Waldner North America (WNA) Packaging Technologies, which specializes in automated filling and sealing machinery, sees opportunities for packaging companies as the pandemic fades and new trends emerge, including looking at ways to address consumer concerns over food waste.
“As the world continues to recover from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the food packaging industry foresees beneficial opportunities ahead,” said WNA in a news release. “An increasing number of consumers are more concerned than ever about food waste.”
WNA also suggests that consumers increasingly are committing to sustainability, which means they might be willing to pay more so companies can achieve sustainability goals.
“Routines have changed, including consumers’ expectations regarding the quality and presentation of the food they put on the table,” WNA said in a statement.
The list of five trends was developed by WNA’s team members, who have extensive experience in the packaging industry, according to the company. These trends are likely to continue through 2023, as demand for more sustainable production, food quality, and practicality has been increasing.
“Sustainability is top of mind for consumers, companies, and governments, which makes recyclable packaging an obvious place to begin,” according to WNA, which specializes in spouted pouches, pouches, trays, and shelf-stable cups. “However, customers are searching for more.”
WNA says companies will remain a step ahead if they provide packaging with smaller carbon footprints and use containers that have minimal plastic materials. Compostable solutions or production environments that will ensure the lowest waste levels also are part of the equation, it adds.
Adapting Durable Core Products
“Increased consumption of core shelf-stable food products—such as canned meals—from the [COVID-19] pandemic is here to stay, while companies are adapting with variations in product formulations and package formats,” said WNA in a release, adding that consumer tendencies will continue to shift post-COVID-19, and some products will have more longevity than others. “Food manufacturers should remain focused on core products while remaining flexible.”
Demand will increase for products created with simple, practical designs and easy-to-read ingredient labels, which is a trend leading packaging companies to use a minimalist approach, WNA also says.
“Not only are the size of packages getting smaller but also the portions, as consumers have become more self-aware of food waste,” according to WNA, which is the dedicated sales and service group in North America for Germany-based Hermann Waldner GmbH & Co. KG.
Over the past few years, frozen meals have undergone a large transformation in ingredients.
“And recipes are targeting consumers who value quality but cannot—or do not want to—spend time cooking,” WNA said in a release. “Convenience is the key factor today, as high-end gourmet food companies have increased the number of options available for frozen and single portion, ready-to-eat meals.”
Looking Fresh for Longer
Consumers are increasingly searching for food that not only is tasty and served quickly but also looks and feels fresh.
“As a result, companies are investing in high-quality ingredients and packaging alternatives that ensure a lengthy shelf life without compromising the meal’s flavor and freshness appeal,” WNA said in a statement.
Thomas A. Barstow is senior editor of FlexPack VOICE®.