When it comes to food, tech isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. However, technology over the years has changed how we produce and find our food through applications, robotics, data and processing techniques.
According to a recent report from ING, technology helps food manufacturers produce more efficiently for a growing world population. There are 7.5 billion people in the world right now and that means a higher demand for food each year. By using tech to improve processing and packaging, it can improve the shelf life and safety of food.
Gentle and quick, clean and safe, variable and flexible – these are typical requirements of packaging companies. You can often make your packaging tasks even more efficient by relying on automation solutions. 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 its new report, “Food and Beverage Packaging Innovation in the U.S.: Consumer Perspectives.” These demographic changes are leading to changes in household dynamics and eating behaviours, such as multi-shopper households, more meals being eaten alone, and frequent snacking on more occasions.
The report analyzes shifting and emerging trends in food and beverage packaging, focusing especially on the new packaging formats being used by food and beverage marketers, and on consumer attitudes and behaviours regarding food and beverage packaging.
In the report, Packaged Facts identifies five key trends shaping food and beverage packaging. These include:
- Targeting Millennials: While Millennials may 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% of all U.S. households, packages sized to serve one or two people have become a big trend in packaging. Such formats include single-serve packaging, meals for two, multipacks 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 influence consumers’ purchasing decisions positively.
- See-through packaging can boost sales: More and more marketers are putting their products in packages that are see-through or have see-through windows. Transparency in packaging taps into consumer desire for transparency about how food and beverages are produced, both figuratively and literally. 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 says it believes that improved recyclability and sustainability will become ever more important to the success of the single-cup brew market—if not a cost of entry—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.
One of the biggest concerns for consumers right now is having healthy and sustainable goods. Consumers pay attention to labels and harmful ingredients, especially with social media, there is not much that companies can get away with anymore. Many companies use technology to help them “go green.” By using robotics and digitizing, companies in the food industry are able to find alternatives to plastics and another harmful packaging to the environment.
There are many different ways we are using technology in packaging now from edible packaging, micro packaging and even bacteria fighting packaging.
Consumers are also looking for where companies are sourcing their products and how they are handling their waste. Currently, 40% of America’s food is thrown away each year. With the help of technology, there are strides being taken to reduce that number and utilize the extra food.
One app, Copia uses its extensive food waste reduction dashboard to connect businesses with surplus food to local shelters, after-school programs, and other nonprofit organizations. Copia’s analytic software manages and tracks their surplus to save money and reduce their overall food waste.
With all these advancements in technology, there are so many different ways that it can really change how we produce food. Evolving technology could be the key to eliminating world hunger and solving our waste problem- we will just have to wait and see.
Look out for amazing opportunities and contacts at the Malaysian International Food & Beverage (MIFB) Trade Fair 2019. The world’s top F&B suppliers and buyers will descend onto Malaysia for this showcase event. It is the perfect occasion to network and connect with the F&B industry game changers. Fast forward to your business here!
There will be companies featuring all sorts of products and technologies. Among those who will be there are those in confectionaries, dairy products, seafood, frozen food, delicatessen, canned products, wine and spirits, and more. MIFB 2019 has also been a support pillar for SMEs to propel their business over the past two decades and counting. If you are looking to introduce, exchange, and learn about the latest innovations and technologies from around the world, MIFB is the place to be.