Recession drives low-cost food packaging: New report

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Packaging Private label Retailing

The trend towards low-cost food packaging over the past two years, driven by global recession and volatile energy prices, is the main finding of a new study conducted by UK-based analysts Canadean.

Its latest report, Innovation in Liquid Food Packaging, 2009​, charts the latest developments in ambient liquid food packaging design since 2007. It reviews the global market from the perspective of retailing, food processing and packaging and assesses the growing impact of private labels.

“The report reveals the general shift towards more cost driven factors influencing the food packaging sector,”​ Dominic Cakebread, the company’s director of packaging services told “It also shows how the brakes are being put on added-value products, the increasing pressure on (packaging) technology and greater competition.”

Budget-restricted consumers

According to the study, many brand owners throughout the world have been forced to re-structure their product ranges and develop new categories, products and packaging designs aimed at more budget-conscious consumers.

The pressure has been most intense in the ambient liquid food sector. Lower consumer spending, particularly in North America and Europe, has accelerated the growth in discount stores prompting large retail food chains to extend their private label brands to meet consumer demand for better value, compete more effectively and retain market share.

“Private label brands are the way supermarkets have chosen to respond to commercial pressure from discounters and consumers’ demands for better value,”​ said Cakebread. “Companies have strived to reduce the weight of their packaging and their carbon foot-print. In fact, green packaging and the need for cost reduction usually go together.”

So, food packagers have looked for new packaging types and designs which offer simplicity, cost-reduction and materials savings but without sacrificing the benefits of convenience and green credibility.

Flexible plastics

The report also identifies a continuing trend towards plastics, particularly flexible plastics and pouches, driven by the need to cut costs and materials and a need for greater versatility in sizes, shapes and designs.

The authors note a wider range of packaging choice for tomato products including aseptic cartons, tubes, flexible bags and bag-in-box plus the greater use of shallow plastic pots and aluminum trays for ready meals

There has also been growth in the use of liquid carton usage for condensed and evaporated milks

This latest report from Canadean is intended to complement its study ‘Innovation in Beverage Packaging’ study published last October.

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