See-Through Food Packaging Boosts Sales

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Clear packages are drawing shoppers, but are very tricky.

  • See-through food packaging has put food producers in quite a catch-22. While consumers seem to prefer foods that are sold in clear packaging, light actually degrades food. The thinking behind the surge in clear packaging is that shoppers are more inclined to buy a product when they can see what they are getting.
  • One difficulty for producers and packaging companies is that food is often jostled and shaken up during transport and stocking, and isn’t always “pretty.” Beyond aesthetics, clear packaging is scrutinized by companies because they can be expensive. This has also led to food makers adjusting their recipes to make sure main ingredients are visible through packaging. This means making sure that fruit is big enough in yogurt and that tortilla chips stay intact.
  • General Mills Inc. worked on clear packaging for their Larabar Uber fruit & nut bars for over a year. This included testing different types of packages and how they affected the quality of the bar. Different conditions at grocery stores, as well as sunlight, can compromise a food’s quality, especially in a clear package. However, after all that effort, consumers reported that the bars looked like they tasted better and that ingredients seemed to be fresher.
  • Consumers associate clear packaging with natural ingredients. If a food looks natural and healthy, then many consumers believe that it is.
  • However, see-through packaging isn’t a clear choice for every product. Hillshire Brands Co. changed their lunch meat tubs from a red lid to a clear lid. However, sales dropped because consumers couldn’t find the brand without the distinguishing red lid. Six months after following the see-through packaging trend, Hillshire Brands Co. returned to their recognizable red lids.

BalancedHealthy POV:

  • With food trends continually leaning towards healthier and more natural products, it seems fitting that consumers want to see more of the products they are purchasing. However, consumers are purchasing products based on the perceived healthiness, rather than ingredients. What customers need to remember is that things are not always what they appear to be.
  • On the other hand, it is mainly healthier products that are leading the parade towards clear packaging. So, even though all these products might not be “all-natural” or good for you, they may still be healthier than other products on the market that are staying hidden in their packages.
  • This trend for clear packaging is purely consumer-driven. As CPG Marketing Trends reports, “By understanding the consumer, companies are able to find the need behind the need, open the channel for communication and develop a design that is holistic and appealing to the consumer….” Consumers are pushing the food makers to package their goods in clear containers and bags.
  • As far as we are concerned, clear-packaging is one step closer to full transparency within the food industry.  As consumers continue to demand more natural methods of production and healthier ingredients, companies will have to react.  However, even products that are not falling under “all-natural” or “healthy” are keeping up with the demanding customer-base by creating the illusion of healthy and natural ingredients.