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Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives

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Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives 

From purchase off the shelf through consumption, packaging for food and beverages is evolving to intersect with consumer needs and desires, and for good reason. Categories and brands benefit significantly—and are at times completely rejuvenated—when manufacturers and retailers merge consumer trends with packaging innovations, from the playfully pop-culture oriented to the futuristic and highly technical.

Dramatic changes in demographics, lifestyles, and eating patterns are creating new opportunities for food and beverage packaging. Among the demographic mega-trends feeding into package development are changing population distribution, fewer married couples and more people living alone, smaller household size, and multi-generational households. These demographic changes are leading to changes in household dynamics and eating behaviors, such as multi-shopper households, more meals being eaten alone, and more snacking on more occasions. Also changing is the balance between perishable foods and beverages merchandised in stores’ so-called “perimeter departments” and the shelf-stable and frozen foods merchandised in the center-store aisles.

To further take advantage of the dynamic environment, marketers and retailers must understand what matters most to consumers, and what packaging innovations can deliver benefits that actually impact behavior.

Scope and Methodology

Packaged Facts’ brand-new report, Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives, is divided into three sections:

1) The first section focuses on packaging types and materials, and the state of recycling.

2) The second part of the report analyzes extensive data from a proprietary Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey conducted in April 2015, and Simmons National Consumer Survey data from Experian Marketing Services, as well as other published surveys, to delve deeply into what features today’s consumers are seeking in food and beverage packaging.

3) The final chapter presents key demographic, lifestyle, and eating trends that are affecting packaging use and decisions, and considerations that play important roles in the messages marketers convey. Cited are more than 50 examples of recently introduced food and beverage products along with photographs or diagrams.

In addition to the Packaged Facts consumer survey, our primary research for Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S. includes on-site examinations of on-site examination of products in retail stores. Secondary research involved evaluating and comparing data and reports by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (EPA); and reports by industry associations such as the American Chemistry Council, the Can Manufacturers Institute, the Container Recycling Institute, the Flexible Packaging Association, and the Glass Packaging Institute. Additional secondary sources included reviewing more than 250 articles and reports found in industry and consumer media; websites and literature from individual food and beverage companies; and other Packaged Facts reports.


  • Executive Summary
    • Overview
      • The Roles of Packaging for the Food and Beverage Industry
      • Packaging Types and Materials
      • Factors in Recycling Packaging Materials
    • The Consumer
      • Freshness and Food Safety the Greatest Consumer Priorities
        • Table Consumer Priorities for Food and Beverage Packaging, 2015 (Percent of U.S. adults)
      • Convenience, Appearance Not as Important
      • Consumers Want Packaging to be Tamper-Proof, Easy to Open
      • Glass the Favorite Packaging Material
      • Consumer Attitudes Toward Recycling
    • Packaging Trends
      • Demographic, Lifestyle, and Eating Mega-Trends
      • Targeting Millennials
      • Smaller Packages are a Big Trend in Packaging
      • Packaging for Convenience
      • See-Thru Packaging Can Boost Sales
      • Eco-Friendly Packaging Growing
  • Overview
    • Scope of Report
      • Methodology
    • Market Overview
      • The Roles of Packaging for the Food and Beverage Industry
      • Regulation
    • Packaging Types and Materials
      • Packaging Types: Rigid and Flexible
      • Flexible Packaging
      • Packaging Materials
      • Glass
      • Metal
      • Paper and Paperboard (Cardboard)
      • Plastic
      • Combinations of Materials
      • Other Materials
      • Eco-Friendly Packaging
    • Recycling
      • Factors in Recycling Packaging Materials
      • The State of Recycling
      • Source Reduction
  • The Consumer
    • Packaged Facts Proprietary Survey
      • Freshness and Food Safety the Greatest Consumer Priorities
        • Table Consumer Priorities for Food and Beverage Packaging, 2015 (Percent of U.S. adults)
      • More Women than Men Rank Freshness, Food Safety High Priority
      • Convenience, Appearance Not as Important
        • Table Consumer Attitudes Toward Food and Beverage Packaging, 2015 (Percent of U.S. adults)
      • Consumers Want Packaging to be Tamper-Proof, Yet Easy to Open and Resealable
        • Table Importance of Features in Food and Beverage Packaging, 2015 (Percent of U.S. adults)
      • Tamper-Proof Packaging Appeals Especially to Older Shoppers, Women
      • Families with School-Age Kids Seek Easy to Open Packaging
      • Families with Kids also Favor Eco-Friendly Packaging
      • Glass the Favorite Packaging Material
        • Table Favorite Food and Beverage Packaging Materials, 2015 (Percent of U.S. adults)
      • About 70% to 75% of Consumers Always or Often Recycle
        • Table Consumer Frequency of Recycling Food and Beverage Packaging by Material, 2015 (Percent of U.S. adults)
      • Barriers to Recycling
    • Simmons National Consumer Survey
      • Methodology
      • Consumer Attitudes Toward Recycling
        • Table Consumer Attitudes Toward Recycling, 2011-2015 (Percent of U.S. adults)
      • Higher Education the Strongest Indicator for Recycling
        • Table Top Demographic Indicators for Consumer Attitudes Toward Recycling, 2015 (index of U.S. households)
    • Johns Hopkins Survey on Wasted Food
    • MeadWestvaco `Packaging Matters' Study
  • Packaging Trends
    • Demographic, Lifestyle, and Eating Mega-Trends
      • Changing Population Distribution
      • Fewer Married Couples; More People Living Alone
      • Household Size Declines
      • Multi-Generational Households
      • Multi-Shopper Households
      • More Meals Eaten Alone
      • More Snacking on More Occasions
      • Fresh Foods vs. Center-Store
    • Key Packaging Trends
      • Targeting Millennials
      • Different Strokes for Different Folks
      • Smaller Packages Are a Big Trend in Packaging
      • Packaging for Convenience
      • Fresh Produce Packaged for On-the-Go Convenience
      • See-Thru Packaging Can Boost Sales
      • Eco-Friendly Packaging Growing
      • Personalized Packages
      • Innovative Designs
      • Innovative Packaging Designs
      • Tech Watch

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