E-Commerce Trends Highlight the Need For Food Packaging Innovation

E-Commerce Trends Highlight the Need For Food Packaging Innovation

An increasing number of consumers are buying their groceries online, as opposed to traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This growing consumer interest in convenience and home-delivered products is pushing the food packaging industry to remodel their original food packaging designs in order to maintain produce freshness and product quality during the delivery process.

With convenience being the biggest factor in the growth of online grocery shopping trends, the freshness and quality of products may become big issues for delivery services. Shoppers still prefer to have the freshly selected look and feel of products, even when delivered. This preference is why the food packaging industry is under the spotlight as manufacturers are constantly looking to appeal to consumers.

E-commerce grocery stores have been receiving product quality concerns from customers according to Food Dive. As products are shipped from warehouses to customer doorsteps, depending on the size of the order, some consumers receive damaged goods. The chances of food items being crushed or punctured are high if they are not properly packaged and protected. However, this can be a challenge for food manufacturers because they still need to maintain their product’s original branding and packaging as displayed online.

“When you open it, the chips are crushed by the soft drink,” John Izquierdo, Vice President of Market Development for PMMI told FoodDive. “This is problematic for the manufacturer of the product … who is guilty? Manufacturers are losing control of the customer experience and are fighting to get it back.”

However, another issue to consider is environmental responsibility. With millennials becoming more socially conscious, the demographic is less likely to support packaging that is not recyclable.  A recent survey by Luminer found that 56 percent of shoppers are likely to select a product that has sustainable packaging over one that does not. Major food companies like McDonalds and Coca-Cola have taken note of this trend and have launched recycling programs to improve their ecological footprints.

The amount of variety that consumers now have with products can prove to be a challenge for producing multifunctional protective packaging.  This is because there are different varieties of the same product available and these varieties are commonly different in size and shape.

“There has been a significant explosion of variety of products you need to manufacture,” Izquierdo told Food Dive. “Twenty years ago, if you went to the supermarket looking for milk, there were maybe three different types of milk. Now, there are easily more than 30, between amount of fat, enriched, strawberry, chocolate, rice milk, soy milk.”

Overall, these challenges are factors to consider when designing new delivery-focused packaging.