CLEVELAND — Packaging innovations are making online grocery shopping more appealing to both retailers and consumers, according to a new report from the Freedonia Group.
Consumers haven’t adapted to online grocery shopping as quickly as they’ve adapted to e-commerce in other categories like apparel, books and electronics. Not only are they less willing to pay more for essentials like groceries, but they also tend to prefer picking their own fresh items. Consumers also worry that items could spoil, spill or get damaged in transit.
As e-grocers explore new solutions like delivery drones or cashier-free stores, the Freedonia group said food and beverage brands are tackling the challenges of food e-commerce with packaging. Reducing packaging weight and right-sizing packages so they take up less space, for example, can lower shipping costs to stores and consumers.
Active and intelligent packaging solutions that respond to changes in the surrounding environment can help preserve freshness, quality and taste, according to the report. Gas scavengers, widely used in meal kits, react with gases to prevent degradative reactions. They exist in sachets, film and enzymes, and can be used in a variety of ways. Other active packaging solutions include antimicrobials, biosensors and smart labels.
The report also said advances in film technology are driving a shift away from heavy, rigid materials like glass to more flexible options like recyclable polyethylene or biodegradable polylactic acid. These materials not only improve efficiency but also boost sustainability.
Products with opportunities for growth include lightweight products, fully recyclable packaging, labels that better communicate product quality information, child-resistant and regulation-complicit packaging for edible cannabis and CBD products and resealable closers for multiple-serving packages, according to the report.