CHICAGO — As young consumer lifestyles drive the better-for-you trend, retailers are asking for smaller packages. Compact packages allow them to better utilize store space by stacking more items on the shelf, while enabling them to exploit the single-serve trend.
C.P.G. companies are tailoring their offerings to shoppers seeking wholesome food options with labels that reveal minimal ingredients. However, the more consumers call for clean labels and the smaller the package size, the more muddled the labels become. The demand for authenticity, transparency and traceability in product labeling has posed some package design challenges to brand owners that struggle to attain the right balance of information before labels become overcrowded.
In the nearly 30 years since the United States approved the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act requiring detailed food content labeling for consumers, the Nutrition Facts Label became the first place consumers turned after picking up a package. Initially established to offer baseline health standards, brand owners quickly recognized the opportunity to promote a baking or snack product’s low-fat, low calorie or the all-encompassing — and somewhat vague — “light” features. As low carbohydrate or high protein diets became popular, the Nutrition Facts Label offered consumers affirmation that their purchase would not affect their health and wellness goals.
With access to more information on the nutritional value of their snacks, consumers eventually turned their attention to transparency. Today’s consumers want to know what they are eating and where it is coming from. They are increasingly wary of ingredients they do not recognize, prompting demands for options free of G.M.O.s, gluten and “science sounding” preservatives.
In turn, the growing desire of generation X and millennials for healthier lifestyles sparked requests for low sodium, sugar and calorie counts. Nutrition Facts panels that initially only offered the amount of fat, now include saturated fat and trans-fat.
In its “Global Packaging Trends 2018” report, Mintel highlighted the need for packaging designs that better inform consumer choices without displaying too much or too little detail. Mintel dubs this the Clean Label 2.0 approach. Nutritional labeling needs to not only offer clear information but do so in a way that doesn’t scare off the consumer with data overload.
The PACKage Printing Pavilion at Pack Expo International, taking place Oct. 14-17 in Chicago is the newest addition to the packaging show, with a goal of providing attendees the latest printing technologies. With all of the latest innovations under one roof, baking and snack brand owners and packaging professionals have an opportunity to see the next generation of digital printing and smart solutions in action. Additionally, the Innovation Stage offers free education on some of the most pressing challenges facing the baking and snack sector. To learn more about the show, visit www.packexpointernational.com.