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5 key trends shaping food and beverage packaging

water bottles
Changes in household dynamics and eating behaviors are driving changes in packaging of food and beverages, a new analysis shows.

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, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts in the report, Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives. These demographic changes are leading to changes in household dynamics and eating behaviors, such as multi-shopper households, more meals being eaten alone, and frequent snacking on more occasions.

Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives analyzes shifting and emerging trends in food and beverage packaging, focusing on new forms of packaging food and beverage that marketers are using, and consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding food and beverage packaging.  In the report, Packaged Facts identifies five key trends shaping food and beverage packaging:

  • Targeting millennials: While millennials might seem like a broad and amorphous target, numerous studies show there are some commonalities. Millennials like fresh, less-processed foods, as demonstrated by their preference for “fast-casual restaurants that offer freshly prepared foods, and shopping the perimeter of grocery stores where fresh and non-packaged foods can be found.”
  • Smaller packages are a big trend in packaging: With one- or two-person households representing 61 percent of all U.S. households, packages sized to serve one or two people have become a big trend. Such formats include single-serve packaging, meals for two, multi-packs of individual portions, and resealable packaging. The rise in smaller-footprint stores is also influencing this trend.
  • Packaging for convenience: Convenience is a major selling point for food and beverage packaging. Features such as ease of opening, resealability, portability, lighter weight, and no-mess dispensing are packaging benefits that positively influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.
  • See-thru packaging can boost sales: Marketers frequently are putting their products in packages that are see-thru or have see-thru windows. Transparency in packaging taps, both figuratively and literally, into consumer desire for transparency about how food and beverages are produced. Companies that are transparent about their ingredients, sourcing and business practices are reaping the benefits in consumer goodwill and trust.
  • Eco-friendly packaging growing: In the past few years, single-serve bottled water has come under attack by environmentalists as epitomizing the wasteful nature of modern society. As a result, some marketers of bottled water have stepped up their introductions of more sustainable packaging. Likewise, Packaged Facts expects improved recyclability and sustainability to become increasingly more important — if not a cost of entry — to the success of the single-cup brew market as this business matures. In the past two years, several American and Canadian marketers have introduced more environmentally friendly designs for use in K-Cup brewers.
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