For 2019, plant-based is an important innovation opportunity for packaging

March 15, 2019

Sponsored Content By Evergreen Packaging

Trend watchers worldwide are pointing to ‘plant-based’ as a global trend in 2019. The search for plant-based options is fueling innovation throughout the food and beverage industry, from the ingredients to the packaging.

According to the 2018 EcoFocus Trend Study conducted by EcoFocus Worldwide, plant-based food and beverage packaging is now on the minds of more than three quarters of consumers. Three out of four (76%) grocery shoppers in 2018 say they have heard or read about plant-based food or beverage packaging, and 62% want to learn more about it. Nearly half of consumers are already shopping with plant-based packaging in mind: 46% of grocery shoppers in 2018 strongly agree or agree they “try to buy packaging that is made with plant-based materials” and 47% say plant-based packaging is extremely or very important for healthy beverages.

Emerging Trends in Plant-Based Packaging

The trend identified in the study is reinforced by some of the other thought leaders in the grocery and packaging industries. Retailer Whole Foods identifies packaging as one of its top ten trends in 2019 saying “packaging continues to be one of sustainability efforts biggest issues. Meanwhile, the Mintel’s top trends for 2019 reports, “Biobased packaging materials will be key components in the next generation of responsible packaging” noting heightened consumer awareness of packaging.

For many consumers, it is all about health.  Personal health and environmental health is each top of mind.  Consumers are looking at labels to reinforce their beliefs and they are being especially attentive when the products in the packaging are themselves viewed as healthier.

In 2018, 61% of grocery shoppers strongly agree or agree they “try to buy beverages that use less plastic in their packaging, and 48% strongly agree or agree they “try to buy packaging that is mostly made out of paper.” Because paper packaging is derived from trees – plant based – it has the additional benefit of coming from a renewable resource, one that can be regenerated.

For brands already offering plant-based foods and beverages for consumers, plant-based packaging is a logical fit with the ingredients and consumer values. For others, plant-based packaging materials may be the way to leverage this important trend in a meaningful way.

Evergreen Packaging makes and supplies paper and paperboard products globally, including gable top cartons. Fiber used in Evergreen Packaging products comes from forests in the US where responsible forestry practices are used and where overall growth exceeds harvest. Evergreen Packaging cartons contain protective layers of plastic (including cap and spout). The data presented here is not intended to suggest that Evergreen Packaging products have all attributes discussed in this piece. This publication presents data on consumer perceptions because consumer perceptions matter when shoppers choose which products to purchase.

The EcoFocus Trend survey is an annual tracking study, conducted since 2010, examining wellness and sustainability trends impacting the food and beverage industry. The study is conducted online annually among 4,000 adults. The data is nationally projectable to the US adult population ages 18 to 65 years with a margin of error of +/- 1.39 points in 2018.

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