The Changing Landscape of the Global Food and Beverage Packaging: Part 1

SAN LUIS OBISPO, California , October 3, 2012 Most of us trying to stay current with the trends in food and beverage packaging come across numerous insights and strategies promoted by industry mavens. Typically these trends include ageing populations, smaller households, increased convenience factor, rising health awareness, e-commerce, consolidation & globalization of retailers, etc.

The recently concluded 18th IAPRI World Packaging Conference, a collaboration between the International Association of Packaging Research Institutes (IAPRI) and the Packaging Program at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, California, saw the focus area of “Packaging for Food & Agriculture” garner the top numbers amongst the 93 presentations from industry and academia on the 11 topic areas covered.

Amongst the several keynote presenters at this event attended by delegates from 24 countries, Dr. Michael Okoroafor, the Vice President for Global Packaging Innovation and Execution at H.J. Heinz Company provided a unique outlook on the global packaging trends for food and beverage through six unique perspectives. This month, we discuss emerging markets growth and packaging as media:

1. Emerging Markets Growth: The rise of the emerging market consumer is the single greatest macro trend of the next 25 years. Capitalism is working in the developing world. The key is to focus on emerging markets with growing urban middle classes who will fuel consumer demand. Emerging and growth-leading economies (EAGLEs) now not only include the “BRIC” countries but also the “CIVETS” (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa), the emerging market trend setters. The BRIC’s and CIVETS, experts claim, now are experiencing swift increase in disposable income aka higher consumer spending in the cosmetics, food and beverage sectors. Dr. Okoroafor, made a valid recommendation to substitute the “middle class” everyone generically assumes as the most influential demographic with the “buying class” i.e. regardless of what societal category the consumers fell under, eventually the trend setting potential lies with those with the actual purchasing power. This booming “buying class” in the BRIC’s and CIVETS should now collectively be considered as that influencing the emerging markets for food and beverage packaging. A critical recommendation to all brand owners seeking increased market share in the emerging markets, is to truly understand the demographics and psychographics of these consumers. A “best-selling” product-package system in one part of the world does not automatically translate to a successful launch in another.

Key amongst the list of those charting the roadmap for growth in developing markets such as rural India (most FMCG categories, ~80%, are growing faster in rural as compared to urban India) is usually the identification of growth opportunities that are linked to a marketer’s core competency, based on a thorough understanding of a consumer segment and sustainable enough to generate a return on investment and ensure future earnings.


2. Packaging as Media: Amongst the multitude of packaged goods available at retail, the packaging itself needs to break through the clutter especially amongst the same category of products. Few brands have gone out to truly take advantage of brand communication through packaging. Executing an “experiential” design philosophy for the brands is becoming increasingly dominant in maintaining and increasing market shares. The packaging for the consumable goods category needs to address “art” (emotive effects), “science” (functional effects) and “business needs”. A great example cited at the presentation was the Heinz® Ketchup – Dip N’ Squeeze, an innovative package which arrived on the scene after almost 4 decades of the regular rectangular form-fill-seal packets. Containing thrice the amount of a traditional packet and allowing a customer to enjoy the condiment via either “dipping” or “squeezing” it, this innovation is quickly revolutionizing the industry segment. After amazing media coverage on the innovative redesign and a recently accomplished milestone of 1 billion foodservice packets, Heinz has moved the product into the retail market.

(Source: Heinz debuts retail version of Dip & Squeeze Ketchup packet for at-home use - 2011-09-20 14:32:44 | Packaging Digest

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