Plastic Packaging Still Has A Home When It Comes To Fresh Food

LOS ANGELES , August 28, 2019 () – It’s easy to think that plastic packaging is going the way of the dinosaurs. Restaurants, for example, are clamping down on the offering of plastic straws. And it seems like every day, there’s another city looking to ban the use of plastic bags in stores.

But, at least in the case of fresh food, the popularity of plastic packaging still remains among certain products and age groups.

A recent study by Category Partners revealed that about one-third of U.S. shoppers prefer to buy their fresh foods in plastics containers, whether in bags, clamshells or overwrap. That number varies somewhat by department, with 39% of respondents saying they prefer to buy fresh meat in plastic packaging, while 29% prefer to buy produce in plastic packaging.

The preference or avoidance of plastic varies somewhat by region, with shoppers in the South and Northeast more often preferring to buy their fresh foods in plastic containers, while those in the West--while still having an overall preference toward plastic—are more likely than those in other regions to avoid plastic.

“Other factors such as availability of the product and regional differences in packaging may influence consumer preferences, said Cara Ammon, Category Partners’ director of research. “For example, the Northeast has a significant percentage of shoppers both preferring (33%) and avoiding (20%) plastic packaging for their fresh seafood.”

Shoppers earning $100,000-$150,000 per year are most likely to prefer plastic, with 53% preferring to buy their meat in plastic packaging. Those earning $35,000-$100,000 are generally least likely to prefer plastic packaging, with only 25% of this group preferring their produce in plastic. With the exception of the $100,000 -$150,000 earners, avoidance of plastic generally increases as income increases. Twenty-six percent of shoppers earning $150,000 or more said they avoid plastic when buying bakery items, while 32% said they avoid plastic when buying produce.

Other findings of the study:

---Men are slightly more likely to prefer to buy fresh foods in plastic packaging. However, men and women are about equal in their avoidance of plastic.

---Shoppers with children are somewhat more likely to prefer plastic packaging, while those without children slightly more often avoid plastic.

---Shoppers living in larger households are also more likely to prefer fresh foods packaged in plastic, while those living in smaller households are somewhat more likely to avoid plastic packaging.

Nevin Barich is the Consumer Products Analyst for Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. We invite you to come take a look at our service.Call us today at 310-553-0008 and we’ll schedule you for a 15-minute demo.

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