Consumers Weary of Food Packaging

Articles
July 08, 2010

Consumers Weary of Food Packaging

Recalled food products, dangerous chemicals leeching in your foods, faulty packaging and more have all made headlines in the past few months. And why?

Recalled food products, dangerous chemicals leeching in your foods, faulty packaging and more have all made headlines in the past few months. And why? What is the cause of many of these frightening prime time stories? Food packaging. Whether it’s BPA in plastics or cans, boxes leeching an ‘off-flavor and smell’, or cartons that may contain hormone disruptors, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the health dangers of some packages used for foods. But have they started making changes at the checkout? The Lempert Report conducted an exclusive national consumer survey to find out. 
 
Eighty percent of the Supermarket Guru consumer panel is 'concerned' about some of the materials used to package food and drinks. But are these concerns impacting their shopping behaviors? You bet they are! Seventy-one percent report ‘avoiding the purchase of certain products because of their packaging.’
 
Most commonly avoided are BPA (56%), which is thought to disrupt the endocrine system and mimic estrogen, influencing a range of health issues. Forty-three percent avoid plastics in general, just under one third (30%) avoid cans due to the possible presence of BPA, while a quarter of consumers still say that they don't avoid purchases based on the packaging materials used. Thirty-six percent avoid dyes, 18% avoid glues and 17%  avoid ink, which have only recently made headlines. Maybe they are buying more loose items or reading labels for statements about the materials used to package their foods?
 
When questioned about their shopping behavior for safe product packaging today as compared to a year ago, seven out of 10 (69%) of consumers report a change in shopping habits.
 
Has the packaging and container concern permeated habits at home?  Indeed it has, as a whopping nine out of 10 consumers are ‘safety-conscious’ about the containers, plates etc. used in the microwave and when cooking foods. Eighty two percent report that they are especially cautious regarding foods for infants, children and the elderly.
 
As consumer awareness continues to grow surrounding everything food, including the materials used for packaging, it is becoming increasingly necessary for CPGs to reevaluate the materials used in their product packaging or prominently state the absence of questionable materials as well as grocers to educate staff on the topic. Think in-store flyers or pamphlets outlining the different materials used, possible health implications, and the best choices in materials for cooking/reheating and storing foods.