This article originally ran in the October 2012 issue of Food Manufacturing.
Last month, TIME’s NewsFeed blog was one of several outlets to pick up a YouTube video called “Your Food Packaging is Bad and You Should Feel Bad.” With fewer than 100,000 views at press time, it’s not quite fair to say the video “went viral,” but it certainly generated a bit of buzz.
In it, we see a man struggling with product packaging complications that have become all too common for consumers — too-tight jar lids, easy-open tabs that snap off, un-sealable re-sealable packages, the list goes on. In the video description, creator pleatedjeans writes simply, “I’m calling you out, food companies.”
As evidenced by pleatedjeans’ YouTube hit, there may be room for packaging improvement in all areas of the food industry. At this month’s PACK EXPO, Clemson University will present research on consumer purchasing decisions in a seminar entitled “The Packaging Test Track.” The research will uncover the role of packaging — as well as other product factors — in consumer decision-making.
“This research ultimately benefits PACK EXPO exhibitors and PMMI members as well as the buyers attending PACK EXPO. The more we understand what goes into a successful product, including the package, the better suppliers and their customers can work together to create total systems solutions,” said Charles D. Yuska, President and CEO of PMMI, the organization that hosts PACK EXPO.
Ultimately, food manufacturers must continue to take advantage of new packaging innovations that provide greater food safety, extended shelf-life and increased consumer convenience. These improvements are only fully realized when the technology works as expected. A sealable package will only provide greater food safety and increase shelf life if the sealing strip stays sealed; an easy-open container only increases convenience if the tab holds long enough to remove the lid.
PACK EXPO and packaging manufacturing professionals and consultants can guide food manufacturers toward the kinds of packaging solutions that will provide increased product value and maintain brand integrity. When food packaging is good, the industry and consumers can both feel good.