Fundamental change seen in food and beverage packaging

Posted by Isobel Drake on 8th July 2009

The combined pressures of the economic downturn and volatile energy and packaging materials prices have intensified competition and created fundamental change in food and beverage markets over the last two years, according to a new report published by beverage research specialists, Canadean.

Many brand owners throughout the world have been forced to re-configure their existing product ranges and develop new categories, products and packaging designs aimed at more cost-conscious, budget-restricted consumers. And nowhere is this more evident than in the ambient liquid food sector. Here, the slowdown in consumer spending is accelerating the growth in discount stores especially in North America and Europe. This is causing many other large retail food chains to extend their private label brands to meet rising consumer demand for better value, compete and retain market share.

These market trends are spawning a new range of products and brands which, in turn, are driving demand for new packaging types and designs more frequently aimed at offering simplicity, cost-reduction and materials savings without sacrificing the benefits of convenient, easy-to-use and environment-friendly packaging design.

The Canadean report entitled “Innovation in Liquid Food Packaging, 2009” discovers new packaging developments and designs within the ambient heat-processed liquid food market, with key findings including:

* A continued shift towards plastics (especially flexible plastics and pouches) driven by demands for cost and materials reduction and a need for greater versatility in sizes, shapes and designs
* Increased presence of plastics pots for value-added, single portion products, for some traditionally canned products (fruit & vegetables and soups for example)
* Growth of liquid carton usage for condensed and evaporated milks
* Greater diversification of packaging choice for tomato products including aseptic cartons, tubes, flexible bags and bag-in-box
* Increased use of shallow plastic pots and aluminium trays for ready meals, including innovations such as microwavable portion pots for baked beans

“Together these factors mean that, in spite of a general slowdown in consumer spending throughout the world, and intense pressure on margins, packaging innovation in the liquid food sector remains rife,” Canadean advised. “It continues to play a key role and remains at the leading edge of marketing and new brand development in the changed market conditions.”