, and industry trends will continue to reflect the needs of our modern life. We at TGW believe the approach in how one both processes and packages food will also continue to evolve. As the leader in machine knife manufacturing, it’s important that we continue to stay ahead of trends and ensure OEMs and End-Users alike have the knives best suited to meet those evolving needs.