Take a mental trip to the grocery store. You fill up on staples, fresh produce, and specialty items. Just before you set your sights on the checkout counter, you take a quick swing through the frozen food aisle to pick up one or two things.
The frozen food aisle is where shoppers spend the least amount of time in a food store. It’s cold, they don’t want any purchased food to thaw, and they’re ready to have their shopping finished. Because shoppers spend so little time in this aisle, frozen food companies need to do whatever they can to grab shoppers’ attention. Sadly, this hasn’t happened. Frozen foods need packaging innovation to get more customers into the frozen food aisle to try new products rather than avoid the aisle all together.
In the U.S. and the U.K., frozen food sales have remained flat or declined in recent years. Experts attribute part of the decline to the recession but even more so to changing consumer habits. Consumers simply don’t want to eat frozen food because of the perception that it’s unhealthy, unappetizing, and doesn’t fit their lifestyle.
Can something as simple as better packaging improve consumers’ attitudes toward frozen foods? The answer is “Yes.” As you take that mental shopping trip, notice the other food products on the shelves. Packaging plays an extremely important role in the decisions shoppers make about their purchases. They look for an attractive appearance, an environmentally friendly container, and ease of use.
- Appearance: The product must look attractive and engaging to the shopper. Bold graphics, colors, and a strong branding message matter in the cereal aisle, so why not the frozen food aisle?
- Environmental impact: Frozen food packaging is often simply thrown away when the food is consumed. As shoppers weigh their own impact on the environment, the ability to recycle or reuse packaging matters more.
- Ease of use: Frozen food packaging hasn’t accounted for how consumers want to use the food. Re-sealable containers, multi-portion containers, and split packs increase the ease of use of frozen foods and bring them in line with other products.
Frozen foods call for packaging innovation to help shoppers embrace the products in that aisle at the grocery store. Packaging innovation works for cereal and crackers. It will work for frozen food as well.
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